When they don't wean gradually... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 07-27-2009, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is two and a half and I've been nursing on demand her whole life, planning to CLW. But now I'm feeling really bad about it. It seems like everyone else on here has a toddler who drops feeds gradually and by the time they are my DD's age, are nursing only maybe 2-3 times a day. Am I wrong? Because my dd is definitely not like that. She hasn't cut down on her nursing sessions. I see no gradual weaning of any sort.

For the past two years people have been telling me here on MDC that I am close to the light at the end of the tunnel, where she will eat more solids and nurse less. But she STILL nurses every hour or more on many days. The only time she asks less is when we are out doing something really new and fun- but I can't do that every day. If I take her to our usual playgroups she still asks. She will STILL often refuse solids at home and just want to nurse. She goes to day care three mornings a week for 5 hours and eats plenty of solids there, I am SHOCKED when the DCP tells me she ate a whole bowl of foods because that NEVER happens at home. I am lucky if I get her to eat five bites at any given meal.

Am I doing something wrong? Can someone please be honest with me? I am feeling like a total fool and a failure, like I set myself up for this misery by nursing on demand. I'm really not trusting my instincts right now and I feel like all those people who told me to stop are thinking "I told you so!"
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#2 of 26 Old 07-27-2009, 10:00 PM
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a phenomenal mama and are doing a fabulous job. If possible, could you look at it from a different point of view, as in your milk is 100 tims better than solids and that she may need the bonding as well. IRL, do you have any friends that have CLW?
Good luck mama and I am in awe of you.:
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#3 of 26 Old 07-27-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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My son is 3.5, and he has yet to wean. I wanted to do CLW, but after I realized that he was not leading the weaning, I started to do things to encourage it. I would offer him choices "You can nurse, or you can watch star wars (His fav)". "You can nurse, or do ______".

Since she's eating well at other places, I wouldn't think of allergies....maybe you could set limits on nursing? Like...."Take two more bites of food,and then i'll nurse", or "we only nurse when it's time for bed", or only nurse in a boring spot of the house (bedroom), or "we will nurse when we get back home, right now we're playing with ______, but I could give a hug if you want".

I nurse(d) on demand also, and until this past month, my DS was still nursing 4-8 (closer to 8) times a day.

Sorry if I wasn't much help...just wanted to tell you your not alone!!
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#4 of 26 Old 07-27-2009, 10:43 PM
 
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Dd hadn't cut back at that age. At that point she was nursing 10+ times a day.

Now, she's nearly 5 and nurses once a day.

They do wean eventually

-Angela
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#5 of 26 Old 07-27-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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That is how my now 4 yr old was. And actually, at barely 3 I swear he seemed to nurse more than a newborn! Hang in there. Even when it was hard, I kept telling myself that it's only a small part of my life -- soon I will (I do now) long for them to still be nursing.

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#6 of 26 Old 07-27-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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First, I'm not sure if this will address your concerns, b/c I'm not sure what part of your situation you are referring to when you say, "I set myself up for this misery."

Do you have a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding? You might find the section starting on page 242 under "nursing too much?" and continuing to page 245 helpful. Basically, it talks about looking at whether there are big life changes the nursling is facing, then goes on to discuss how the nursling may need more attention in other ways than nursing. Here's part of a mother's story in this section:
Quote:
I had been thinking, "This child does nothing but nurse!" Then I realized this was precisely the case. I had not stopped thinking that nursing met all of Celeste's needs--as indeed it had for a long time. I had not observed until then that I was not giving Celeste the attention she deserved at times when she was not nursing.

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#7 of 26 Old 07-28-2009, 11:19 PM
 
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My son is not quite as old as yours but he nurses all day and all night, especially during teething. I think the PP has a good point because I have noticed that when I am trying to get more time alone that he reacts by needing to nurse more. Just wanted to say that I want to do CLW because I think it is important for my son to naturally grow out of his need to nurse on his own without my interference. But I do sometimes feel that at two he is old enough to wait a couple of minutes if he insists on nursing while I am busy, like frying eggs or using the bathroom! I also find myself trying to suggest, "would you like some water? some grapes?" and I realize that these are actually weaning activities on my part. It is hard not to do that though. I don't even count how many times a day my son nurses... It is definitely at least twenty times a day and about three times at night, I'm counting the 5 am to 7 am nursing as one! Anyway, I think what you are experiencing is normal and that they do gradually nurse less and less, and just as they nurse less when they are busy out doing things, they will get more and more busy as they grow. Hang in there mama!

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#8 of 26 Old 07-29-2009, 04:02 AM
 
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Both of my kids still nursed round the clock at 2.5 (well, DD had cut back a little because I was 8 months pg, but she certainly made up for it in months 31-36, lol).

