My 18 month old is not an avid nurser. She's been nursing only at nighttime and for naps for a couple of months now. I'm worried that she will wean soon if our current nursing pattern continues. I have a couple of concerns...
1. Since I started ovulating I've been having some discomfort with nursing. Not pain, and not really nipple sensitivity, just a general feeling of ants-in-the-pants and squirminess on my part. She's a very polite nurser, and keeps her hands very sweetly at her sides. She usually looks at me and gives me an "eye smile" and then closes her eyes because it's sleepy time. There is no reason for me to be antsy, but it seems like it is getting worse every month. I've heard of ovulation nipple sensitivity and I have a good idea of when I ovulate and it does seem to be worse for the second half of my cycle but I'm not really sure. It doesn't feel "sensitive" just... squicky.
2. Her latch is getting really weird. Her jaw movements are more like chewing than nursing (although she doesn't bite). It seems like the latch is really shallow, too, and she doesn't get much of the areola in her mouth. Times when I do sit through her nursing until she falls asleep there are teeth marks on my nipples when I unlatch her. This has never happened before. From day one she was a perfect nurser, with no latch problems at all.
I don't know if it's teething or maybe she just got bigger and the position we use isn't comfortable any more? Are there any positions I could try to encourage a better latch?
3. All of this week our nursing sessions have gone like this: Most of the time I get way too antsy to let her nurse for more than a couple of seconds and I pull her off and relatch her a few times, then switch sides. I might do this 6-9 times before I give up. She's never upset about it, and will just snuggle up to me and fall asleep instead. I really feel like I could just snuggle with her and read her a book and she wouldn't mind. She never asks to nurse, I have to offer.
Do you think this is normal CLW? Her sister weaned very similarly at 14 months, but I always thought it was way too early. I set out with a goal of getting to at least "normal" weaning age of 2.5 with this baby. I've had people at LLL tell me that it seems like normal weaning and to just let it take its course but it seems so early to me!
Sorry for the novel! Thank you if you got this far :D Any advice or input would be appreciated.
I don't have experience with early weaning, as both my kids are (were) avid nursers, but I just wanted to say I've also experienced teeth marks after nursing, I think it's because they really can't stay still to get a good latch. I find that dd has a couple of good nursing sessions a day, when I hear her swallowing and I feel a let down. The rest of the time she just nurses when she gets tired, bored or cranky and it's just for a minute or so, as you said.
What helps me with bedtime and naptime nursing is laying in bed with her, so she has less freedom of movement and I don't have to hold her in my lap. Maybe you can try that.
What you describe looks to me like normal progression towards weaning, but it can still take months or years before they wean. I would keep offering. HTH
dd weaned at 18 months, and i was feeling similarly and then realized i was pregnant.
even if you're not, i don't see the sense in torturing yourself if you cannot fix the latch. i know if you're trying to wean, the don't offer/don't refuse is the method people use. can you talk to her about the latch in a way she'll understand? or are you wanting to wean instead?
i'd say (not that it truly matters if it's what you want) that you could try to stop offering and see what happened, then it would be CLW, because if she wanted to, she would ask.
i don't think it's exceptionally early in the grand scheme of things- if there's lots of nutrition coming from elsewhere,18 months is a good long time. If your other kid weaned around that time frame, it may just be nutritionally based, or involving your fat content in the milk, and be absolutely good and normal, you know?
Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?
Sorry, can't offer much advice but I do understand. I think what you are describing about the squirmy-antsy feeling is very common as well as the "poor" latch and teeth marks when nursing toddlers. I am experiencing this same thing with my 2 yo - always had a great latch until the last couple of months and the teeth marks have been getting deeper. Also I get that antsy - want to run away feeling almost evry time - I nurse as long as I can bear it and than have to take him off and try something else. I heard that taking evening primrose oil capsules - 1000mg 2xday can help with that weird antsy feeling if it is being caused by hormonal changes - i just started a few days ago - and haven't noticed much yet but I'm going to keep taking it and hope it helps.
Thank you, ladies!
I don't want her to wean. Well, really, I don't want her to wean because of my stupid antsy pants. If this is just her natural weaning, then I'm fine with that.
I did an experiment yesterday and today, I waited for her to ask to nurse at our usual nursing times (nap and bedtime). I would just wrap her in her blankie and snuggle and she would be almost asleep so she's not asking for it. I did offer after a while and she wanted to nurse but had that weird latch again and I was still antsy.
She's stopped waking up at night to nurse and now wakes up around 7 and I feed her. It works because I'm not really conscious enough to feel squirmy!
I'm not going to worry about the latch or the weaning until her canines come in, because I have a feeling that the gum pain might be contributing to that. I'm just going to focus on seeing what I can do about the squirmyness and the discomfort.
I will try nursing laying down and see if that is more comfortable. I'm also going to look into the EPO. Thank you!
Another two suggestions:
1) Make sure you are well hydrated
2) Pull her in *closer* while nursing. Bigger kids often kind of flop back while they nurse which encourages a poor latch and discomfort. I found the discomfort better if I really snuggled my kids in and concentrated on the nursing (like looking in their eyes, etc...)
If you don't want a premature weaning, you definately want to keep offerring. Don't offer, don't refuse is a well known weaning technique at that age!
I'm going to say one more thing. I *don't* think women should continue to nurse if they hate, hate, hate it. I don't. But, if you're just mildly uncomfortable/annoyed? Yeah, I think you should at least try to continue. There is all of this emotion built up around nursing and people seem to expect it to be this wonderful, magical, amazing experience. And you know what? Sometimes it is. And sometimes, you just do it because it's what is best for your child and what they need. With most aspects of childcare, people are realistic and know that sometimes times are great and so wonderful and other times... well, you take care of your child because they *need* you to. If you dont' enjoy changing diapers, you keep doing it until they don't need you to. If you don't enjoy cutting their food, you keep doing it until they don't need you to. I sometimes think that it would be easier on women to view nursing more in this way--- it doesn't need to create and emotional high for you to still be meeting a need for them, kwim.