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Thread: Very Conflicted

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Default Very Conflicted

    I am still nursing my 23 month old 3-5 times a night and 7-9 times during the day. I have been completely committed to self-weaning from the beginning, but now I don't know. I use to feel so motherly when I nursed, and now I feel increasingly anxious and miserable after a day of heavy nursing. Apparently my estrogen-progesterone ratio is way off, and it is related to the nursing. Not just to the nursing - there is stress, too - but my hormones are having a hard time taking both the nursing and the stress. I've felt this way more and more since she was about 15 months old. Then last month I had a miscarriage, and I think my through-the-roof levels of estrogen, related to the high levels of nursing, probably contributed to that. That was really sad, and I decided I needed to wean her. But I'm so conflicted about it. On the one hand, I can't go on like this forever. Something has to give. The stress of moving twice, husband's new job, new community knowing no one twice, etc. will decrease through time as we make our home here, and so that will eventually give. But I don't know how long that will take. In the meantime, my nipples are sore, my heart hurts so much and I can take so little stress after a day of nursing-at-will, and I just want to stop.

    On the other hand, I have a mind packed full of reasons to wait and let her self-wean. So, I felt physically uncomfortable when I was in my third trimester with her, but that would hardly have been a reason to kick her out of the womb before her lungs said, "Time!" So much of being a faithful mom, I have learned, is more baby-directed than convenience-directed, and I hate the thought of depriving my daughter of something important because I can't take it anymore.

    So I'm trying to cut back on the nursing to just around nap time, bed time, twice at night, and morning. But she hates it, and I worry that I'm doing something really bad to her. I've gotten it down to just 4 times during nap time and twice otherwise during the day, but that just makes her want to nurse more at night, and she looks so hurt. I just don't know what to do. If I give in and say, okay we'll keep nursing at your pace, I'm afraid I'm going to keep turning more and more into an emotional wreck.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    I'm so sorry about the miscarriage, I bet that has something to do with the fealings you are having.
    Sometimes just getting them out and talking helps...
    ITs ok to set limits at that age!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    I am so sorry for your loss. This must be difficult to deal with. I agree with Andrea, that it is okay to set limits at this age. It's okay to say, "not right now, mommy is tired", and distract with something else. I have a 21 month old who still nurses quite frequently during the day. We did nightwean around 16 months. Here are some suggestions if you haven't already considered...
    You could start by nightweaning...There is a gentle method that lots of mammas on here use, and it seems to work well. It is the Dr. Jay Gordon method of night weaning. I'm sure someone will post a link to the site. I did a method that was very similar, for pp who do not co-sleep. Dr. Jay Gordon is for co-sleepers, I believe. Then you can at least get a full nights sleep and some strength to deal with the daytime feeds. Have you tried distracting her with other things when she wants to nurse frequently during the day? That works for us sometimes, on days when I feel overwhelmed with frequent nursings. I will say "hey, lets go toss rocks in the drain!" or "go get your big red barn book, and mommy will read it to you" and then he gets excited and forgets.
    I hope some of those suggestions were helpful. I hope things get better for you soon. We are all here for you

    Kathryn,
    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



    MOBY WRAPS ROCK

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Louisburg, NC
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    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. I am sending you a . You are certainly under a tremendous amount of stress right now.

    I wanted to share the best piece of advice I read online from a pregnancy/labor/bf related article: If you resent it, change it. At the time I read that we had just moved to a new house. Prior to that my daughter - at 2 months of age - was sleeping by herself in her crib all night. All of the sudden at one year of age after we moved in to our new house she decided to wake up at 12...2...4...6 and then for the day at 8. I did this faithfully for 3 or 4 months ... because that's what good and perfect and loving moms do right? I certainly didn't want to "damage" her by not feeding her. She must need me. I must go to her whenever she calls because that's what good and perfect and loving moms do right?

    Every night I would go to bed...dreading that fateful cry or whimper that would wake me up out of my slumber. I would heave a heavy sigh, drag myself to her room and collapse on the couch with her...grumbling to myself about how tired I was. My husband made a point to let me know that when I sighed it sounded like it was more of a burden to get up and nurse her so wean her already. Thanks, babe. Now I feel like even more of a heel.

    Then I read that article. Hmm...there was some truth to what my husband said. I realized that acting like it was a chore would do more damage to her than stopping the nighttime ruckus. I didn't want her to feel like she was a burden or that feeding her was a chore. I just wanted some sleep so that I could be a sane mom during the day.

    So I let her cry. Two nights. (My husband actually slept on the couch "keeping guard" because he knew I would weaken and go to her if he didn't remind me of the goal - he's so wise.) I'm sure some of you mom's out there are cringing and think I was horrible but I couldn't take it anymore. I was ragged and tired all day, every day from constantly getting up during the night. After two nights it stopped. She slept peacefully after that. It was very hard to hear her cry. She didn't cry constantly just every couple of hours when she would wake up, then she would fall asleep after 15 minutes or so when she realized I wasn't coming.

    Once we passed the 2 day mark and she stopped, I was getting the sleep I needed. I became a rested mom, able to play during the day and talk and walk and do whatever BECAUSE I SLEPT so I think that negated any "damage" I might have done by not answering her call for 2 nights.

    I know I'm getting longwinded here but I understand your conflict. I just wanted you to know that you are not a bad mom. You are not alone. And you are NOT damaging your baby irreparably. The fact that you're conflicted shows how much you care and love her. So remember: if you resent it, change it.

    I hope that helps.

    Peggie
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Ask me about BELLY BUTTON RINGS to use during your pregnancy to protect your PIERCING!

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Married to an amazing man and friend, Anthony - 4/10/04

    Mother to Adria - a home-birthed , breastfed, hazel-eyed smoocher! 12/21/05


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    1,110

    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    First of all, I'm really sorry for your loss, it must be so hard!

