I have ebf DD for almost 2 years, no bottles. I have loved it and so has she. At about 18 months she started ramping down her frequency and duration, and we night weaned her (gently) - she still nursed before and after sleep and nap, at cocktail hour, and after boo boos, but just for a moment. Then two months ago she ramped it right back up again. It seems like she wants to nurse all the time. Not compared to an infant, but I am really struggling with the increase. She has gotten very clingy, nurses much longer, and whenever she needs to be held or consoled, it has to include a full-on nursing period. To be honest it might be a mild increase, and the difference is just that I'm feeling done.
I really hoped to let her lead the way on the weaning, but I have been getting really frustrated. I have been talking to her about how sometimes mommy can hold her and hug her and she doesn't always need milk. I have refused to nurse her during dinner when she is upset, because I feel like she's old enough to finish the meal. Then I look at this and think, what am I doing?
I don't think intentional weaning is bad. And in fact, if I'm going to get annoyed about it, it's probably better to just wean her. But the thought makes me sad. And I wouldn't even know how to do it!
I would appreciate any thoughts. Why the increase? Is there a halfway point to weaning (ie/just at sleep/nap and wakeups) and how do I get there? I wouldn't even know the steps to do this with my very strong willed toddler.
I am going away for a week, actually, a month from now. It's a big deal for me. DH is totally ready and I have my pump because I was so hoping, though no guarantees, that she would resume upon my return. Now I am conflicted. I kind of wish she'd give it up, but I know I'll be really sad too.
I feel guilty for feeling this way, and like I'll regret it.
Thanks for any thoughts.
PS: I nursed DD1 exclusively also, though used bottles for expressed milk at times. I weaned her abruptly at 23 months when I had to take a narcotic for pain following an injury. We were both sad but it worked out fine.