How did you know you wanted to CLW, and what age was ok with you, and, well, I guess just need support. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When I started breastfeeding my oldest, I said I would "try it out."  I didn't really think about how long we would nurse for; I wasn't even sure we would succeed.  He struggled because of an underlying infection and was hospitalized for severe dehydration in the very first week of his life.  At that point, I was happy just to nurse at all and only saw one day at a time.  He naturally weaned at about 13-14 months, and never looked back.  My second child is still nursing, tandem nursing with his 1 year old brother.  My middle child is 3.5 years old.  Honestly, I knew I wanted to tandem nurse, especially because it was so foreign to me; no one in my family nurses for a long period of time let alone tandem!  So when my youngest was born, I was thrilled to tandem.  It has been a struggle at times over the last year.  My middle child wants to nurse at least a dozen times a day.  I have found myself recently cringeing when he asks to nurse; I don't know why.  When I sit down and think about it, it makes me sad.  I really do believe in CLW, and we let our children's cues dictate so much else in our lives; why should this be different?  But something about two tugging at me constantly is draining me emotionally.  My baby is not interested in solids, so he still nurses full-time, day and night, for his nourishment at nearly 13 months old. 

 

I often resent my middle child still nursing but don't have the heart to say no.  I have tried imposing limits, like only at home, only certain times of the day, limiting the duration of the session, but he flips out and throws a massive fit, no matter where we are, and then we get *those looks.*  Y'know, the shocked, omg-he's-still-nursing-I-can't-believe-I-just-heard-that" looks.  I wish I could say I was Teflon and it didn't matter, but it does get to me.  I would be much happier letting him nurse, I believe, if it could just be in our home and only a few times a day.

 

I've tried substituting things, like snuggling and reading a book, but he literally spends the whole time saying "nurse nurse nurse" and licking the outside of my shirt where my nipple is.  He's such an easy-going kid usually, about anything else.

 

I don't even know what I'm saying or asking.  I just wanted to put this out there with mamas who maybe understand.  Another mom, a LLL leader, recommended weaning him cold-turkey, but I just don't have the heart to do that to him.  I do love having the connection to him, but I guess I'm feeling angry towards him because I feel like I'm not allowed to have a voice in the relationship, like only he gets to decide when/where/how much/how often because he throws such a big embarrassing fit.  I don't want to feel like my opinion doesn't matter in this nursing relationship; I feel used.  greensad.gif


 

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#2 of 11 Old 03-09-2011, 09:41 AM
 
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Breastfeeding only works if it works for both mother and child.  It certainly doesn't sound like you want to wean but if you can't put limits it may come to that.  My 3.5 year old is still nursing and I nursed his sister until she weaned herself.  With both of them I placed limits once I was tandem nursing.  I nurse a lot at home but we don't nurse out of the home anymore (I find it difficult to nurse two at once in public- call me crazy!).  We talk about it A LOT.  My 3.5 year old knows that we don't nurse anywhere but home (or wherever we are sleeping that night if we are visiting) but there are times he still asks.  Then we talk about it again.  It really does come down to, like so much in parenting, being consistent.  It is difficult to place limits but it sounds like you will be much more comfortable if you do that and stick with it and then he can decide when he will be done after that.  It looks like my 3.5 year old is about 4 months older than yours so it might be the age as well.  Good luck!


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#3 of 11 Old 03-09-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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I totally agree with the PP. It only works if it works for both of you. I nursed my second child till he was 4, longer than I ever thought I would. He liked it, I didn't mind either, and it got him to sleep for naps. If I had experienced the emotional draining and resentment you are feeling, OP, and the desire to set limits, I would have interpreted it as a signal to wean.

