We've just un-weaned at 35 months, now what? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 08-19-2009, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD weaned on her own (refused!) at 27 months after I had surgery, restarted a month later, stopped a month later, restarted 2 months later, and then began using baby talk all the time saying she was a baby, which I know was because she wanted to nurse again, but only sees babies nursing. For various reasons I felt like it wasn't helping her in her life, and she wasn't being receptive to my gentle efforts of asking for her to respect my body (ripping at my shirt in the store/out to dinner, etc), so I created this nice celebration with family and friends and she weaned at 32 months.

Well, she wants to "touch" 10+ times a day, the baby talk didn't stop, she's more clingy than ever, and so I asked her if she wants to still be nursing and she said definitively "YES!". I made a deal with her, she could start nursing again, but she could only do it once in the morning and once in the evening, and she needed to respect my body and not "touch" (which is a nipple twisting) anymore with out my permission, and if I said no, she needed to honor that. She happily agreed. This was yesterday.

This evening while nursing she said "Mama, I love you. I don't ever want to loose you. I don't ever want to loose Papa, or my brother (her twin), or my Mama." I guess I'm doing the right thing, I hope, but I'm worried about displaying inconsistency to her, about actually limiting it to twice a day, and I'm just not sure if I made the right choice. Her desire to nurse just seemed so strong I didn't want to deny her the opportunity of having a peaceful ending to such a long beautiful nursing relationship (that we struggled to establish in the first place). I need support on this. Even though I live in this great alternative accepting town, it seems like hardly anyone is still nursing their 3 year olds, and I feel uncertain about what I'm getting us into and I feel alone in this. I just want to do the right thing for both of us, but its hard to figure out what that is!

Mama to DS & DD, 4 years old TWINS 
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#2 of 14 Old 08-19-2009, 03:25 AM
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My 3.5 year old has been too busy to NIP since she could walk so most people don't know she's still nursing. There are probably a lot more people in your community that nurse their preschoolers than you realize. It doesn't sound like your DD was ready to wean. We're still nursing on demand. Most days that's twice a day. Though sometimes it's several more or every once in awhile just once. I think not limiting makes children less demanding.

We've talked about how babies and small children and animals nurse.
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#3 of 14 Old 08-19-2009, 03:35 AM
 
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I don't have any person advice on un-weaning a child, but I just wanted to commend you for listening so clearly to what your DD needs. Good luck and be sure to check back in for support and commiseration!

 

 

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#4 of 14 Old 08-19-2009, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I think not limiting makes children less demanding.
I guess this is where I'm not having confidence. I don't see my children naturally setting limits where they are needed, so I've felt it is something I need to gently help them learn. Like consuming a pound of blueberries if available, wanting to drink nothing but milk (DS), watching cartoons ALL day long at some other house, etc.

I'm worried that if I give her full control over when she can nurse, and let her nurse on demand again, it will be 15+ times a day like it was 9 months ago. She'd throw a huge tantrum in line at the grocery store because I couldn't stop my activity and indulge her. She is a very head strong, determined, persistent little girl, all qualities I love in a female, but it seems like she needs me to help her figure out how to control her infinite desires, which aren't all considerate to others and therefore in her best interest. I guess I felt like helping her learn to limit her nursing to twice a day would help her to find reward in practicing patience and discipline. Nursing is evidently so huge to her that I felt it may be a healthy avenue to use to help her learn healthy limit setting. These twins are my only kids so its really just a big experiment, but I'm just worried about what could happen if I don't work on limits.

Do you other mamas really not set limits around nursing at age 3? Does it really just work out? What about in public (like at a crazy store like Target?)

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#5 of 14 Old 08-19-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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The theory is that if you allow unlimited access, after a short time of going crazy over any item (be it blueberries, nursing or tv) a child will naturally self-regulate down to a reasonable amount. It is the perception of scarcity that drives the overindulgent behavior, not an actual desire for a long term intake at that level.

I do think that this will work with most children. Of course, you might be waiting a VERY long time. For me, with DD it did help a lot to get us out of a rut to just say, "Yes, you may nurse whenever you want, as long as you want (with some exceptions)." Personally, I would encourage you to go without limits but have a limit for that experience in mind (like, let her nurse on demand for say 2-3 weeks). At that point reevaluate and see if any behaviors are changing. You might want to commit to a little longer in fact. Given that she has been "deprived" (in her mind) for 3+ months it may take a while for her to feel secure that it will not be removed again.

 

 

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#6 of 14 Old 08-19-2009, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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TiredX2: I really thank you for sharing more on this theory. Can you direct me to more information...I'm a bit nervous, but usually learning more about theories helps me decided was is best. Books, websites? I'll check out the resources posted on this forum for starters.

But, I still don't think I'll let them tune into cartoons all day, maybe a Planet Earth documentary, but all day cartoons are just out of my comfort zone.

Mama to DS & DD, 4 years old TWINS 
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#7 of 14 Old 08-19-2009, 11:34 PM
 
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My DS unweaned at 34 months after being weaned for 18 months (had to stop because of my twin pregnancy and then he didn't like newborn milk). He started nursing 5 - 7 times a day and 4 months later was down to 3x a day. He finally weaned again at 40 months due to pregnancy supply dry up and while he still asks sometimes, I know he probably won't go back to it when the newborn milk comes in. He is also a big eater and a big kid (proportionate for his height but still HEAVY) so I can relate to the fear of them overdueing it. With food I have found that he needs to eat alot and frequently (every 2 hours from morning til late afternoon... then he refuses dinner). The whining drove me batty until I read that kids naturally eat more in the early hours and progressively less as the day wears on. Once I "gave in" to his natural rhythms the whining got much better and he's normalized. I think it's the same with nursing. She'll find a rhythm and go with it even if it's all. the. time at first.

