What's normal, and what do you do if you feel resentful? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 01-28-2010, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 2 yrs 5 mos old. I thought he'd self-wean by now, and I'm nervous he'll nurse until 4. Sometimes I wish he would wean, but I really get he wants and needs to nurse.

Nursing at night is kind of becoming a huge problem. It kind of seems that instead of nursing lulling him to sleep, he's resisting sleep and keeping himself awake playing all kinds of nursey games. Sometimes he's rough, and sometimes he just nurses FOREVER, like over an hour, and sometimes he gets all possessive and particular, like he wants me to lie on my back, then he wants me to lie on my side, and then he climbs all over me doing gymnastics and changing nursing positions at lightening fast speed.

At times I get irritated by the length and the games and I tell him I'm done. He cries and I feel awful, but really sometimes he's so rough my nipples get sore. I get resentful after being a plaything for over an hour in the dark.

I guess I want to ask is are these behaviors normal? By refusing to nurse after a certain time am I initiating weaning? How have you all dealt with these feelings?
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#2 of 15 Old 01-28-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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It's pretty unusual for children to self-wean before two or three. But the nursing relationship is exactly that: a relationship with two people involved, both with their own needs and wants. It's okay to set limits for yourself; if I didn't set some limits around nursing there is no way that I'd be able to continue nursing until my kids are ready to stop. I also think that it's important to model for them how to set limits about your own body and your own comfort, and to teach them to respect the limits that other people set.
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#3 of 15 Old 01-28-2010, 05:36 PM
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The restless behavior and night time gymnastics sound more like a sleep issue than a nursing issue. I used to tell my DD that if it hurt I couldn't give her milk. Just tell your DS you can't give him milk if it hurts and then stop if it does say "owie" and try again. When you get sore, tell him it hurts too much and stop until your aren't sore any more. It may take awhile for him to understand but he will if you're consistent. My DD never nursed if it was in an uncomfortable way, and I didn't place any limits on when or how long she nursed. She weaned herself right before turning 4. Is your DS still napping? Sometimes being wide awake during the middle of the night means a LO is losing their need to nap. Is your DS getting his molars? That can cause night waking.
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#4 of 15 Old 02-11-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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Nursing is a relationship, and it's important that both people in a relationship are getting their needs met. If you're feeling resentful and unhappy, then it's time for something to change. It's perfectly acceptable for you to set limits, and expect them to be followed. You're modeling good skills that your son will need his whole life, about how we treat others and how everyone deserves to have their needs met. That doesn't mean you need to be arbitrary, but setting some guidelines about how long he can nurse and how you want your body treated seem appropriate. He might be sad/mad/frustrated, so it will probably help to have a plan in place for responding before setting any new limits (i.e. having someone to help him settle without nursing, not starting new limits when you have to be up early the next morning). And introducing them in the day, not at night when he's already involved in his normal behavior.

That being said, I wonder if there's something else going on as well. Is he getting ready to give up his afternoon nap, or has it gradually drifted so late that he's not tired at bedtime? How does he sleep once he's fallen to sleep - other sleep disturbances? It might not be nursing per se, but something else keeping him from settling at night.

If you don't want him to nurse until he's 4, then he won't. You can gently guide him toward weaning at whatever pace seems appropriate for the two of you. And he's a LONG way from 4 - many children seem like they'll never stop on their own, then wean quite quickly. If it gets to the point that you're ready for weaning to happen, these boards are a great place to get support and ideas. And nursing a 4 year old is a LOT easier than nursing a 2 year old

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#5 of 15 Old 02-22-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheriK View Post
Nursing is a relationship, and it's important that both people in a relationship are getting their needs met. If you're feeling resentful and unhappy, then it's time for something to change. It's perfectly acceptable for you to set limits, and expect them to be followed. You're modeling good skills that your son will need his whole life, about how we treat others and how everyone deserves to have their needs met.
I think this is really great advice. I mommy-led weaned my DD at 4.5 years old. At 6 she professed that she would still nurse if I let her (and I think she would have, too).

