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Thread: Weaning guidance

  1. #1

    Default Weaning guidance

    I'm at such a loss as to what to do. My daughter is almost 20 months. I always planned on letting her wean naturally but I never expected to be in so much pain and I've reached a breaking point. It all stated 10 weeks ago with mastitis. Then I got yeast and milk blebs and blocked ducts and Raymond's syndrome. I've seen one GP and 3 LCs (referrals due to the difficulties I'm having). I'm on fluconazole for the 4th week and have done ultrasound. We're now trying a stronger topical steroid overnight. My right breast is starting to improve. I think my left is getting worse. The pain is out of this world and has been for so long now. But. My daughter wants to nurse and nurse and nurse. I work in health care and I've never seen a child who wants to nurse so badly. I've tried distractions, I've tried shortening the length of feeds, a special cup, warm frothy milk, daddy distractions, telling her there is no more, leaving the house, not showing her the breasts. I wanted weaning to be a positive experience for both of us but I'm starting to hate nursing and am at such a loss as to what to do. She flips out until she gets the breast. Distractions work at times, but only briefly to delay her. I feel like I've created a big mess and am struggling setting limits. Please guide me if you have any suggestions.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weaning guidance

    Hi isla.smommy, I am so sorry you are having such a hard time of it.

    I cannot sugarcoat this-- in my personal experience both as a mom of three and as someone who has hosted nursing toddler support groups for moms for many years, this is a very hard age for weaning when a child loves to nurse. 20 months is such an active time for development that many babies need the reassurance that nursing brings. It does not surprise me at all that your 20 month old loves to nurse so much, that is normal behavior developmentally. Due to societal disapproval about nursing past a year, many moms are closeted or secretive about the realities of nursing a child this age, so it does not surprise me that your child's nursing pattern seems unusual to you, but I can assure you it is not and you did not create a problem.

    I think that if you cannot deal with the pain of nursing (very understandable) and you cannot find a way to heal and make nursing comfortable again, and none of the techniques for gentle, gradual weaning are working, you may have to take an abrupt weaning stance. There are articles on abrupt weaning for medical reasons that may be helpful to you. (Remember you will have to make sure you are removing milk from the breasts often enough to prevent a reoccurrence of problems caused by milk stasis.)

    I hate to suggest abrupt weaning because it will be very hard on you and your baby. But a mom who has come to dread nursing because of the pain is not a healthy situation either. Abrupt or at least much less gradual weaning may be the better of two not great choices. It will be hard, and then that will pass and you will both be ok.

    If you can stand to nurse at all, it may help to identify certain times it helps you to have your baby nurse- nursing to sleep at night, or for naps is one example. If you can set up a few times a day where nursing is helpful to you, then those can be times you can welcome your child to nurse so there are a few times each day of no conflict about nursing.

    Some moms find that limiting the length of nursing sessions helps when nursing hurts. Visualizations, relaxation techniques, distracting yourself by reading etc, can also help.

    Another idea would be to stop nursing and work to gradually "dry up" that one side that is not healing and keep working on improving things on the side, and nurse your child on one side?
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; October 9th, 2016 at 12:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Weaning guidance

    Is that what you want? Or are you looking for guidance on getting your 20 month old to nurse less and set limits? Because I have experience with that. My child actually caused me to get trauma induced psoriasis because of the twiddling he wanted to do while nursing. And while that sounds like nothing compared to what your going through, I certainly was able to set limits my 20 month old could understand and empathize with at 20 months. A huge part of it was understanding at that point that this was a RELATIONSHIP between two people and he needed to respect boundaries to get what he wanted. But I was also able to create some empathy by talking about how the noonies were "ouchy" and needed lots and lots of rests and breaks.

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weaning guidance

    Great advice from the PPs. I just wanted to add that we all know how challenging nursing can be, and think you have done a wonderful thing by continuing to be so generous and responsive to your child. Please don't feel like you "created this problem". Nursing is something that works until it doesn't. It's not your fault if things changed and it doesn't work anymore!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Weaning guidance

    Thank you all so much for the support and guidance. It's been a very long journey. I finally got rid of the thrush. Then took adalat for the vasoconstrictions. Had a punch biopsy today for two persistent blebs that still won't heal and are causing latching discomfort. I'm very hopefully this will ease the pain after it heals.
    My daughter is still nursing about 3-4 times a day. I stopped thinking about actively weaning her and started working on setting limits and boundaries. We still have some work to do regarding limits but it's significantly improved our nursing relationships after the complications started.
    It was so helpful to hear the information shared about nursing a toddler. It's true, for the large amount of nursing friends I have very few, if any are nursing still past a year (in my circle). I recognized how strongly I didn't want to end our nursing relationship abruptly and am so grateful we have the community and lactation support to give us that opportunity.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weaning guidance

    YAY! I am glad to hear you guys are still at it!

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7

    Default Re: Weaning guidance

    I've been doing well since the punch biopsy but my milk bleb and vasoconstrictions and Thrush (prolonged antibiotics due to dental surgery --despite my very best efforts/probiotics/and anti fungal creams) have just recently returned. It's once again extremely painful to nurse and for hours after. I'm feeling ready to wean but not sure how to do so without it being so difficult for my daughter. I covered my sore nipple with a baindaid and told her it is 'owies'. I'm letting her nurse from the other side. I'd like to gradually wean her from that side as well. With as little pain for her as possible. She is so upset that she's being limited to the one side. She keeps going back to the less painful side and wanting to nurse non stop. I've tried limiting with songs, having lots of cuddles and stories, having her daddy hold her. She's so upset with this change. What should I be doing to gradually wean her. Is there a way to make this easier on her without it being her choice. I'm not on a timeline but I feel like it's time to wean.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weaning guidance

    How much language does your daughter have?

    Way too lazy for formula

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