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modestmothering 12-08-2012 06:00 AM



I am new here and have had trouble finding a thread that discusses some signs that baby is ready to wean.  My baby is only five months old and she isn't ready to wean (I'm guessing), but I really dislike breastfeeding and even though I am determined to let her wean when she is ready -- and not me, because I would have stopped, like four months ago -- I have no idea what the signs are.  



eirual 12-08-2012 06:19 AM

When they no longer ask for it. winky.gif


With that being said, I think nursing needs to be a mutually-respectful act with both parties being fulfilled.


The WHO recommends breastfeeding for 2 years or beyond. If there's a way to make that possible, that would be ideal. Is there a reason you aren't comfortable with it?

eirual 12-08-2012 06:22 AM

Oh, there are also two "definitions" of wean: the Amercian definition meaning "to cease breastfeeding" and the British version meaning to start solids. From your post I'm assuming you mean the latter, but just thought I'd throw that out there in the event that my assumptions are wrong.

modestmothering 12-08-2012 06:28 AM

Originally Posted by eirual View Post
 Is there a reason you aren't comfortable with it?


There are some things that I really love about breastfeeding, including: being close with my baby, nourishing her with my body, watching her cute little reactions when she's had enough (like resting her hand on my breast or stroking it).


But in all, it just doesn't feel good for me.  Her latch is impeccable.  I struggled with oversupply issues for the first four months and my breasts were always hurting; they felt like someone else's breasts.  I refused to pump because I just didn't want them to keep producing so much.  After a few months the oversupply tapered off so that I could finally stop wearing a bra (which I hate).  But the breasts are still huge and they hurt me a lot because they are still full.  It took four months for them to stop aching all the time.  My nipples were so tender that they didn't desensitize until about three months.  


DD has never really been kind to my breasts.  She scratches, screams, punches, pinches, and bites them.  She is a ravenous little monkey who is never fully satisfied with my flow: it is either too fast and gags her or it is just too slow.  It is never a relaxed and pleasurable experience for either of us until she falls away from my breast with a full tank and we can finally both take a breath.


Moreover, she is ravenous.  I can't get her to feed less frequently than every hour and she just eats and eats.  I have lost 60 pounds just from breastfeeding in only 4 months.  I am wasting away, having a very hard time keeping up with hydration and eating and sleep. Through the night she just cant' get enough. At 3.5 months I introduced solids because she had no more tongue thrust reflex, could sit up unassisted, and seemed to really want to eat.  She holds the spoons and just shoves it in.  She has been above the 95th percentile for length and weight since about two months old.  The girl now eats solids and feeds, like, every hour.  I can hardly keep up.   


Frankly, my body hurts.  


I am dedicated to letting  her wean herself no matter what.  But I am counting the days.  I absolutely hate breastfeeding!  jaw.gif

skycheattraffic 12-08-2012 06:38 AM

Babies generally dont wean before 18 months of age unless there is a underlying reason (separation from mom for instance for a few days). There aren't a lot of signs in babies that show they are ready to wean because generally they aren't until they are at least toddlers. If you're having issues with breastfeeding that make it hard for you to continue, there may be ways to improve the situation for now. If its more of a general "I dislike (or even hate) nursing" then you can think about the benefits/drawbacks of continuing and of weaning and make a decision that's right for your family. I hate to be a bearer of bad news but if you do intend to let your little one self wean, you will be looking at about 2 years of nursing at least. Some moms wean (mother directed weaning) around one year in order to not rely on formula. This is such an individual and personal decision. I will say that nursing my toddler (20 months) is very rewarding and a great way to calm her when she's hurt or frustrated. She doesn't nurse very often and wakes only once a night. I would say if you can put up with, keep going. Once you wean, it's very difficult to reestablish nursing. Unfortunately motherhood is full of things we dislike doing (like cleaning up poop) but we do them out of love because they need to be done. Your needs are important too but baby won't be ready to wean for quite a while yet.

skycheattraffic 12-08-2012 06:56 AM

I just read your reply. It sounds like you and DD should work on nursing manners to make nursing a respectful relationship. Whenever baby bites, unlatch her and put her down for a few seconds. She will cry but you can pick her right back up and offer to nurse again. The first few times this will mean lots of on and off but it will send the message that biting = nursing stops. Try not to react since some babies find that funny but remain neutral. You can say "no biting" in a casual tone but don't get angry or upset. This method (from an experienced LC) got my DD to stop biting over a long weekend. Sometimes she would slip up and forget and I'd just go with the method again. As for the hands, I have used a small toy to keep them busy but I also used the put down method if she hurt me. I don't blame you at all for disliking nursing if you're being hurt. This quick method saved my sanity and our nursing relationship. Good luck!