It didn't happen all at once, but when I got to certain points I set limits - only in our house, only in the morning, no more nursing for naps etc. And each time I set the limit, I felt like I was able to continue a bit longer. Until 4.5 and then I felt like we were done. It was down to only in the morning I think. We picked a time on a camping trip so she would remember her "last session" in the tent. I also set strict rules on "no twiddling" and "10 more sucks and then the nonnies, and mommy and you will go to sleep."

Have you watched any other mama mammals nurse their older young? Believe me, it's not all access all the time. Sometimes it's a swift kick in the head or even running away. All perfectly normal and a sign that something should change.

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#6 of 15 Old 02-22-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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Yeah, that, to what others have said.

And, to add, DS is a similar age. He will do nursing gymnastics to stay awake, if I let him. We're at a point where, if I have to tell him 3 times to hold still while nursing, we stop nursing.

When DH puts DS to bed, he does the same gymnastics, rolls about over the bed, lifts DH's eyelids, jumps around. DH just ignores him (listens to his ipod and pretends to sleep), and after 10-20 minutes, DS settles down and goes to sleep. I just can't ignore as easily because, (1) my nipples are sometimes involved; (2) I'm not as physically strong as DH and have (much!) less fat, so having DS do gymnastics over me HURTS; and (3) I don't have an ipod. So, I have a shorter limit on the bedtime gymnastics, and I will hold/rock/sing instead.

When DS gets to be too much for either of us, we pass him off. Usually the change of energy to the next parent is enough to settle him and he goes to sleep.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#7 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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There is nothing wrong with setting limits with a toddler. Nightweaning is nothing to be ashamed of, and I would do it in a heartbeat with a child that age.

I have been lucky so far in that, as my patience with night nursing has waned, DD has just naturally cut back. She is 95% night weaned now at 34 months (she wakes up still! but she doesn't ask to nurse), and I did nothing to get us to this point. She's only nursing 1-2 times a day, and has gone over 24 hours lately without nursing.

I will say that the teeth all being in made a huge difference.



Set the limits you need to set--you're doing great!

dissertating wife of Boo, mama of one "mookie" lovin' 2 year old girl! intactlact:: CTA until 7/10 FF 1501dc
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#8 of 15 Old 03-09-2010, 10:55 PM
 
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Child led weaning is NOT a silly goal!!!!! It was having a firm commitment to CLW that got me through the rough times w/ nursing.

Nursing is a relationship and it is important that both parties are getting their needs met. As a child grows, s/he can stand more limits. Allowing a child to practice generosity and respecting the needs of others is a wonderful and important lesson. It can be done gently and doesn't take away from CLW at all.

I had a tough time w/ my DD. I was ready for her to wean loooooooong before she was ready. I wasn't always patient w/ her, but I learned a lot about being patient from the experience. She genuinely needed me and I'm glad I didn't force her to wean. She nursed until 5. Certainly, I wouldn't choose that for myself ever. LOL. However, taking it day-by-day and giving myself permission to feel my feelings helped. Talking to my DD about my needs and setting reasonable limits helped too. Each child is different and has a different nursing timetable (my second child weaned at 3.5). Respecting that can be difficult, but choosing CLW gives you a framework from which to work.

I'd encourage you to pick the biggest issues and address them gently one at a time. Having a new sibling can be difficult, especially for a higher need child. It can be bumpy for a loooong time (speaking from experience). Continuing to nurse can really help smooth out those bumps though. For me, it was really, really worth the challenges. Definitely explain the behaviours that make it uncomfortable for yout to nurse. Explain what you need: "I need you to be still while you nurse. Flipping around hurts my breasts," for example. Night-weaning can be very challenging, IME. That might be best left for last unless it's a huge issue. Pruning down some of the other issues may give you enough relief and the situation may resolve itself.
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#9 of 15 Old 03-25-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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I think he's got your number, mama. Setting limits is NOT going to stop a dedicated fan of the booby, but they will preserve your sanity and ultimately keep you from building up resentment towards your little guy. I recommend reading La Leche League's book, Mothering Your Nursing Toddler. It discusses "spot weaning" - basically setting limits on when, where, how long - and it will assuage any guilt you might have about this.

