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Thread: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

  1. #1
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    Question Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    Am I ever glad to find this resource - I am about at the end of my rope and hope that someone might be able to offer some advice.

    I'm emotionally and physically ready to wean my almost-14-month old daughter, but she's taken to throwing huge tantrums anytime that I deny and try to distract her from nursing. During the week when I'm at work (or when I'm traveling) she's fine without nursing and takes the occasional bottle and lots of sippy cups. So on weekdays we're only nursing a couple of times a day - which I'd be fine continuing. The problem is that on the weekends she wants to nurse almost hourly, and will pull up my shirt/throw a tantrum/generally freak out until she gets her way.

    A month ago I decided that we just weren't ready to wean yet, so I put it on the backburner, but she's teething hard - and biting harder, to the point that I was bleeding yesterday (after FOUR nursing sessions in under 90 minutes).

    I know that a big part of the problem is that she's become a very, very picky eater and so a part of nursing is hunger. But I know a MUCH bigger part of it is good ol' mommy comfort. But this WAY too tired and stressed mommy is getting no comfort from our once amazing nursing relationship.

    I talked to my ped about it and they essentially said, "Just let her scream and leave the room and have your husband deal with it." But that doesn't work when I'm home alone (I can't bear the thought of leaving her screaming for me in her crib) OR when we're traveling/out. I realized yesterday when I had to leave my nephew's baptism because of a nursing tantrum that I had to figure something out (I'm normally a HUGE NIPer, but it just wasn't the time... long story).

    I want her to know that I still love her so much, but that it's time for momma-moo-moo to stop. (Ah, the irony that it took 4 LC visits, nipple shields, horrible mastitis, and nights of sobbing to GET her to nurse, and now I can't get her to STOP!)

    ANY help would be appreciated!

    - Gilly

  2. #2
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    LLLJacqui is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    Hey Gilly - Have you ever taken a look at the book "A Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning"? It has a lot of age appropriate suggestions that might help you to try.

    It really does sound like this is pretty painful for you... I'm sorry that you're having to go through this. You certainly don't want to feel like you're becoming resentful of what has been a really great nursing relationship prior to now... I know how you feel.

    Jacqui

  3. #3
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    Smile Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    I have had 4 beautiful sons and nursed each of them. After my first son though, it was a miracle that I nursed the others. DS1 loved to nurse and unfortunately he loved to bite too. I was determined to nurse him until he was a year, which considering the biting began around 8 months , it was not a small commitment. I would nurse him with tears running down my face and my teeth chenched tightly. I was sure a few times that he was trying to bite the nipple clean off. Of course he wasn't, and eventually he out grew it. I didn't make the mistake of sitting quietly with the next three. I made it very clear the first time they bit that it was not acceptable, and that if they did it again they would do without until our next feeding. After a time or two of being put down to cry it out, hunger gets the best of them and they don't repeat the offense.

    If you truly want to wean though, aside from the biting, talk to your child. Tell her what you are doing and why. It will still take a couple of weeks as you eliminate feedings. Just make sure over the next few weeks you spend lots of time cuddling her and telling her you love her and how proud you are of what a big girl she has become. Include dad and grandparents in praising her. You may even consider a graduation lunch and reward trip to the local toy store. She may resist the idea at first, but if you are patient and supportive, she come through it with a sense of pride in her self.

    Best wishes

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    Congratulations on almost reaching 14 months! That is an accomplishment, especially with your troubles in the beginning.

    A few things to think about when it comes to nursing: How will you fill in the space where nursing was? Many doctors suggest what yours did, but the reality is, they aren't the ones who have to implement that and deal with a crying/frustrated baby at home. If you did what your doctor suggested, you would be removing yourself even further from your daughter and her needs, which might make her even clingier; in other words, it is not making up for the lack of nursing with other special "mommy time."

    Many moms find if they can substitue an activity -- snuggles, hugs, reading a book, going for a walk, pulling out the play-doh or another special toy -- a toddler can be distracted. But while weaning will eliminat the frsutration you are having, it is not going to cut-down on the touch-needs your daughter has. It does sound like she tried to make up for the work-week by being your constant shadow during the weekend, which many working moms experience (a lot of night nursing and weekend-marathon nursings).

    It is a good idea to think about how her needs will change and stay the same, and how you are going to be able to meet her needs (and remember nursing may not be an option anymore). It can require a mom to become pretty creative!

    A great resource for you might be "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler." This book talks about the needs of nursing toddlers and gives ideas about approaches to weaning.

    How does this sound? Let us know how it goes .

