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Thread: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

  1. #1

    Default be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    My 33 month old daughter loves to nurse. I, on the other hand pretty much stopped liking it at about 18 months. At that time, I hung in there, because it wasn't awful, and she was still so young in my perception. After many stops and starts, I finally night weaned her about 25 months. I was so much more rested and happy at that point, that I didn't give weaning any more than that much thought.

    Without even really doing it on purpose, she slowly, slowly, started having some limits put on her. Not in public, waiting till we got home, etc. But none of these were easy, she really, really did not like it. We have gone through many tears and tantrums over milk. (mostly mine, honestly)

    We are at the point where it is for sure nighttime, and early morning. Then, some times during the day. Mostly for a nap, if I think she is going to/needs to take one.

    However, just to give you an idea of her love of milk-Even after all these months of being nightweaned, she will sometimes ask for it at 3 AM. No problem, it happens, but when I say, "look at the window, it isn't time yet" (I taught her we had to wait till the sun came up) about 50 percent of the times she asks, that statement causes her to go into meltdown mode. She will also ask for it throughout the day randomly, especially if we stay home. She asks sometimes literally less than an hour after we had some. I say random because it nothing happened, and it is often when we are already doing something together. (in other words, not when I think what she is really asking for is my attention)

    And this may make me the meanest, most awful mother out there, (this how I feel lately) but I am at a point where I honestly can't stand the feeling. I am so over the tugging and discomfort of it. It seriously aggravates me and I have to work very hard to stay distracted with TV or a book while she is nursing to not get irritated by the feeling. Even with that, I often can't stand it for very long, and our method has been, I give her a warning, then I sing "twinkle twinkle little star" and at the end she stops. At bedtime, this method works if we are in the bed, because I let her nurse the longest at bedtime, (if I have managed to avoid it most the day, I can handle a longer nursing session) and she will roll over and fall asleep. Sometimes she will even stay awake for a bit, and then fall asleep. I give her lots of positive reinforcement for this, telling her how proud I am she can lay there and rest without milk. However, if she asks to have milk in the rocking chair, I either have to let her nurse till she falls asleep, (at which point I literally have to pop her mouth off, cause she won't do it) or stop her, keep rocking and hoping she will fall asleep but, she just asks for the other side. I tell her, "only twinkle twinkle milk" But then when the time comes she is really upset.

    Tonight was the worst, as she would not let go, and I forced her to pop off, she sobbed, I felt awful, and then she conked out. I am afraid tonight will be the start of some pattern.

    Sometimes, I am trying to let her nurse to a nap, and I just can't do it long enough to satisfy her to sleep, so guess what? She doesn't nap that day.

    Knowing that she really wants to do it more than she does, I don't know how to move on from here. I'm trying to think of her, but also me. I can't tell you the number of times I've been irritated or impatient over this. I think she is getting aware there is a problem, and I don't want to make her feel bad, but....

    I feel so mean sometimes when I stand firm and keep telling her no, we will not have milk right now. The other day, I told her mommy will decide when we have milk, but what does that really mean? When she is demanding it, I try to distract, offer other choices, move into a different room, what else can I do? I try to do it gently, but I won't lie and say I haven't gotten completely exasperated and ended up showing grumpiness toward her.

    I know some of you will be thinking, "just give it to her", but I honestly can't stand the feeling of it anymore. And, I did that for a long time, and we just never moved past having it all the time. It wasn't until I started setting firmer limits and sticking to them that I got any reprieve.

    I'm sorry this was so long, but I wanted to be sure I told what was happening, what I was trying, etc. I don't think I have ever read a post here, where a mom was so anxious to stop, and really didn't like doing it anymore.

    I should clarify, being that she loves it so, and it is still good for her, I don't expect to wean completely at this point, but, I would like to get to where we have our times, and that is it, it doesn't last too long, and if I start working towards dropping one, I would say I would like to drop the early morning feed, and see if I could get her to sleep on through to a decent wake up time. I know the nighttime one may hang around for a long time, and I accept that.

    I know this post may be hard for people to understand, I know a lot of woman LOVE breastfeeding. I wish I was one of them. Believe me. I often feel like I'm in the running for "worst mother" as I am probably the only mom who has snapped at her kid for nursing.

    Oh, and I want to add, when I talk to her and suggest other things her and mom can do together, she isn't really buying it. We do all those things anyway, and she still can have milk. I once heard a nurse suggest doing other special things together during the time you would normally nurse. Well, my daughter gets lots of attention, playtime, reading time, etc. from us. I remember thinking when I heard the nurse say that, "like what? What could we do that is that special it could replace that, especially if we do lots of things togther besides nurse already?"

