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Thread: Weaning a 4 year old?

  1. #1
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    Default Weaning a 4 year old?

    I don't think I can take it anymore. It is a constant fight when she nurses now. She always fights to try to hold my other boob, and holds the one she is nursing with her teeth, which hurts. I am constantly having to tell her to nurse nice, and at times, I have cut her sessions short because she's not being nice, but I admit, I probably don't do it as soon as I should. The only times she nurses now is when she wakes up and falls asleep, and now she is skipping nap as often, if not more often, than she takes one these days. And she has a bad habit of biting down once she hits that relaxed stage of sleep. Well, she did it just now, and I couldn't get her to let go! Her jaw is too strong, and I couldn't get my finger in her mouth to unlatch her, and she slept through me squealing, then yelling at her to unlatch! By the time she finally did, I was so upset I had to fight the urge to hit her. Anyway, it's just all these little things like this that add up to me being so sick of it and over it. I know it's her favorite thing in the whole world, but I am to the point that I hate it. And I'm starting to resent her for wanting/needing it so badly still. So how do I get her to stop at this age? I have always nursed her to sleep (besides in the car, and the occassional time she has fallen asleep in front of the tv), so how do I teach her to fall asleep without it? How do I get her to see that she doesn't need it anymore, and prevent it from being a traumatic event in her life? I've tried explaining to her how I feel about it, and that I don't like it anymore, but she always just gets upset and cries and says how much she loves it. And she nurses to so stinking long now when she does. She went from being a 10 minute nurser as a baby to a 45 minute nurser now! I seriously sit and fantasize about giving her a pacifier again, finding something to dry up my milk (are there teas that will do that?), anything, just to get her to stop. She may not be ready yet, but I am. I don't think I can take much more. Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    i fantasized about getting pg cause thats how I weaned my 3rd baby...

    What kept me going was flu season. I figured that I would wean her after flu season was over, and she was turning 4 in JUne... She did nurse a few months after her birthday but that was just to sleep at night.
    WE were in the same boat as you it started not working to put her to sleep and I was DONE... and it just plain hurt me. and pms time it was all I could do to keep it together.
    Your fealings are so normal.

    Do you have any help at night?????

    What worked for the right before you get up nursing was me just getting up and getting moving, and dressed befroe she did.
    and then having something she liked for breakfast ready.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    You're nursing a 4 year-old for 45 minute stretches? You're a saint.

    I think at age 4 they are perfectly able to understand that nursing comes at a price: exhibiting nice nursing manners. When my daughter was 3 and was in the process of weaning, we had rules. No kicking. No wriggling. If Mommy said "Stop," we stopped. And nursing was not going to go on very long at any one time because "Mommy has chores to do." So we would sing a song- I think it was Twinkle, Twinkle- and then be done.

    I know it's tough to break the nursing habit when it's part of your sleep routine, but I think it's okay to say "We're going to nurse for x amount of time" (duration of a song, until the big hand reaches the 12, until daddy's done showering) "and then we are going to do y" (have stories in bed, cuddle, get up and start our day, etc.). I think it's very helpful to introduce a new sleep crutch- instead of nursing all the way to sleep, you nurse enough that your child feels like she's not being cut off and then get her to finish the going-to-sleep process with stories or a backrub or cuddling.
    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
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    yup my sarah loved her books so I could bribe her with books into not nursing.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    Could you do a weaning party?? Make a big to do about it, have her plan everything and be involved in every way so she is clear as to what is going on?


    I'm Heather, SAHM to Cooper , born 1/2007
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    I was up before her this morning, so I got up and started doing my thing. She woke up this morning when she wet the bed , and wanted to go into a different bedroom to nurse down. I just told her that she'd bit me last night in her sleep and my boob really hurt, so it needed a break. She cried and kept saying she was sorry, etc. I told her I knew she didn't do it on purpose, that she didn't need to apologize, but that it still hurt too much to nurse. It's just the crying that's so hard for me. I really struggle to maintain my patience when she cries. And so of course, she does it over every little thing all day long. So I'm just constantly running in frazzled mode these days. But I definitely think I'm going to try something different at bedtime. I can't handle getting bitten like that again. I'm not sure how I'd deal with naptime, because she definitely won't take one without nursing to sleep, but again, she's skipping most of them now. So maybe we'll just try not doing them for a while, since she's been doing okay without them, and see how it goes. At bedtime, I'm thinking I may take her toddler bed out of her room (she insisted she was ready for it, but has only slept in it once - we sleep together on a king-sized mattress on the floor) and put a chair in there to nurse and do stories. And I'll get a clock and put it in there as well, so I can be better about setting a limit on it. I'll work on that for a while, and see where we are and how I feel after a couple weeks or so of that, I think.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    It sounds like you have a good plan for going forward. If the nap goes, I say so be it. My kid stopped napping at age 2 and 3/4, and while I was initially all thinking "I will have no break from her!" I was ultimately glad she stopped napping. We didn't have to schedule the day around her nap, and I didn't have to fight/coax her to nap, and she started going to bed at a normal hour (8:00 instead of 10:00).
    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: Weaning a 4 year old?

