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Is it possible to wean a super high needs toddler while baby still nurses?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I need some help. I need a lot of help. I am burnt out on nursing my 29 month old daughter. I am at the end of rope at how demanding she is, how impatient she is, how moody she is all because of mama's milk. I know she is not ready to wean. If it is up to her she will wean after her 11 month old brother weans. She LIVES for milk. She wants milk all the time. If I'm nursing the baby, she wants milk, now. And if she doesn't get milk, now, she throws a fit. She can be the happiest toddler on the block. . .until I walk in the room, then it is milk, milk, milk, milk, milk. It is nonstop. It has always been nonstop. Whereas her brother will nurse for a couple of minutes and go about his business, she will nurse for an hour if I let her. Please, please, please don't try to convince me to let her wean on her own. This is drastically changing the way I feel about her. I have to sit and meditate while she nurses so thoughts of throwing her off my boob don't constantly run threw my head and make me even more angry and frustrated.


She wants to nurse in the morning. In order to avoid a melt down first thing in the morning, I let her. I usually have to tandem nurse in the morning because if she sees her brother nursing and she isn't there will be a huge meltdown. Great way to start the day. I walk into her room and it's "milk." Not mama, no hello, no acknowledgment other than milk. I want milk. Milk.


She will then want to nurse through out the entire day. We go out. We are distracted. We are contastly on the move in order for me to get some space from her milk demands. Still, at nap time, she nurses. After nap she wants to nurse, and nurse, and nurse. She then wants to nurse again all afternoon. We nurse before bedtime. By this time I am so over her demands, so over it, that I literally don't just hate nursing her, but fear I'm starting to hate her. mecry.gif


I have tried limiting her during the day to how many times she can have milk, setting timers, nursing only in certain locations, saying yes, at this time we can nurse. . .My super incredible, fun, smart daughter goes from being joyful and happy to whining and demanding then crying and yelling the moment I walk in the room. Her entire personality changes.


She has had full access to me since she was borne. Nothing changed when we brought her brother home. She was tandem nursing in the hospital.


Help, please. How do I wean a toddler this obsessed with milk when she's going to see her little brother nursing? It seems so cruel. I cannot reasonably keep this hidden from her. The children are with me (DH travels for work M-F) all the time. I've looked and looked and can't find anything that speaks directly to weaning a high needs toddler while nursing a baby. I don't think it is possible. Is it?

post #2 of 10
I'm moving this to a different place for more on-topic advice. smile.gif

That sounds terribly difficult. hug.gif My 26mo was the same way, to the point where I developed a "pain syndrome" in my right breast. We're working on weaning, slowly, though it's far easier for me because I don't have a new baby. I'm trying a few different things:
  • changing up the routine so that she has to wait to nurse, even it's just a few seconds at first, then building up the time so that we separate that "see mom, need boob" reflex. Things like sending DH to do the morning and evening routines, or even little delaying tactics like getting the mail, washing my hands, putting away a couple of dishes, etc. She throws a fit but still is learning how to wait
  • Offering BM in a straw cup, often, especially when I think she'll want to nurse (which, for your LO is all the time!)
  • Limiting her nursing time and then saying the milk is all gone but we can get more in a cup. This works for me because DD is a constant side-switcher, so I can limit it to 3 jaunts per side or something
  • Maximizing snuggle time. My LO is a snuggler and really wants the closeness and cuddling, so I try to give her tons of that with my shirt on. wink1.gif
It's tough... we're obviously still at it, but I no longer have that crazy "ARRGGHHH!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" feeling anymore and can actually enjoy my DD again. Hang in there...hopefully there will be more advice here soon!!
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your response. I've been checking back and checking back looking for some mama's magic solution.


When DH is home he is completely 100% involved with her. He gets up with her before I do, spends a ton of time with her playing, taking her out of coffee, buying me time to nurse DS. The moment she sees me her entire demeanor changes, and it becomes painful for everyone involved. She is learning to be patient, as she whines, cries, and sometimes even tries to undress me if I'm actually trying to nurse DS while sitting (silly me). DH is the King of Distractionland with her, but it still only works part of the time. Mama = milk. I can offer her chocolate instead of milk, and she'll demand milk. Who does that?!? Hey, I'm not into bribing my kids, but at this point I've tried everything!


I haven't thought of offering BM in a straw cup. We've used that exclusively for water. I'm afraid, yes afraid, that if/when we don't have milk in her straw cup and only water she will lose her mind. I don't even know if that will make sense to anyone unless one has dealt with this kind of demanding milk issue.


DD is NOT a snuggler. Never has been. Even nursing the way she nurses has nothing to do with snuggles or connecting. It has to do with milk.


Please mamas, more suggestions?!?!


