Sorry, I posted this in extended breastfeeding and realized it should be here.
I have a 16 month old DS, who was nursing before an afternoon nap, bedtime and 2-3 times during the night. For the last two weeks at bedtime he clings to his daddy and won't let go, so he puts him to bed and he does just fine. I have tried to take him from daddy but he gets upset clings to daddy harder. I sign and say 'milk' (which he knows) but he puts his head down on his shoulder and doesn't want to come to me. Every night I still try and take him but it doesn't work. I'm not going to force him to come to me, he seems happy with daddy so that's what we do. (I have been the only one putting him down for bed and naps for about 7 months now. He's had a bottle maybe 5 times before that from Grandma.) For two weeks now he hasn't nursed before bed, Last week (about a week or so later) he was refusing to nurse at naptime too. I offer but he turns his head away and wants to sit up. He seems more content to just sit and snuggle than trying to refuse the breast. He is still up 2-3 times a night, as he has since birth, and definitely wants to nurse then. At least we have that.
Could this be a nursing strike and not weaning? I've read everything I can as to why he would strike (he never has before) and nothing has changed. He doesn't have bottles or pacifiers, but does use a sippy cup. He is a thumb sucker since birth and has a teddy bear he snuggles, but he's done that for a long time. The only thing that may be different is that I'm LESS stressed (until this anyway) for a change but I can't think of anything else recently. We moved, but that was over 6 months ago.
I am so, so sad. My first did this also at the same age and I (maybe mistakenly) took it as a sign of weaning. Within a month my first DS was done and never looked back. I let him take the lead and decide when he wanted to nuse and when he didn't. Maybe that was a strike too, I don't know. If it was, I feel terrible about that.
He eats a ton, but again that is nothing new. No new patterns or habits there that I can think of. He doesn't drink cows milk. Nothing has changed with my DH either and our bedtime routine has been the same for months. I'm exhausted because I'm up so much at night but again, he's been up 2-3 times since birth so that's not new either.
I can't begin to explain how upset I am. I'm terribly missing that bond that only nursing can bring. He is still up at night but I'm missing our bedtime together. He's my last baby so my last nursling and that is hard too. With both boys I've been blessed and had wonderful nursing relationships, especially with my 2nd as we had no problems at all with it. I was hoping they would both nurse longer, but I knew that I would do child led weaning and let them choose when to stop. I'm very happy that they nursed this long and that I could give them that choice (I hope.)
Another wrench to throw into this is that I need jaw surgery soon, we're just waiting for him to wean. It's a long story but basically they are going to reconstruct my top and bottom jaw. It will be wired shut for 4-6 weeks and they told me I would not be able to nurse afterwards due to the medications. After surgery I start a total mouth reconstruction (which is medically necessary for my health) that will take 2 years to complete. I'm looking into what those meds are to see if maybe I will be able to nurse, but I'm worried what will happen to my supply as well.
So, as sad as I am about this if he is weaning (and not a strike) it may not be a bad thing. I have a genetic condition that affects the enamel on my teeth and they are decaying at a rapid rate. I need the surgery so they can fix my bite then start repairing my teeth. This will affect my overall health if I don't get it taken care of, so the sooner the better.
My problem is that I would hate to think I'm following his lead of weaning and inadvertantly wean him when it's just a strike. I have a really hard time with that. On the other hand if he is weaning, I want to follow his lead. I do not want to make him wean if he's not ready - I firmly believe in that.
I apologize for this being so long and jumbled, I am having a very difficult time with this.
Thanks for any help, advice, suggestions...anything.