Please advise me on weaning the older child while tandem nursing! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 11-11-2010, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to leave this in the main Breastfeeding area since DD2 (the one I would like to continue to nurse) is 10m, and so still needs milk.  Based on my observation of how things are going, this is going to affect her as well, and I do also need advice on how to make sure she's getting enough milk during this process.  I am very sure that it's time to wean DD1 (30m).  She is not ready.  I know that sounds horrible and I fully expect flaming, but I can't emotionally handle nursing both of them any longer.  I worked very hard to nurse her through my pregnancy, even in the hospital after DD2 was born, they are very close and adore each other, and nursing has been a bonding experience for all three of us together.  But the truth is, even though I convinced myself that DD1 needed to keep nursing (and I think she would benefit from it still),  I have to admit that it's mostly been a very negative experience for me, and if I do it through gritted teeth much longer, it will affect our relationship.  Trust me, I've been thinking about this for over a year.  It's time.  I can't do it anymore. 


I can't find anything online specifically about weaning while tandem nursing.  The only article I've found recommends replacing nursing with special activities and advises that dad can be a big help.  That's fine and dandy, but DD1 wants to nurse specifically when DD2 is nursing, and if I'm nursing DD2, I can't get up and do some special activity with her (nursing in a sling does not work well for me, plus DD1 is not easily distracted and would be pulling on the sling while I was trying to entice her with whatever activity).  I'm sure DH could be a great help, if he were home!  He is gone from 5 am until at least 6 pm, and works 2 weeks before having 1 week off.  I doubt 1 week would be long enough.  This advice really seems to just be repeating the common stuff about weaning and not actually taking the fact that there is a nursing babe and mom is overwhelmed into account.  The one possibly helpful point is to try to nurse the baby while the toddler is engrossed in some activity, but DD1 will only play by herself for so long (not usually long enough for DD2 to nurse well).  It seems to presume that your baby is very young (like newborn, and thus not distracted by the older nursling's "special activity"), you have help (maybe DH is still home after baby's birth), and the older child is distractible.  What should I attempt when none of those points are true for us?  Anyone BTDT or have another source to recommend?


ETA: I have "How Weaning Happens" too, but I'm not too far into it.  It seems pretty focused on reasoning with the child so far, which would probably work with DD1 (she has great language and reasoning skills), but the examples are stuff like "the milk is retiring after working so long", which would obviously not be true and DD1 would not accept that if she saw DD2 still nursing.  I don't think she'll accept any reasoning if she sees DD2 still nursing.


She is also very persistent, which is part of my problem with it ... she will ask to nurse, and if I ask her to wait, she says "Okay ... now?  Now?  Now?" until I let her.  Nursing is the only time she does this.  Otherwise she's pretty reasonable and she understands waiting.  It grates on my nerves before we even start, and then I definitely don't want to nurse her.  Because that bothers me so much, I chose to limit the length of nursings rather than the number (so we nurse until I count to 5, instead of arguing all day long and reminding her a zillion times that we only nurse at bedtime or whatever ... that approach seemed better for my sanity at the time).  She will let go but if DD2 is still nursing (often not because DD1 is pushing and pulling on her while trying to get on my lap) she immediately asks again. 


The truth is it's already affecting our relationship, and I don't want it to get worse.  I want to have a good relationship with my daughter.  I haven't found a way to accomplish that, no matter how hard I've tried to ignore/feel/accept/rationalize the emotions or limit the nursing enough to relieve them, so I think weaning has to be the next step.  I just don't know what to try first, or how to make sure DD2 is getting enough milk, when there's only one of me.

Me , DH , Emmy (5/08), and new baby Tilda (1/10)
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#2 of 5 Old 01-16-2011, 04:35 PM
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I wish I had something more to offer you but I do want to say that I am right there with you, though I have only been tandem nursing 3 months.  It is horribly conflicting feeling that anger and resentment about nursing.  I'm thinking of weaning too, and yet I think my son is not ready.


