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Thread: Desperate to wean

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    49

    Default Desperate to wean

    Hi,
    I have a daughter who will be 4 in September. I've been committed to nursing her until she is ready to wean from the beginning, but for the past year and a half I been fighting the desire to wean her. We weaned for about a month last fall but then I was convinced by a post on this forum to continue nursing her. But I'm so, so, so desperate. Mostly because I feel deeply violated by this experience. The breasts are a sensitive area of a woman's body, and I feel like I have no control whatsoever. She pokes at them. When she reaches up to me to pick her up, she reaches specifically to fondle them. She asks to nurse morning, noon, and night. There is no time of day that isn't safe. She eyes them, goggles at them, says they are "so cute," my milk is "so sweet." Is this normal? I've repeatedly tried to set limits, but she won't to listen. Recently I've even been so incredibly desperate that I've been smacking her hand and firmly saying, "No" - almost as a reflex, I'm often shocked by my reaction - when she goes for my breasts. But she is so hurt by this. She so wants to nurse. It is unreal. I don't want to give her issues for life by stopping nursing, but my impulse to be done with this with her is beyond words, and I cannot articulate how violated I feel. Is this behavior normal for older breastfed children? Am I the only mother who feels such strong instinctual impulses to wean? - Really, I want to know. At this point, I feel nothing but complete disconfirmation from the LLL, like I'm a bad, insensitive mom who isn't willing to make the necessary sacrifices for my daughter because I want to wean. If there is ANYONE who can identify with how I feel, I REALLY need to hear from them.
    (Btw, yes, I have read the weaning books.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    TX
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    2,197

    Default Re: Desperate to wean



    I think that sounds perfectly normal! Both your reaction and your daughter's attachment to nursing. And I'm amazed that you have managed to go that long without setting some limits. That takes an incredible amount of tolerance.

    My son is 29 months, and I have been fighting the same feelings you described for almost the past 6 months. It hasn't been quite as strong a reaction as you described, but definitely the same sort. About 6 months ago, we finished nightweaning (until 5 AM), which helped a bunch. But not enough. And so about a month ago, I completely nightweaned him. We nurse to sleep, but then do not nurse again until we have gotten up for the day. That was nice, but not quite enough. So this past week, I have started weaning him down to nursing only to go to sleep or to wake up from sleep. I will make exceptions for injury or illness, but I NEED for him to stop thinking he has open access to the bar. I still want him to know that his nursies are there for him, but not on demand anymore. That's MY compromise so that I can continue nursing him for a good while longer, which still is important for me, even though the on-demand has been bugging me.

    I don't really have any advice for you, but I want you to know that you are absolutely NOT alone!
    Teal

    25 May 96 and 14 January 08 and 27 February 2012

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    2,005

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    I think your feelings are perfectly normal. Your feelings are exactly why I laugh at people who say that mom's who practice extended bf are doing it for themselves.

    My lo weaned at just under 3 so I didn't experience as much oggling or verbal comments from him.

    What I did do to get him to stop nursing during the day was to set blocks of time up. So no nursing until after lunch...after a few weeks of that I increased it to no nursing until after supper. yes I had to remind him of it, I was prepared to let him nurse if he got too upset or hurt like the pp. I had to learn to offer him a drink and/or a snack when he would ask to nurse. I realized he did not know how to ask for something else to drink when he was thirsty and needed to be taught to do so.
    Proud mom of 2 boys, both weaned gradually and with love.


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    4,160

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*klh View Post
    Hi,
    Recently I've even been so incredibly desperate that I've been smacking her hand and firmly saying, "No" - almost as a reflex, I'm often shocked by my reaction - when she goes for my breasts. But she is so hurt by this.
    This really upsets me momma. Smacking a child (even if it's on the hand) who is asking to nurse isn't a good idea. You are the adult in the nursing relationship and if you're not into it anymore then wean her.

    As you said, you have read the books, pick a method and do it.
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,999

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    The behavior you describe is absolutely normal. As far as I can tell, kids who nurse into childhood have a deep affection for their moms' breasts. My kid (age 4) has been weaned for over a year now but still likes to rest her head on my "pillows", and often puts a hand in the vicinity when she's cuddling.

