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Thread: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    My name is Amy and I'm new to the group. I have a happy, healthy 27 month old daughter who is still nursing. A lot. Sometimes I think she'd rather nurse than do anything else. She even gives a contented little "heh, heh" before she latches on, sometimes.

    Theoretically, I'm very glad to see her still nursing - to keep her healthy and because it is such an important way that we have bonded. But I also feel ambivalent about it. Several of her friends in our attachment-parenting oriented playgroup have stopped nursing without much difficulty, or their interest in it appears to be flagging.

    I think the main hesitation I have about it has to do with her independence from me in general. My husband and I have arranged our schedule so that we only put her in child care one day per week - most recently in a nanny share with a very loving child care provider and one other child - and she has had difficulty with it. She just has a hard time relaxing and enjoying herself when we aren't around. This nanny has had some health problems so we are currently seeking another arrangement, but finding a sitter for only one day per week has proven difficult! I think I'm wishing that my DD would bound out into the world confidently and that we would be able to put her in a traditonal day care center - there's a child care center down the street from me that will take children for one day per week for a reasonable price. But I couldn't imagine that that would be a successful experience for her anytime soon.

    I know that I am talking about a child who is only 2 and 1/4 here - and I don't want to push her into being more independent that she feels ready to be. But I still have this ambivalence...When I was a child, I didn't have a strong, nurturant bond with my parents - could it be that I'm uncomfortable with seeing my child being so comfortable with her dependency needs?

    So that's my story. Has anyone else had similar feelings? I'm curious, too, about what happens to children developmentally at this stage - when Gracie shifts from engaging more in parallel play to more interactive play, might she enjoy going to day care?

    Thanks! Amy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    Wow she sounds like my kid. And you sound so much like me! I've struggled with my comfort level with nursing a toddler and with her strong dependence. While speaking out on the benefits of extended breastfeeding and a mother's right to nurse in public, inside I've felt embarrassed by her neediness. It's silly, I guess, because I always wanted to be a mother and that means having someone who needs me. I just want to raise her right and since I haven't had much expoure to breastfeeding older children before having her, I have had to decide what's "right" on the spot. She'll be three in April and I'm now weaning her... v e r y gradually... Because it suddenly became easy. Suddenly she didn't seem to need to suck and could accept other forms of closeness... and loves Carnation Instant Breakfast warmed up... and wants a weaning party..

    Let me say this first. She's a great kid and has been the best behaved two year old I know. I am very happy with how she's growing up. I'll bet you have a wonderful child too. And I bet we both have some awesome milk. It is so weird to see other people's kids say no to the breast. Or even see others who actually need to OFFER it. I've felt pitty and jealousy at the same time.

    My girl and I are very bonded and she has actually shoved daddy away many times. Their relationship kills me. They are fine together, but she SO OFTEN tells him, "want mommy!" that it is just getting really old. He sometimes blames my parenting for it but he usually agrees with my parenting. The truth is, it's between them and when I stay out of it, they do fine. I have learned to leave them more often. Its good for all of us.

    She separates great now. In fact she asks to go to grandma's when I give her the choice between grandma's house or attending a meeting with me (meetings are boring). And she wanders off in church with her peers without looking back. I never pushed her at church and she's most secure there. I think that's very significant.

    Her first babysitters were AP mommies with only children her age so I felt OK leaving her with them even if she cried a lot. They'd treat her the way I wanted her to be treated. She sensed my confidence in her care providers. Once she learned to separate from me gracefully, I think it gave her a boost in self-esteam. One day she started fussing when it was time for me to leave her and I said, "Oh.. you're fine.." and she laughed and said, "yeah." and went and played. It was funny.

    I think that ambivalence can worsen things. When you nurse, nurse with confidence and love it and when it's not time to nurse, stand firm. I think this helped my child with her sence of security. And leave her with someone you trust and show her that trust when you leave. Let her know that you KNOW she will have fun. Try really hard to believe that. Or don't leave her if you don't have to.

    I guess that's all I have to share for now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    Welcome, Amy!
    You might find this author/speaker interesting. Here's a review from his 2005 LLL International Conference session.
    Hold On to Your Kids
    He's written a book of the same name (which I thought was in the LLLI Bibliography but apparently not).
    Also, have you already read Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner? She discusses nursing toddler behavior year by year and specifically discusses two-yr-olds who nurse "a lot" and are a bit shy in chapter 12 (though I have the older version of this book). She says, "Your shy child will not necessarily be shy forever, and uneasiness in new situations is characteristic of most two-year-olds."
    I'm sure others will chime in here, too.
    Hope this helps,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    Your shy child will not necessarily be shy forever, and uneasiness in new situations is characteristic of most two-year-olds."