  5. #5
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    Red face Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    My son is 15 months I just started weaning him as of Monday morning wanted to breastfeed before naps and after waking up. I have succeeded, he cried for about 35min, I sat next to him, put on Barney told him that I loved him but it was time to stop, I think he understood because he got so mad he didn't want to look at me. So I sat at the foot of his crib with my back to him and he stopped crying and fell asleep. His late afternoon nap same thing except it took 20 min cried rubbed his back and feel asleep. At Night same thing except it took only 15 min. Tonight he only cried for about 5 minutes but he fell asleep on my shoulder. He is doing fine a little cranky when he wakes up but otherwise fine. Just hang in there! By the way I was the one crying all day because I missed the breastfeeding connection with him.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    Thanks for all the support everyone! I've actually been laying low these past few days because I got, of all things, mastitis from the darned bite. Turns out Abby has something going on in her mouth (canker sores everywhere started yesterday) so whatever it is, she gave to me. I'd forgotten just how much fun mastitis IS in the year since I've had it.

    Given that I need to keep that breast emptied as much as possible, I've put weaning on hold until I recover. Abby DID, however, snuggle with me yesterday and drink milk from her sippy, which was a nice change (normally she won't even look at her sippy if I'm around).

    I know that she's going to need lots of extra loving, and I've tried distracting her with games, playing with her babydoll, having a treat like OJ (her fave), but she's not easily detered.

    Maribel - Your story gives me hope!!! I'm glad that you guys are seeing success!!

    I'm going to go out and grab the books suggested as well as soon as my darned fever breaks!

    Thanks again!
    Gilly

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    I'm going to look for the breastfeeding mother's guide to weaning, thanks for the tip. I want to wean my 12 month old daughter, but she won't take a bottle, usually refuses a sippy (or lets all the liquid run out of her mouth after taking a sip), and is totally uninterested in eating table food. sometimes I can get her to eat table food, but only if we sit on the floor and she plays with her toys while she eats. She will automatically open her mouth, bur never looks at the spoon, or seems to realize that she's eating. She is also not interested in eating while my husband and I eat, so trying the social aspect is out. Please help, she has lost some weight, although that may be because I have weaned her from frequent night nursings. Thanks

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    I have a bit of a funny idea. I found that at that age, my daughter wanted to nurse very often like yours, and I started to realize it was a bit of a control issue - like 'I want to know that I can get it when I want it' rather than a true need for comfort or other things. Here's my suggestion:

    Get a timer and decide how often you want to nurse to begin with. Make it even more frequent than she nurses now. But insist that it be when the timer goes off, not when she insists. She may still have times when she demands it, so say no, give lots of snuggles, try to distract, and know that the timer will 'ding' really soon. Teach her that the 'ding' means nursing time and she'll look forward to it.

    She'll also not have to worry that she's not going to be able to nurse!
    Then you can gradually space out the nursings. I found that I almost had to take a few days to really work at distracting her with things (lots of books) and walks to the park, and anything else I could think of. Almost more work than potty training!

    Anyway, maybe it'll help - not fun - good luck!
    Robyn

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    The time we nurse our nurslings is such a short time compared to theirs and our lives. Sometimes we need to remember that their wanting to nurse is still a need, and that the more we can meet their needs as a child, the better they will be as adults. Biting however shouldn't be happening, and as someone said, work on it as soon as it starts, as they aren't actively nursing if they are able to bite. Call your local LLL Leader, or come to these nifty new boards and ask how to stop the biting! Biting is very painful, as I well know!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help! Having LOTS of trouble weaning my 14 m/o

    Well, we're on three days of no nursing, but not the way that I wanted it to work out....

    I last posted (in the other thread) that I had mastitis. Wednesday I was admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics and ended up staying 3 nights. I had 103.1 temp when I got there - I guess I was sicker than I'd thought.

    Anyway, Abby came to visit me at the hospital each day, and when she patted my chest, I explained that momma had a booboo and that we couldn't nurse right now, but we could cuddle. She seemed to accept it just fine, and let me give her a bottle instead. I'm finally home from the hospital and we're still not nursing, so I'm thinking it will 'take.'

    I am very sad but also a lot relieved. Unfortunately, I am VERY prone to mastitis (this was bout #4) and though the bite was an accident, I really didn't want to take the chance that it would happen again.

    In response to the pp, I agree that the time that we nurse our nurslings is short, however I feel VERY proud of how long that I was able to continue, especially since I was told by a dr that "some women weren't meant to nurse - you have to wean" (this was the first time that I ended up in the ER with mastitis). I FOUGHT that, tooth and nail, going back to my LC, getting literature from her and from the web to convince my OB to write an rx for preventative antibiotics, which I took for 3 months so that I could nurse infection-free.... We were just at a point where I was ready, really ready, to stop.

    Thanks everyone for all the support and I look forward to visiting the boards when I start nursing #2 (we're TTC now).

    Gilly

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