Thank you Mosaic. thanks.gif Just someone hearing me helps me feel less alone and desperate.

post #4 of 10
I was *just* thinking about this today. Dd is 28 months and ds is 5 months she has always been very high needs ESP with nursing. When I was pregnant I limited her to about three tunes per day though because it hurt! We are nursing about three times a day now... This may sound odd but one thing that has been helping is trying to let go of my mommy guilt a bit and make a resolve in myself to follow my body/instincts. The other day we went the see the sheep mamas and the baby lambs. They are a bit bigger and stronger now. Different breeds of lamb and they were different sizes/ages one set of twins approached the mum to nurse and got under her haunches and she tolerated it for a minute then walked away! A larger lamb went to nurse a different mana and she kicked him in the head and walked away... None of this might be right for you, but it had helped me. I might be wrong but it sounds like you're torn between her needs and yours? I definitely feel that. But I realized there was a part of her high neediness that I was playing into with my fear that she would not be ok if we didn't do xyz and so she picked up on my stress and it made her hysterical. But I detached calmly and made limits and at the same time did other things she valued like reading books, doing art. I also started potty training, and very much communicated that I knew she could robust herself. It was hell but three weeks later she has it! Along with potty training I taught her how to get herself dressed and that branched out to other areas like helping prepare finner etc. this has boosted her self esteem so much! She started putting herself to sleep after being the child who would scream for three hours and nurse and pop awake and generally create havoc every night! I found a bunch of stuff about Montessori potty training and other early childhood methods helpful. I love attachment parenting but sometimes it translates into (for high needs kuds) that because they are very intense they are not capable when they are... In this roundabout way keeping dd busy, building self esteem, and firming up my own resolve had helped. What would you to if you suddenly had to be away for longer or for whatever reason gouldn't or shouldn't nurse her. She would adapt and be ok.... That said it is hard and I have no specific plan. Dd us starting Reggio Emilio preschool next month I've day per week too...
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you, Doulamama. Your reply was full of good things to consider. Maybe I wallow too much in mama's guilt? And maybe she needs MORE responsibility? I think that I have also assumed there are certain things that would just rock her very foundation, less nursing being one, because of her personality. (This child was high needs in the womb!) BUT when she does go to "school" two days a week, also a Reggio Emilio inspired school, and she does nap (which is rare, very rare) she does so without nursing. She'll ask for milk the moment I walk in the door to pick her up and it won't stop until she's asleep. Just thinking out loud here but I never thought she would sleep through the night because she was on the boob the ENTIRE night, but once I night weaned her she began to sleep for 12 hours straight. I won't hear a peep from her unless she's sick. Getting her to sleep these days is more of problem than ever for some reason. If she's not nursed completely to sleep she'll stay up screaming for me for an hour, but if I let her take her time and nurse to sleep, she's going to nurse for an hour. No kidding. An hour. At the end of the day that is too long for this mama. . .so I get up, calmly, talk to her, move her into her bed, pat her back, leave. . as she's crying for milk. She is potty trained. She trained herself in a week. She stopped sleeping in a diaper on day three. . .another thing I thought she couldn't handle just yet. I thought it would be a nightmare, and it was SOOOOOOOO easy. The easiest thing "we've" ever done. So. . .back to milk. . .I want her done. She doesn't want to be done. I'm going to introduce your idea of teaching herself how to get dressed. I'll make that a priority and maybe that will eliminate the morning milk demands. She loves baking. We've been baking since she was 12 months. I'll incorporate some more kitchen activities. I have a book "Teach Me To Do It Myself" and haven't even opened it yet! Dusting that off now. . .thank you for your words. . .I also have observed Mother Nature at work at the zoo, and have many, many, many times wished I was a goat come nighttime. smile.gif I'm not convinced this child can be weaned until her brother stops nursing, but my goodness, if I could cut it back to a few times a day I think I could stay with it/her. I think.

post #6 of 10
We're at a similar place. Tbh it's tough love right now. Giving her various responsibilities. Have you told her how you feel? Milk is owe for mummy so I'd like to do it x times per day. Then calmly say we will do it _____ when she asks maybe give her a hug and walk away and get busy. She might throw a tantrum. It night last a few days if you maintain a living presence and breathe through it or get your dh to help or a friend or relative. Stick to your guns and she will accept it. IMO it us better to nurse lovingly or not at all. She is learning to get what she wants despite others needs or feelings rtc. This is a relationship. U need to be ok. If you are, she will be, a plan might be good. We all have particular stages that are harder with my dd they all seem to be...
post #7 of 10

Oh man - I am seeing the next year of my life unfolding in front of me.  My DD is 26 months old and INCREDIBLY high needs.  She sounds very much like your daughter and she wants to nurse All.The.Time.  It's constant - mama mut (that's what she calls it, I don't know why) mut mut mut mama mut.  She lifts my shirt no matter where we are, she doesn't take no for an answer, and, get this, MY MILK DRIED UP 6 MONTHS AGO!!!!! I am 8 months pregnant and I haven't made milk in a long time, so for her, it isn't about the milk, it's all about the comfort, but I am so scared that I won't ever be able to wean her.  I fully intend to tandem nurse, but I just don't know if she's going to accept ANY limits.  Give us updates on how it goes...

