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She's 16 months, weaning, and breast-obsessed?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've been very conflicted about weaning.  On the one hand, I've had some real physical challenges while breastfeeding, and I'm pretty touched out at all times, and I'm frequently feeling done.  On the other hand, she is only 16 months old. 

She's been nursing only twice a day for ages now, once before her nap, once before bed.  Both nursing sessions are getting much shorter, she ends both sessions herself, she rarely nurses off to sleep anymore.  She does still cue both sessions (Nunny?), but she doesn't seem all that interested, frankly. 

She's awesome with solids.  She eats almost anything if I can just present it properly;  spinach made into pesto, mushrooms and pasta, beans in any forms, CHEESE!, fruit like crazy.  She's not so hot with meat, but she's a champion legume-consumer.  She drinks plenty of water, and gets some juice and some milk thrown in too.


But she's become breast-obsessed.  She likes to massage and hold my breasts while murmuring "Nunny." to herself (Our word for her to nurse.), and she does this a lot.  She does this randomly throughout her day, for short bursts or long extended breast-fests.  She does this at night if she's with me instead of in her bed.  She does this at home.  She does this in public.  Amusingly enough, she looks down her Papa's shirt and announces:  "No nunnies." on a regular basis too.

Aside from being completely touched out, which with her, 3 cats and a husband, I've decided is my new natural state, I don't mind this fascinating new obsession of hers.  But I do have some questions for the veteran Mamas.

Is this fairly normal?  If you've been through this, did you allow it in public?  How did you transition your child into a less breast-oriented snuggling, if you did?  How long might I expect this to go on?  Is this a sign of distress about weaning?

post #2 of 8
post #3 of 8

I think a LOT of people on this site will repeat the statement "babies don't wean under age 2, it's a nursing strike."  I've even had people tell me that my two who self-weaned within weeks of their second birthdays didn't actually self-wean because I didn't ask and didn't refuse.  That's apparently a weaning process.  I think that's crap personally.  Do I think babies self-wean under a year?  No.  I think they get distracted by milestones  but they still need to be encouraged to nurse, same as you would encourage them to consume bottles or solids as a distractable older infant/early toddler.  Over a year, all bets are off.  If she's seeming satisfied iwth her current nursing and you are available and NOT pushing solids over nursing, I would consider it that she's weaning of her own accord.  And if you are feeling touched out and it's been something that's been an issue for a while and not just a recent thing and you feel done, why encourage something that you aren't wanting as long as she seems fine with it?  Nursing is a mutual choice and a relationship.  It's not becoming a martyr for your child.  

Regarding the frequent booby massages you are receiving, I think you can easily put a stop to it.  I wouldn't feel comfortable with that if I was feeling touched out already.  If it were me, I would wait until she starts and then ask her if she wants to nurse.  If she doesn't, distract her hands and tell her "no thank you."  You are allowed personal space, even as a nursing mom.  Keep it up until she realizes that it's totally okay to nurse but it's  not appropriate to constantly be feeling you up.  You may notice an uptake in nursing if you are putting a stop to the boobie snuggles and you'll have to decide if you want to allow that or if you want to move towards weaning.  But that's at least giving you a choice.   My girls never did that.  But they did nurse at least 5-6 times a day well past a year.  Maybe until 18months???  I think they started tapering down around 18months.  But they didn't seem interested in nursing in public around and after 18months and by 20-21months they were down to night and nap-related nursing(wake-ups and going to sleep).  My oldest weaned before a year due to my own stupidity.

