Hi. My daughter just turned 3 years old this month. She stopped nursing at night (very early morning, actually) a little over a month ago. I just started telling her no, she would wimper and then go back to sleep, although she had gone a few nights without it on her own. :( Yes, I felt bad.
She nurses one to two times a day. She seems mostely happy with that amount, especially now that she is so busy with the great weather. But I'm sure that if it were up to her, she'd nurse three times a day. She nurses in the morning and most often at night too. When she asks for boobie in the middle of the day, I've been saying no. If I keep her busy, she doesn't mind at all. If she is bored, she gets a little upset sometimes.
I've had plans to nurse her for a very long time and I know a tiny bit about child led weaning but I have not given it too much thought as to when/how the nursing relationship is going to come to an end. I've just been taking things day by day. Our breastfeeding relationship has been tough, like most everyone's, but wonderful and perfect. She was exclusively breastfed until she was 1 year old, on demand and as a toddler, she has been able to have boobie pretty much when ever she wanted, with only a few limitations.
Lately, however, I am becoming irritated with the sucking sensation. I don't know if she has changed her suck or if I'm becoming impatient lately, but I am having a hard time letting her nurse for more than a couple minutes each breast. When we are done nursing, I have to take my hand and roughly rub my breast, as if to somehow get rid of the sensation or something. That just started the last month or so. I don't know why the feeling is suddenly bothering me. ?
I tell her, "Ok, all done that boobie" after a minute or two and then, as soon as she latches on the other one, I'm already saying things like "just for a little bit. Almost done." This does upset her most often, although, she is easily distracted. She doesn't break down bawling or anything but she whines for a few seconds and sometimes she tries to pull my shirt down more.
This is all making me feel so bad. Even if we weaned shortly, I wouldn't want it to be like this. :(
I've been reading a lot of articles online about extended nursing. It seems I've lost my passion and I'm trying to find it.
Tonight, I kept thinking about all the reasons I love breastfeeding my daughter and all the benefits and how wonderful it makes her feel and just tried to relax and get past the sucking sensation. She fell asleep nursing tonight and she looked so adorable curled up in my arms, just like a baby again. I actually loved it so much and realized that I miss it and want to love it everytime. It was so sweet, but near the end, I started feeling annoyed again.
I love her so much and don't want to make her feel badly.
What can I do, to get past this annoying sensation? Is it something I just have to get through for her? Or are there any tips to make it go away? I wonder if it's mostly mental. Lately my husband has been taking more of an interest in my breasts and possibly I am having a hard time with it because of that? I talked to him quickly about it tonight and he agreed to lay off for a bit and see if that's what's been bothering me.
I want to love nursing again. Please encourage me to keep going. I love reading, so if you have any great links or anything, that'd be great. Please share your experiences or any advice you have! :) I just realized how long my post is. Thank you SO much for getting through it.
My DD1 turns 5 tomorrow and she is still nursing a few times a week. I have found that the 'loving to nurse' feelings ebb and flow over time. I wouldn't say that I LOVE nursing her right now, but I do like that I can offer her something that comforts her.
As for the pain/sensation... is there any chance you're recently pregnant? Pregnancy made nursing pretty painful for me for a while!
I also think that as their mouths get bigger and more cavernous their latches go to pot. It used to be that my breast would fill her mouth with the latch and now there is air and open space and I think that makes that pain/sensation more intense.
The emotional stuff is tricky, but I think at 3 my DD understood that nursing was a two way street and when I said that I was uncomfortable or if I counted down (from 10, gently) she would pop off and be fine. It was probably worse for me than her :)
Mama to two girls: 5/06 and 3/09
Thanks for the response, woodchick. It's nice to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't love nursing every time. I keep wondering what's wrong with me when all the other "natural" mamas love every minute of it. I'm assuming that's not really true. I hope it's perfectly normal to feel up and down and up and down about it.
Actually, I don't have any pain at all, but my nipples do seem a tad more sensitive than they have in the past. There's always a chance I'm pregnant now, but I've been feeling this way for the past month or so and I definately wasn't pregnant when it began.
Yes, her latch just doesn't feel the same anymore. It's much more... hmmm... messy. She sometimes sucks on and off and on and off and on and off and on and off... AAAHHHH!!!! And she squeezes my breasts a lot now, I'm assuming because my milk supply ain't what it used to be.