CLW can be a wonderful thing. But I don't believe that CLW works for every situation. If mother and child are happy, great. But if it becomes something the mother does simply because she believes she must, while struggling with resentment and exhaustion - well, that's not good for anyone. Your opinion does matter. Nursing your child shouldn't make you feel used. That's a really dangerous signal, imo. Here on MDC we often hear the refrain to "listen to your instincts." It sounds like yours are telling you something, loud and clear. Your are in one of the most exhausting phases of motherhood, with a 1yo and a 3.5yo (believe me, I've been there!). You need to take care of yourself, whatever that may mean.
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#4 of 11 Old 03-09-2011, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, mamas, you both bring up some very good points.  I have some important decisions to make!  Mommy-guilt is the worst, isn't it?  shy.gif


 

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#5 of 11 Old 03-19-2011, 11:15 PM
 
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DS will be 4 in May is is still nursing before bedtime and in the morning.  Usually, the benefits outweigh anything else...he goes to bed at 7pm and wakes up at 7am, and I credit that 100% to nursing.  At night, we read a book and he often falls to sleep on his own.  When he needs to nurse, he goes for about 5 whole minutes before falling asleep.  Sometimes I resent it a bit and when that happens I ask DH to step in and handle the nighttime duties.  DS is old enough to be okay with it. 

 

I had a miscarriage in February but the 13 weeks that I was pregnant made nursing a pretty uncomfortable experience for me.  I set some limits on nursing (especially in the morning when I felt cruddy) and DS complained a bit but was okay in the long run. 

 

When DS was born I hoped to make it to 6 months... now we're at nearly 4 years.  CLW never even occurred to me until we were actually doing it.  The reason I allow him to keep going is because I am so.freaking.spoiled by this whole bedtime/waking up thing and don't want to rock the boat.  shy.gif  I think DS and I will have a heart-to-heart about nursing when he turns 4 and we'll see what he wants to do.  I think he's almost done.

 

I don't know if what I'm doing is exactly CLW, but at some point I did feel the need to set some limits.  I felt that he needed to respect my body and my needs, just as I respect his.  Because of that, he knows that we only nurse at home and only when waking up in the morning and before going to bed at night.  It took about 6 months to move to the 2x/day routine and we did it very gently.  When he wanted to nurse in public, we would have a quiet talk about how "this is a private, specialI  thing between you and mommy that we only do at home."  would also tell him that I didn't want the world to see my boobies.  Before we would leave the house I would remind him that he could nurse when we got home, but not while we were out.  I would also tell him that I was making milk for just him and that it wouldn't be ready until bedtime, so he had to wait until then.  For him, it helped when he knew when he COULD expect to nurse, instead of focusing on when he couldn't.  I know that wouldn't work for everyone, but wanted to share my experience.

 


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#6 of 11 Old 03-20-2011, 05:21 AM
 
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How verbal is your child? And when are you talking about these limits? I don't know how you've addressed it, so I apologize if this is what you've already done.... I think you need to have a running dialogue over a period of days discussing what the new limits are going to be on breastfeeding. Only at home. Only when you say ok. Only x number of times a day. Only for five minutes or some other time length. Don't bring it up when he's asking to nurse, or when you're out, or when you're already frustrated. I'd address it from the angle of him getting bigger, and the nursies(or whatever) need to be saved for the baby now. But I would remind him frequently that on Tuesday(or whatever) the new rules are starting. Show him a calendar. 

 

BTW, good for you! My "nursling" is 4 years old and sometimes it is SO exhausting to do the "right thing." I'm so done. So, so done. Nursing has been a battle for me every step of the way. And I would just like to be done. Thankfully over the last year or so, the nursing has tapered off a lot, so it's become a lot less, well, draining. 

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#7 of 11 Old 03-20-2011, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lots of good info mamas.  I haven't really been doing a good running dialogue outside of when he truly wants to nurse.  And then there's no working with him; he's as stubborn as a bull!  lol.gif  I do think we need to talk about it.  I hope he will respond if we've been talking about it, because I did try telling him one morning, "Ok, we're only going to nurse in mommy's bed, which means first thing in the morning and again late at night."  But he kept asking and when I reminded him, he would just flip out on me.  greensad.gif  He does seem to be slowing down, just in the last few days, so maybe this will wind up naturally.  I guess I get spooked when I read in books like "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" that kids "usually" stop by 4/5 but can often go until 6/7.  I really commend mamas for being open and willing to meet their children's needs, but I guess I just never really planned on it going that long, and honestly, I don't think I'm comfortable nursing for that long.  Just my own personal feelings.  So...when he starts picking up nursing sessions, I get a little unsettled.