I know I tend to have a short fuse when I am tired or sleep-deprived, and this would be a non-starter for me. I think it's reasonable for you to set limits, move towards night-weaning (he can drink water if he's thirsty, and maybe you have to sleep in another room for awhile) so you can ALL get a good night's sleep.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#10 of 15 Old 03-25-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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I see child-led weaning as a fine goal to have, but in a flexible way. If keeping a goal of CLW is a positive way for a mother find her way through changes in the nursing relationship as her child ages and feel good about continuing to nurse, then it's a helpful and positive thing. But if the idea of CLW becomes something a mother feels she has to do, and she ends up feeling guilty about setting any limits, or changing her mind, then it becomes a negative thing. At that point I think it's important that she can give herself permission to change her ideas and plans and proceed in a direction that is more positive for her without feeling guilty about it.

I also agree that CLW does not equal an older child nursing on demand with no limits. IMO limit setting can be an important part of CLW. Instead of weaning, a mother may choose to set limits that work for her to keep the nursing relationship something she can live with, so that it can keep going until the child decides to stop.

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#11 of 15 Old 04-02-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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I think that behavior is normal, but extremely annoying. Sometimes at night I put up with too much, because I don't want to bother him if he's going to fall aslee or I don't want to wake him up. Still setting limits on HOW he nurses is not limiting his nursing rights. I say to my son that he can nurses as much as he wants, he just can't pinch me or annoy me.

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#12 of 15 Old 04-02-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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I believe in child led weaning, but having a healthy, balanced nursing relationship! I night weaned my daughter sometime around 2, because I didn't feel that her getting up 3-4 times a night was doing either of us any good. We were both cranky and annoyed with each other. We had a good routine that worked for both of us (wake up, before nap, after nap, late afternoon, bedtime). It wasn't on the clock, but it just worked out to that on it's own. My daughter will be 4 in a few months and right now she nurses in the morning and just before bed time. If she's sick, I'll let her nurse on demand, and sometimes if she's having a bad day, we'll slip another on in there during the afternoon. I know that if she was nursing on demand this whole time, I think that we'd not have a good nursing relationship (knowing both of our personalities). You have to do what works for you as a family!
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#13 of 15 Old 04-03-2010, 12:38 AM
 
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OH, I hear ya mama. My soon to be 3yo is very demanding and still nurses during the night. I've successfully shortened the nursing sessions at night and he is now able to nurse for a couple minutes, roll over, have a snuggle and go to sleep, but I am beginning to resent being woken up. During the day he nurses when he is bored, he nurses when he is hungry, he nurses when he is thirsty, he nurses when he argues with his sister, he nurses whenever I sit down.... the list goes on. I try and address the specific reason as it comes up - helping with conflict resolution, suggesting alternate activities, providing water or snacks as needed.

I have set some limits on where and when I will nurse, especially away from home (I no longer nurse in restaurants or in the playground in March), and I plan to increase the places I don't nurse (at Grandparents house is next - we'll all appreciate that, I think). To be honest, although I believe in CLW, I really thought that by 3 he would nurse at bedtime and maybe again in the morning - I had no idea that he would want to nurse 10-15 times a day.

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#14 of 15 Old 04-04-2010, 01:15 PM
 
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#15 of 15 Old 04-04-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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Reopening.

Please keep the forum guidelines in mind when posting:
Quote:
The purpose of this forum is for education, awareness and support for Child-led Weaning. Only specific Child-led Weaning threads will be hosted in this forum. General breastfeeding posts are better placed in the Breastfeeding forum.

Condemnation of extended breastfeeding is inappropriate and not hosted on Mothering.com.

It is our wish that the Child-led Weaning Forum be a supportive and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
While discussing the role of setting limits is fine, outright dismissal of child-led weaning as a goal is not.

As always, feel free to PM me with any questions or concerns.

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