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I feel like nursing is making us both miserable, help please!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

DD will be 3 in June, and while she has always been a very enthusiastic nurser, I am just starting to go crazy. An hour doesn't go by that she doesn't ask to nurse, sometimes every 20-30 minutes. She will nurse for an hour at a time if I allow it and I can't spend 6 hours a day nursing my toddler. When I say no or even try to delay it (after lunch, after I finish doing something, etc), she will often throw a monster tantrum that includes hitting and kicking. Yesterday she had two 30 minute long tantrums about it, plus a few smaller ones. When she nurses, she frequently tries to twiddle the other nipple (which she is not allowed to do, but then throws the fit when I tell her she's done), pull yank and twist my hair, try to do it standing up and then collapse but tries to stay latched so that she practically rips my nipple off. It makes me feel so angry and I hate feeling like that towards her. She has access to water, milk and food all day and she's isn't very picky, but if I try to get her to eat a snack instead, most of the time she gets angry.


Other than this, she is a very happy little girl. She's outgoing and social, shares with her friends, she's polite, follows rules, gets along great with other kids etc. She is very strong willed and opinionated, and likes to everything herself (much more than all her friends) but I like her strong personality and don't want to squash it. There are things that I really do love about nursing, but I'm wondering if we will both be happier if I wean her. I night weaned about 6 months ago and that resulted in much better sleep for both of us (she woke up every 1-2 hours all night long, now she pretty much sleeps through the night), and gave my dh the ability to put her to bed.


So, I either need tips on how to make our breastfeeding relationship better for both of us, or weaning tips. Has anyone ever weaned a toddler that loved it so much? She makes comments like, "That looks so yummy, *slurp*!" or "Mmmmmm, tasty!" I have no idea how to do it or if I even should. Help!

post #2 of 10

That is such a difficult age to be nursing. My daughter just turned 3 and is almost weaned, but we went through the same thing. I would just gently put her off by saying we needed to wait so I could make more milk for her and so we could go sit somewhere comfortable. I did not give in to the tantrums. I said I was sorry that she was sad, but she still needed to wait awhile. I think we started slow by just making her wait until I finished whatever I was doing and sometimes I would get lucky and she would forget. Now there really isn't anything left, but she still asks a couple times a week.

post #3 of 10

Ah that's such a difficult age! Weaning is a pretty intimidating thought. I guess it depends on why you are still breastfeeding now, is it because she wants to? Because you want to provide her with breast milk? or for some other reason? You could consider pumping your milk and providing it to her that way. I agree it's best, at this age, to just make her wait until it's a more comfortable time for you. I would suggest that it's better to give longer breast feeding sessions, but less frequently than regular short ones. This is because the milk at the beginning of the feed is a lot more watery and contains a lot less fat and nutrition than the following milk. If you give her a number of short feeds, she wont be getting a very content feeling from the milk. I think it sounds like you're ready to start the weaning process - it doesn't have to be a short and sudden thing. I found this site pretty helpful for information on weaning, if you want to have a look: http://www.mybreastfeedingdiet.com/weaning/

All the best! And remember there's no right or wrong answer, it's just whatever works best for you two. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you! We have had a rough few days, but I'm not usually this frustrated with it. I want to keep nursing because she loves it so much and I want her to have breastmilk. It's great for traveling, comforting, when she's sick etc, but I guess I wish she wanted it a little less. She often nurses until "this side not work" so I know she's getting all the good stuff in one sitting. I have no interest in pumping (btdt), but I don't think I'm ready for full on weaning. I did tell her we needed to wait so I could make more milk and she accepted that once, and today has been a lot easier. Any more tips on helping to cut down are welcome!

post #5 of 10

I have NOT done this so these are just thoughts...


Could you make nursing appointments with her?  Say 4 a day?  Or 3 or whatever you're happy with?  Say to her "mama's boobs are so tired now you're a big girl. They need to rest a lot more now.  So we will give them big rests to let them make more milk ok?  We can nurse at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime."  Then when it's time to nurse sit down with her, read a story to her (then when nursing ends the story can remain) and cuddle up.


My DD is only 20 months but i still think it's totally ok for me to end a nursing session if she's not willing to lay still, be kind to my nipples and nurse.  By age 3 i think i'll have weaned, but if i haven't you can bet i'll be insisting on good manners at the breast regardless.  I think it's a very valid thing to teach someone from a young age - physical closeness is a contract of TWO people and the boundaries of the other person are valid and important.


Best of luck Mama!

post #6 of 10

I just posted something extremely similar but I am looking to wean for sure. I started my thread somewhere else and it was moved here to be in a more helpful location. I am going to keep track of your thread. Ocean will also be 3 in June but has a delay in his language. He is starting to speak more and more these past few months but I am not sure exactly how much he is understanding. So, explaining to wait or any other excuse to delay a feeding or stop is not an option. Here is my link in case I get a few replies that are helpful to you too. So far no responses. Thanks for posting! ~~Melody



post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

So sorry mama! We were really just having a very rough week, but it's much better now. She still wants to nurse very frequently, but telling her that the na-nas need time to make more milk really worked well for her and the tantrums have ceased quite a bit. I've also started trying to comfort her without nursing when she gets hurt, rather than just go straight for the boob. I know what you mean about wondering if quickly weaning would be more gentle. I don't know the answer, but I hope other people will respond! Good luck!

post #8 of 10

My DD just turned 2 and I am feeling the same things. I said I wanted to breastfeed until at least 2, but she is no where near ready to stop (tantrums if I tell her we need to wait, etc) I am trying to nurse just 3 times a day for my comfort (early morning, nap, bedtime) because any more than that and I feel horribly touched out and frustrated. She doesn't have good nursing manners (pulls and pinches my breast, rolls around/stands up etc). I've tried explaining to her that she needs to lay still if she wants to have milk, but she just continues the behavior until I put and end to the nursing session, and then has a tantrum. I feel like I would be failing as a mother if I take away something that she enjoys/seems to need. But at the same time, I find myself getting extremely frustrated when she asks for milk when it isn't "time" which makes me not be the best mother I can be.

post #9 of 10

Parenting is a lot about setting limits and I think it's okay to set limits on nursing at this stage as well.  Remember that it is a two way relationship and that your feelings and preferences matter too.  I would highly recommend "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler".  I re-read it each time I had a child at this stage.

post #10 of 10

It sounds to me like she's going through a hard time, even if it's more an internal, growing-up kind of thing than the result of an external stress. At this age some toddlers are independent enough to wean, others aren't. If it were me, I would try to focus on what her emotional needs are. Maybe teach her some breathing techniques, chant positive affirmations, play dolls with her. Whatever you think she might respond to and allow her to feel that she is on a more even keel. I also would not try to limit her nursing other than a few simple things that you are already doing: wait til after lunch; let me make more milk. You could also tell her that when she turns 3 in June, she's only going to get momma's milk at certain designated times of day. She would have lots of time to get used to the idea, and she would associate it with growing up.

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