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Thread: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

  1. #1
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    Default Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    I've really been struggling lately with how I feel about nursing my 3 1/2 y/o DD. During the last couple months I have cut her nursing back, because she was still nursing 8-10 times a day and I was getting really burnt out. She still nurses 4-5 times a day, and I feel so unsure about how rigid I should be about the limits I have imposed. Do I set specific times (to sleep and waking up) or do I allow her to have access during those times when I can tell that she is really struggling with her emotions. It's all so confusing, because some days I just want to get away when she asks to nurse, and others it doesn't bother me as badly. I know a big part of my problem stems from her asking in public fairly frequently still, and well, I just don't feel comfortable anymore NIP. I worry too much that someone will say something. I know all the benefits for both of us in continuing to BF, but I am never good on the spot, and don't want to deal with a confrontation. I get enough of that from my family, and now my ILs (who have amazingly been silent up to this point) are starting the eye-rolling.

    I guess I'm just struggling with where I stand now. On one hand, I never wanted to be the one to push weaning, but I am finding myself in the unfortunate position of wanting to be done before her. She's still so attached to it. So how do you get through it when you're just not feeling it anymore?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    My ds2 weaned a couple of months before turning 3 and did not ask to nurse in public for a while before that, so I do not have any specific advice on nursing a 3.5 year old.

    I can recommend going ahead and getting a copy of the book How Weaning Happens. I thought it would be a book that told me how to wean my ds1. Instead, it was a book that helped me to examine my feelings on weaning and how I wanted to approach things with my ds. I read it when he turned 1 and continued to nurse until I got pregnant with ds2, so it actually helped me to nurse longer instead of weaning.
    Proud mom of 2 boys, both weaned gradually and with love.


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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    I did get that book ages ago, read it, then got rid of it. Maybe I should buy it again. I know at the time it helped change my attitude and made me decide to do child-led weaning. I can't help feeling like I've abandoned that now by setting limits and it makes me feel really bad. Especially since I fall so short as a mom in so many other areas. Parenting is so hard sometimes. I just feel like I never know the right answers.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    Kelly,
    set the limits. At 3.5 you can ABSOLUTELY say "At home only!" You can remind her before she leaves the house. "Now remember, no nursing when we are out and about." And if she asks when out, say no. "Remember we only do that at home." And she starts to throw a fit...ask her if she can wait until you go home later or do you guys need to leave NOW?!?! Because really throwing a public temper tantrum is grounds for going home regardless...so she can either stop or you go.
    My son used to want to do it while out when he was feeling insecure. So at certain peoples house and when up at the preschool when he was having mixed feelings about sharing my attention. I would NEVER nurse him up there. EVER. And not at certain people's houses either. Because he needs to learn that that isn't where ALL of his security in our relationship comes from. Nor all the bonding in our relationship. I have had very clear boundaries about not while out and about unless he was hurt for over a year. '
    Not in public was the first. But that became only at waking and going to bed. And then in the mornings we went to preschool there wasn't time so 3 days a week he wouldn't do it in the morning....and then my DH started putting him to bed....there are LOTS of places you can draw the lines to let her continue so you have the connection without having her suck the life out of you. HTH.

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5

    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    I started feeling overwhelmed by all the desire to nurse everywhere, all the time and finally decided to make a rule about only nursing at home (or at least in a home). He gets upset about it now and then -- especially if he is feeling tired -- but it has worked really well for us. It was also the beginning of me talking to him about this nursing relationship being about BOTH of us -- that we have to work together to find ways to nurse that we can both live with. We are both learning to compromise and it feels healthy, if sometimes challenging. I do make exceptions, but only after we've talked about it, about why I am making the exception. Interestingly, he is beginning to do the same thing -- telling me why he just doesn't feel like having mama milk at some time he would ordinarily want it. To me, that's the whole point -- communication. Not just about nursing, but about all of it. We are going to be in each others hearts and space for a long, long time -- I feel like we're going to have to be able to talk things through and we might as well start now.

