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Advice for weaning 2 year old who LOVES his ninis

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I will try to make this breif...
DS will be 2 in December, and I would like to wean him shortly after that. (To be honest I have been over it for a while and would like to wean him sooner, but we are taking a trip out of the country next month and I feel like he needs the comfort and security of nursing while we are in unfamiliar places.) I am to the point that pretty much 100% of the time I HATE nursing. I loved it until around 18 months, and then little by little I began to dislike it. At this point I just can't do it much longer. I don't like the way it makes me feel toward ds (resentful, angry, frustrated, etc.) So, being that the decision is made, I would like to go about it in the least tramatic way possible.

Ds is EXTREEMLY attached to nursing. He nurses about once an hour 24 hours a day...sometimes more. I have tried to begin gradual weaning 2x. Once when he was about 18 months I tried to get him to go 2-3 hours between feedings during the day only. We did this for 2 weeks and he would basically just cry from the time he asked for it until I decided to give it to him. He also became VERY clingy (I literally could not put him down for even 30 seconds all day), and he would not go to anyone else, even dh who he normally loves to hang out with. This behavior got progressively worse over the 2 weeks when we decided to stop and go back to nursing when he wanted. It took another 2 weeks for him to get back to his old self. We trieed this again around 20 months with the same results.

We have tried all the usual suggestions...distracting him with other activities, offering food/other drinks instead, not sitting in regular nursing places, cuddling instead of nursing...NOTHING detures him from his quest for ninis.

So, it appears to me that gradual weaning is very hard and tramatic for him. This makes me wonder if it would be easier just to do it all at once and get it over with rather than dragging out the misery?

Has anyone else out there been in this situation? What did you do? How did your ds/dd react. I don't want to tramatize my little man, and I don't want to loose the happy, self-confident boy that he is, but I just cannot go on like this anymore. It is not healthy for me emotionally and I really think I would be a happier, and therefore better mommy if I could stop nursing him but I just feel so trapped right now because I know that he doesn't want to stop.

Thanks for the advice.
post #2 of 32
no advice, just understanding. I too have times I am ready to be done (DS is 2) I seem to be ready before my kids (first went to almost 3 and gave it up without issue when she was ready).
post #3 of 32
Hey,
It's so frustrating sometimes isn't it? I just posted a long one a few days ago looking for help but I guess nobody knew how to help as I got no replies. I was wanting to look towards night weaning as my 19 month old DS wakes between 8 to 10 times a night for "buck". ( they have such funny words for it don't they?? ) My plan is the following: Nurse to sleep, when DS wakes nurse, but only for like five mins then pop him off, if he fusses put him back on saying sleepy sleepy and pop off after another five. As soon as DS is about to fall asleep I will pop him off. Eventually he will get tired of this game and just go to sleep. In fact this is how it went last night. Now, I guarantee you will get less sleep for the first little while but let's be honest, we aren't getting much now anyway so what does it matter right?? lol. So, my hopes are that over a course of say a week or two he will gradually start waking less as it wont be worthwhile for him anymore and mommy will start getting more much needed sleep. Emphasis on MUCH NEEDED!! From there I'm pretty sure that my naturally happy and patient person will return during the day and it won't feel like we have been handed a prison sentence. Awww, I say that and then picture my DS, so cute, so warm in my lap, so connected to me while nursing. I love nursing, I know I do, but the lack of sleep really plays mind games on us. I don't think that going cold turkey is the key, it does sound like your LO needs you now. Imagine being so little, so new to the world and just looking to hold onto the one thing you know best, the one soft spot you know where you are safe and unafraid, at ease....You know best momma what is good for you and if it's making things bad then it's time to change but maybe gradual like my situation is the key?? I don't know, I'm here looking for help too. Good luch, My thoughts are with you.
post #4 of 32
Mine was not nursing that often but here are some things I did when I weaned her around that age:

1. I did let her twiddle/fondle. Yes, it bugged me, as I was pregnant and my breasts were sensitive, but it allowed her to get the booby-comfort while getting nutrition elsewhere. You could perhaps let him touch your breasts every other time, then two out of three times, etc. gradually working up to only a couple nursings a day.

