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sad tonight... wanted to clw but needed meds (LONG!)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi. I've never posted here before, only lurked, quietly gathering guidance and support and strength for this journey of motherhood and extended breastfeeding. My DD is four. A week ago, I went on meds for two different ailments. Meds that were potentially dangerous for a nursing child, according to the doc and pharmacist. So when I came home, drugs in hand, I told my DD that I wouldn't be able to nurse her because I had to take medicine that would help me get better, but could hurt her body. She was understandably sad and cried. We made a book that night about how she'd been nursing from the day she was born through thick and thin, well and sick, happy and sad... And how it was really hard for her not to be able to nurse now and that she felt sad. That night (we co-sleep) she screamed out in her sleep--the first time she has ever done that. I felt so terrible. It was obviously a stress dream and the last thing in the world I want to do is stress my sweet, spirited girl. She asked to nurse several times over the next couple of days and each time I'd tell her that we couldn't, and I'd remind her about the meds and how it wouldn't be safe for her right now. Well, I'm done with the meds now and after those first few days, she's easily adjusted to a non-nursing relationship. My husband and I have discussed whether we should turn this into an actual weaning. I am really uncertain about it. It feels disingenuous. When I told her we couldn't nurse, I didn't say forever. It was an indefinite lay-off. But recently she hasn't asked. Yesterday, instead of asking to nurse, as usual, she asked for a cuddle, which I so happily gave. I've had time off, because of the holiday, and we've been having lots of wonderful, close family time. We've been laughing together a lot, playing games together and going on hikes and family adventures. So it seems like it might be a good time to make the transition. But I want everything in my relationship with her to be honest and true. And I really want her to get the chance to finish this phase and give it up when she's ready. I discussed this with DH yesterday. Neither of us is certain how to handle it. I was kind of ready to be done, honestly, but really wanted her to choose when to stop or at least include her in the decision, in order to honor the really wonderful nursing relationship we've had thus far. When we last discussed it (maybe a month ago) she told me she'd stop nursing at twelve. Also, I don't know ANYONE else in my circle who has CLW or nursed past two. My family doesn't quite know what to make of it all, but I know they'd all feel really happy if DD stopped soon. As it is, I get regular questions about when she'll get her own room, when I intend to stop nursing, and am I sure she's not still nursing to please me? Oy. So basically, no support. Anyway, sorry this is so long, but any thoughts about what I should do from here? Right now, I'm kind of waiting to see if she asks again. I'm dealing with my own feelings of loss and sadness. I have nursed her through every skinned knee and childhood trauma. It will be a real loss as it's the secret weapon, the magic key... to soothing, to sleep, to peace, to security... Ahhhh! I'm really sad. And maybe scared, too, that I haven't yet given her enough different tools/keys to manage all these things and self-regulate when the nursing is gone. And I'm also worried that my body will stop producing milk if she's not nursing and if i/we change our minds it'll be too late. I know that's a lot to take in. But, any help or advice or just words of support would be much appreciated. I really treasure this forum. And I really hope when my DD is a mom, extended b'feeding and CLW won't be the weirdo exception, it'll be the norm so there will be more resources and help available. Thanks so much!
post #2 of 5
I think if you truly want to CLW you should offer until she is consistently refusing. I never understood why "don't refuse, don't offer" was considered mama-led weaning until I read your post & now I guess it makes sense to me. I understand how you have mixed feelings though... I guess just think ahead to a year (or 5 years etc.) from now. Looking back, do you think you'll be glad you stopped when you did? Do you think you'll regret not encouraging her to continue if she wanted? Also it is the middle of winter... I would personally probably want her to nurse through cold & flu season but I don't know how old she is, your situation, etc. Have you talked to her & asked if she wants to resume nursing?
post #3 of 5

I, too, would explain to DD that you *can* nurse safely again. There is a very good chance she is not asking not because she doesn't want to but because she "knows" the answer will be no.

I'm assuming the medication issue will not come up again (at least in the near future)? If not, I would also take that in consideration (do you want to go through the same thing again?) and also make sure your Doctor had consulted Dr. Hales and not just done a knee jerk reaction that the medication was contraindicated.

Oh, I also just wanted to add a for nursing so long and being so conscious of your DD's needs, both physical and emotional. Make sure you're taking care of yourself too. Even if DD is 100% ready to wean, it can be hard on Momma.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am happily done with the meds. This morning I told DD that it was safe to nurse again. She seemed happy and relieved and nursed immediately, though for a much shorter time than our usual marathon morning sessions. Anyway, the brief cessation has made me aware of what a loss it will be for *both* of us when she stops. (I had considered the loss for her, but had discounted the loss for me, I think.) Also, it's made me aware of my desire to help her develop some self-regulating tools, in addition to nursing, so there will be other things she can turn to when the nursing does end. Stories and singing both really seem to soothe her. Some positive things also emerged: DH has now started a new routine of reading her chapter books at bedtime and she's been more open to cuddling up with him--before she would agressively reject him in favor of me. Also, yesterday, she declared that she was ready to have a sleepover at her Amma & Papa's house, something she's never done before. (We've never been apart from her, even for an overnight.) So we'll see if that actually happens. Amusingly, DH told me that he overheard DD tell her sitter this morning: "I think I'll be done nursing at 4." And she may. But not today.

Finally, thanks for the thumbs up, Tiredx2. I really needed a little encouragement. And thanks for the self-care reminder. Sometimes it's hard to balance it all out and remember that my needs matter in all this, too. I think self-neglect was part of the reason I got so sick in the first place. To that end, I'm going to put some boundaries around the frequent night-nursing. I need sleep to let my body fully heal and at 4+ she needs sleep to grow. Probably more than she needs a 4x a night momma milkshake.
post #5 of 5

I'm so glad to hear that so many good things (and so much knowledge) seems to have come out of this experience for your family. My kids have been hesitant to try new things in the past and it is such a fine line between pushing them and letting them know the they *can* do it, kwim? You sound like you are doing a GREAT job!
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