    If you made it this far, thank you for listening.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    When you say you can't stand it, are you not getting the oxcytocin when you letdown? Because I think it's normal to want to do it less and less. But even when he was only on for a couple of minutes...when the oxcytocin would hit I would be happy to have him in my arms! Even if a minute later I wanted it to be over. And you know...When naps go away completely that one goes...MY son gave up the morning sessions when he started preschool. Because all of the sudden we were so busy getting ready to go in the mornings! So at first he only didn't nurse on the mornings we went to school which was three days a week. And then he didn't on the other days because if he didn't have to get up and go to school we was going to sleep in! So I could get up and get out before he woke. Except on Sundays. We'd still do it Sunday morning.
    And then when we were ready to begin to let go of the night time session my DH started putting him to bed. And the WHOLE time we were talking about it. When he thought he'd be ready to stop. He said 5. I said 4. I said after our trip to Hawaii in Jan. We were going to have a weaning party in MARCH. So he HAD to be done by then. He wasn't ready. It was too much pressure. And I soon as I realized that and respected it....we were fine. By that point he was only nursing 2-3 times a week. Anyways. He'd go days with out it. And then come find me in the middle of the night. So you are on your way. But if you are really trying to respect your child and the fact that she is an active participant in the relationship, you talk to her about it. See where she is at. What SHE wants to do. And you honor that. All the while guiding her to do less. To need you less. It's a process. But my son walked away on his own terms when he was 4.5. And he is SOOO proud of himself and it was painless. HTH!

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3
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    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    My son is only 13.5 months, but I am getting the same way. I know he still needs it, and I want him to have breast milk for as long as possible, but I'm already getting ansty at times. Some days it's not bad, but when it's non stop nursing I'm over it But he is still so young, and my goal is 2 yrs and I know I can hang in there, for him.
    I know that's not the same, but I just wanted you to know that you're not alone in that the enjoyment has passed.
    I agree with Shelly-she has BTDT with an older nursling-just talk to her about it. Figure out a plan and stick to it. Maybe a weaning party would be a good idea, if she knows about it and can get excited about it?


    I'm Heather, SAHM to Cooper , born 1/2007
    and Bennett, our precious NICU grad born 8/2009
    and wife to Bill since 10/2003!
    We're young, but we know we can do it!
    Life with the Stevens-blog

    I'm an Ergo Baby Carrier affiliate!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    This is not the first post I've seen where a mom says "Help, my kid loves nursing but I am feeling done!" I think it's pretty common for moms who nurse into toddlerhood- it's just that so few women actually nurse as long as you have that you end up feeling like you're the only one desperate to wean a nearly 3 year old.

    When I wanted to eliminate some nursing sessions, the things I found helpful were:
    1. Distraction. When we were out and about, my toddler/preschooler had no interest in nursing. That meant I made a lot of unnecessary trips to Target just to walk around during the winter months...
    2. Friends and family. When my daughter was playing with grandma or a friend, she didn't want to nurse. (This is how I dropped the first morning feed, which I found highly annoying by age 2.5- we were staying with my parents and I would send DD1 down to play w/ grandma, and I would go back to sleep for an hour. By the time I came down, DD1 was engaged in playing and not looking to nurse.)
    3. Consistency. It's hard not to give in when your kid if flipping out- especially in the middle of the night when you just want to do what it takes to get back to sleep- but if you can stick with your plan to not nurse at a particular time, eventually the kid gets the message.
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    I am definitely in this same boat. And I have posted about it before. DD's need to nurse was and is insatiable. I finally had to set limits somewhere between the 3 and 3 1/2 year mark, because she was still nursing 8- 10 times a day and I was going nuts. Now she's down to 2-5 times a day, but that doesn't mean she's happy with that all the time. There are many tears and tantrums over wanting to nurse when I am just burnt out. I'm tired of the things that go along with nursing her - her needing to constantly be reminded NOT to hold on with her teeth, rub/pinch/poke my other boob, not do this annoying "slurping" thing that literally makes me want to just come totally unglued it irritates me so badly. Honestly, I find that there is a lot more I don't like about nursing than that I do. Few and far between are the nursing sessions where I'm thinking "this is really nice to snuggle up with my baby like this" because she is NOT snuggly. She moves and kicks and wiggles and squirms. She does not hold still ever. I asked her one day when she would be ready to stop nursing and she told me when she's SIX! I almost cried! (And I'm not a crier, so that's big!) I so want to be able to have her stay the night at someone's house, but she has never gone to sleep for anyone other than me (or the car), so I honestly don't know how she'd do with someone else. But I desperately feel like I'm in need of a vacation from parenting, and her still needing to nurse so much leaves me feeling so stuck sometimes. I feel like I don't even know how to parent without it. If she gets hurt and wants to nurse, I can't even pick her up to comfort her, because it only makes it worse. Her literally ripping at my shirt, while I'm trying to tell her "not now" and get her hands off my clothes. I really don't want to have to physically fight her off my boobs, so generally I have to just leave her to get over it herself, because me trying to comfort her just makes everything so much worse. Because I honestly can't get through that without totally losing my patience myself. But at the same time, I just CAN'T nurse her sometimes. Sometimes the thought of it makes me want to run away.