2. First I day-weaned, cutting down to nursing before naps and bed, and at night (mainly because I was so tired I couldn't stand the whining at night). Then I night-weaned. Then I pre-nap-weaned (replaced with twiddling). Then we pre-sleep-weaned. That was definitely the hardest.

It took two months.

She twiddled less and less over time but still needs to touch them for comfort occasionally (she'll be three next month). I'm okay with that.
post #5 of 32
LLL or kellymoms website will probably have some good info. My DD is 2 and it just starting to bug me. With the exception of a couple months while pregnant, it never bothered me with her brother, who self weaned at close to 4 years old. So I made the decision this week to try and nurse DD only at home. I'm not being a hard ass about it yet. But I'm talking to her about it while we nurse at home, that this is where we nurse, and we won't at the park or church or where ever. She sounds like she gets it but we'll see. I feel like talking to her and setting boundaries will help me feel better about when we do nurse and help her feel like I'm not abandoning her.
post #6 of 32
I could have written this post some time ago!

I had also tried to wean DS and it was a disaster. He was really clingy so I backed off. But then it got worse and worse and it just felt WRONG. So then I knew that weaning was the right thing to do.

With that new confidence it was a whole different scene. I think when I tried the first time it didn't work because he picked up on my insecurity. I felt guilty and nervous and of course he was going to be a wreck! When I tried again with a concrete plan I approached it with the idea that I knew best and I was leading us to where we needed to be.

I was very matter of fact. Picked times in the day when we could nurse and then any other time I just said no.. told him when the next time we could would be.. and then gave him all the options he had for that moment (snack, cuddle, walk, play). The first couple of refusals were tough (but not horrific by any means).

Then with our new 'schedule' I could pick one every week to drop.

We went from 10x/24 hours (top) to being done over 2 months. (started when he was 20 mos.. done by 22 mos).

Interestingly I was also planning for a trip. Although I chose to kind of accelerate weaning so that we'd be done by the trip. I felt like a trip would set us back and I really couldn't bear it anymore.

Just my main piece of advice is to remind yourself that you know best. You know what your relationship needs and it's your job to instill confidence in your DC about your decision.

It's been about 18 mos now. Time has flown by! We have a great relationship.
post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadian Jess View Post
Hey,
It's so frustrating sometimes isn't it? I just posted a long one a few days ago looking for help but I guess nobody knew how to help as I got no replies. I was wanting to look towards night weaning as my 19 month old DS wakes between 8 to 10 times a night for "buck". ( they have such funny words for it don't they?? ) My plan is the following: Nurse to sleep, when DS wakes nurse, but only for like five mins then pop him off, if he fusses put him back on saying sleepy sleepy and pop off after another five. As soon as DS is about to fall asleep I will pop him off. Eventually he will get tired of this game and just go to sleep. In fact this is how it went last night. Now, I guarantee you will get less sleep for the first little while but let's be honest, we aren't getting much now anyway so what does it matter right?? lol. So, my hopes are that over a course of say a week or two he will gradually start waking less as it wont be worthwhile for him anymore and mommy will start getting more much needed sleep. Emphasis on MUCH NEEDED!! From there I'm pretty sure that my naturally happy and patient person will return during the day and it won't feel like we have been handed a prison sentence. Awww, I say that and then picture my DS, so cute, so warm in my lap, so connected to me while nursing. I love nursing, I know I do, but the lack of sleep really plays mind games on us. I don't think that going cold turkey is the key, it does sound like your LO needs you now. Imagine being so little, so new to the world and just looking to hold onto the one thing you know best, the one soft spot you know where you are safe and unafraid, at ease....You know best momma what is good for you and if it's making things bad then it's time to change but maybe gradual like my situation is the key?? I don't know, I'm here looking for help too. Good luch, My thoughts are with you.
Thank you so much for the understanding...it feels so good just to feel like someone else feels the same way I do. It seems like all the nursing mamas of toddlers I know have babies that are becomming less interested in nursing on their own/even have to be reminded and encouraged to keep nursing, sleep 5 hours or more at night, etc. I was beginning to feel like I was the only mommy of a nini monster.

