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Need Help with Weaning. . .

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Has anyone else successfully done a Mama-led weaning of twins?

I'm ready.

Luke and Jaz will be two on Friday (so hard to believe), and my goal for nursing them has always been two years. Over the past year, I wavered about maybe nursing them longer, maybe doing child-led weaning, and decided I would wait until their birthday and then see how I was feeling.

And I'm feeling really done.

Luke and Jaz are still nursing upwards of 12 times a day, and if I let them, will nurse continuously through the night. So we have a long way to go from here to weaned. One of the hardest things for us is the huge amount of jealousy that they have about each other nursing. If I could just nurse them one at a time, I think I wouldn't feel as strongly about needing to wean. But they just can't stand watching each other nurse. They say, "I want to nurse too!" And I say, "you can nurse when your brother is done." And then they say, "I want TWO BOYS to nurse!" And if I say no, then there's hitting and screaming and crying, and it goes on and on until I give in. And I hate giving in to that sort of behavior, but it really seems like they're not capable of watching each other nurse and not being able to take part.

Another hard twin specific issue is that when I DO hold my ground and say, "no nursing right now," even if one of my boys is happily playing somewhere, when he hears his brother start to cry and beg to nurse, he comes over and joins in. It's so overwhelming to have these two miserable wanting to nurse toddlers, especially since I know that if I just lift my shirt, they'll be happy again. But I'm so miserable about nursing them, that I know it can't be good for any of us.

I am going to start by restricting nursing to our bed and only nursing before and after bed and nap. It's a pretty big jump from nursing on demand all day long, but I can't see any other way to do it. It's not as though they have distinct "nursing times" that I could slowly eliminate.

I do feel a good amount of sadness about this, but I still think that for us the benefits of weaning will outweigh the benefits of continuing to nurse.

Has anyone been through this? Any advice or support?

post #2 of 10
My girls are younger than your kids (22 mo) and nowhere near weaned, but I definately hear you on being ready to at least cut things back and move toward weaning.

One thing that we did around 18 months, was to nightwean. We planned to follwed Dr. Jay Gordon's approach (drjaygordon.com I think), but after a couple nights (literally, 2 for Ashlyn & I think 3 or 4 for Lexie) of doing the first step (essentially using any other method of comfort except nursing when they wake up, although with Ashlyn especially, if she couldn't nurse she didn't want me anywhere near her, so I basically let her wander around our room crying because that was her choice) they were sleeping through, so we didn't have to go through the rest of the steps. After a few weeks we *did* run into a problem w/ them waking up for the day too early. They wouldn't nurse back to sleep *or* fall back asleep w/o nursing. So we finally used an alarm set to turn on w/ music as their cue that they could nurse, then slowly moved it later in the morning until it was at an acceptable get up time (6am) and that was something they could understand & now unless there's something wrong they usually sleep till at least 6:00 &/or if they wake up at night they come crawl in bed w/ me & fall right back to sleep.

So, IMO the first step in the weaning process is night weaning. (Personally going from anytime, anywhere to just naps/bed seems too drastic to me). The other thing we've done is to mostly eliminate nursing when we're out in public (this doesn't include when we're at other peoples' houses (or at church but there are other issues there LOL)). And we're usually out doing something all but maybe one day a week so that's giving them a few hours "break" from nursing each day. There have been days where we've been busy all day that they've gone most of the day. Also about once every 2 weeks, dh will take the girls to his mom's house during their nap & keep them there until bedtime. They fall asleep on the way home (for a long time we did all our naps in the car, so they're used to falling asleep in the car) & we just move them upstairs when they get home. So those days they go from noonish (when they go down for their nap (in the car on the way to MIL's) until the next morning w/o nursing.

As for the fighting over nursing, when I'm alone w/ them, I still prefer to let them nurse at the same time, otherwise they "tag team" me & I never get up (so when one finishes, the other wants to nurse, when she's done the first comes back & so it goes all afternoon). But when other people are around, there's enough distractions that they'll usually take turns. Several months ago we started singing the ABC song to help them take turns w/ toys & such. So, Lexie's riding the rocking horse, we sing the ABC song & when the song is over she has to get off Ashlyn gets to ride the rocking horse. That has been an awesome tool for all kinds of things!!! INCLUDING nursing! If I don't want to nurse them at the same time & the one who's not nursing is getting tired of waiting, we'll sing the ABC song & then it's the other one's turn to nurse. At most the one who's nursing will fuss for a minute or two but she knows how it works so it's usually pretty painless (I think it helped that we started w/ things other than nursing). I *have* had Lexie slap my mouth a few times to try to make me stop singing cuz she doesn't want to be done with nursing.