They both weaned.

Humans are biologically programed to wean sometime in the 2.5-7 year range. The fact that a 2.5 year old is showing no real signs of weaning is totally normal. Just because it's normal, though, doesn't mean it isn't tiring

 

 

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#9 of 26 Old 07-29-2009, 09:03 AM
 
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: I like the nursing in a boring area idea. If they really want to nurse they can. Its just dull.

Good luck mama!

I'm crunchy... Like a Dorito.
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#10 of 26 Old 07-29-2009, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post
Both of my kids still nursed round the clock at 2.5 (well, DD had cut back a little because I was 8 months pg, but she certainly made up for it in months 31-36, lol).

They both weaned.

Humans are biologically programed to wean sometime in the 2.5-7 year range. The fact that a 2.5 year old is showing no real signs of weaning is totally normal. Just because it's normal, though, doesn't mean it isn't tiring
This!

My 3.5-year-old is still nursing many times a day, and my 6-year-old was still nursing a lot at 2.5 (now she only nurses 1-2 times per day.) 2.5 is pretty young to self-wean. I know it can be tedious - hang in there.
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#11 of 26 Old 07-29-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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Sounds like my girl at 2.5, but she just turned 3 and is back down to morning, nap, and bedtime nursing. 2.5 is just really hard. I think they are really feeling their independence and need to touch base often.

Emily, cooking allergen free, knitting, reading, gardening Mom to 1 beautiful girl, born in the water on July 1, 2006 Wife to 1 handsome man since September 10, 2005
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#12 of 26 Old 07-29-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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My DD self weaned at age 4.
At 2.5 I'd say a good 90% or more of her daily nutrution still came from breastmilk.
at around 3 she did really start cutting down and wouldn't rountinuly ask for other things cuddles a cookie whatever first before breast soon breast was a sleepy time thing only (her choice)
between 3.5 and 4 years she cut wayyyyy back so back I think I declared her weaned at least 5 times beacuse she'd go days even a full week between and when she did it was afly buy 2 second affair
She nursed for the very last time on her 4th birthday NOT a day I decided or one we'd talked about but for whatever reason that was her day. That day she nursed like she was a baby fully time both sides when told me okay she was done nummies could be for her little sister (she had none and I wasn't pregant at the time ) and that was it... I think like 4 months latter she came into my room when I was changing and opened her mouth under my bare breast and said MILKIES! I at this time said ohh sorry honey no more want a juice box instead? She was perfectly happy with that
FWIW our journey towards self weaning did come with some "parental" boundries by my choice I began to stop NIP after about 15-18 months and by 2 we had stopped totally. At 9 months my work schedule meant I had to at least patially night weaned and by 15 months we gently made the finial push for the rest. There were also the natural gradual steps a boo boo at say 12 months was imediently handled with a cuddle and a boobie, at 2 years it got a kiss a character bandaid and some cuddles but breast wasn't neccessary offered. In in end the weaning was gradual VERY gradual but at 2.5 yea still full time nursing.

Deanna

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#13 of 26 Old 07-29-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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I wanted to respond to your post, because I know exactly how you feel. (I think...) I too have often wondered if I am the only idiot buying into this whole CLW thing. I really think that so much of it has to do with the personality of the child. Some children (a very small percentage, I believe) would wean on their own with little coaxing by 2.5 or 3. Another small percentage wouldn't wean until 7 or 8 (again, if we're talking little coaxing from mom). And then the majority would wean somewhere in-between.

So, it's possible that your lo is in the 7-8 range. And maybe you just aren't willing to go down that road (or maybe you are...). I think it is perfectly acceptable to set some limits according to your comfort level and then watch your child for their reactions. To me, the weaning process (just like the nursing process) should involve both mom and child.

My dd was still nursing frequently at 2.5. She is almost 5 now and down to nursing 2-3 times a day (and that is with limits set by me). She would still like a quick nip every hour or two if I let her. I have a son as well, who is almost 2. I have handled things much differently with him (and he has a different personality) and am much happier with our nursing relationship, so far. I am also 14 weeks pregnant with our 3rd (and will probably do things a little differently again)! I know you didn't really need my life history! I just wanted to let you know that sometimes personality (of the child) can really make a difference in their nursing habits.

Good luck!