I hope someone with more experience replies to your post!  My heart goes out to you, because I know exactly how hard, overwhelming, draining, and emotional this is. 

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#3 of 5 Old 01-23-2011, 03:53 PM
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I am also looking for advice on weaning the older one while and while continuing to nurse my younger one almost 10 mo.  One thing I tried when I started trying to wean my oldest was sitting and watching a cartoon while nursing my younger one... It didn't work.  Did you find anything that worked for you? 

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#4 of 5 Old 01-24-2011, 03:58 PM
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I've been talking to a lot of people and I blogged about this too, and I've been reading "mothering your nursing toddler" from LLL.  Some ideas that I've arrived at--yes, putting on a video or otherwise trying to make sure my toddler is engrossed in something, napping, or out when I nurse (usually, playing or video). Of course, I can't always do that, so I just try to nurse discreetly.  I have also tried saying "only 4 times a day" but I found that didn't work at all, it only made him ask more because then it was a power struggle. A friend told me she weaned her boy without him even realizing, just by constantly distracting him or saying "Nah, you don't want to nurse," (not something I would do necessarily, cause I don't like telling my kid the doesn't want something he just said he wants, or doesn't feel something he's feeling), or she would give him a special drink to replace it, or food.  I do try to offer food or drink, say maybe later, or whatever. I find that by making it NOT obvious that I'm trying to cut down, he asks less. And since one of my purposes in tandem nursing was to help form the sibling bond, I'm willing to say yes when his sister is also nursing.  (I find it irritates me a bit less then anyway, because I have to be sitting and he is a bit more gentle when she is on there, and I actually get to rest for a while).  Not all of this works all the time, trust me, and there are still regular meltdowns on both our sides.  I'm pretty sure I will be done before my son, so now that I have the mindset that I will HAVE to wean, I'm just trying to move things in that direction gently and without making a big thing of it. 


Anyway, don't know if any of that will help, I know how it is when you have a persistent kid who LOVES to nurse, but I think sometimes a change in mindset helps....the more it is a big issue for you, the more it will be for her.  Also, my experience has been that these things are harder on us than our kids sometimes, and we twist ourselves and them into knots that are not necessary.  One friend shared with me that she remembered being weaned sometime between 2 and 3, her mom nursed her for a long time outside in the sunshine, she bit her mom, and her mom but her down and said, "That's enough" and never nursed her again! Now, she remembers it with good nature, but it must have been shocking and significant to have it be an earliest memory. So I think, if you prepare yourself to wean, just think--how do I want her to remember this? She may feel very sad, but if she remembers that you were compassionate and caring, she will understand and love you when she looks back on it.  This is what I tell myself, anyway! ha ha. 


Good luck to you both.

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#5 of 5 Old 06-15-2011, 07:59 PM
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Hello, yes I know exactly how frustrating it is to look for advice about weaning your older tandem nurser.  This is a problem I have repeatedly had in the last 6 years.  I have read a number of books and none of them fit my situation.  Impossible to distract the toddler while baby nurses!  My first set of tandem nursers quit at the same time ages 3 1/2 and 2 1/2, when baby #3 was 2 months old.  Baby #3 quit last Christmas; he was 2 months shy of his 4th birthday.  Baby #4 will turn 3 years old on July 1st and he is the most demanding nurser I've had.  He's driving me totally batty!  It doesn't help the situation that he is the worst behaved child I have.  How can I lovingly and gently wean him, when he wants to nurse more often than baby #5 who is turning a year old this week.


I really wish there were a tandem experienced mom who had some answers and could write a book to help those of us who are frustrated to tears!


I think tandem nursing is really wonderful.  And I would do it again if we are blessed with a baby #6.  But isn't there a way to stop without trauma to the toddler?


I don't know what to do.  I don't want him to feel like his momma is rejecting him.  So I'm just going to try to stick it out and hope that he'll relax and wean himself within the next year. 

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