    I agree with all the PP. I went through something similar when TTC #2. We had fertility problems so we wanted to start TTC right away, my DD was about 12 months and there was no sign of my fertility coming back. I decided to cut back a little. At first it was easier to just distract her during the day but then she went back to nursing all the time so I decided to night wean instead. I wasn't on a hurry so I did it gradually and talking to her a lot. I started by cutting down the time she nursed at night, she would cry but it was always on my arms and I would tell her that I was there for her. After a few weeks, she accepted that and then I just weaned her at night completely by using the same technique. If she asked for it I would say, tomorrow, when the sun comes out. She was ok with it, now she sleeps through the night and I'm so much more comfortable with her during the day.

    May be just partially weaning her, explaining to her that you are there and that she'll never be alone.

    I wish you all the best!! Take it easy, don't put too much pressure on yourself, you are doing a great job, 23 mo of nursing! that is just amazing!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    916

    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    IMO I would not let a child cry for an entire night alone. Yes at this age is a good time for some limits, but to cry for an entire night alone when he/she is use to mommy/daddy giving comfort every two hours.

    This is what I would do. I would set a time (maybe between 11 pm and 4 am) where there is no nursing. You could go in there (if you dont co-sleep) and cuddle and rock. Its also ok to set your LO to bed awake but maybe drowsy. After a while you could stretch your time longer. If you think that your LO is thirsty you could offer a cup of water. IMO its ok to let your LO whimper, they sometimes have cycles of sleep where they roll around and talk in their sleep. They are not fully awake but not fully asleep. You know your child's cry.... this will NOT last. Take it slow and your LO will get the hang of it There is a reason your heart breaks when you hear your child cry for your touch/smell. Maybe you could get your LO a lovey. Something they can become attached to instead of you

    Look at the sleeping forum for some good advice
    Last edited by @llli*lilybug; August 28th, 2008 at 07:24 AM.
    "The biggest mistake a man can make, is to have the fear of making one" Unknown

    Being "just" a mom is the most powerful thing I could ever do, and it makes me the happiest person I could be.

    Josh 9/02
    Ben 7/04
    Lily Shes Walking 10/07

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    I agree with the pps who suggested "partial" weaning or setting limits as a promising solution. There are many ways to limit nursing without totally weaning. I was just talking to my DD1 about this the other day. She announced that she was NEVER going to stop nursing (she currently nurses just once per day at bedtime). I told her that it wasn't just her decision, it was something we would have to work out together. Now I don't know if she totally understood that (although she is a bright girl), but I truly believe that the nursing relationship involves both mother and child and the needs and feelings of both are very important. As many have said, it is a "dance."

    Night Weaning Ideas

    Changing the Sleep Pattern in the Family Bed ~ Dr. Jay Gordon (Not just for co-sleeping families ~ you can use his ideas to make your own "plan")

    Weaning Techniques (can be used to limit nursing rather than completely wean)

    And last but certainly not least, I highly, highly recommend the book How Weaning Happens available at most LLL libraries and public libraries.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Louisburg, NC
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    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    I want to make sure you understand what I meant by what I posted. The point was that if you resent something about your life, routine, etc - baby related or not - it needs to change. Sometimes we as moms feel that we must sacrifice EVERYTHING for our babies, which is true, but only to a certain extent. We have to be sane to raise sane babies so that they will turn into sane adults.

    My daughter was still actively nursing during the day. She changed her routine during the night all of the sudden after our move. I understood her needs but I also had to make sure I took care of myself. I cut out the night nursing cold turkey because I was ragged. That may not work for everyone, but I know there are some out there that have done the same thing. Come 8am I skipped to my daughter's room when she woke up and was more than eager to nurse and cuddle and love and talk to and play with her as she nursed because I was finally rested.

    I agree with all of the pps as well. We all know our babies and are in tune to their needs better than anyone but we all have to do what is right for us - baby/mom/dad/siblings, etc. These posts are really great because there are so many suggestions that just might work for us, and if they don't you can try another one.

    I hope that makes better sense.
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Ask me about BELLY BUTTON RINGS to use during your pregnancy to protect your PIERCING!

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Married to an amazing man and friend, Anthony - 4/10/04

    Mother to Adria - a home-birthed , breastfed, hazel-eyed smoocher! 12/21/05


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    with the sentiment that if you resent your child, something needs to change!
    There are lots of ways to make changes that can help.
    My older DD was a frequent night nurser for a long time and I would drag myself out of bed several times a night as well. I can't say I regret it -I mean, their babyhoods are a flash in the pan in the scheme of things- but I wish I would have changed my way of thinking back then and been more open to co-sleeping. Now that I co-sleep with DD2 I am that I didn't try it with my older 2. It makes night-nursing SO easy! Ah well, live and learn.
    Anyway, it just goes to show that there are different ways to tackle the same problem.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1,780

    Default Re: Very Conflicted

    I think it's great that you have nursed for so long but if you are resenting it then as pp have said something needs to change. You can cut back with out weaning. Find a new comfort zone with nursing where both of you feel okay with it. It is a relationship and it has to work for both sides. Distraction works well for us and we are down to 3-4 sessions per day. Now, we have days when it can be more but those are a lot fewer and farer between. We are going through something right now where he is waking during the night or early morning hours and wanting to nurse but I will wait it out a couple more days and see if it breaks, if not, then we will have to re-work out our relationship and that aspect will have to change so that he and I are both comfortable with it!

    Good Luck!
    Kelly

    Mommy to Gabriel born 12/25/06 Breastfed 12/25/06 - 12/09 and possibly here and there still
    Madelyn born 9/24/09 delivered at home and caught by my husband

    "To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right."

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