    Mama to Lorenzo, born 4/25/2007. NICU graduate, Gastro-Esohapgeal Reflux, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder...alive and thriving thanks to breastfeeding and co-sleeping.

    Those who say it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
    Chinese Proverb

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    yup its way ok to start setting limits and I bet she is very verbal and can understand why. Talk with her. Look things cann't go on like this! IF you want to keep nursing then I have to help you learn some manners about it.
    I'm sure if you cut out some you'll feal beter about the sessions that stay.
    Like the other posters have said start with outside the house.

    WE only nurse at home. She will get it. Have plenty of snacks and good drinks when your out and about.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    At 3.5 you can ABSOLUTELY say "At home only!" You can remind her before she leaves the house. "Now remember, no nursing when we are out and about." And if she asks when out, say no. "Remember we only do that at home." And she starts to throw a fit...ask her if she can wait until you go home later or do you guys need to leave NOW?!?! Because really throwing a public temper tantrum is grounds for going home regardless...so she can either stop or you go.


    Weaning is a balancing act between the desires of mama and child. It's 100% okay for you to feel like you don't want to nurse at a given time or in a given location, and to set limits based on those feelings. You're not nursing a newborn who can't wait.

    I found that cutting out the feeding that was bugging me the most gave me the strength to continue on.
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    I agree with setting and being firm with the limits now. She is old enough and though I don't think it will be easy I think she'll be able to understand better now than she would have a year ago.

    You can try setting limits that make you feel more comfortable including not nursing while away from home, only nursing at naptime, at bed time or whatever her most important ones are. For us it's anything to do with sleeping that are important.

    For me I have noticed that before I set limits I think I was leaning on nursing as a cure all for all of E's emotions whether that be boredom or anxiety or fear or pain from getting hurt. And while I believe that for a while those are all valid reasons to nurse I think after a point it actually does a disservice to the child or at least it did for us. It requires more work on my part but I find that now I can help him talk through or otherwise process what's happening rather than just popping him on to nurse for example after he's fallen down or something. I was also using it as a way to keep him quiet or still like when I wanted to talk on the phone. That was really hard for me to realize and then admit. But once I did I could consciously stop doing it. Does all that make sense?

    Anyway after rambling on and on my point is that you are both in the relationship and you are now feeling the beginnings of wanting to pull back a little and that's fine. You're in it too and your feelings count so I say setting the limits that make it to where you can feel comfortable is valid and important.

    I know that before we set our limits I wanted to wean entirely but now we've got it cut down and I can see that we can nurse for quite a bit longer at this rate.

    Distraction works really well. I laid by a store of fun new snacks and cups to drink from and little treats like coloring books and small toys to pull out when things got really tough. I also spent a lot of time standing for a while b/c if I sit down he instantly wants to climb up and nurse.

    Good luck momma.
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and


    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    My DD just turned 4. She nurses in the morning and at night and often when I get home from work (5:00ish). She knows that she cannot nurse in public even though both her little brother s can (DS1 = 2; DS2 = 3 months). She also knows that she is not suppose to nurse when she falls and gets a bumped head, scrapped knee, etc - although I admit I break the rules depending on the accident.

    I am really getting tired of nursing her (in a way). We have talked for months about how she will wean when she starts pre-school in August. However, this makes her sad and she will even look at me with tears in her eyes and tell me she doesn’t want to wean. I try to make it sound fun by talking about extra hugs and getting to do big girl stuff (this doesn’t seem to help). I guess I struggle with stopping nursing her on my terms when she is clearly telling me she still needs it. On the flip side - oh my goodness she is 4 and I’m nursing 3 people.

    So, I stay at the really firm limits stage right now. Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Working through the emotions of having an older nursling

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sixyearplan View Post
    Sorry to but you are triandem nursing?
    Jessica

    Moma to DS1-the monkinroanie (3/09) and DS2-the sweet pumpkin (5/12)
    Strong Women- May we have the delight of knowing them, the courage to be them and the privilege of raising them.
    And yes I know my spelling terrible (is that spelled right? )

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