KendraCalhoun, I love the Mothering Forums, but haven't logged on in about a year. Tired and crabby this afternoon, I thought I'd get on to see if by chance anyone was commenting about their toddlers being avid nursers. I just needed to know somebody else out there might be going through the same thing... (exhaustion!!). I love breastfeeding our 23 month old, but I'm soooooooo tired. She nurses casually during the day, always before naps and bedtime and throughout the night. She rarely goes more than 2 hours between nursings. I've been sick with the flu this week, so it's been torture to be woken up so frequently. We have a family bed (with a twin laying flush next to it for extended comfort) and she and I have been thrashing around all week. Exhausted and frustrated with my Mom REALLY encouraging me to wean our daughter, I just needed a little pick-me-up by hoping there was somebody else on the Mothering Forum who's recently posted a similar situation. I'm not ready to wean her (and baby girl isn't ready either) so I'm not looking for answers, but rather just the comfort of knowing I'm not alone. You've provided that for me today. Thank you KendraCalhoun!
IdentityCrisisMama, my daughter was an all-day grazer until she was 18 months. Then, food got more interesting to her which gave me a break during the day. I'm still nursing her throughout the day, but we go longer stretches (unless it's nighttime). Before her first birthday, my husband introduced me to Dr. Jay Gordon (who was recently on the Anderson Cooper show with Mayim Bialik), who's a Pediatrician, lactation consultant and is on the board for the LLL. My husband, who's a Registered Dietitian specializing in infant nutrition and lactation consultant himself found that Dr. Gordon's teachings and advice were quite awesome. Dr. Gordon shares a gentle method of weaning a breastfeeding child, but he's very specific about not weaning until at least 1 year of age. Dr. Gordon promotes child-led weaning, but knows that the relationship between each mother and baby are different and therefore, he respects and kindly supports those who choose to wean but also supports and praises those who choose to nurse past infancy and into toddler-hood. I'd like to again state that Dr. Gordon does NOT recommend using his tools to wean a child before the age of 1 year.
Here's his website: drjaygordon.com
Desperate for sleep, my husband and I tried his method of night weaning last year after my daughter turned one. I ended up feeling more mentally unstable after hearing my daughter cry with my husband in bed all while I tried to sleep on the air mattress in our living room. Being that we don't support letting our daughter "cry it out", it was torture hearing her screaming for my comfort. I gave in, and ended up back in the bedroom within 10 minutes on that first night of attempting. Call me a pushover, or whatever, but I realized in that instant that although I was mentally and physically exhausted from having a baby attached to my breast for a full year, I was even more so hurting from hearing my baby cry. My husband and I believe in Dr. Gordon's teachings but we weren't ready, and neither was our daughter. Every morning I wake up tired, I ask myself if I'm ready to try again. Things have gotten easier, but I'm still not ready. That's not to say there haven't been many other success stories using his teachings.
If you decide to research his recommendations and find success, I'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, be super proud of yourself for nursing a 13 month old grazer. I KNOW it's not easy. I've been there, and kind of STILL am there, probably just not as intense as what you're experiencing. Stay strong and keep loving friends and family who support you within reach. Sometimes, a few hours away from babe at a movie or dinner allows yourself to reset and be refreshed for the next 24 hour grazing. Ha!
Cheers to both you girls... you made my day knowing there are others experiencing the same joys, frustration, sleeplessness, love and rewards of breastfeeding our babes.