Taryn
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#14 of 26 Old 07-29-2009, 10:58 PM
 
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I have a 3 year old. I work outside the home (except summers, I'm a teacher) and mostly nurse on demand (with some limits) in the evenings. I'm pretty sure that if I could hang out all day in bed nursing dd wouldn't happily ebf.
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#15 of 26 Old 07-30-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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My DD2 was still nursing like that at 2.5. It wasn't until sometime between 3 and 3.5 that she slowed down. Now at 3.5 she is nursing much less. Part of it is that I'm pregnant, but mostly it was just her being ready. I think she would still be nursing 1-2 times a day if I wasn't pregnant. As it is she nurses once or twice every 2-3 days.

Leigh

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#16 of 26 Old 07-30-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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DS nursed WAY more than 2-3 times a day at 2.5yo, and he did wean gradually. He was down to 1-2 times a day by 3.75 and weaned at age 4.25.

If she's literally nursing every waking hour, it really is OK to say "no" to some of those nursing sessions. I never hesitated to say "no" if it just felt like too much at that moment, or to insist on a snack for both of us first, etc.

It's perfectly OK to do "weaning activities" with toddlers who are nursing "more than average." You'll see this in the animal kingdom too. Your needs are equally important as your child's, and if you need the nursing to be less frequent, that's perfectly OK. IMO, it's better to set limits on nursing than it is to get burnt out and finally wean cold-turkey because you're completely drained and not enjoying your child at all.
I'd often make a toddler wait to nurse until I finished eating, and offer the toddler food while I had my meal or snack. Most of the time, she or he would eat something while I was eating and the milk bar was temporarily closed. Sometimes this meant we skipped a nursing session (DC was fed and distracted) and other times, it meant a 'less draining' nursing session after the snack.

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#17 of 26 Old 08-09-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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Great advice here.

If you're concerned about her frequent nursing because you're worried that she will "never wean", but you yourself are still okay with it... ie, you're not overly annoyed, exhausted, etc, you're just concerned that she "should" be eating more solids, etc... If that's the case, then please just relax, go with it. She will NOT still be nursing when she's 15. Or 10. Or, most likely, 7. She WILL eat more solids when it's the right time for her.

If, on the other hand, you're concerned about this because YOU are exhausted or worn out by all the nursing, then by all means, you can do some mom-led stuff. Remember than nursing is a relationship, and while I'd never say this for an infant, at 2.5yo they're old enough for you to start 'demanding' some time for yourself too.

My DD is 2.5 and I'm still planning to let her wean herself... but I'll confess I no longer nurse "on demand" and frequently tell her "no" and distract her and whatever it takes. I know this isn't "true" CLW, and I do feel a bit guilty, but it was just driving me batty. She doesn't even ask to nurse all that often, it's not a frequency issue for me... it's the physical nursing itself that I'm finding harder and harder to tolerate.

Anyway, the point is just that if you really need her to nurse less, for YOU, then that's okay. If you're still okay but were just worried about HER, then you can relax.

I'll also second the suggestion above about nursing being a 'substitute' for other things. I DEFINITELY notice that she gets more fussy and demanding about nursing when she feels left out or ignored, if I've been busy or distracted. When she's busy and happy -- even if I'm not actively with her but she's well engaged in an interesting activity -- she's much more content. Perhaps in your case the hours of daycare give her a stronger need to reconnect with you and nursing is her preferred method.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#18 of 26 Old 08-09-2009, 06:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Dd hadn't cut back at that age. At that point she was nursing 10+ times a day.

Now, she's nearly 5 and nurses once a day.

They do wean eventually

-Angela

We have a very similar story; now at 5.5 it's more like 1x a week ...

It happens, on their timetable; hang in there!

Amy & DH, homeschooling Mama to
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#19 of 26 Old 08-09-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by granola_mom View Post
She goes to day care three mornings a week for 5 hours and eats plenty of solids there, I am SHOCKED when the DCP tells me she ate a whole bowl of foods because that NEVER happens at home. I am lucky if I get her to eat five bites at any given meal.
if you researched this a bit you would see how normal this is. how other moms are tearing their hair out coz their toddler/child hardly eats anything at home. at least with you yours has bm. the other moms - nothing.

i have noticed the same with my dd. at that age. who is also a social eater. she defintiely even today at almost 7 eats more when others are around or even at restaurants. she never, never ate beans in our house. no matter how i cooked them. at dc she gobbled them up. the owner who also sometimes cooks for the dc and who usually cooks th ebean and rice said she makes the same exact thing at home and her kids reject it.

my dd is still nursing. 30 secs at night and wake up mornings. for her nursing is like therapy. she gets a LOT of emotional benefit out of it. before 5 she nursed a lot when going thru growth spurts and emotional stuff. other times not so much.

hang in there mama. nursing is not just nutrition. its a whole lot more for our kids. childhood is v. v. stressful and i think its a huge emotional support for our kids.

