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Thread: Weaning a comfort nurser - 15 months - feeling discouraged

  1. #1
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    Default Weaning a comfort nurser - 15 months - feeling discouraged

    Before the back story, what are other things I can do at normal nursing times to help calm her besides nursing? I'd prefer not to replace nursing with a bottle. She already has a lovey.

    My goal was to make it to a year (we did!), and in the process, I've found that I enjoy nursing and my 15-month old daughter does too! However, I'm 9 weeks pregnant and feeling extremely tired. My last pregnancy I felt great except for tiredness the first trimester, but this time, I'm getting headaches and feeling tons nausea in addition to feeling tired nearly all of the time. I'm at the end of my rope.

    Slowly, we've got it down to nursing first thing in the morning, right before nap and right before bed. (I'm a stay-at-home mom and DS is my first child.) A few weeks ago, we were still nursing random times in the day. But naturally, it seems, those have stopped using the "don't offer, don't refuse."

    Now, as I've tried to cut back time nursing before nap, I've noticed that she wakes up from her nap crying and wants to nurse. (Even if she gets a full nap; today she slept almost 2.5 hours.) Today, I tried taking in a sippy cup with milk (after nap) and she had a huge break down. Crying so hard she was having trouble breathing, generally looked completely freak out, and trembling! I really tried to not give in knowing that by giving in she'll do the same thing next time until I give in ... but after 5-10 minutes, I couldn't handle it.

    My OB would like me to have DS weaned by the end of my first trimester ... I realize that many women nurse during pregnancy; however, I would like to stop. It's hard for me to admit that since I do enjoy nursing. But I'm so tired that all I do is wait for naptime and bedtime ... I feel like there has to more to life than tiredness. While stopping nursing alone won't relieve this, I know it does take a toll on my body.

    I read other posts about how you can't just take away something they love. I get that. I'm not sure she would understand me telling her we need to stop. But I can start trying that.

    I'm just unsure how to about this without a tremendous amount of crying and angst ...

    Thank you for any advice.

    Ruth

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weaning a comfort nurser - 15 months - feeling discourag

    Hi, I also have awful pregnancies so know how exhausting they can be!
    There are two very good books and I would suggest either one for ideas on tried and true weaning strategies. The nursing mothers guide to weaning, and how weaning happens.
    Weaning is a process rather than an event. and often takes time. It sounds as if your child is down to three sessions a day. That is actually quite little for a 15 month old. So it sounds as if weaning is happening.
    I would not suggest telling a 15 month old that you need to stop. They cannot reason at that age. Your child has no understanding of pregnancy and no ability to conceptualize an on the way sibling. And if you say you are too tired or too ill, that puts the responsibility on her, and this is not her responsibility.

    What works better at that age is redirection and substitution. Then it is not about what she cannot do, but what she can do. It sounds like nursing to sleep is something your child still needs, for example. So other ways to gentle her to sleep may be needed. Is anyone else able to take your daughter and comfort or play with her in the am or at bedtime? Naps are harder.

    When I was pregnant and nursing a toddler, it hurt. One thing I found helped me was to limit the length of nursing sessions.

    personally when I was pregnant and nursing a toddler, being able to nurse my child down for a nap meant I got a nap, and this was vital because I was so, so tired and sick. Same with bed times and morning. I would nurse side lying, and get more sleep overall. Even though in my case nursing was actually painful for a big chunk of the pregnancy, getting that nap was totally worth it. I knew that nursing was not making me feel more tired or nauseas, because all my pregnancies were awful, even my first. (In fact the first was by far the worst-many moms find that pregnancy 'symptoms' differ with different pregnancies, nursing or not.) But even if I had wanted to wean, I did not have the energy or brain function to move forward with weaning techniques while pregnant.

    if you are ready to stop you are ready to stop. I get it. Those books should help! But I sense some ambivalence so that is why I shared my experience. You do not mention why your ob wants you to stop nursing so if there is some medical concern specific to your situation that is of course different.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Weaning a comfort nurser - 15 months - feeling discourag

    Thank you for sharing your experience. My local library has one of those books, so I put a hold on it.