I also try to figure out *why* they want to nurse & offer alternatives. So most times I'll ask if they want their milk (sippy cup w/ milk in it) or a snack. That way if they're hungry/thirsty, they're usually fine w/ that substitute. Likewise, sometimes it's just that they want my attention & if I get down on the floor & start playing w/ their toys, they'll come play w/ me instead of nursing. Other times they want to NURSE and so, we nurse.

IMO, unless there's a medical reason to wean quickly, it's best to wean slowly, even if there aren't set times that can be cut out, situations (like nursing when out of the house) can be cut back & so can duration (more & more often, I let them nurse for a few minutes & then sing the ABC song & we're done.
post #3 of 10
A quick response, but I'll post more later if/when I have more time:

First, I totally can realte to your feelings. At around two, my enjoyment of simultaneous nursing dropped sharply, and I even started to dislike the experience. I was very sad to admit this, but it was true.

We had a wonderful, stress-free, gradual weaing over about four months or so. We nightweaned at aobut 22 or 23 months and I can't offer any advice, buecause it was so easy. I just told them that mama was tired and needed to sleep, and they both accepted it. There was a couple of minutes of crying from one twin, but I was OK with that. They continued to sleep with me and I gave them lots of cuddles, and i think that really helped.

For daytime, we just tried to be really active during the day. The more we did, the less they wanted to nurse. AND, we have a few foods that our huge treats for them (animal crackers, raisins, graham crackers). So if we were at home and I gave them the choice between nursing or those snacks, they ALWAYS picked the snack. That indicated to me that they were in a good frame of mind for weaning.

Also, have you read Tears and Tantrums? I read it when my first daughter was little and it made me convinced that I didn't want to comfort nurse as much as I had. That sometimes, holding a crying baby and letting her express her sadness/frustrations is a fine alternative (maybe even better) to letting them comfort nurse. I think this was an important shift in my thinking that changed my nursing relationship - not necessarily for the better, but for the "easier."

I feel lucky becuase it did go so well. I thought it was very difficult emotionally, so I'm sending you hugs and best wishes. Let us know how it goes.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your responses!

I forgot to mention in my originial post that Luke and Jaz WERE nightweaned, and still are sort-of. I nightweaned them at 18 months, but even now six months later, they still wake 2-3 times a night and ask to nurse. About 50% of the time, they will go right back to sleep as soon as I wrap my arms around them (we cosleep), but the other 50% of the time, they cry for a couple of minutes or longer. So, it has been a very dragged out nightweaning. I have to sleep with a bra and a t-shirt and a union suit and another t-shirt over that to keep them from sneaking nursing while I'm sleeping. . . and I often get kicked and clawed in the night due to protest about no more nursing. When they've been sick, we go back to night nursing, so I think that is probably part of the confusion. Also, I've always let them nurse around 5:30 or so, and they fall back asleep and sleep until 7:00. But I think that is probably really confusing for them since they don't know if it's 2:30 or 5:30, and it probably seems really random how sometimes they're allowed to nurse and sometimes not.

Also, for us, being out of the house is in no way a distraction from nursing. Usually, being away from homebase makes them want to nurse more. But today, for the first time I told the boys that when we went to Amber and Jack's house, there wasn't going to be any nursing. Jaz said, "can I have water?" I said, "of course!!" And I gave each boy a bag of snacks (grapes, applesauce, rice cakes), that they could eat from at will. They both asked to nurse within 10 minutes of arriving, but were fairly easily reminded and distracted by their snacks. They each asked 3 or 4 times during the rest of the two-hour visit, but I held my ground, and there weren't too many tears. I told them that we would nurse at home. When I was getting them out of the car at home, Jaz asked Luke, "you want nursing?" and Luke said, "yeah. . . I want nursing at home." Jaz said, "me too."

I am looking forward to the day when it is not an almost-constant job of distraction from nursing. I hate having to say no to them, especially so often. It feels like we're always in a fight.

