Striking a balance with a toddler who wont stop breastfeeding? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-09-2011, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey everyone.  I haven't posted in ages but I'm really stuck here!  My second is 2.5 and was always the "easy" one in regards to separation anxiety and nursing, when compared to how his sister was.  Recently though (the last month or so) he's been SO attached to the breast that he won't give it up at night at all.  We used to detach (with some warning) and if it was extra hard for him, I'd count to five and then he'd give it back happily and turn over and we'd sleep, but now he wants to count to five *again* and *again*, then he wants to do it iwth the other side, and by the time its all done, he's crying his heart out (and wide awake) and I'm left not sure if I should just give in so we can get some sleep or not.  He's a little more clingy than normal during the day also, but its the night nursing that's tipping the scales for me.  Any tips?  We're nearing the point of complete weaning if he doesn't release his hold on me soon! 

 

Thanks! :)

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#2 of 7 Old 05-09-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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Sounds like he may be going through some emotional or physical growth. if not that perhaps there have been some new changes in life over the past few months? I would just hang in there and wait it out. I was a nursing mom for over 5 years and have learned that none of these things last for long and before you know it you will be onto the next crisis er stage ;)

 

Have you tried talking to him about it during the day?

 

Also you may want to try asking in the child led weaning or nursing and beyond forums.

 

Hugs to you and your little guy. This too shall pass.


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#3 of 7 Old 05-09-2011, 08:29 PM
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I'd give in and let him control his own nursing. Right about that age LOs are trying to discover how much control they have over their self and also experiencing a lot of cognitive development that can include anxiety. It sounds like your DS is becoming upset about the idea of his nursing session ending. Is there a reason you are trying to get him to detach while he is still awake? My  5 year old DD always nursed to sleep until she weaned. I'd unlatched her after she was asleep. You can gently put the tip of your finger in the corner of his mouth to break the seal and then pull your breast away. My DD would have freaked out if I had tried to unlatch her before she went to sleep. Age 2.5 is a very emotional age for some LO. My  DD was most prone to tantrums at 2.5. Also 2 in general can be a very clingy time. If your DS is getting molars that could also cause an increase in nursing. 2.5 with all it's tantrums and clinginess would probably be a hard age to wean. 3 would probably be easier. Now at 5 my DD has no sleep issues at all. She goes to bed by herself, goes to sleep and sleeps 10 hours and has been since right after turning 4. Letting your DS nurse to sleep won't make your DS unable to go to sleep by himself, but will probably make it easier for him in the future by avoiding any anxiety about sleep.

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#4 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 03:36 AM
 
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I will say we had the opposite experience as the pp's -- when we got to that point, I had to (partially) nightwean, because nursing was distracting him from sleeping -- and he was READY to nightwean. However, he did/still does the same thing as your DS during naps, but nap-weaning isn't an option for him, so obviously it will depend on your kiddo's readiness and may differ for different situations!!

Does he still nurse during the day? If you don't think he's ready to nightwean, I would consider nursing more often during the day and see if that helps...

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#5 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post

I'd give in and let him control his own nursing. Right about that age LOs are trying to discover how much control they have over their self and also experiencing a lot of cognitive development that can include anxiety. It sounds like your DS is becoming upset about the idea of his nursing session ending. Is there a reason you are trying to get him to detach while he is still awake? .



You may not mean it this way, but I would just say that his mama's body is NOT something he gets to have control over.  If the night nursing is driving the op nuts and she is considering weaning completely, then night weaning may well be the answer for them.

 

I had night weaned dd before that age, and I am working on it now with ds (20 months).  We just weren't getting sleep at night, which doesn't work out well for any of us.  You can try night weaning and see how it goes.  If he's ready, you will probably know it within the first week -- or rather, if he's not ready, he will make it abundantly clear during the first week ; )  You can always start nursing at night again, but it would be better for him to get some nursing than none, so make the changes you need to keep breastfeeding him as long as YOU want to.

 

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#6 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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Another vote for nightweaning.  My dd was 19 months, not 2.5 yrs, so I don't know if indeed 2.5 will be noticeably harder, but in our case it was absolutely the right thing to do.  Dd is now 2.5 and sleeps through the night in her own bed, and we sleep too.

 

Dd was waking up like every 90 min (after sleeping well for like 3-4 hr stretches for awhile before that), and then she was not just nursing and going back to sleep, she was going back and forth between boobs kinda half asleep, for at least 30-40 min.  Which meant mama (and I work full time out of the house) was getting NO SLEEP.  And I was preggers at the time too.  I was not doing well.

 

But dd was so completely and utterly upset about nightweaning, we really worried we were doing something bad even if for the right reasons, so we consulted a child psychologist who specializes in infant/toddler sleep issues, and we got great confirmation that there were several reasons why it was a good thing to do, for exhausted me AND for dd.  And she helped map out the stages we'd probably go through and how to engage dd and prepare her, so it felt much more manageable when we did it.

 

For the record, we initially tried Dr. Jay Gordon's method and it WORKED!  It was just that soon after dd was on her way to nightweaning, circumstances made us choose to go back to feeding her at night which was a HUUUUGE mistake and set us so far back, we needed help the 2nd time cuz dd was like "Oh no, now I know what you're doing and I am NOT going to cooperate!!!  You are NOT taking this from me!" (not actually said, but acted out).

 

Dd actually sleeps so much better now that she's in her own bed and nightweaned, and we still have very sweet nurse to sleep and nurse immed upon waking. 

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#7 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnygir1 View Post





You may not mean it this way, but I would just say that his mama's body is NOT something he gets to have control over.  If the night nursing is driving the op nuts and she is considering weaning completely, then night weaning may well be the answer for them.

 

I had night weaned dd before that age, and I am working on it now with ds (20 months).  We just weren't getting sleep at night, which doesn't work out well for any of us.  You can try night weaning and see how it goes.  If he's ready, you will probably know it within the first week -- or rather, if he's not ready, he will make it abundantly clear during the first week ; )  You can always start nursing at night again, but it would be better for him to get some nursing than none, so make the changes you need to keep breastfeeding him as long as YOU want to.

 


And I would just add to this that even if he's clearly not ready, you are the parent and need to be at least moderately healthy and sane to parent your child well.  If the sleep issue is making you feel sooo bad that you're not doing well when you're awake, that has to be weighed strongly too.  Your child may not be ready, but you may feel like it's a necessity, and that's real, and that's ok.

 

It's a tricky thing to figure out, and it's different for different families (and even different with different kids in the same family sometimes).  But it's not just about what your son wants/needs, it's very important that you get your wants/needs met too so you're the best parent you can be.  Sleep is not fluff or an "extra", it's a basic basic need and some of us need it more than others to be human!

 

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