post #8 of 10

kudos to you and OP - i honestly have no idea how you do it.  my DD's super high needs personality from day 1 is a huge reason why she will either be an only child or possibly have a sibling spaced no less than four years apart.  i'm seriously in awe, since there is no way in h!ll i could imagine becoming pregnant until DD becomes more and more independent, nursing-wise and otherwise!  sorry to not have any words of wisdom for OP, but just wanted to express that i can't imagine how hard that must be.

post #9 of 10

This sounds exactly like my DD, who will be 3 in 2 weeks. I was actually coming on to post something about her obsession with me, nursing, and my boobs. I am 18 weeks pregnant with baby #2 right now and really am not sure how to proceed. I had always been a fan of the child deciding when to wean, but I do not know if I will be able to handle tandem nursing with her incessant needs/demands for 'mimis' especially not with a NB nursling, too.


I have felt EXACTLY like you describe in wanting to throw her off of me before or being so upset with her that it changed how I felt about her and made me feel like I didn't even love her. I must say that I do think the advice from other mamas here to get firm on your boundaries and to just lovingly keep them set is what I struggle the most with. I have serious issues with boundaries--apparently I come from a family where we just don't have any healthy boundaries and so I was never really taught how to set my own and this coupled with my DDs personality have been detrimental to me from the very beginning. I work with a therapist who has helped me a lot in this realm to understand that it isn't 'tough love' but normal boundary setting and that it is developmentally appropriate at her age--its not like we are talking about infants here. I find that whenever I am feeling bad about something with DD {nursing or anything else I feel like she is demanding from me} it is often because I have failed to set the boundary and hold it firm for her. Once I recognize this and am able to lovingly set the boundary my feelings for her change back to normal even as she handles the challenges of the new or reinforced boundary by acting out--crying, demanding, yelling etc.--I just remain there with loving support of how difficult the process of change and boundaries are for her and try to remember that it is truly Divine Perfection {in my opinion and belief} that she chose to come to me to teach me the exact lessons that I did not receive yet in this lifetime ; )

I don't know if any of that will ring true for you, mama, but I thought I would share my personal experience and what I attribute it to and how I chose to view it {on good days}. It has helped tremedously to remember that I NEED to set the boundaries for us both right now.

Thank you for posting this--you led me to realize that I think it will be in our best interest to explore weaning completely prior to giving birth in December. Hope you find your path, too ; )

post #10 of 10

I, too, came on this board to talk about my situation with DS's high needs and obsession with nursing. However, my son is only 18 mos., and I don't have a second child yet, so I really commiserate with your situation and would love to hear other's suggestions so that I can think about how I would deal with this before we have another child, because I don't know if I can tandem nurse. At this point, I feel like nursing is starting to ruin our relationship. DH and I are trying to have a 2nd child and I do feel like something really has to change before that happens. With my son, it isn't about the milk at all- he went away for 5 days with DH to see extended family. which was hard for me but I had no worries about him weaning!, Apparently was an angel and extremely independent while he was away- slept through the night, ate everything in sight, etc. As soon as he came home and saw me, it was "boob" all over again and he asks every 20 min. I pumped a little while he was gone and so my supply is not what it used to be, yet he is starting to increase it again and my hormones are all over. Plus, he will happily nurse dry, sometimes for an hour just to fall asleep for a nap if I let him, and if I try to unlatch him, he will wake up screaming for more (doesn't always happen, but when it does, I nearly lose my mind) and then won't nap that day.


Now that I've tried to let go of my mama guilt and focus on my needs a bit more (as someone mentioned above), I've been starting to put limits on it, and DS is tantruming and screaming a lot...something he never did much before. I still nurse him prob 6-8 times a day. I just don't know how much longer I can do this. I work FT out of the house but on a school schedule, and I'm off for the summer, plus he co-sleeps with us and I've always nursed him on demand. His grandma cares for him while I work, so he is never short of attention. I am so thrilled to be spending all of my time with him but there are days when I just feel really done and resentful. He is high-needs, high-energy, I have to watch him every second and can never get anything done, and so on top of that, when he is asking to nurse constantly, when I am nursing him for long periods of time, and enduring a lot of pain doing it, I just feel so burned out.


It is so hard that my son acts so completely different around me. I know it is because of the nursing. I don't know how to balance his needs and my needs because he is so incredibly demanding with the nursing that ultimately he wins out. If it were up to me completely at this point, I would wean him entirely, but then my guilt steps in and I know it wouldn't be the best thing for him. To top it off, my family sees me struggling to maintain my sanity and think I'm spoiling him and my mom, in good intention, tells me that it will "just get harder the older he gets".


So, I apologize for hijacking the thread with my own situation and for not giving you meaningful advice, but I just wanted to offer my support and commiseration. I'll be checking back to see what anyone can offer in terms of advice...

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