I never imagined my toddler would still nurse so frequently - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-29-2003, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 2.5 yrs old and I enjoy our BF relationship; however, the frequency is wearing me down and I'm feeling agitated about it. She nurses about 8x/day and several times at night.

I'm wondering if other toddlers nurse so often. It seems when I hear of toddlers over 2 nursing, it's something like 2-3x/day and once during the night. I'm wondering if I set everything up this way...for her to only enjoy my company as a nursing relationship.

I feel that we get out enough and DD is greatly involved w/me during the day. I offer her lots to eat and she has good eating habits, but a snack rarely deters her from momma's milk. As she gets closer to becoming a 3 yr old, I wonder when we'll share more times of closeness that don't involve BF. I feel that is what our relationship is mostly about and sad that she isn't satisfied by cuddling or reading w/me...nursing is always involved.

I know I'll be sad the day she stops nursing altogether. I fear that she'll change overnight from being this intensely needy person to someone who doesn't want anything to do w/me...that I'll not experience a close relationship w/her w/o BF.

These are probably my own personal hangups, but I wonder if other moms out there are experiencing/have experienced some of the same feelings. I would greatly appreciate any wisdom/advice.

Thank you!
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Old 03-29-2003, 05:36 PM
 
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My nursing toddler also nursed often.

I found I was MUCH happier if I ignored the clock and did not count the number of times my child nursed. It brought peace to my home.

Your feelings of wondering if you caused this are normal in our antibreastfeeding society where only half of moms nurse their newborns and the average weaning age is 6 months. (This is what I've heard, these stats may be wrong.) Here in the West we do not get to see what is NORMAL, the normal range of variation where some two year olds are not interestedin nursing and others are avid nursers. A few generations of formula feeding in the US (my country) have destroyed our support networks and our sense of what is normal.

It is very normal to feel burnt out and ambivalent while nursing toddlers. Two books that address this beautifully are
How Weaning Happens
Mothering Your Nursing Toddler

You wrote that you offer her good nutrition but that does not keep her away from wanting to nurse. Again, our culture tells us human milk loses its value after a few months but this is A cultural attitude and a MYTH and it is NOT based on facts. Mom's milk is very nutritious, has naturally relaxing and pain relieving chemicals in it, and is attached to *******YOU********
who cannot be replaced.

I had an intensely needy child who also nursed often at that age. It was indeed exhausting. I felt lonely, when the other one and two year olds I knew lost interest in nursing. But she DID gradually lose interest (with periods of increased nursing even past 3, during stressful times, transitions, illness, growing etc.)

So to sum up, your child is normal, your feelings are normal, every child is different, and our society is backwards because it thinks breasts are intended for the enjoyment off adult males (and MAYBE tiny infants) when the biology of children suggests a normal time of nursing of about 2 to 7 years.

Not that you MUST nurse for 7 years, not that YOUR child will necessarily want to.......just that all of this is NORMAL.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 03-30-2003, 11:18 AM
 
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My ds just turned 3 and nurses a LOT. We do read, he does eat and drink besides nursing, but I never imagined he'd still be nursing this much at this age. All I can say is...each child is different!

My older two, as toddlers, nursed much less frequently. Your dd won't nurse forever--it doesn't sound to me like you've "set this up" to happen this way. She's telling you what she needs right now, and you're providing it. What could be simpler or better than that?

Respecting her need for nursing now can only make your relationship stronger as she moves from nursing to other forms of comfort.

Single Mom to 3 (12, 17 & 21)  luxlove.gif and dog2.gif.

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Old 03-30-2003, 12:56 PM
 
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I have a 3 1/2 year old who nurses all the time too. Even at least once a night who knows how many times during the day. I would be surprised if he ever goes more than three hours and is often much more than that.

I actually posted about this a few months ago. How often does your 3 year old nurse?

Perhaps because I am also nursing an almost 2 year old, I can see that this really is a need for my older child. My younger ds can go to sleep with out nursing (like he nurses for a couple minutes and I say okay I am going to lay by papa, and he says okay and rolls over to fall asleep), asks for food when he is hungry, and often just nurses for less than 10 sec and says "done". My oldest who I treat basically the same can not fall asleep with out nursing, hardly ever asks for food (I have to remind him that maybe he really wants a trukey sandwhich not just milk), and hardly ever nurses for less than several minutes and if I didn't say anything would probably often go for 20 or 30. I imagine if my oldest ever weans the youngest would quickly follow, or might even wean first.

Although I don't have any experience yet, I also believe that having a 3 year old with such a strong need to nurse and meeting that need now, is only the beggining of our close relationship. I feel like this is a person who is going to need the snuggles and closeness for a long time. And by meeting his needs now when he is so little an unable to help himself that often, I am going to be a person who he trusts a lot. And even if he does suddenly become very independant, I try to remember that that is one of my goals of parenting- to raise and independant adult.
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Old 03-30-2003, 02:46 PM
 
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I just wanted to say I experience the same thing with my dd. She is two years two months and nurses like crazy and all through the night. Although I do not exactly want the nursing relationship to end I am ofted frustrated about the frequency of the nursings. sometimes I just want my body to myself or I feel like she is just sucking the energy right out of me. I try to let go of those frustrations and take deep breaths when she wants to nurse and I don't. I also try to keep in mind that time goes by fast and soon she won't nurse any more. I know what you are going through and just wanted you to know that and offer my support.
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