Do you think it's wrong of me to rush the nursing session? I like the countdown idea (yes, gently) just to give her a heads up that we are almost done.
We've had such an up-and-down nursing relationship. For most of DS's first 2 years, he was nursing CONSTANTLY. Not every 'hour or two' -- all night long, every 10 minutes all day long... So I guess part of it for me is that now that he's finally accepting of some limits, I find myself pushing even further, for more limits, because I've realized how much better I feel (physically, emotionally, etc.) and how much better I can interact with him when he goes some time without nursing.
Right now, he's nursing 2-4 times a day (more, in high-stress situations) plus all morning -- from 6-9am or so he's just latched on and sleeping. I know if it were up to him, he'd be nursing 10+ times a day still, and still nursing to sleep. But even when he is nursing, I feel like I'm constantly rushing him, constantly trying to unlatch him. He does freak out a bit sometimes -- but he freaks out about everything so that's not nursing-specific (he's high-needs/has sensory issues). We do the counting thing, although lately he unlatches as soon as I start counting, I guess the counting annoys him right now so I'm trying to back off on it but I still can't stand nursing him for more than a few minutes.
In my heart, I feel like this is what we need right now. Maybe in a few months we'll go back to demand-nursing, or maybe we'll cut down even more. I don't know, I'm just trying to take it day by day and not get so hung up on a goal that I miss the time leading up to it. I still hope to let him nurse as long as he wants but I'm not sure if *I* will want to do that so I will have to continue to seriously weigh his needs vs. mine as he gets older. What I am a little afraid of, though, is that he'll 'accidentally' wean because of the limits... I don't want him to wean altogether, not yet, and I'm afraid of pushing him too far....
crunchy_mommy, my daughter was also high needs. She also nursed CONSTANTLY when she was younger and even now, she LOVES the boob. She would never ever turn it down. :) She nursed much much more than every hour or two. I think you just helped me figure out another key to what's been bothering me. I am also enjoying the new freedom and having the night (early morning) nursing stop, has made me realize how much better I feel with some limits and more space to myself. I now realize that, I too, am possibly pushing it. I just am afraid that I am hurting her. I wonder if we have done soooo much nursing that I'm becoming burnt out and just nearing done. I don't want her to think that I don't like it anymore, when the time we have spent breastfeeding has been so special. And, like you, that's been A LOT of time.
She would just cry and cry when she was 1 and under if I didn't give her the boob. And she was always asking for it, up until a few months ago.
Thank you for helping me realize that.
I believe my issue is made up of more than one issue and I'm so thankful for all the people and resources that have been able to help me understand my feelings better.
I also feel like my daughter (or perhaps it's me) needs limits right now too, but I'm not sure how far I should push things either.
I'm so glad to vent. Already, this morning, I let her nurse in bed with me (cosleep) directly upon waking (lately I've been making her wait until I'm wide awake, either in bed or until after breakfast because I've been so annoyed.) It was really nice, she really enjoyed it and she didn't whine upon waking today. That was nice. I didn't let her nurse as long as I used to, but I think it was just enough to make us both happy.
Although I am a mother and I want to make sure my daughter is happy as can be, I am a person too and I think what my daughter and I need right now is to find the proper balance in our nursing relationship so that we can continue to enjoy it for, hopefully, until she is ready.
That brought tears to my eyes.
It's so hard... I mean, it's easy when your needs & your child's match up perfectly or your child's needs so clearly outweigh your own (i.e. infancy) but now... yeah... it's different. And your needs to matter, but so do hers, and so do both mine & my son's...
One thing that's helped a lot is nursing more on my terms. Not saying I don't also nurse upon request, but being the one to offer sometimes -- that makes me feel better about it... maybe because it's more of a choice than just acquiescing to demands...
Also, I wish I could just stay "in the moment" while nursing him, but I really enjoy reading a good book or surfing MDC while I'm nursing (uh... that might be how I got such a high post count... ) If I am relaxed and enjoying myself I don't mind nursing for 40mins straight... but if I'm just sitting there nursing, I just can only stare at him for so long, I am with him 24/7 so I get more antsy and want to just get up and do something else.