I agree that more sleep would probably help my atitude toward nursing. (I don't think I have had longer than 2 uninterupted hours since ds was born, and even those are few and far between.) I used to be able to sleep through a lot of the night nursing but the last few months it hurts so bad that I usually can't so I only end up getting 30-45 minutes inbetween when he unlatches and then is ready to go again.

I will be very curious to know how your night weaning plan goes. I have got to try something, and that seems like a good plan. Please keep me posted.

Thanks again for the post. It was really helpful.
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I did let her twiddle/fondle. Yes, it bugged me, as I was pregnant and my breasts were sensitive, but it allowed her to get the booby-comfort while getting nutrition elsewhere. You could perhaps let him touch your breasts every other time, then two out of three times, etc. gradually working up to only a couple nursings a day.
Thanks for the suggestion, but honestly I am adament about not letting him twiddle as it drives me even more nuts than the nursing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
2. First I day-weaned, cutting down to nursing before naps and bed, and at night (mainly because I was so tired I couldn't stand the whining at night). Then I night-weaned. Then I pre-nap-weaned (replaced with twiddling). Then we pre-sleep-weaned. That was definitely the hardest.
I have debated a lot over weather to day wean or night wean first. We have always gone with day first when we have tried weaning and the result was always ds nursing literally non stop all night---I mean he would never let go without crying. Did you notice an increase in night nursing when you day weaned?
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post
I could have written this post some time ago!

I had also tried to wean DS and it was a disaster. He was really clingy so I backed off. But then it got worse and worse and it just felt WRONG. So then I knew that weaning was the right thing to do.

With that new confidence it was a whole different scene. I think when I tried the first time it didn't work because he picked up on my insecurity. I felt guilty and nervous and of course he was going to be a wreck! When I tried again with a concrete plan I approached it with the idea that I knew best and I was leading us to where we needed to be.

Just my main piece of advice is to remind yourself that you know best. You know what your relationship needs and it's your job to instill confidence in your DC about your decision.
Thanks you so much for your post...it gives me hope that things will be ok and makes me feel good about my choice to wean ds. I keep telling myself that my feelings have to count for something too, but then I just feel so guilty about it. But, as you expressed, I have gotten to a new place where I know that I have got to do it in order to be a better mama again. I am sure that I was also putting off some insecure feelings the first time around as well and hopefully my confidence this time around will make a difference as it did for you.

What kind of plan did you follow? Did you focus on day or night first? Did the 10 times you started with include night nursing? Did you let someone else help out at night? I have been debating over weather to try and have dh take half of the night, or do every other night or something eventually...though I am sure ds will adamently protest against this at first.

Thanks for the advice. It is really helpful to have an idea of how others have gone about it. I am definately the kind of person that does better with a plan. It is also nice to know that even with a similar situation your dc adjusted and dealt with it and everything turned out well in the end.
post #10 of 32
My DS will also be 2 in December. I'm not actively weaning but not offering unless I'm trying to get him to sleep. If he nurses well and then asks again shortly, I'll ask if he'd like a cup or some food. Alot of the time he is just hungry or thirsty and is only asking to nurse by default.
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogelito's Mommy View Post

What kind of plan did you follow?
I just set a schedule and didn't deviate from it. I think week one was on waking, before nap, before bed and on demand throughout the night. So that was eliminating the random nursathons in the morning and afternoon. I knew he did fine without those when we were out of the house so I just built it around that. I think I may have had one other session too but I can't remember now. I basically just made it so that the times we could nurse were easily identifiable to him. So - 3 hours from now is too vague but 'at nap time' was better.

After I had done that for a while I started to cut them out one by one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogelito's Mommy View Post
Did you focus on day or night first?
Day! I wanted both of us to be wide awake and able to deal with our emotions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogelito's Mommy View Post
Did the 10 times you started with include night nursing?
Yes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogelito's Mommy View Post
Did you let someone else help out at night?
No. DS slept with us at the time so DH was there but I handled it. If he couldn't have boobs then he at least wanted his mommy. Having your DH take over works really well for some people though!
post #12 of 32
I weaning DD #1 gradually at 26 months, and DD #2 is now 28 months and more of a challenge. I read the Dr. Sears Nighttime Parenting book and Elizabeth Pantley's no cry sleep solution to help me out. I was co-sleeping while weaning her.