Asiago 12-08-2012 10:05 AM

Do you have a local chapter of Le Leche League nearby? Sometimes it helps just to be around other moms going through the same issues. I found even being in the presence of other nursing mothers at a meeting was uplifting. Western society is so strange, at least I have found, that we rarely see a baby fed naturally and it just dulls the spirits and made me feel isolated. A century or two ago, you would had many women who lived near you who could share stories about the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding their children, come to your home and nurse their babies, help you out in whatever you needed, now it just seems that support is not there and that makes it quite a challenge for a nursing mother. Well, just my sentiments, I am sorry I probably was of little help to you with your original question. Best wishes to you and no matter what I commend you for nursing those early months.

transylvania_mom 12-08-2012 04:09 PM

Agree with pp, babies don't self-wean.

I would also like to commend you for giving your baby this wonderful gift, no matter how long you decide to nurse.

Choose2Reuse 12-08-2012 09:33 PM

Hi, I just wanted to say good for you for still breastfeeding even though you hate it!   I have my moments when I'm not too fond of it DD is 15 months and teething up a storm right now, and I have to say that I'm a little sick of having her ask for "dudh dudh" (milk) every other second day and night.  But usually I don't mind so much, and she is obviously very emotionally invested in it. 


My DD was a scratcher too--I tried to keep her fingernails clipped/filed, and if I wore an interesting necklace sometimes she'd play with that instead.  I also pulled her hands away/tried to hold them if it got too bad. But mostly she just grew out of it.  Hopefully your DD will too.


My DD also nursed all. the. time. (though I didn't lose 60 lbs :) ) and it did get better once she got a little older.  Once she got more mobile and interested in the outside world, it was much easier to distract her, and she also didn't want to waste time.  After about 11 months or so, when she really got into solids, she mostly wanted to nurse if she wanted to sleep, or didn't feel good and wanted to be babied a little (in fact her "nursing sign" for a while was "baby" rather than "milk"), or had been away from me for a while and wanted to cuddle up.  Also, as she gets older, she is less and less attached to nursing as comfort--she used to need to nurse after (say) getting a shot, and now she is okay just being cuddled and spoken kindly to.   It sounds like your little one is pretty young still, so hopefully she'll also decrease her times/amounts of nursing as she gets bigger.  In the meantime...can you keep some snacks by your chair?  Nuts or cheese or something you can eat one-handed?


Good luck!  I really admire you for persevering in spite of everything!

modestmothering 12-09-2012 06:12 AM

Thank you for your replies.  love.gif


It never occurred to me that DD might need to learn respect at the breast.  She just has always been very high energy and pissed off while nursing -- from day one.  I always just figured that it was because something was displeasing to her and never considered that it could be a chance to teach her how to have some self-control.  That really got me thinking.


I live out the middle of nowhere but I have been on the phone with LLL, months ago when I was really overwhelmed with my oversupply.  They taught me about ways to help my strong letdown reflex My concern then was that DD's terrible gas and collicky symptoms were caused by breastfeeding.  I had actually cut out, like, ten or more major foods in an effort to make my milk less gassy but then I realized that DD had gotten my gut flora when passing through the vagina -- and it ain't good!  dizzy.gif  So now she's on infant probiotics along with me, who is on regular probiotics.  


I realize that DD might pass years without wanting to wean.  I am willing to sacrifice my comfort for that.  There is no way that I would ever feel comfortable giving her formula.  That is just my personal preference.  I don't care what it costs me.  I will keep on keepin' on.  

Sol_y_Paz 12-09-2012 08:28 AM

Mine also sometimes kicks, punches, twists, pinches, messes with my shirt, "milks" me with hands/nails, etc. and has from a young age.  Sometimes scratching himself too or putting his fingers in his mouth causing him to unlatch while nursing before he is ready to stop eating.  Sometimes I place a sock over little hands to dull some of the damage, even if the finger nails are kept short it can still hurt.  I am going to get a nursing necklace that is also suitable as a teether in hopes it might help.  I also let him hold my hands in attemps to redirect but that doesn't always work - but sometimes it does.  I tried different toys to keep hands busy but I guess I haven't found the right one yet but still might as I keep trying.  I read somewhere that is a matter of finding the right texture they like to keep them occupied.  

Also different positions sometimes help.  If I walk around while nursing him that really helps since he is so distracted by all the stuff going on all around.  Hopefully some of those ideas can help your baby too.  