Well, it brought tears to my eyes when you reminded me about how much my daughter used to nurse. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to nurse her -- and I'm soooo glad that I did. :)
I like the idea about offering sometimes. I offered boob tonight and she nursed for about 2 minutes and fell asleep lol. what the heck?
I think offering is also a great way of letting her know that I'm still enjoying our time nursing.
When my daughter was a wee baby, I'd always stare at her while we nursed, but I also am with my daughter 24/7 and I've noticed that lately, I don't stare at her nearly as much anymore. (while she nurses, I mean. I stare at her doing other things... she's so beautiful!) It can be boring sitting there nursing. That's how I actually learned about natural parenting and healthy eating, etc., because I was able to spend so much time at the computer. lol
I am going to try staying in the moment more often. One day, my little girl is going to be all grown up and she won't have time to cuddle with me anymore.
I'm feeling better already. I think I possibly also needed a slight change in attitude/perspective.
I feel as if we really are ok/normal afterall. I was under the impression that I should always love every nursing session and you know, not be human, I guess :) but it really has made a world of a difference for me, just to know and understand that it's not only okay, but even normal, to have ups and downs. I suppose a nursing relationship is going to have ups and downs just like other types of relationships.
Just saw this older post and wanted to say THANK YOU for these comments. I'm in a similar place now with my 3.5yo. I'm having serious trouble fighting the feelings of annoyance. Dd is high needs and was attached most of her first 2+ years, including all-night nursing. Whenever she started nursing less, I was thrilled at the new-found freedom... and finally my back/shoulders/neck could get some relief from all the nighttime side-lying nursing. Now dd is nursing 1-2x in the daytime, bedtime, wake up, and usually just 1x early in the morning before going back to sleep.
But for the last week, she's been wanting to nurse more in the day and waking up more often in the night, demanding to nurse, screaming if I say she has to wait or go back to sleep or if I won't let her switch sides after a couple times, and we've all been waking up grouchy and sleep-deprived. Any attempts at limiting night nursing in the past have always been met with much resistance. Not sure what's going on... I really hate to start nursing more often at night again and risk falling back into that as a routine, but we may try that and hope this is just another phase and that it will pass soon enough. We've had such a sweet nursing relationship for her whole life, and after all that we have put in, I absolutely don't want to mess it up this late in the game. I just had images of blissful, mutual weaning without any fuss... oh well.
Any ideas where these feelings of annoyance come from??? They make me feel like I'm being selfish and mean, but yet they really seem so strong and so... I don't know, foreign, unexpected, out-of-body. Anybody want to give an update on how their nursing is going 5 months later? Any others have experience to share?
Update: Hi. I recieved some suggestions that some early miscarriages I'd had were possibly caused by a hormone issue, due to extended breastfeeding. I didn't/don't believe it because I've done so much research on nursing through a pregnancy and tandem nursing, but I couldn't help but atleast wonder if they were right or not... you know?
So, I decided that I wasn't going to actually wean my daughter but that I was going to use distraction as much as possible. Instead of immediately popping out my boob when she asked for it, I would ask if she wanted to paint a picture, play a game with me, help me in the kitchen, read a book, etc. I figured that if she chose the activity, she was just nursing b/c she was bored and if she chose boobie- then we would nurse a bit. I realize this is actually a gentle form of weaning, but it made me feel much better if I didn't look at it that way. :) I figured if she weaned through this distraction method, she was ready... although I'm not sure how much I actually believed/believe that. :)
Anyways, she shocked me! She just stopped asking for the boob. I felt sad and cried a lot, mostely at night because that's when we think the most about everything. I couldn't believe she was done- just like that! Reading through these posts from months ago reminds me how amazing and special our nursing relationship was. If you don't want your child to wean yet, I highly recommend you do not use this distraction method too often, although I certainly think that depending on your child's personality/age it can be an wonderful tool at times. Although my daughter night weaned before I made the first post for this thread, I do recall that I just kept asking her to cuddle me closely and we started a new thing- holding hands- which we still do very often- we still cosleep. I'm sure that doesn't help you much but that's all I have to offer in that arena. I think that your plan to let her nurse when she wants to at night is a good one if you are comfortable with it, even when it gets it's most difficult. I imagine it is just a phase, like you said. :) If you tell someone they can't have something, suddenly it becomes SO very important to them.
