DD has always been a huge fan of "Mayna." (her word for nursing). She has always nursed a ton, and I have an abundant supply. To this day, I can still pump out 6 ounces total from both breasts within 5-8 minutes.
However, the frequency is becoming worse and worse. She begs to nurse
(sometimes more frequently!!!!!)
HOW is this healthy for her? It is certainly not doing me any good. I wake up from a night of nursing every hour or less feeling parched, starving, and sometimes sick. This morning I starting sobbing at 6am when she insisted on nursing and wouldn't stop. I finally said, "ALL DONE. Mama's tired. ALL DONE with Mayna." And she got really upset, so I said, "Fine! You want to get up?" And she said "yes!" so we got up 1.5 hours earlier than normal. Anything to stop nursing!!
Her temperament: she is immensely sunny, bright, extremely sensitive, and contemplative. (while her friends are bolting at lightning speed down a gorgeous path she is examining leaves). She's a very verbal lass, with 4-5 word sentences and as of today she has begun asking "why?"
But when I tell her "No" about pretty much anything, she throws her head back and has a tantrum. Most of the time they are manageable, but sometimes she'll cry till she vomits. She's one of those. She's always been a puker.
My main problem: DD doesn't eat enough solids. I don't get enough sleep. I'm losing too much weight and feeling weak.
I have begun to realize we have to leave first thing in the morning and stay until nap time, somewhere, anywhere but home, or we will be nursing every hour.
I just need someone to tell me that they have had a child like this. That I am not the only one this is happening to.
I also need suggestions on how to work with a child of this temperament. How could I possibly night wean a child that will puke all night from crying? How am I going to survive this.....
I don't have a lot of suggestions, but wanted to respond to give you some sympathy. That sounds really rough! My son would nurse probably almost every hour, especially if we were at home, until he was 2.5, and wouldn't eat much when I was around until recently. He's now turning 3. I'm only home on weekends though. And he only wakes up to nurse once during the night, which I can handle.
It's so rough to make a change with a child younger than 2 where it's still so hard to understand but it can be done and you can get through it if that's what you need to happen to stay healthy and sane.
Another idea might be, do you hang out much with other kids her age? Often my son would eat tons when playing with his babysitter's daughter, but not much with me? Would it be an option to pair up with another mama and trade a couple hours of child watching to give you a break and also give your daughter an opportunity to be with another kid and see another kid eating other things?
I can completely sympathize. My DD (who is now 26 months) went through a nursing craze right around that time too. Like your LO, she has always been a big nurser, but around 18 months she reverted completely back to newborn patterns. It was maddening. She was nursing every hour on the hour, around the clock. I was losing sleep and my nipples were getting horribly sore. I felt like a new mom all over again. I can't tell you how many times my husband would come home to me ranting about how "this is it, I'm weaning her NOW!" It lasted about for about 2 months. Then her nursing leveled off again and has been slowly decreasing. She still nurses around 3 or 4 times a day for a few minutes each time and a couple times at night, though she's had a couple nights where she's slept through the entire night. Whoo hoo! So, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
One thing that has helped me is keeping snacks available for her throughout the day. DD isn't one to sit down and eat 3 square meals a day, instead she likes to graze. I keep grapes, hummus, cheese, some of her favorites within easy reach. She now prefers that to nummies, most of the time. I don't have much advice for nightweaning, but we have started keeping a cup of water next to her bed. Occasionally she'll go for that instead. Just hang in there, it will get better.
My son is 23 months and has always nursed a lot. The eruption of his two year molars though meant a lot more nursing and yes, I also awoke parched and queasy in need of food. From everything I understand about reading on breastfeeding in other cultures, toddlers nursing like a newborn is very normal and common and we just are not accustomed to it in our culture. You can read more in the following link under "Nature's Norm":
My now-16-month-old had cut down to nursing only 2-3 times per day when she was around one. She has been a great eater. Then over Labor Day weekend she got sick and had a high fever. She wanted to be only in my arms, and mostly nursing, for about 36 hours straight. This seems to have reminded her that she LOVES nursing. She was then waking 6+ times per night to nurse. Ugh. That was way too little sleep to follow up with a full day's work.
I'm not sure if it was just a phase that passed, or if I did something to ease her out of it. I did keep a sippy of water at hand at night and when she would wake up to nurse I would always start by offering her the water first, then nursing only if she continued to ask (which was most of the time). I still keep the sippy of water around, though she is now only up 2-3 times a night to nurse, which is much easier on me. During the daytime, I can frequently redirect her to a sippy of milk. I do still nurse about 6 times daily, which is a good place for me to be now.