My weight also drops like crazy unless I really eat A LOT of calories.  Every night before going to bed I eat something semi heavy, like a big PB and J sandwich or lots of granola with fruit and greek yogurt.  I keep a huge variety of larabars, nuts, granola, dried fruit, and pita chips in a drawer right next to where I nurse, so close I have access to them with one hand if needed.  I eat a lot while he is latched. I also have bottles of water I replace each day next to where we nurse easily accessible.  DH fixes boiled eggs so they are always available.  Every time either one of us cooks it is in huge batches and portions so we can have leftovers.  I try to never miss a meal and eat lots of snacks in between.  I try to eat a lot of fat daily, lots of avocado, oils, dark chocolate, and nut butters.  Also at least once a day I eat a protein heavy (mosly beans and some chicken) and veggie heavy (sweet potato, tomatoes, onion, spices) soup since the broth helps keep me hydrated and also I eat at the same time.  I sometimes melt cream cheese in the soup at the very end or add cheese to it while reheating, sometimes tortilla chips too.  I cook huge batches in the crock pot so it doesn't take a lot of time/effort.  

Asiago 12-09-2012 02:46 PM

Best wishes, I hope we can help you out if you need anything.
Btw, your post reminded me of my own scratched chest early on. I had long forgotten about it (!) That phase will pass. Babies do what they can with their hands and mouth to try to control the flow of milk. With their lack of fine motor skills plus an immature nervous system, they show very little finesse for a while.

contactmaya 12-13-2012 07:45 AM

your mention of the baby nursing every hour and your feeling tired/drained-this is a typical growth spurt  phenomenon.This will happen every so often. I agree that  it can be draining and tiring when the baby does this. Let the baby nurse, but you have to take care of yourself too, ramp up the healthy food intake (one of my favorite things about breastfeeding) I find my body makes milk when i sleep/nap,so make sure you get enough sleep.Then it all settles down again. It gets easier. When napping, my body is a factory.


By the time my babies were ready to self wean,  they knew how to order chicken and broccoli in a restaurant. 

contactmaya 12-13-2012 07:48 AM

ps. yes, at first, it is hard. Your body is learning. With time, it will be so much easier, and it will be worth it. 

MsCCM 12-13-2012 09:56 AM

Modestmothering, I promise, it will get easier! What a great sacrifice you are making for your little angel.


There are some good tips here... I definitely second the LLL support. They helped me through 2 or 3 crisises during our BF journey. I thought my DD was self-weaning somewhere around 8-10 mos (can't remember) but learned it was just a nursing strike. It lasted a day or two! I couldn't believe it at the time but it was true. The woman told me to just keep offering the breast every 1/2 hour or so which I did, and low and behold she finally started nursing as if nothing ever happened. So it's true, babies don't self-wean. BUT if a mother *needs* to stop weaning, many will decide that the nursing strike is the right time to stop nursing altogether.


Teaching manners is vital. Think about it in terms of, will this behavior be acceptable when she's 10 mos? Or 1 1/2 yrs old? If not then it's better to nip it in the bud. A LLL leader will be able to help you address how to correct specific issues and also put you in touch with your closest LLL group meetings for support.


I also agree with eating snacks throughout the day and especially before bedtime -- something substantial like a pb & j or other sandwich, cheese and crackers, bowl of leftover pasta & meatballs, slice of pizza. If you're not vegan or lactose intolerant I always found a 1/2 glass of milk would help top off that full feeling. I remember eating A LOT while nursing... more than when I was pregnant.


BTW, I do remember during growth spurts (and your 5-mo-old is most likely having one around now) nursing DD up to at least 5x an hour. Maybe even more some days. I know it sounds extreme but when she fussed I stuck her on the breast. So literally every 10-15 mins while she was awake for a stretch of days. Then it will pass and be less for a while, then repeat in a few weeks when another growth spurt comes along. If you don't work (or work at home) I would suggest, if you don't already, that you wear her almost constantly in some kind of carrier or sling. As soon as she fusses, nurse her. She may not be as ravenous when you do nurse her if she's eating til her heart (stomach's?) content. I'm sure you know but it's important to remind yourself that babies nurse for comfort, too, not just nourishment.


Hope you get the help and support you need. I'm sorry your experience right now is not bringing you as much happiness as it could be. You sound so smart and determined, it makes me glad for your little girl and for you. I will be interested to hear in how things progress and work out for you! Best wishes.

phathui5 01-06-2013 09:13 PM

I can totally relate to the "these aren't my breasts" feeling. Pregnancy & mothering do weird things to our bodies and I don't think that women share enough about the changes that we go through and the things that go on with our girly parts. 

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