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Thread: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    So this could probably go in several different forums, but I think this one works...sorry for the long post too.

    I am currently nursing my 16 1/2 month old daughter day and night - we're both happy with this (I'd like to night wean, but she's teething so we're going to wait). We would like to start ttc our second baby in a few months so I've stopped taking birth control now to cleanse my system. This would put our children somewhere between 29 and 32 months apart. But I'm having some anxiety and concerns about how getting pregnant will affect me and my daughter's nursing relationship. I've read that about 80% of women lose their milk supply during pregnancy and that it also becomes quite painful to nurse during pregnancy. I would like to nurse her until she self-weans but I don't think that will be before our next baby is born, given how much she nurses now. I feel a little guilty about her being forced to wean due to low/no milk and pain with nursing due to me being pregnant. I'd like our nursing relationship to end peacefully and when we're both ready, rather than being forced. But at the same time, we can't wait until she's 3 or 4 years old before having another child.

    If I could choose how it goes, I'd like her to decrease her daytime nursing to just a couple times and night-wean all on her own by the time she's 20-24months. Then if my pregnancy affects my milk supply and it's painful, at least she wouldn't be nursing as much as she is now, so it wouldn't be such a traumatic thing for her than if it goes from her nursing all the time to almost none. But like I said, I don't think that will happen. I want to do what's best for her, so I'm really torn. It's like I don't want to get pregnant because of how that will change things for she and I, but at the same time, I'd rather my children not be 4 years apart.

    Does anyone have any thoughts/perspective on this?

    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    I don't have any advice, but I am in the same boat. Joshua turns 2 in November, and we want to start trying for #2. Joshua nurses ALL the time, and loves his milkies more than anything. I want to do child-led weaning, but I have heard the same things regarding pregnancy. Hopefully there will be some good advice on here.

    Mama to my sweet blueberry eyed boy Joshua
    born on 11/2/2006

    and my blueberry eyed baby Jonah Henry...my water birth baby!
    born on 6/15/09


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    What I found, now twice, with nursing and pregnancy, is that you aren't forced to wean, per say, in that the child may choose to reduce or stop nursing. Some don't and will nurse all the way through the pregnancy.

    My first stopped on his own. I don't remember what day it was, just that it was fairly early in the pregnancy. It was just that I remember him getting on my lap and then getting down, and he never nursed again.

    My second has slowed down on frequency, just in the last month as my supply has dwindled. He loves his AM long session, and he nurses again later in the day and perhaps in the evening and that's it. He used to nurse all the time. .. If I sat down, he clambered up to nurse I go on don't offer, don't refuse, and so far, so good. I wish he would stop entirely, because it's bothering me (hurts and makes me feel sick now) but he's not ready for that.

    IMHO, something like that is child-led. I haven't done a thing to discourage nursing, like I equate with mother-led weaning. It's just that pregnancy, either from not having milk like the toddler wants it (lots or the taste), slows the child down, and I haven't felt like it was damaging to either of my boys.