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#20 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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A 2 1/2 year old who only nurses 2-3 times a day? What's that like? My kids must just nurse a LOT, then.

Mom to Eoin (11/02), Eilis (09/04), Eamon (07/07), and Ellery (04/10)
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#21 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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Every child is different, even with the same mother.

My dd night weaned and STTN at almost exactly 2.5yo and was nursing about 3-4 times a day. She's always been very outgoing and social and "busy" at home and outside. She decided that she was done nursing when she was 4yo and had dropped down to nursing about once a week or so.

My ds is 3yo now and still nurses about 2 or 3 times at night (it could be more -- we co-sleep!). He nurses at least 10x/day and will stop any activity to get his "milky mes" if I'm around. He's very outgoing and social and "busy" at home and outside. He can be at the park playing with friends, covered in sand and wood chips and water and will come over to me push me to a bench and demand his "precious milky mes", nurse for a bit and then go back to playing. Does he want a snack? No. Does he want a drink of water? No. Hemp milk? No. Something else to drink or eat? No. He wants his precious milky mes! (And now!) That's just the way he is.

Sometimes it's hard. Especially when I'm tired and it's one of those nights where he's nursed 4 or 5 times and I went to bed late and have to get up early for some reason or another. But then I remember that this time will go by oh so fast and they nurse for such a short period of their lives.

nak
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#22 of 26 Old 08-13-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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My dd is exactly the same as yours. SHe is 2 1/2 and She hardly eats 5 bites per meal and still nurses all day and night. I am glad you started this thread because I had the same worries as you do. My dd is quite small for her age. Usually I am just happy that at least she is getting some nutrition from BF even if she isn't eating much.

married to DH for eleven years Mama to dd1 1/30/07 and dd2 7/12/10
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#23 of 26 Old 08-14-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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My 2.75-year-old is nursing nearly as frequently as his 7-week-old brother (who my wife gave birth to), including nursing through the night. It is difficult for me at times, especially during certain parts of my cycle when my nipples are sore and my supply is lower. But I am not worried that he will go on nursing like this FOREVER. We may not be doing entirely child-led weaning (I do say "no" sometimes, or ask him to wait a bit, or eat some food first), but I am hoping that my ds will feel like he makes the choice to stop nursing, when the time comes.

My main issue is that my ds does not eat a lot of solid food. He will say, "I just want nursing for lunch today." The problem is that he's hungry all the time, and I think that's a big part of why he wants to nurse so much. I really don't think I make enough milk to sustain him at this point. He is an incredibly picky eater. But I find that we do best--the day flows best--if I go out of my way to make sure and feed him something he likes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and at least one or two snacks. He will still nurse on those days, but not as excessively.

I think it is rare for a 2.5-year-old in a child-led weaning family to only be nursing 2 or 3 times a day, unless the mom is WOHM and gone most of the day. But many mothers of 2.5-year-olds will have put some limits on nursing (mama-led weaning) by that point.

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#24 of 26 Old 08-25-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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I'm so glad I noticed this thread. DD2 is 28 months and nurses a lot (basically non-stop between the hours of 7-9, then again for a few minutes at 11, and then does many drive-by nursing sessions throughout the day, and then before she naps, then for about a 1/2 until she falls asleep). I'd have to say she nurses more now than when she was 10 months old. Sometimes I get frustrated and feel like saying, "Don't you have anything else to do?" but at the same time I feel sad because I know that the time where she won't want to nurse isn't too far away. And sometimes I need to put up those boundaries where I need my space and I don't want to/or can't nurse her, so I struggle between letting her nurse and being annoyed occasionally or flat out saying no I can't do it right now. It is hard to maintain a balance sometimes. I know that emotionally and nutritionally she needs to nurse so I really don't feel I can stop because it would be too hard on her, and, probably hard on me as well. Sorry to hijack
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#25 of 26 Old 08-26-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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My ds2 is almost 4 and nurses as much as ds3 who is 11 months. My ds1 didn't really start cutting down on nursing until he was over 4, but every kid is so different. You are doing a great job.

Wife to dh, Mommy to ds1 12/2002, ds2 9/2005, and ds3 9/2008.
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#26 of 26 Old 08-26-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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At age 2.5 my DS got most of his nutrition from solids, but he still nursed alot, and wasn't nightweaned. I think he started sleeping through the night at about age 3. I was so used to night nursing I didn't really notice.

You could maybe work on getting her to enjoy food more, but it's totally normal for a 2.5 year old to be nursing throughout the day. I had low supply and had to supplement for most of my DS's first year. So there wasn't much left at 2.5 and that still didn't stop him from nursing round the clock.

He's 4 now and typically nurses about 5 times a day I'd say.
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