My dd 5.5 yrs. old has stopped nursing over the past few months. I subscribe to the theory of child led weaning but will admit to refusing on occasion and looking back feel I may have been more supportive of stopping than continuing. about the time she really slowed down nursing we were very busy and she would often skip her bedtime nursing because she would fall asleep before I got in bed to nurse. I do not think she necessarily stopped on her own because even now if I mention the end of our nursing she gets upset and tells me she does not want to talk about it. I think I failed perhaps the most important aspect of our nursing relationship and regret doing so. About the same time nursing ended dd began putting her fingers in her mouth repeatedly throughout the day, or licking her hands or fingers. Over and over and over again. When asked why she says her hands are dry, if I offer lotion or other alternative she gets very upset and licks her fingers even more rapidly. If I mention it and ask her to stop she does it even more frequently, it appears to be unconscious and I do not believe she is doing it to annoy me. She isn't that kind of a kid and we don't have that kind of a relationship. I really think it's related to weaning and was wondering if others had noticed odd self soothing behaviors crop up after weaning an older child? I had hoped to do something special for her when she weaned but she won't discuss it, she says talking about nursing or not nursing makes her sad. Should I go ahead and do something special for her anyway? Any suggestions on what to do? I had considered a special ring or necklace, something nice that she could keep forever. But right now she is not really interested in jewelry.
i would say yes because my dd at 4 has started to do this finger in mouth, finger sucking type thing as she is not nursing more than once a day. and yes sometimes i say no (i am tandem nursing). buuut then i was at my moms house with my dn who is 6 mos younger than my dd, weaned at 2 years and noticed the two of them were sitting on the couch doing the finger in the mouth/finger sucking thing. so maybe its early weaning or its just a stage/age/phase thing?
don't beat yourself up mama, that is a long time to nurse you did good!
I feel for you, Mama!
My daughter weaned at 5.5 and she faults a short break we took several months before that as why "she didn't really wean on her own". I mistakenly assumed that because her needs had been met for so long, and so OFTEN that the transition would be a happy one. Instead it was pretty emotional for her. She used to leave me little notes about how she wasn't done. I told her she could nurse again if that's what she wanted. I did everything short of saying, "Come here and nurse, little one." It was so hard not to tell her what to do, but I just couldn't. And I was so frustrated that after all that, it wasn't smooth and easy.
Then one day she just looked at me and said, "It's not that I still want to nurse, it's just that I still want to be a nursling." And I sort of got it a little better. Sort of like flying is fun but fledging, well, maybe not so much. We watched a trio of baby great horned owls fledge once (over days and days, mind you) and they were awkward and floppy and clingy and (one of them in particular) often temporarily frozen to their branches. Maybe you could talk about that kind of transition with your girl on a special hike or something. Maybe tell her a parable, and not spell it out but feel it out with her.
Change is so glorious and so terrifying.
It took a lot of strength to watch and let her grieve it. I guess I had thought it would just be me.
Thanks for your stories ladies. I have done a lot of thinking about this and feel i may not have handled this as well as I could have. We were busy she wasn't nursing, I thought she was done. End of the chapter but clearly she was not done. This morning an opportunity arose to discuss nursing. Basically, she said that sometimes she feels like she is ready to be done and sometimes she feels she is not ready. It's difficult for her to know what to do as she finds nursing so relaxing. We will continue to talk and work through this transition together. this was the first time she has been able to discuss it without telling me she couldn't talk about it.
I think jewelry is a lovely idea for a weaning gift if you do decide to go that route.
My little boy just weaned this month and I was wishing he were into jewelry so I could give him a beautiful and enduring gift to honor that time in our lives. Instead he got a fur-real kitty. Not super special . . . but it's what he chose.