Re: Help! 18-MO Absolutely clingy
Mama, a big to you. You are doing such a great job, and it sounds like your LO is really challenging you. But I think these challenges are teaching opportunities, and they can have really positive outcomes.
For example, you say your daughter insists on holding your free nip while she's nursing. That would drive me up a wall! But your child is probably old enough to understand that if she wants to nurse, she can play with a stuffed animal or a nursing necklace or whatever else she wants, but she can't twiddle your nipple. Yes, you will probably hear some screaming and sobbing and toddler drama if you institute this policy, but if that is what it takes to teach her to be respectful of your body, it's probably worth the cost. It can be a firm lesson and still be imparted gently.
Regarding the clinginess, man, I sure don't miss that stage in my daughter's life! Whenever she felt unsure, or was bored, she was screeching for "pupple". But this phase is just a phase- your child will grow out of this super-demanding thing. And, just like the twiddling issue, this is an opportunity to teach. Every time you give in and nurse, you're teaching your child that her needs will be met. And every time you are successful in distracting her- with a toy, or a trip to the store, or a walk- you are moving her towards independence.
You seem very certain that you aren't producing much milk except in the mornings. I respect your self-knowledge; nevertheless, I think you might be making more milk than you think. If you are producing a significant amount of milk in the morning, you're probably also producing some during the day. Probably not as much as when your toddler was an EBF baby, but still significant. An ounce here, half an ounce there- it adds up! The satisfaction thing may be less about the quantity of milk she is getting than it is about wanting to cuddle up with you and enjoy her favorite thing. Once you stop the twiddling, your daughter may enjoy nursing less, and seek it out less, too.
If I were producing milk, I'd happily feed her because she would get satisfied. But she is NEVER satisfied and I am burning out quickly.
Two things that helped me move towards weaning, and which made nursing much more bearable were:
1. Countdowns. I would tell DD "Mommy is going to count to 10 and then it is time to be done." And DD totally got that!
2. Outside help. When I wanted to eliminate the morning nursing session, I was staying with my parents. I would bring DD down before I nursed her, and deposit her with my mom. By the time I came downstairs half an hour later, DD had forgotten all about wanting to nurse and was fully engaged in the day.
Hang in there! You are doing such a great job!
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"