    Makes me feel better to hear that 3 sessions a day isn't very much for a 15 month old. She nursed every hours for months (day time) ... probably until about 9-10 months! She likes being busy so I think that's what cut down on the nursing; she started walking!

    Today, while we nursed in the morning, I started asking her: "Do you want to go get Daddy? Read a book?" As soon as I said, "Do you want some eggs?" She stopped nursing and hopped down and we headed down to eat breakfast!

    I nursed her like normal before nap, and after nap, I went in and asked, "Do you want some blueberries (which she loves)?" And she headed out of the room to go down stairs. Not sure if it's because she got more milk before nap, or if offering food is going to be a good substitution for her. However, tonight, as dinner was finishing up, she started crying for me and got so freaked out when my husband was trying to calm her. She was very unset until we nursed, and she went to bed.

    I do have help of my husband for breakfast and bedtime. I'm just worried about how freaked out she's going to be when we transition to dad putting her to bed. He's up for it, but worried she's going to be traumatized.

    My OB didn't really say much about me stopping to nurse except that "we like our patience to (mostly) stop nursing by the end of the first trimester." No specific medical reason for me, except that I did have an amniotic fluid embolism and DCI when DS birth. This is obviously unrelated to nursing because I wasn't nursing last time; however, that was all very wearing on my body (couldn't walk far or touch my feet for for a few weeks after birth). We are seeing a specialist soon ... worry if I bring it up, the answer would be just a generic, for "good caution" or something.

    Here's my other worry, and I'm sure the book will address this: let's say I do keep nursing. How do I end up putting two babies to bed? I think part of my decision to not keep nursing is that I look forward to not being the sole bedtime parent. I kinda look forward to Dad putting down baby #1 and me putting down #2.

    Looking forward to doing some reading on it ...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weaning a comfort nurser - 15 months - feeling discourag

    "we like our patience to (mostly) stop nursing by the end of the first trimester."
    Well, I would be very interested to know why this is. I find this troubling as standard advice because as far as I am aware, it is perfectly healthy for most mothers to nurse throughout pregnancy, just as most pregnant women can continue to have sex and orgasm without risk. Also, many children wish to nurse during about the first third or half of the pregnancy and then, in many cases, the child cuts back and even weans entirely, naturally, on their own, with little or any difficulty, because the milk production reduces during pregnancy and/or the taste of the milk changes. So insisting mothers wean their nurslings during the first trimester seems like a lot of unnecessary pressure to put on mothers during what is often the most ill-making and tiring time of pregnancy!

    I think your substitutions are great. I think substitutes of a snack or a drink are a good idea, and especially if the snack is reasonably healthy, what is the harm? Children this age certainly nurse for hunger and thirst as well as comfort. And few if any toddlers over-eat.

    Weaning is a process and is not typically directly linear in trajectory. There may be days where there seems to be "backsliding." This is normal. The weaning process is usually easiest for the child if that process is a gradual one. If pushed too hard or too quickly, a child may become insecure and wish to nurse more often or more desperately and be less likely to be accepting of substitutes, delays or distractions.

    For evenings, I would sometimes nurse as part of the bedtime routine and then have my husband comfort my child to sleep.* That way the child was not giving up both nursing and nursing to sleep at the same time. They could still nurse, just not to sleep.

    If one or more of the nursing sessions are simply too difficult for your child to give up, there is no reason I can think of to not simply let that one be for a bit assuming you are ok with it.

    let's say I do keep nursing. How do I end up putting two babies to bed? I think part of my decision to not keep nursing is that I look forward to not being the sole bedtime parent. I kinda look forward to Dad putting down baby #1 and me putting down #2.
    When I tandem nursed, often we did the thing I mentioned above.* Or some nights, I might nurse the baby to sleep & then my older child, or the oldest to sleep & then the baby. Sometimes I nursed my oldest to sleep while my husband took baby and walked baby down in a sling or by rocking.

    If you want to learn more about the many varieties of mother's experiences both with tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant, I suggest the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing which covers both situations very well.

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