We do count to 10 to end nursing sessions, but Luke and Jaz have become less and less receptive to it over the past few months (I think we started in the middle of the summer, so around 18 months). Luke used to pop right off when I got to "3" every time. Jaz would usually hold out for "10," but still pop off happily. Now they both start kicking me as soon as I say "I'm going to count to 10," and I have to practically pry their mouths open and unlatch them. And then there are often tears at that point. . .

Obviously none of us are happy with the way things are these days. I'd like to just remove the issue all together. But I know it is going to take a long time to get from here to there.

post #5 of 10
No advice here, since none of my kids are fully weaned, but...

I SO identify with just wanting to be done. You are right, you'll get there eventually! It sure feels like forever though, doesn't it?
post #6 of 10

I only have one, and she's not fully weaned, but I'll share what we've done so far.

At 2 she was nursing a lot still. But at 2 I decided no more nursing in public. I night weaned when I started to think about getting PG again- a few months later. Then I cut down to to 3-5 times a day- before and after naps and bed, pretty much around 2.5 yo.

Now dd nurses only 3 times some days and more others, but it's not constant anymore and even when I have to say no she only whines for a moment then moves on.

It's a long road to fully weaning, but good luck. I think now is a fine time to start defining some boundaries.
post #7 of 10
If you think the early morning nursing is confusing them, I highly recommend using some sort of cue that they *can* understand to know the difference. For us, the alarm set to calming music worked really well. In their room, we put a clock radio w/ a cd player. It's set to have a cd of lullabies come on. The music is quiet enough (& calm enough) that it doesn't wake them up, but if they're awake & hear the music they know they can nurse. In our bedroom we didn't have a second cd player (& they're rarely in there anymore anyway) so we just use a clock radio set to come on very quietly to a christian station that has quiet music playing at that time of day. Same concept. They will tell you now, "music, num nums" & point to the clocks. I've also known people to use the sun as a cue (when the sun comes up, you can nurse), though obviously this varies depending on the time of year), or one of those "light" alarm clocks that slowly turns a light on brighter & brighter as a way of waking you up.
post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by lexbeach
They each asked 3 or 4 times during the rest of the two-hour visit, but I held my ground, and there weren't too many tears. I told them that we would nurse at home. When I was getting them out of the car at home, Jaz asked Luke, "you want nursing?" and Luke said, "yeah. . . I want nursing at home." Jaz said, "me too."
My girls are only almost 8 mos so I can't offer advise but my what a good job you've done getting past 2 with nursing that often!!! Way to go!! I had to laugh at your above note...sounds like they have a conspiracy going on. :LOL As cute as it sounds reading their excitement to nurse, I'm sure your excitement has worn off. Anyway I just wanted to say I admire your ability to hang in there and be so determined to nurse till age 2 and beyond. And all you other twin mamas out there that do the same.
post #9 of 10
I don't have any great words of advice, my twins are a lot younger than yours are. My second dd was still nursing 10-12 times a day when she turned 2. I remember being so ready for her to wean. I did it gradually and she was fully weaned a couple months before she turned 3. I'd concentrate on ending the night nursing first since that really seems like the hardest to give up. I also tried to have a set number of times a day I would nurse and I'd try not to go over it and I would just decrease that number over time. I can really relate to needing to stay really covered up at night or dd would just have a snack in the middle of the night anyway. I wound up getting a big long flannel nightgown to combat the problem. :LOL
post #10 of 10
I have 3.5 yo B/G twins. We weaned them over a six month period from 2-2.5. We night weaned at 18 months. I used a method of explaining that Mommy's milk was slowly going away because of how big the twins were getting. I helped them to find other foods to eat or drink and helped them to learn how to access these items on their own. I would also freely give them snuggle time and read stories or play a special game with them. They also started in a two day a week toddler program at the local Montessori school and we spent alot of time at the playground out of the house or at the library. It took six months and alot of gentle persistence but they were weaned and now talk about how their milk is all done and that the next baby will get his/her milk. I also have a girl who is three years older then my twins. She was helpful in the weaning process because she also understood the milk is going away concept. She stopped nursing beacuse her milk was gone and the twins milk was coming in. I was not ready to nurse twins and a three yo! I don't think any of my children were weaned before their time. Nursing and weaning is a two way street. Any mom of multiples that nurses to two years has done a tremendous job. But it can get tiring and difficult so then a change needs to be made.

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