    It always works out. I remember feeling that angst when we started talking about having another baby .. . giving up my relationship with my first was a big concern, but it's not giving up a relationship. It's just a change, the first of many, KWIM.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    hi, it is a difficult decision, I was in your same situation a few months ago. Originally I wanted a 2 year gap, but in the end I decided to wait until my DD was nearer 2, and I became pregnant when she was 20 months. She was feeding at nap time, bedtime, during the night (I too was hoping to be night weaned, but it hasn't happened yet), and in the morning. I don't know, I think you just know when the time is right for you and your child. In my experience a couple of months can make a huge difference, my DD stopped feeding so much during the day after 18 months. I am now 3 months pregnant and had a huge drop in supply very early on, like at 7 weeks. She still feeds as frequently but is obviously not getting as much, and is taking lots more solids, but is still happy, and will now tell me when there is no more milk coming out and that she wants to change sides. I've had pain since week 7 or 8, and it has gotten worse now, but it is bearable, though I do limit length of feeds at night which is not always easy to do. It is impossible to predict what will happen with a toddler breastfeeding in pregnancy, I am hoping she will carry on but I'm trying also to be ok with the fact that she may decide to wean as the pregnancy progresses. I'd say see how it goes in the next 3 or 4 months, maybe your LO will be nursing less in a few weeks and you'll feel it's going to be all right, whichever way it goes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    I really wanted to wait until DS was close to 2 before getting pregnant, partly because of our nursing relationship. When I got pregnant right about the time he turned two, he was nursing probably 8 times/24 hours (definitely still night nursing). Some things have changed for us, but I think we are both okay with it. I limit nursing when it hurts too much by counting to 10, and then he comes off without complaint. I had to start nursing on both sides b/c of an immediate supply drop and he got frustrated with the lack of milk and started biting (always been an issue for us). I started to be more intentional about giving drinks and snacks. I started giving him a drink of water during the night before nursing, then again after I removed him if he wanted to nurse more (so far, this has worked great). We started giving him a more substantial snack before bed. He has started sleeping in his own bed 6-8 hours before wanting to nurse at night (before, it was closer to 4). So, yes, he is weaning, but it is gradual and we're both okay with it. It's a dance, but that's what weaning should be. You might read How Weaning Happens if you haven't already. I really appreciated the perspective it gave me on the subject.
    DS 1/2006 9 lb. 2 oz. 22 in.
    DD 10/2008 8 lb, 2 oz. 20 in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Re: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    My son was 20 months when we became pregnant with our second- this was in February of this year. Before this time he was nursing once in the morning, I pumped once or twice for him while he was at day care and then he nursed 3-4 times from when we got home until bed and then pretty much through the night (at least 4-5 times). At the time he also at practically no solids (a few crackers or some dry cereal here and there.) When I first conceived, the first thing I noticed was the intense pain that came with nursing. And when I say severe, I am not exaggerating. However, because I enjoyed our nursing relationship and knew how much he needed it, I got through it by focusing on something else like the TV or breathing through it. And it only lasted the first few minutes.
    I stopped pumping at work and he has been having rice milk at school. In the evening, I encourage him to eat other things and try to distract him from "mama milk". I also put away the boppy pillow so he wouldn't notice it and remember.
    I still nurse him to bed and 2 other times at night/in the morning. And on weekends at naptime.

    If he was eating more solids I probably would have kept nursing more, but he really chose to not eat when he knew he could have milk, so that, more than the pregnancy, was our reason for day weaning him.

    Let me know if you have any questions- since we're going through this right now.
    And good luck TTC.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I've heard of a lot of babies weaning due to pregnancy, and I was afraid that my dd would wean earlier than I wanted if I got pregnant. What I did was think about when I would be okay with it if she weaned. What I came up with was that if she nursed until at least 2 and then weaned, either on her own or due to pregnancy, I would be okay with that. If she weaned on her own before 2, I would be somewhat okay with that, but if she weaned due to pregnancy before 2, I would definitely feel guilty. So I decided that when she turned 2 we will TTC again. Of course many babies will nurse through pregnancy, but I had to consider how I'd feel if she wasn't one of them
    Mommy to Cadence (5/19/06) and Tessa (4/25/09)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: Conflicted About Changing Nursing Relationship

    I nursed throughout 2 of my pregnancies, and then tandem nursed after child birth. A friend of mine said that nursing was too painful while pregnant, I didn't find it to be so, so I guess it's a really personal thing.
    I am nursing a 2 month old and a two year old now, and must say I do miss more sleep than I did while nursing only one child. The 2 year old really doesn't understand in the wee hours why she must wait and hug Daddy while the baby nurses, while waiting for her turn. It often ends up wit her crying, waking the "almost asleep baby" and taking must longer than it needs to take. I tried sneaking out of the bed with the baby when he woke up, but it usually resulted in him waking up wide awake instead of groggily nursing and falling back to sleep quickly.
    It is a challenge, but I don't want her feeling replaced as this baby is adopted and came to us very unexpected without the time to prepare her, ie. move her out of our bed gradually, or stop night nursings.

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