With #1, we went down to only naps and nighttime, I was PG with sensitive nipples so I was motivated to get it done. After that, then we night weaned (num nums go night-night, we nurse when Mr. Sun comes up) - that was the best thing I ever did. She finally started sleeping better when she wasn't waking up for nummies. The first night was the worst, I just would rock her or sometimes get out of bed and walk her around on my shoulder so she could fall back to sleep without nursing. It only took a few nights of this.

Then I started shortening the go to sleep nummies, I would rock her and nurse for one song, then other side for another song, then rock her to sleep or pick her up and dance around the room with her on my shoulder until she fell asleep.

I kept shortening up the nursing times (my nipples were so sensitive), she would say "udder sigh" (other side) after me and we'd switch it up; eventually we got them done completely. It took about 60 days. BUT EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT! For example, DD#1 loved her num nums but was also a very compliant child. So pick a plan, try it out for a while and be open to modifying it.

My DD#2 is a screamer, very strong-willed and I need my sleep - so I'm sort of caught in the "it's easier just to give in" trap once I fall asleep. I need to steel myself, determine my plan, and be prepared for a couple of rough nights. I've started talking to her about big girls only need milk from cups like big sissy, and soon she won't need num nums anymore. We are down to naps and nighttime only (HUGE for us, she was a nursing fiend). She still asks sometimes and I tell her it's for nighttime only. When she is ready for bed she starts whining for num nums, so I am sort of dreading weaning her as I feel it will be harder with her than my first.

Also, if I am absolutely honest with myself, this is our last baby, so I'm probably putting it off a little bit because I know she's the last baby I'll ever nurse. Which is a little sad for me, but also exciting to see her grow up. I really do want to wean and get my body back, I've been nursing or pregnant (or both) for 5.5 years of the 6 years I've been married. Anyway, hope my 2 cents helps. I always tell myself that she won't be nursing or in diapers when she goes to college or gets married, and that gives me a little better perspective. Sometimes it feels like you need to do it all right this second - but sometimes slowing it down a little is easier for both mommy and baby.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogelito's Mommy View Post
Thanks for the suggestion, but honestly I am adament about not letting him twiddle as it drives me even more nuts than the nursing.



I have debated a lot over weather to day wean or night wean first. We have always gone with day first when we have tried weaning and the result was always ds nursing literally non stop all night---I mean he would never let go without crying. Did you notice an increase in night nursing when you day weaned?
No, mainly because she was not nursing for nutrition, she was nursing out of habit and for comfort. That was not a bad thing, but it did mean that a reduction in day-nursing did not have a big effect on night-nursing. It sounds like your son is using nursing more as a sleep aid, than as a source of nutrition (i.e. he's probably not THAT hungry), so I doubt day-weaning could possibly up the night-nursing.

I mean how could it, really? He, too, needs deep sleep. So those 45-minute sleep cycles can only get longer, not shorter. (I mean, if he's finding a new, less disruptive sleep aid, NOT that he could not possibly sleep less... because as we all know, yes, it could get worse than it actually is ).

One thing that might help you come to terms with it is to look at it as his having a really bad sleep aid. Nursing may be comforting to him but he needs longer sleep cycles.

NCSS helped me with my toddler and I have to say, it is helping with the infant as well. Pantley has a really gentle style and incidentally, co-slept, nursed past infancy AND slept through the night. I found that incredibly encouraging, that she remained true to her commitment to gentle nighttime parenting and was sleeping.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogelito's Mommy View Post
I have debated a lot over weather to day wean or night wean first. We have always gone with day first when we have tried weaning and the result was always ds nursing literally non stop all night---I mean he would never let go without crying. Did you notice an increase in night nursing when you day weaned?
DS did first increase his night nursing but I didn't mind too much. I found night nursing to be less aggravating than daytime for whatever reason. It eased up after a few weeks and then some time later I nightweaned.
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
So, just an update...
I decided to try to do some night weaning before our trip in the hopes that will help me retain some sanity and stamina to keep up the day time nurse-a-thons until we get back and I can work on completely weaning him. Whenever we have tried any kind of weaning in the past it has been day time, mostly because I was unwilling to give up the little sleep I do get and have ds cry all night. I always assumed that he would have cried histerically all night long until morning when he could have it again.