    This sounds like my William, he was very high needs even at 2-3..
    But now he is a wonderfull 10 year old..
    its hard sometimes to think about them growing so fast and changeing when your in the trenches of it.....
    He refused to seperate at sunday school untill he was about 4 1/2 and that was right for him. I just arranged to help with his class.
    When he was 6 he went to school with out any tears!
    My dd on the other hand walked proudly into the 2 year old class and it didn't bother her one bit.
    I'm afraid she'll be the one crying not to go to kindergarden. Oh well....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    Hi, Amy.
    Your Gracie sounds like my Little Rivers. He's 3 1/2 now and still nursing. He still pushes Daddy away sometimes for me, but not nearly as often. Up until about 6 months ago he was wanting to breastfeed every time I even walked by a chair whether it was at home or not. I can actually sit down now and he will come and give me love and then go back to playing. I didn't think that day would EVER come. I was ambivalent, at times, as well. We've just started back to church because he will finally stay in the nursery and play as of two months ago.
    It's SO hard to believe, when you are overwhelmed and tired and ambivalent and whatever, that this dependence that your dd has on you will EVER lessen, but it will. I know that about my ds, too. Some days I look at him enjoying breastfeeding so much (He even says, "Mommy, my heart loves 'at' SO much!" "At" is what we call it.) and I cannot even begin to imagine him NOT breastfeeding. But, then again, when he was 2 1/2 I could not imagine him choosing ANY thing else over nursing and, lo and behold, he does now. This too shall pass. Don't forget.
    You have done something that so many other mothers have chosen not to do. You have chosen to hold your child, innumerable times a day, and night, and let her nurse in the safety of your arms. I can't think of a better gift for you to give Gracie.
    Good for you, Amy!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    Thanks so much for all your support. Its nice to know that there are others like me out there


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    Hi Amy,
    I'm new here too! I might be living in Greece but raising children feels the same everywhere!
    Ody is 27 months and breastfeeds whenever, usually more than I would wish for. When he's with his dad they play football and have fun, as soon as he sees me around he aims for... you know what!
    I want him to feel good to play with me, have fun with me. After chatting with other friends with similar attachment-parenting views, I found great progress when I take him somewhere special, the park, to friends house, for baby yoga. When he enjoys himself he doesn't need me as much.
    I see other friends that weaned easily earlier but I know that all children are not the same, their needs vary.
    Since my child is showing me that he wants to carry on bf, he must need it and all I can do is provide.
    I've been working full time since he was 1 and he spends time with grandparents during the day. he often asks for other children to play with and refuses to go to grandmas, but as soon as we arrive, he forget all about refusals!
    this age is a crossing from babyhood to ...? more grown up childhood and toddlers get clingy towards what they already know and are familiar with, it's normal to show shyness, I wouldn't worry about it give her some time and she'll be more independant than her peers.
    I guess I'm 'talking' too much for a newcomer!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: seeking advice from moms who have nursed past 2

    I haven't nursed a 2 year old yet, but I wanted to point something out. It isn't necessarily the fact that you practice AP or that you have continued to nurse your daughter this long that encourages her to still be so dependent upon you. It might actually be worse if you had weaned her too soon, or if you hadn't breastfed and practiced this type of parenting, because her needs would not be met and she would have to cling even tighter. I do have to say that maybe having her with a sitter only once a week might not be allowing her enough time away to find out that it is okay, that you will be back each day, etc. I'm not sure about that though, it was just a thought. I have found that with my 14 month old, she does way better at the sitters on Wednesday than she did on Monday and Tuesday. And my sitter watches another little boy, 20 months old, who hasn't been with a sitter much at all, and is only with our sitter 1-2 times a week, every other week. He is much better at letting his Mama go after a day there, and even better after he has been there for 2-3 days in a row (which has only happened once). It might just be food for thought, but I read this and felt compelled to post.

    And I agree with the pp...nurse with confidence and pride. You are providing your daughter with what she needs right now, and this will help her to develop the confidence she needs to face her little world!

    Wife to a grizzly
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