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Thread: Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    29

    Default Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

    Four months ago, when my son 14 months, we night weaned. (yay!) Two months ago, when my son was 16 months, I was able to wean from the pump (yay!). Shortly afterwards, I started menstruating again (believe it or not, also yay! because we want a second baby).

    All of these transitions were extremely emotionally difficult and took a looong time to work up to, even though I knew they were the right thing to do, I just wasn't ready. Still, DS and I continued to nurse 5-6 times a day when I wasn't at work, and 3 times a day when I did go to work.

    Well, over the last week, I had a very stressful few days and my milk supply dropped a lot. Additionally, my milk stopped letting down about 50% of the time (stress and low supply has this effect on me). Finally, DS started getting his 4 top teeth all at once. (He has only had the bottom two for the first 17 months of his life!)

    I have been trying to wean myself off the mother's milk tea, fenugreek and motherlove special blend pills I have been taking since he was born. I have resisted pumping or upping my herbs in order to bolster my milk supply. Basically, I am trying to be much more relaxed about nursing and allow DS to nurse whenever he wants. Partly this is because he (almost) never asks to nurse and often seems to not really want to, but just doing it to please me.

    He is getting more verbal and now I can ask him, "Do you want milk" and he often says, "no." This is sooooo hard for me. It takes a lot of restraint to stop myself from scooping him up and trying again and again to get him to nurse. Meanwhile, my supply gets lower and lower and I am an emotional mess and DS is JUST FINE.

    I am concluding from this that I need to deal with my emotional issues and understand that he just doesn't want to nurse as much as we used to, and that if my milk supply dwindles, then we may just peter out.

    Anyone have any tips on how to distract myself from the compulsion to nurse baby all day long when they clearly don't care and don't want to nurse? I feel so frustrated and miss the oxytocin rush SO MUCH, I feel like an addict going through withdrawal. I'm like, "just one more hit, baby, please!!"

    On the other hand, nursing has been very stressful (even now, we have to be home, in his darkened nursery, which really limits our ability to leave the house!) and both of us might be a lot happier to have a more relaxed attitude and start living life. Right now, if DS "rejects" the breast, or I don't get a let down. I won't leave the house, wracked with anxiety, and every 30-45 minutes will "try again." I know this isn't healthy for either of us. But I don't know how to let it go. Any advice or empathy would be so appreciated. I am worried that this compulsion to nurse my son may negatively affect him and I really want to respect him and encourage his natural movements towards toddler "independence". Am I a freak? or are these feelings normal? I am seeing a therapist and we talk about this, but it really is helpful to talk to moms that have been there or are in it right now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*fezlie View Post
    Anyone have any tips on how to distract myself from the compulsion to nurse baby all day long when they clearly don't care and don't want to nurse?
    I do know from personal experience and from my work (I am a therapist too) that distraction doesn't work essentially because it is just that - a distraction from what is really underlying. For me, I find just breathing and creating space around the feelings really helps. Maybe journaling, keeping a breastfeeding/weaning journal to process your feelings, talking to other nursing mamas, and have you tried meditation or mindfulness practice? Believe me, I will be right there with you. My son is almost 20 months and we have not night weaned, mainly because that is when he primarily nurses! During the day he is far too busy and like yours he really won't nurse when we are out and about because he is just too busy being a toddler, with the exception of the car. This might be why I have yet to pump wean, because I'm too worried that letting it go will drop my supply.

    Overall IMO it seems your feelings are totally natural and I hear lots of moms feel sad when breastfeeding is less and less important to their children. In the meantime you don't have to force but you can encourage...I often sit around with my breasts hanging out (DH loves that one) and DS latches on for a brief session. Also if your child is anything like mine he loves saying no even when he doesn't really mean it. Our latest distraction is he loves my sport cap water bottle which I always drink to help while nursing, just an association I guess, and now he demands to drink that instead. Maybe just explore and have fun with it. If he's still nursing a few times a day just keep encouraging without forcing. I even have a few children's books about nursing animals, and he loves to read those with me!
    We and with our little monkey, born 9/30/2012.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,652

    Default Re: Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

    Sweetheart, relax!

    Your 'compulsion' to nurse is totally normal. You are not going to damage your child for wanting to love him. Yes, your hormones are probably in transition because it appears your child is taking a big step towards weaning, and that is often HARD. Nature in her wisdom designed us to love nursing (even if part of us also does not love it or we don't love it all the time) so we would do it (or at least be willing to do it) for a looooong time, because nursing well into toddlerhood/childhood has been required to be successful as a species. It's the same reason babies have big eyes and smell so yummy & make cute noises, making the heart of every adult in the vicinity melt. It's biology.
    Many toddlers nurse only a couple times a day for a very long time. It is possible that will happen here, it is also possible that your child truly is ready to fully stop nursing soon. It's ok if this pains you. That is normal! Your relationship will go through many such transitions, but that initial weaning probably is the hardest.
    I try to hug & kiss & hold hands with my 10 year old and he often will not have anything to do with it (especially if anyone might 'see') but I don't worry I am causing him any problems or that I am a freak for not being able to stop touching my son. And I cherish every time he does want to snuggle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

    with both the previous posters. Your desire to keep nursing sounds totally normal. And I also wouldn't take baby's "no" as meaning too much. My toddler (who is two and a bit) can say "no" one minute, and five minutes later have a completely different opinion. I also try to make nursing really easy (I'm usually bra-less when I'm at home). On the other hand, I don't think you need to stay at home just in case your son wants to nurse, if there are other things you'd like to be doing. A lot of toddlers will continue to nurse even when there's not much milk in there (for example, if mom is pregnant) just for the comfort/connection - and it may be a two-second nursing session, but it's still nursing! Or, maybe he really is heading toward complete weaning - that's okay too. Even if that is the case, it really is not harmful for him in any way for you to offer - you definitely cannot make a baby or a toddler nurse if he doesn't want to! (I have issues with oversupply and plugged ducts, so there are times that I have actually pleaded with my toddler to nurse to help with that situation - but if she doesn't want to, she just doesn't want to!) In fact, by offering you truly are letting him do child-led weaning: he decides. Mama, I know you've gone through a lot, and it sounds like you've made tremendous progress. One other thing I will say, my second child went on a nursing strike at about 13 months and I could never get her back to breast. I wasn't really ready to wean and it was very hard emotionally. But it got better with time (and the fact that I got pregnant shortly thereafter probably helped too!).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

    My LO was gradually cutting back her nursing sessions, and I always felt bad, since I kept saying, "Are you SURE you don't want to nurse?" I felt like I wasn't ready to give it up, but didn't want to nag her about it. Although part of the reason I asked so much was because she would say she didn't, and ten seconds later (when I'd started chopping onions or something) then she'd say, "I want to nurse!" But when I was about 3 months pregnant she had cut down to maybe once a day, then every couple days, then not at all. And it was such a relief that she did it on her own terms. I didn't have to get to a point of making it happen. So even if your LO does decrease and or wean over some time, I think it is much nicer to know it's their way and when they're ready.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    29

    Default Re: Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

    So helpful, thank you ladies! It feels good to know that this is normal. All of my mom friends seem to be actively weaning and very happy when they cut out sessions and I was like, why do I feel like I'm going to cry when LO doesn't want to nurse? Also nice to know that offering is ok, but to try and avoid "pushing" and heck! I'm going to start making play dates and stuff so that I can;t sit around the house and wait for LO to change his mind.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: Urge to nurse more than toddler wants!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*fezlie View Post
    I'm going to start making play dates and stuff so that I can;t sit around the house and wait for LO to change his mind.
    That sounds like a great idea!

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