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Thread: weaning.. or not yet?

  1. #1

    Question weaning.. or not yet?

    Hi!

    My daughter is 19 months old and loves to nurse... I work a lot of hours, so the nursing and co-sleeping feel essential for both my daughter and me. I wish I didn't have to work so much, but I don't have a choice. At least we really spend together as much time as possible. In short, I do not want to wean her now.

    But... there are a couple factors that make it really hard lately:

    1. She won't go to sleep without nursing. I lie down in bed with her and it usually takes an hour before I can leave without her waking up. More often than not, she wakes up about an hour after she falls asleep, to nurse again - another 30-60 minutes. It is a problem because I cannot get anything done in the evening, and oftentimes I do have 1-2 hours of work to do by the morning. Those 2 hours every evening of lying in bed add a lot of stress, and I hate feeling that she's holding me captive.

    2. When she nurses she loves kneading the other nipple - the pain wakes me up at night, and when I block her way she stops nursing (!) and begins heartbreaking weeping and crying "amma amma" (her word for nursing)... it almost seems as if holding the second breast is more important to her than the nursing itself. I've tried teaching her to be gentle and it helps a little when she's awake, but not when she does it in her sleep.

    I guess that these two issues of discomfort are both signs of *me* being ready to wean her. But I do think that it is *not* the right time for us to wean her. She is definitely not ready for it; and I work too much for it to be fair to her (or to me for that matter). In a few months I'll have to work less and that'll be a better time for weaning.

    In a perfect world: after her bath she nurses, brushes her teeth (which doesn't happen now, and I know that's not good), then reads a story with either me or daddy, then falls asleep without nursing...

    Is that even possible? And if you think it is - any tips as to how we get there? I'd love to hear your advice.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    My opinion is that at 19 months it's okay to do put a stop to some of these habits that are driving you crazy. If you are not okay with her twiddling the other nipple, don't let her. It may take a couple nights of her crying before she realizes you are serious, but it's not like you aren't letting her nurse, you just aren't letting her nurse the way she wants to.

    As far as the nursing to sleep, there are a lot of different opinions about this, so if it's not for you, don't do it! : For a long time, I rubbed DD's back or forehead until she was asleep (this was around 15 months) but the second I would try to sneak out of the room she would wake up and cry at me for trying to leave her. It started taking me 30-45 minutes before I could get out of the room. So, for three days (for naps only at this point), I put her in her crib, told her sweet dreams and walked out. She of course would cry and I would come back after one minute, then two minutes, then three minutes, then four minutes and I never left her for more than four minutes, so I would just keep going in after four minutes. It was hard but I knew I had had it and needed to put a stop to it. After three days she would wave at me as I left her room and blow me kisses and go to sleep all by herself Like I said, though, what I did IS a form of sleep training, though IMO it was gentler than just a CIO approach where you say, "see-ya!" and don't ever go back to omfort. The downside is that the way I did it will lead to the child crying louder when you go in and then leave again...not fun, but for me it was necessary.


    Jeanne (my middle name IRL)


    Mommy to two girls (M & M), born Sept. '07 and Sept. '09

  3. #3
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    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jeannie.bean View Post
    My opinion is that at 19 months it's okay to do put a stop to some of these habits that are driving you crazy. If you are not okay with her twiddling the other nipple, don't let her. It may take a couple nights of her crying before she realizes you are serious, but it's not like you aren't letting her nurse, you just aren't letting her nurse the way she wants to.

    As far as the nursing to sleep, there are a lot of different opinions about this, so if it's not for you, don't do it! : For a long time, I rubbed DD's back or forehead until she was asleep (this was around 15 months) but the second I would try to sneak out of the room she would wake up and cry at me for trying to leave her. It started taking me 30-45 minutes before I could get out of the room. So, for three days (for naps only at this point), I put her in her crib, told her sweet dreams and walked out. She of course would cry and I would come back after one minute, then two minutes, then three minutes, then four minutes and I never left her for more than four minutes, so I would just keep going in after four minutes. It was hard but I knew I had had it and needed to put a stop to it. After three days she would wave at me as I left her room and blow me kisses and go to sleep all by herself Like I said, though, what I did IS a form of sleep training, though IMO it was gentler than just a CIO approach where you say, "see-ya!" and don't ever go back to omfort. The downside is that the way I did it will lead to the child crying louder when you go in and then leave again...not fun, but for me it was necessary.
    with all the above. If you don't want to wean, don't. IMO, weaning is unlikely to improve your baby's going-to-sleep habits- she wants her mommy, and I think there's a strong possibility that you'll end up lying there without nursing as a tool to get her to sleep. But at 19 months, I think it's totally okay to limit the amount of time your baby spends on the breast to 10 minutes or whatever works for you- i doubt she's spending 30-60 minutes feeding. She's pacifying, which is a good use of the breast, but not a vital one. And regarding the twiddling- limiting access may help. Wear a bra and a t-shirt to bed. If she can't get her hands on your goodies, she may accept redirection more easily.
    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!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    Thanks for your helpful replies!