But surprisingly we have done 2 nights now and it has not been that bad. For now I am nursing him until about 2am and then trying to get him to make it until 6am with no ninis (so we are only talking about 4 hours here), but that is a drastic cut back from his waking every 45 min-1hour. The first night be cried, but not really hard...just kind of whined for a couple minutes and then sat up in the bed between dh and I while he tried to hold his head up and kept almost falling asleep (SO funny to watch). He really didn't want dh to touch him, which kind of made dh sad, but I think the fact he was off the hook and got to go back to sleep helped him get over it. I just rubbed his back and tried to get him to lay down with me, which he did a couple of times for a few min, and he even fell asleep for a couple 10 min stretches and 1 half hour stretch. Once in a while he would whine and ask for it, and I would tell him, "Not now, they are sleeping. You can have ninis when the sun comes up." He kept pulling back the cutain and saying "No sun!" So funny. Then when the sun came out we nursed and he fell back asleep for 2 and a half hours...poor thing was exhausted.

The second night he actually slept a 4 hour chunk after I nursed him for the last time (around 1:30am), which is unheard of for him...in fact I think it may be the longest continuous block he has ever slept. (DH actually kept leaning over to check on him and make sure he was ok.) So, when he woke up about 5:30am I only had to get him to wait about 30 min to nurse, so that really wasn't that bad either.

It is amazing how much just that little extra non-nini time helps me to push through the rest of the day and makes everything look so much more manageable. I am shocked that he is handling it so well so far...it is only day 2, so we will see, but it is encouraging that maybe the whole process wont be quite the nightmare that I had anticipated.

Thanks to everyone for all of the suggestions and personal stories. It is so nice to hear how other people have creatively gone about the weaning process with babies the same age and it has helped to to get a plan in my head for getting from point A to B and that helps a lot in terms of me feeling less trapped and less helpless. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel for me now.
post #16 of 32
I'm so glad things are working well for you! I know for me, nightweaning gave me what I needed to get through the days.
post #17 of 32
That is so great! I know there will be regressions so I don't want to congratulate you too early, BUT- you are making progress and that is wonderful. Baby steps.
post #18 of 32
Great!
post #19 of 32
When my DS was alomost 2 and I was due to have DD in about 2 mos. I had to wean him due to this reoccurring yeast infction we were passing back & forth (I was getting thrush on my nipples & didn't want to pass that to my new born)
The gradual weaning was NOT working for us. I put band aids on my nipples and told him they were broken. This will give you adhesive burn, so when you take the band aids off, reapply them going the opposite direction next time. Sometimes he would try to pull them off, I just reminded him that they didn't work anymore. I think it worked b/c he was able to visualize this whole thing.
To get him to sleep the 1st few nights I just snuggled him close & stroked his head, I think he used a binky during this time (He NEVER took one any other time!) The rule of thumb is: The first night is bad, the 2nd night is worse, but the 3rd night it starts to get better. After his intial transition we took him for rides in the car to get him to sleep, we had to do this for months.
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
I have a friend who did the bandaid thing with both of her kids and it worked for her too. I have thought about it many times. It is reassuring to hear that although things get worse they do eventually get better. Right now I am just trying to get ds down to nursing 10x in 24 hours before our trip, then do some more intense weaning when we get back. This has included limiting his night time nursing to 3 times after I nurse him down (a HUGE decrease for him). He has usually nursed his 3 times by about 1am-1:30am. Then I make him wait until the sun comes up around 6am to nurse again (ninis are asleep while it is dark out). The first night went well. He stayed up the whole time but didn't really cry hard, and just whined on and off. The second night was about the same. Last night was pretty bad. He was screaming and didn't even want me to touch him. This lasted pretty much the whole time I refused to give him ninis (about 4 hours). At one point he was even throwing a full on fit, flailing his arms and legs and yelling at dh to get out of the bed. All very unheard of behavior for him. So, your story gives me hope that maybe it will get better again because last night sucked.

Thanks for sharing.
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