 

Thank you mamas for the support.


 

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#8 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 12:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Thandiwe View Post

Lots of good info mamas.  I haven't really been doing a good running dialogue outside of when he truly wants to nurse.  And then there's no working with him; he's as stubborn as a bull!  lol.gif  I do think we need to talk about it.  I hope he will respond if we've been talking about it, because I did try telling him one morning, "Ok, we're only going to nurse in mommy's bed, which means first thing in the morning and again late at night."  But he kept asking and when I reminded him, he would just flip out on me.  greensad.gif  He does seem to be slowing down, just in the last few days, so maybe this will wind up naturally.  I guess I get spooked when I read in books like "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" that kids "usually" stop by 4/5 but can often go until 6/7.  I really commend mamas for being open and willing to meet their children's needs, but I guess I just never really planned on it going that long, and honestly, I don't think I'm comfortable nursing for that long.  Just my own personal feelings.  So...when he starts picking up nursing sessions, I get a little unsettled.

 

Thank you mamas for the support.


 

FIrst of all, I think you're awesome and that whatever you do will work out--weaning, limits, whatever.  My dd is stubborn as a bull too (I mean strong willed as a bull...yeah, no, stubborn is the better word here really), but it really wasn't going to work for me unless I set major limits.  I had to do it during pregnancy because it felt yucky, and I really had to be firm and committed.  I also had to be very clear about what the limits were (both with myself and with my dd).

 

Fortunately for me, she wasn't a huge public nurser anymore, and if it was really important to her (like she'd just tumbled and hurt herself) I could usually find a place out of the way where I was willing to nurse...but I live in a crunchy part of CA and even I hear you about the feeling a bit weird with an older nursling in public (why do we have to deal with this bologna??? grrrr).  For us the limit was, 10 seconds per side anytime you really need it and longer if I feel like it.  If I say I'm done, we're done, but I will always give you 10 seconds per side even if you occasionally have to wait until we get to a place that works for me.  She dry nursed through much of the pregnancy this way.  And I weathered quite a few tantrums until she got it.  But she did get it...I was very clear that if I wasn't able to set these limits, it wasn't going to work for me and I was going to end up weaning.

 

For me, I felt much better about setting the limits than about weaning.  Now that her sister is born, I can nurse her much longer and so I do when it feels okay to me.  She's also mostly gotten the whole "if I say no, it means no and whining ain't gonna change it" thing.  So I try to offer her a chance to nurse at times that I know will work for me so that she doesn't feel as bad when I say "not now," which I do frequently.

 

At 3.5, you can probably talk with him about some of this, which might help?  Would it work for you to go over the ground rules before you go out so that he can have the tantrum about it at home and/or process it before he's in the moment?  Would it work for you to set a few more times during the day that are okay so that he doesn't feel such a drastic change at first (i.e. changing from anytime he asks to only 2x per day)?  I dunno.  Basically, I hear ya, I wish our society was different about breastfeeding, and good luck whatever you decide!


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#9 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 01:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Thandiwe View Post
I do love having the connection to him, but I guess I'm feeling angry towards him because I feel like I'm not allowed to have a voice in the relationship, like only he gets to decide when/where/how much/how often because he throws such a big embarrassing fit.  I don't want to feel like my opinion doesn't matter in this nursing relationship; I feel used.  greensad.gif


Have you told him this?  Not about the power of his big embarrassing fit (although I DO know how hard it is to not let them know they're pressing the right buttons...sigh)...but about feeling unfair and that you're going to change it so that it works for you so that you don't have to stop altogether.  Then maybe start setting limits at home so that you can deal with the at home tantrums first...giving you the power to walk away from the drama a bit more...and giving him a little less power with the tantrums?