Lucia , Poly )O( Lactation Counseling mama lady.gifvbac.gifto 5 yo Goobersuperhero.gif and 3 1/2 yo MZ twins twins.gif Peanut and Sweetpea and 1yo Pumpkinbabyf.gif mmm placenta.gif
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#8 of 14 Old 08-20-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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my DD is 3 years, 4 months, nursing, never stopped. i'm pregnant and determined to get through, and tandem. it didn't *really* hurt until recent weeks (i'm 36 weeks along now) and i have recently started putting some limits on nursing b/c it does hurt, and we are so close to the end point where the milk will be coming in the next month or so and from what i've heart, i should be prepared for her to want to nurse and nurse once the baby is here and the "milk is back." so i'm limiting a little, but seriously, she latches on probably 15+ times a day, still! nurses to sleep. wants to nurse whenever we read a book (i can't do this every time -- like when we are sitting side by side in the recliner... it hurts to twist it that way). i don't generally nurse in public unless it is an "emergency" / meltdown moment and i know that if it is, she can calm down quickly with just like 2-3 seconds of being latched on.

i truly believe that she wants to nurse 1) out of boredom 2) for security/to know that she can still have it (hence being satisfied/calmed down with 2-3 seconds of being latched on).

HTH!

ps: i don't know anyone nursing a 3 year old either, except on this web site!
oh well, their loss. it's worth it, in my opinion, to meet your child's needs. my DD is one of the most confident, daring, socially outgoing and fearless kids i know. i never have pushed "independence" on her -- including nursing whenever and how ever long she wants it, never leaving her to CIO, etc. i do think CLW helps her be so self assured and feel secure.

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#9 of 14 Old 08-20-2009, 01:10 AM
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My DD self regulates with food and nursing. There's research on children self regulating with food and their diet is balanced when you look at the diet for a whole week. We've had periods where my DD was stressed and nursed more and then went back to 2 or 3 times a day. For example when she was almost 3 we moved and then went on vacation, coming back to the new house, her nursing increased alot and she was clingier for several weeks.

I've always felt that if I meet her needs when they occur she'll feel more secure and be less needy sooner than if I don't meet her needs. I didn't base this on theories so I don't have written data for you. I've noticed with myself and my own emotional needs that if they aren't being met completely I feel less secure that my emotional needs will be met and I'm more needy and demanding a person. When my needs are met I'm a happy non-demanding person.
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#10 of 14 Old 08-20-2009, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't thank you kind mamas enough for giving me support, insight, and wisdom. It means the world, truly. I'm feeling much more confident in CLW, not so alone, and thinking I need to strike a better balance on setting and addressing limits.

I'm realizing how CLW, isn't just about weaning from nursing, but about best facilitating child led learning. I ascribe to "unschooling" already, so naturally I guess the lessons I'll be learning through CLW will serve us well on our homeschooling journey.

DS (her twin) has barely nursed since early infancy after severe nipple confusion in the NICU (born 8 weeks early), and he was bottle fed and exclusively pumped for x18 months despite my heart-broken exhaused efforts of trying to correct his latch, all of which was a constant supply struggle since I only have one lactating breast. My real challenge now is to afford him the same CLW respect, as he is very attached to cuddling with a sippy of milk. His entire upbringing is different as a result of not being able to nurse. With that natural piece missing, he has required added tenderness and creativity on our part to try and fill the void left by not being at the breast. Its not like the milk keeps flowing from sippy drip-by-drip, like it does from an "empty" breast.

Mama to DS & DD, 4 years old TWINS 
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#11 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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follow up...

: SHE'S SO HAPPY! :

I'm so happy too! She can nurse as long as she wants and when she wants. I'm trusting her to make the right choice for when its the right time.

Mama to DS & DD, 4 years old TWINS 
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#12 of 14 Old 08-22-2009, 11:38 PM
 
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Do you still have milk or are you dry nursing? I'm happy that she is happy it's interesting that she has a twin, how does he respond to seeing his sister nursing again? Is he jealous at all at your closeness to her?

Katherine, SAHM to 2 little princes
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#13 of 14 Old 08-23-2009, 03:43 PM
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That's great. I'm glad it's working out.
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#14 of 14 Old 08-24-2009, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I did still have some milk, and its pretty funny listening to DD's running commentary of how it tastes. First she said it tasted like "sour juice", then it had "crumbs" in it, and now it tastes "milky". This one breast used to put out 60+ ounces a day because I breastfed both twins on it (other side was damaged by a tumor), and even after 3 months of no nursing, I could still spray something out! She's not much interested in the side that is totally dry.

My son that didn't grasp nursing as a baby, is now interested, and is actually trying to figure it out! He latched for almost 5 minutes about an hour ago! It felt so healing for us. He listened to my instructions (now wide open mouth, etc) and tried with real effort and seemed genuinely interested. I'm not sure where it's going but it feel right so I'm just going with it. Oh how I wish he'd take to it...finally, after years of trying.

Mama to DS & DD, 4 years old TWINS 
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