    It's also totally normal for a kid to not comply with your attempts to limit her. I could write page after page about the battles I have with my 4 year-old over hand washing, and hair washing, and wiping her feet, and not picking her nose, and respecting my privacy in the bathroom, etc.

    Does that reassure you? Your kid is okay!

    Now, on to you. It's totally okay to feel done with nursing. Many women feel done long before age 4. And if nursing is making you feel so bad that you're resorting to smacking your kid's hand, then I'm thinking it's not something that is good for either one of you at this point. Yeah, your daughter clearly loves nursing, but that enjoyment doesn't seem to be worth the price of if the tension and hurt it's provoking between the two of you. FWIW, I have a brand-new baby and while I don't resent her touch, I do feel somewhat resentful and inappropriately groped when my older daughter gets a little too touchy-feely with my breasts. So you're not alone in feeling "violated" by an older child's touch- though obviously there's a big spectrum out there in how women feel about it.
    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!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    you've given a lot to your child here. and pp's are right to say that both you and your child are behaving in totally normal and predictable ways. i was talking to someone the other day and their partner had told her daughter 'the milk shops shut, you'll have to have fish fingers instead'. because of the age your child's at, you have the tool of language, i'd use that to explain where you stand and stick to it. commit to being unavailable, to gently teaching your child social norms surrounding breasts and try to catch that urge to slap your childs hand away as though a stranger had groped you in the street. be gentle be persistent set boundaries, good luck. i hugely admire you for giving so much of yourself, it sounds like it's time to take back a little ground.

    hope that helps... we're not where you are yet but i do know the feelings you've described
    Art student and Mummy to Luca born 12th June 09 and Elidi 18th of May 11
    How can time go quite so fast

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    1,097

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    The behavior you describe is absolutely normal. As far as I can tell, kids who nurse into childhood have a deep affection for their moms' breasts. My kid (age 4) has been weaned for over a year now but still likes to rest her head on my "pillows", and often puts a hand in the vicinity when she's cuddling.


    While I didn't make it to nursing into childhood, my toddler nursed until she was almost 18 months old. She's been weaned for nearly 6 months and still absentmindedly goes in for the grope when I'm putting her to bed. Sometimes when she's tired she'll even wriggle her hand down my bra without thinking twice. Gets me some strange looks, because sometimes it doesn't phase me until people look at me like "Huh??"..lol But sometimes it does irritate me and make me feel violated. I get touched out very easily (just ask my DH who is forced to hover at the edge of the bed at night because I want my space!). I think her affection for your breasts and your milk is totally normal, but at the same time I understand your frustration.

    Sorry, that probably wasn't of any actual help! I do agree with pps though that it sounds like it may be time to wean if it's causing you, and in turn your daughter so much stress. Do you think she'd be excited/motivated by a weaning party?
    Last edited by @llli*sentimental.geek; June 15th, 2010 at 02:13 AM.
    Mama of two precious girls
    DD1 born 23 July 2008 and
    DD2 born 14 January 2010

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    If you are no longer enjoying your nursing relationship then I think you should wean. If you still enjoy nursing her occasionally, then I think you should limit your nursing times.
    Good Luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    Please let us know how things progress! Wishing you all the best!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Desperate to wean

    LLL's philosophy is that "Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need."

    Notice it doesn't say until the child is tired of it and never asks again. A child may well enjoy nursing long past the time when they need it. And the breastfeeding relationship is a relationship -- it involves two people, and the needs of both should be taken into account.

    Using distraction, time limits, and all those other weaning tools may help you figure out if your daughter does really still have a need for nursing at some times of the day. I found with my son when he was three that many of his nursing sessions were habit, plain and simple. He nursed when I was sitting in a certain place because, well, he always nursed when I sat there. And when we changed our routine, he did just fine without them. It might mean that you can't sit down for a while!

    I've known many moms who said they could never imagine weaning found that once their children got to a certain age, they (the moms) felt done. It's very common. And not at all a sign of being a bad mother. You'll be making many other kinds of sacrifices for your child for years to come.
    Karen
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