Mama to Nell (11/15/06) and Maggie (10/9/10) . AFTER 2.5 YEARS, I AM AN AUNTIE!!! joy.gifHOORAY TEAR78 and welcome Anika and Brand New Baby Boy!!!!  Circumcision: the more you know, the worse it is; please leave the decision up to your son!

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#10 of 11 Old 03-24-2011, 12:39 PM
 
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One way I have dealt with the total meltdowns when DS wants to nurse, is to agree to nurse, but only for 10 seconds (or 3 seconds, or 1 second). Or even pretend to nurse works. Sometimes he just needs the assurance that it's still there and he still has that connection to me. I think this sort of opened the door to other limits for us as well. For the first 18mos of DS's life, he totally 100% 'used' me (rightfully so!) and it was TOUGH on me. He nursed multiple times an hour, 'round the clock, and I just felt so frustrated with it. I liked nursing him but at the same time I resented it. Then I started introducing the '10 seconds' thing and not nursing to sleep and asking him to wait a bit, and I have to say, I'm much happier with our nursing relationship now (he's a little over 2 years old now). It was hard for me to realize, hey I really do deserve a voice in this, and because he isn't nursing SOLELY for nutrition anymore (though still only eats about 50% solids), I don't have to nurse entirely on cue anymore. Some people might choose to, but it wasn't working for me, I didn't want to be nursing 20+ times a day, and every 15mins all night, anymore. I still have many days where I feel frustrated that he asks so frequently and is not easily dissuaded, but I also think it's cool that he & I can negotiate ("Milk please." "No." "Just a little bit?" "OK you can nurse for 1 second." "Mommy, count to 10." "Well how about 3 seconds?" "Yeah!" Gulp gulp gulp. lol.gif)

I also have a friend who has a special chair she & DD nurse in. And they only nurse at certain times and in that one (VERY COMFY!) chair. Her DD does pretty well with that... I don't know that I would be ready for those kind of restrictions and I'm quite positive that DS isn't ready for them, but it's something you could consider working toward if you think it would work for you!! Maybe just knowing that there is a designated time (or two, or three, or four times...) every day that he WILL get to nurse, might ease up a bit on what may be anxiety? i.e. If you are sort-of-but-not-really setting limits, he may be confused about when he can & can't nurse and feel more compelled to ask for it since he doesn't know if/when he'll get another opportunity.

I think the hardest thing is when your needs and your child's needs don't quite match up. That's where I was at with DS several months ago (and, I suspect, will be again in another few months)... It sounds like that is kind of what you're dealing with... That you perceive DS to truly need to nurse often, but you're not sure you want to (either now or a year from now or whatever). So look carefully at your perceptions as well as your desire to continue this... Obviously not saying your perceptions are off or anything!! But sometimes when you take a step back you might say, OK yeah he does need to nurse at X and Y time but at Z time he might be equally satisfied by _____. Or you might find that your desire to stop nursing him is having a negative effect on your nursing (or general) relationship and you need to work toward weaning. Or you may discover you are doing exactly what is best for both of you, and just need to ride out this phase. Or whatever... Sorry I am rambling a lot today for some reason...

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#11 of 11 Old 03-24-2011, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Crunchy_Mommy, a lot of what you said really struck a chord, thank you!  We have actually started doing the, "Just for one minute," thing, and it seems to be working.  I have been really wavering in my decisions and I haven't been clear to him, which doesn't help.  On the one hand, I *know* he needs the one-on-one time and the nursing affection.  On the other hand, I feel pulled in a million directions, being a stay at home mama who gets altogether too "touched" out throughout the day.  And guilt leaves me unsure which way to go.  He doesn't respond well to tantrums, most likely because I have given in them at times when he's been particularly obnoxious in his tantrum, and for that I'm not proud.  blush.gif  But I do think we will continue with the idea of counting down, setting a  limit of time.  Perhaps if he feels he can still have it, even if for less time, the desire to always ask for it will lessen, the whole forbidden fruit theory.

 

Once again, thank you for your understanding.  Your words hit right on.


 

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