    You're definitely not alone. It's so hard when you're so ready to be done, and your LO is definitely not.

  6. #6

    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    I can relate, though for me the feelings you describe have come and gone and come again over the years.

    When I am declining to provide mama milk to DS, I generally explain that, while I know he really would like some it is my body, and we are sharing it when he nurses, so it has to feel okay for BOTH of us. I try to notice times when he wants control of his own body, and when I respect that, so that I can draw on that as a way of explaining the idea of making decisions about one's own body.

    I also have tried to observe the times when he seems to NEED to nurse (like times surrounding sleep, for him -- there is no way I can imagine taking that from him) and I always nurse him when he wants it at those times, no matter how I'm feeling about it. There are other times, though, when I sense that it matters somewhat less, and then I might just let him have his difficult feelings about not getting to nurse -- not try to distract him or even make him feel better, because I get that it is HARD for him and I feel like he has a right to have me recognize just how hard it is for him to be denied.

    It can be a complicated relationship nursing a toddler/preschooler, but it is so important, IMO, to remember that it is just that, a RELATIONSHIP, and just as with any other relationship, talking through the challenges, finding places to compromise and come to agreement about areas of conflict and doing what can be done to make sure that, even though one is not getting exactly what one wants, one is still loved, are what add to the strength of the bond.
    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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    I am in the same situation as you. My son is almost 27 months and I am 10 weeks pregnant, hardly producing any milk and just sick of it all. I absolutely hate it right now. And unfortunately, I am just too tired to do anything about it. He is getting up every 2 - 3 hours at night and I try to stay no, but I just can't keep up with it. During the day, he climbs all over me as soon as I sit down. Luckily, he isn't interested when we go out, but with how I feel with this pregnancy (sick all the time) I just want to stay home. I don't know what to do. I'm to the point where I don't even want to breastfeed my second child because I know I will still be nursing this one! I hope someone can give us some miracle answer

  8. #8
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    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    You are def not alone. My DS2 is 34 months and I am hoping that this next year brings a lot of changes to his need and love of nursing. We currently are "day weaned" which means that a few months ago I set daytime limits where we only nurse at naptime and bedtime. We still nurse all night (around 2-5 times) but this is because I sense his need for this. Or at least I did sense it, now I can tell it's not as important as it once was. We are moving toward night weaning finally

    When I was dayweaning him there were some tears. I used the "yes but" approach to avoid using the word "no" all the time. When he asked to nurse when it wasn't nap or bed time I just told him "yes we'll nurse but at naptime/bedtime". There were plenty of tears, plenty of times I held him and distracted him instead. There were more than 2 weeks there where I could not sit down between nap and bed otherwise he would beg to nurse. It was exhausting but worth it to me. I was and am totally touched out. I needed limits BAD and this helped me feel better about continuing on for a bit longer.

    My personal limit is 4. Not exactly on his birthday but soon there abouts is it for me. So this coming year will be a gradual but active weaning negotiation for us. I plan to start sometime in January to night wean and then I figure that nap time will take care of itself b/c he's already growing out of his naps . I'm a bit irritatied with that however it does solve the weaning at nap time issue. And he's already going to sleep at night without nursing sometimes so I know he can.

    Good luck momma. It's a negotiation. But you are both in this and you both have rights to respect. It's okay for weaning to be sad. It is a sad thing to say goodbye to something you love.
    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

    Default Re: be honest, am I the only one on this boat? (LONG)

    I wish there was an easy answer. Everyone is different, including our kids. I have been nursing for 19 months and my milk supply is diminishing before my DD is ready to be done. I have several friends with sons who self-weaned at 18 months.
    When I got pregnant, I committed to nursing for one year, after that I would wait and see. We dropped down to 3-5 times a day a month or so ago. Now we are at 2-3 times a day, with her asking for more. The nursing is painful for my nipples, and after the milk is gone I have to detach her against her wishes. I wouldn't mind nursing more if I had more to give her. She doesn't understand though. "All gone" makes her cry "NO!"
    She behaves better now that she's older: not so much hitting, kicking, pinching, biting, poking, scratching, etc. She used to be a lot more wiggly. Now she can sit on my lap more comfortably. I think food has been a big key for us in getting this far. She never took to a pacifier. Distractions of any kind are good too: books, toys, outside, friends, family, anything.
    Instead of trying to increase my milk this late, I am trying to wean. Some days we are both crying: she wants what I don't have. I wish it was easy(ier). I try to make sure she knows I still love her very very much. Our cuddling time has increased and so has our time together doing things that aren't nursing.

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