Sorry, I don't have any good advice or really any advice for you on how to get rid of the annoying feeling or how to deal with your night issues. I am 20 weeks pregnant now and I am looking forward to beginning a wonderful nursing relationship with the new little one. :)
My feelings of annoyance came from different places.
1. My husband showing interest in my breasts and I had a hard time with that, although I think I'm past that and it wouldn't bother me this next time around.
2. My daughter was beginning to give me some nursing freedom and it felt so good that I kept pushing and pushing the envelope.
3. I really truly believe I had sensitive nipples for some other reason, which were difficult to nurse with.
4. Her latch got sloppy over time.
5. She LOVED to pop on and off of the breast and fiddle with them, and pinch my nipples, etc. She wouldn't stop. It didn't seem like she did it to bug me. I really think that she just liked it so much-maybe gave her something to do with her hands while nursing, kinda like a comfort thing. It became a habit.
I have regrets about weaning her and I also totally love our relationship the way it is right now. :) If she wants to nurse when the new baby comes along, she is welcome to do so.
I've asked her a few times if she would like to try when the baby is here and she tells me that she doesn't nurse anymore. :)
Wish you all the best!
I don't know where the annoyed feelings come from. I know I like & need my personal space. I also need to be up & about more than constant nursing allows!! I also wonder if there's some kind of hormonal component. I know the worst is right before AF arrives... I often HATE nursing for a day or two before!
Thanks for the updates ranebowchild and crunchy_mommy! This is really helpful... so many threads bring up the situations and then leave you hanging and you never find out what happened!!
ranebowchild - So sorry to hear about the miscarriages... and the sudden weaning. That's interesting that she just stopped asking for milk, but I think it's really sweet that you cuddle and hold hands instead.
crunchy_mommy - Glad to hear that you've found a comfortable nursing frequency. I would like to get back to the routine we were in, nursing 3 or 4 times a day. But I think you're right that I'm going to have to wait till this tough stage is over.
Our tough stage has actually gotten worse over the past few days. She's now getting milk probably 3x during the day. Night has become horrible... she wakes up demanding milk multiple times a night... I'm letting her get milk as often as she wants... the problem is, after she switches sides and has been getting milk for a while and I try to unlatch, she screams "I want more breastmilk" over and over and has a total fit. I just can't give in and give her more milk after I know she just got milk and switched sides. I cannot sleep and nurse anymore and it's really painful on my shoulders. So after her fit, somehow me and dh get her to snuggle up and go back to sleep. But this is happening probably 4-5 times a night. I don't know what's going on... maybe my supply just disappeared? I don't know, but nobody's getting any sleep in my house. Once I decided that this was a stage, and that it is ok for her to get milk more often than she had been, it wasn't so annoying during the day... nighttime is a completely different story though.
Pay attention to the tone of her cries/screams too. Sometimes they just need to make themselves heard for a moment or two and then will calm down & go back to sleep (without nursing) once they know they CAN do that. DS still very occasionally wakes up asking to nurse during the night and gets really upset when I say no -- but the outburst lasts for maybe 20 seconds & then he goes back to sleep. He wouldn't have done that ~6mos ago because I would have nursed him immediately. I don't like to make him upset of course, but the end result is more sleep for all of us, plus we are cosleeping so I'm right there cuddling and offering alternatives to soothe him. It's better than me being chronically angry because my sleep is so interrupted!!
But again, I'd ride out the worst of this stage before attempting any kind of nightweaning... it will be much easier if you can wait a couple of weeks (easier said than done!)
Thanks again crunchy_mommy. Dd used to always fall asleep while nursing, but she's been falling asleep at night without nursing (mostly) for several months or maybe even a year or more. Many days she doesn't nap at all, but if she does it has to be while nursing. She won't take a nap any other way that we've tried except riding in the car. She used to be able to go back to sleep at night without too much fuss on her own or by cuddling, but now she won't go back to sleep without having an enormous tantrum and screaming for breastmilk. I was trying to ride this out, thinking it was a phase, but it doesn't seem to be letting up... so I'm going to repost my situation under a new thread. I'll post the link once it's up.
Okay, here's the link where I reposted our situation... http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1336843/clw-high-needs-3-5yo-and-burnout-support-needed#post_16757118. After typing all of it out, I think there are some other factors involved. Thanks again.