How do I wean my 4 year old??? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-17-2012, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! I am a 25 year old working mother and am still breastfeeding both my 1 year old son and my soon to be 4 year old daughter. I have tried to wean my daughter since she was 2 years old by sending her to her grandmother for about 3 weeks hoping when she'll come back she wouldnt need breastmilk anymore. Since the arrival of my son, she has increased the number of times she breastfeeeds so I breastfeed them both at the same time..They are both healthy kids but it just drains the energy out of me. By the time they're done..I am totally exhausted!..I have told my daughter numerous times that she'll be going to school soon and that she should stop breastfeeding coz she's a big girl now. But she gets all emotional and starts crying saying that she doesnt wanna go to school if it means she wont have breastmilk anymore. What should I do???....She has to have breastmilk before she sleeps. The worse time is when she wakes up at around 4 in the morning looking for me coz she wants breastmilk..

 

Please..I really need to wean her before she starts school next year...

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Old 04-17-2012, 06:16 PM
 
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Hi.  First, welcome to MDC! 

 

Secondly, hug2.gif

 

Thirdly, I think you've done a great job!  If you *want* to wean, that is perfectly acceptable and I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice.  Before we get to that, though, I want to let you know that if you don't want to wean--- don't.  Both of my children nursed past 4 years.  The biological age for weaning humans is 2.5-7 years old, so a 4 year old nursing is not odd in any way.

 

Oddly, a lot of children become *less* attached to nursing if you stop talking about weaning.  The issue for many children is the ability to nurse, outside of an actual desire to nurse.  If they feel stressed about it, or pushed from it, they feel the need to cling even harder but once they know it is there, they can let go a little bit.

 

What is your current schedule?  Are there times of the day that DD is easier to put off?  Harder?  What is your routine?  You said that both kids nurse at the same time--- do they both also eat meals at the same time?  Are there any times they nurse individually?  How about naps?  Night time?

 

Also--- what are you needing out of weaning?  Are you getting alone time?  Adequate sleep?

 

 


 

 

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Old 04-17-2012, 06:17 PM
 
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Oh, I forgot to ask a few other questions: is your DD neurotypical?  How does she generally deal with things like waiting, personal boundries, rules, etc...?


 

 

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Old 04-17-2012, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi TiredX2

 

Thanks for the warm welcome..orngbiggrin.gif...I just kinda thought that breastfeeding at that age was odd but thanks for setting me straight..

Anyways..I work from 8am to 6pm and the kids are @ home with my mother-in-law. They have cereals for breakfast and all the other types of fruits and snacks throughout the day..As soon as I arrive home in the afternoon, its breastfeeding time till they fall asleep..I dont even get to change outta my work clothes or have dinner until they are asleep. I guess the reason why i wanted to wean her was to able to get some time for myself...They both have their meals at the same time. The only time they nurse differently is when either one of them is asleep.

 

I dont think my daughter really *needs* to nurse. To me its like "something to do" when she's got nothing to do. Eg) Sometimes she can go through a whole movie nursing. She will never take it out and it gets to a point where i get a little frustrated. My husband tries to help out but they just want to nurse in the evenings even after they've had their dinner. She doesnt like to wait for her turn when im nursing my son so she'll either nurse at the same time or grab the one that my son is on..By the time they're are asleep, Im all worn out to even have my dinner or time for my husband. I practically fall asleep with them on each side...

 

Come to think of it...now i really dont know what I would do...*sigh*...

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Old 04-17-2012, 10:15 PM
 
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One thing I did for DD when I was tandem nursing was having a time each day that she *knew* she could always nurse.  So, each night, I would nurse DS down and then hand him off to DP.  Then it was all for DD.  Other times during the day she knew it might not work out--- I might be busy, tired, etc... 

 

It sounds like you need to get some time for yourself.  Something I did when the  kids were younger was take a bath in the evening for some privacy.  When the kids were a little older (close to how old your kids are now), DP would take them grocery shopping on Sundays just to give me some alone time.

 

Is DD very verbal?  Have you talked to her about weaning?  When she thinks she'll want to wean?  Why she wants to nurse?  If you just want support for continuing, MDC has a "Child Led Weaning" board which is for people who plan in letting their children decide when to wean:

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/f/305/child-led-weaning

 

 


 

 

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Old 04-19-2012, 06:11 PM
 
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I was tandem nursing when I weaned my DD who was 32 months when we finished nursing. one thing that worked for us was first cutting down to just nursing at bedtime. when she asked to nurse I would say "you can nurse at night-night time, you don't need to nurse right now because you're a big girl" she still asked during the day for a couple of months, but would drop it pretty quick when I said that. after several months of nursing only at bedtime we got to the point where she and I decided together it was time for her to be done nursing. we made it positive by having a special dinner and she got to have her first sleep-over with her grandma. we talked about all the cool stuff she got to do because she was a big girl now. and we started reading from a special fairy-tales book at bedtime instead of nursing, so she had something special instead of nursing. and sometimes when she needs a little comfort she still gives my breasts hugs and kisses. 

weaning can be positive, but it needs to be taking slowly and the child's needs and feelings need to be respected. sending a child who is still very dependent on her mother away for 3 weeks doesn't fit that bill. a three week separation would be traumatic even for a much older child. most children aren't ready to separate from their parents for that long until they're 10 or older. doing that gave her the message that she can't depend on you, and she probably still is scared that you'll leave her again. it sounds like she's trying to use nursing to calm her fears. if you do reduce how much she is nursing you need to make sure you're replacing it with something else for bonding and connecting. 


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