    I will try sleeping with a bra and shirt - see how that goes.

    At nap time and in the few evenings that I wasn't around, she has no trouble falling asleep without nursing. As long as she is not overtired, she just lies down with her doll and closes her eyes.

    DH has offered to put her in bed. I think we'll have to try that. She nurses when I get back home in the evening, and I'll have her nurse right after bath again.
    I am reluctant because she's getting so little time with me during the week (and I'm getting so little time with her). It seems so cruel taking the goodnight nursing session away from her. Most nights she interrupts the story in the middle ("night gorilla!!" "night moon!!", closing the book and putting it on the nightstand ) because she can't wait to nurse...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    Your LO gets a lot of important calories during those night feedings. Stay vigilant about her food intake during the day to insure her optimal health if you plan on stop the late night nursings.
    DD#1 July 1986 VB
    DD#2 April 1988 c/sec
    DS#3 April 1990 VBAC
    DS#4 June 1993 VB
    and suprise!
    DD#5 April 2001 c/sec
    BTDT scars and stretchmarks,: wrinkles and grey hair

  6. #6
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    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    I don't have a ton of advice, as my baby is an all-night nurser and twiddler as well!

    But, I do two things:

    (1) I have consistently unlatched Joe after his sucking becomes "fluttery" and seems more "pacifying." I don't mind a little comfort nursing, but after a minute or two, I unlatch him. If he desperately wants to get back on, I let him, but then I do the same thing once the sucking slows down. I've done this for so long he's pretty used to it now, but it was a little hard at first. I think that eventually, this discourages the marathon night-nursing sessions. Baby gets the comfort - you don't deny them - but you are setting some limits. (This technique comes from Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution - gotta cite my sources!)

    (2) I sleep with a bra on, or at least a nursing nightgown to discourage twiddling. Sometimes I feel little fingers reaching in, but then I try to cover my other breast. At first this made Joe cry, but now he's pretty used to it. He still takes me by suprise sometimes, but the clothing helps and it is better than it used to be.

    I now nurse Joe for a really long time, and then put him in his crib when he is ALMOST ASLEEP but not quite. I say, "I love you baby, go to sleep!" and leave the room and most of the time he falls asleep without crying. But I still nurse him for a long time before that point, yk? (And he wakes up a few hours later and I take him to bed with me and we nurse the rest of the night.) It would be a major shift for him to go to sleep without nursing at all. Baby steps.

    I'm also a working mom, and I found that when Joe starting going to sleep on his own, I really grieved. These things are so complicated emotionally. This thing I had always wanted - Joe to sleep better - when I finally got it, it really threw me for a loop. Just wanted to mention this, because it has taught me to be more content with my night-parenting. I get as much out of night snuggling and nursing as my baby ... maybe more!
    Last edited by @llli*joe.s.mom; October 15th, 2010 at 04:14 PM.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  7. #7

    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    For the twiddling you could try subbing your nipple for one of those very soft blankets. My son loves playing with his while he nurses.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    No advice on the night nursing because we still nurse all night long and cosleep. For the twiddling... Have you taught her any signs? We use quite a few but I suggest teaching the sign for pain or hurt if u only teach one sign. U can sign pain or hurt to let ur LO know that they r hurting u. I sign hurt to ds when he gets too rough while he twiddles and he understands that he needs to be easier. I signed hurt to him if he fell or got hurt n anyway so he wud understand the meaning. I suggested this to a friend of mine and she said it was the best thing she ever taught her DD.
    Michelle

    Wife to Donnie , my best friend
    Mom to Trenton 1/9/97, Dillan 11/22/01, Ashton 6/19/09

    All boys, weaned at 15 months, at home with Ashton

  9. #9
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    Default Re: weaning.. or not yet?

    I sleep with a bra on too and then pull my shirt over the opposite side to keep dd from twiddling.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

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