post #4 of 8
My 22 month old is similar. She was an avid nurser until about 20 months when the pregnancy caused soreness and I stopped offering. My supply is pretty low now and she cut down to naptime, bedtime, and overnight. It's definitely a sleep aid for her and occasionally a comfort thing. She does love to touch the boobs and I just can't handle it. I say "no thank you" and redirect and do offer to nurse if I feel up to it. If she doesn't redirect easily then I distract her with hugs, rabid kisses and tickles. She still gets closeness and giggles, loving the attention. Of course I also do this at other times so she doesn't use the boobs to get tickles lol.
I don't think your DD is in distress. From your post is doesn't seem like you say no of she asks you to nurse. There is no rejection for her if she gets to nurse when she is interested. It sounds like she's exploring and making connections: milk comes from here; these things are soft and nice; daddy doesn't have them, etc. Honestly being touched irritates me more than nursing and I'm pretty touched out with the pregnancy heebie jeebies. I think Justmama made good points and suggestions. If the touching bothers you, you can offer to nurse. For us the tickling/kisses works great to take the focus off the breast.
As for weaning, I agree that under one it doesn't happen. It's not too common under 18 months either but your DD may keep going for months before finally stopping (if that's ok with you). Some kids simply aren't as attached to nursing and your DD may simply feel secure and safe enough without needing more nursing. If you feel ok with it, it would be easiest to let your DD decide when she's done so that she doesn't feel like she needs to dig in her heels. If you think encouraging weaning would be better then it sounds like your DD would do fine too. Don't offer don't refuse is simply one weaning technique that works for some families but it certainly isn't the only way to wean. Honestly I keep nursing because it makes my life easier, especially at night. Ok so I'm a little all over the place lol. My point: I don't think your DD is in distress. I also think the boob thing is normal toddler curiousity and I distract my DD when she does it because it bugs me smile.gif
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Aw, thank y'all so much for your posts.  grouphug.gif


I am in that kinda funky space in that I've nursed a good bit longer than many, many mamas I know, but a good bit shorter than many other mamas in the natural and attachment parenting communities.  It's my niche, and I'm happy in it, but it'd hard to find advice and support sometimes.


justmama, I had read your post yesterday morning, so when she started really groping and squeezing in the afternoon I pulled her hands out and offered her to nurse.  She said "No.", but I decided to force the issue.  She refused to latch, and was laughing while giving me the sideways eyeball.  Last night she didn't nurse before bedtime for the first time ever.  I offered and she said "No.", and I have to admit, it hurt my feelings a little, and it was a definite first, but I feel strongly that I, her mother, need to follow her lead for the most part, and her lead was pretty clear, she did not need to nurse or want to nurse.  So we went to bed without nursing.  I'm sad to read that maybe with your oldest you two weren't ready to wean so young, but you come across so compassionately and calmly, I think your kids got a pretty good deal with you for a mama anyway.   smile.gif


skycheattraffic, at this point, she is the one rejecting me.  There is no brochure warning you of the many ways your heart will break as a parent.  Have I said "Congratulations!" yet?  Yay for your new little one!  I think I may be dealing with a dose of hormones as well, getting all weepy and worried that Little Miss isn't nursing, but is feeling me up.  And if I'm being really reasonable, I'd probably decide to just hold her hands and kiss them when she tries to shove them down my brassiere.  Hang in there with those heebie jeebies.  I hated all men while pregnant.  I mean I had to sit on my hands at work because my male co-workers were all in imminent danger of being slapped about the head for no real reason.  It's all very fascinating and funny when it's not currently happening to you.  smile.gif

post #6 of 8
Thanks for the congrats smile.gif. And I totally hear you about the heartbreaks... A lot of it is healthy developmental stuff but it still stings! I remember DD's refusal to latch as a newborn and her nursing strike around 5 months. I knew it wasn't about me but it still hurt like hell! Your girl adores you even if she's ready to stop nursing soon. You are honoring her preferences and fulfilling her needs. We will blink and they will both be asking to borrow the car eyesroll.gif
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 



My knee-jerk response is:  "No ma'am.  She will not be leaving the house until she's 30, and I'll still drive her."

post #8 of 8
LOL That's right up there with DH's "she is not allowed to date until she's married!" wink1.gif
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