    I too think you would feel slightly less frazzled if you set up limits and had clear communication with her about it. I think part of what you are feeling is out of control. So control it while respecting her need and continuing to nudge her in the right direction.
    Is your DH ever there at bedtime? That was a huge piece of the final weaning stage for us. Is my DH started putting him to bed. And that meant laying down with him and he always fell asleep too. There were things about that I did not like. The worst being that up until that point, we had always gone to sleep in a dark room. But my DH has a TV in his room and he like to fall asleep with it on. But it really helped DJ to not nurse at night. When my DH started putting him to bed we started going days at a time without doing it. Because of preschool, we were already in a position where there were three days a week where there simply wasn't time in the morning. Have you found a school for her yet? Because I found that once he started school, on the mornings he had to go I had to wake him up to get him dressed. There was no time to snuggle and nurse. So those three days a week were already out in the mornings. And I wouldn't put up with 45 minutes sessions. Start trying to do a song. We had a special nursing song that I made up just to set that limit. And after I stopped nursing him altogether and he started inviting me to come back to bed with him, he STILL wants me to sing him that song.
    So set some limits. And keep talking about it. And I wouldn't spend a bunch of time focusing or telling her how much you don't like it. IMO that must be so hard for her. To have to hear that the thing she loves the most in the world with the person she loves most in the world, that THAT person doesn't like it or want to do it. You don't want her to walk away with a heavy heart. Talk about how she is such a big girl. And that you KNOW she can do it. And that you are still going to love her and still be with her. But that she can't do it forever. And when does SHE think she'll be done? Involve her. Have it become one of her goals to. To walk away because she is outgrowing the need. Because she is.
    But Set time limit goals and nursing manners rules for sure.
    And if you could get your DH to help with bedtime I think that would really help. And Also I think having preschool helps too.
    Last edited by @llli*djs.mom; January 11th, 2011 at 12:16 PM.

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    Kelly I hear you big time. I was getting so upset and resentful with Max, he's so handsy too which I hate! Now what we do is when he asks to nurse I state the rules which are "when I say stop you say..." the he says "Done!", it actually works 90% of the time and these limits have really made it easier for us. When I'm not so frusterated with every second of nursing I now have a clearer head to start the weaning party convo.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
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    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Weaning a 4 year old?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    Is your DH ever there at bedtime?
    Unfortunately, he is very little help in the evenings. We eat dinner, he does the dishes, and then he flops on the couch to watch tv until he goes to bed. We actually just had a discussion yesterday about how he needs to start being a parent too. But he's asleep around 9ish, and gets up at 5. When she naps, DD doesn't go to bed until 11-12. So she wasn't ready to sleep that early. And she certainly wouldn't like the 5:00 wake up call, so she only ever sleeps with him once in a while when he's off work the next day.

    But my DH has a TV in his room and he like to fall asleep with it on.
    This is DH too. He can't stand having to listen to his own heartbeat, so he always has the tv on.

    Have you found a school for her yet?
    Not yet, because we can't afford it with all the medical bills we have right now, and the wait lists are insane. We're going to have to wait until fall, I think.

    [quote]And I wouldn't put up with 45 minutes sessions.

    She starts all out bawling if I cut her short before she's ready. Sometimes I can tell her we're almost done and do a song, and she's okay with it, but others, she loses her marbles. But honestly, I can't imagine being able to cut her any shorter than say 20 minutes without her losing her mind.

    And I wouldn't spend a bunch of time focusing or telling her how much you don't like it.
    I may change that, but I don't know. I think it's totally fair for me to express my feelings in the matter. And she knows that I feel that way because of her twiddling, fidgeting, etc. I have told her I enjoy nursing NICELY, but when she isn't being nice, that's what I don't like.

    Talk about how she is such a big girl.
    This doesn't work with mine. She is obsessed about being a baby still and "isn't ready" to grow up. She HATES being told she's a big girl. She just wants to be taken care of and pampered all day.

    And when does SHE think she'll be done?
    We have talked about this. She's all over the board with ages (7, 6, 13, 8, etc). Her latest though, was 5, and when she said it, I just thought to myself "I'll never make it and stay sane." I will probably allow the process to go slowly, so that she does continue to nurse throughout the winter/flu season, but come spring/summer, I NEED her to be done. I AM going to the coast by myself this summer for my birthday.

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