hey all! just wondering if anyone here has experience with a boob-addicted toddler. when i say boob-addicted, i mean, a toddler who nurses a LOT. my almost-2-year-old nurses about a billion times a day, and has recently un-nightweaned and is now back to 3ish times a night. she eats okay (i mean, she IS a toddler after all) and is happy to drink cow's milk as well, but she just absolutely looooooooves her mama milkies. plus, we've been through some stress in the past 3 months due to me being hospitalized for back surgery, so i really think a lot of it is about comfort. she nightweaned while i was in the hospital and also cut back, and we were totally at the level i wanted to be at (nursing 4-5x a day and not at all at night), but she ramped up due to being sick and then never ramped back down.
i never PLANNED to nurse this long - i didn't have much of a plan! i wanted to EBF until she was ready for solids, and then continue to nurse until at least a year. at that point, i said i would do it as long as it worked out for both of us, and re-evaluate once it felt like that was no longer the case. i would LOVE to cut down, but i can't even imagine how i would do this besides keeping VERY VERY busy - and then i'm afraid that she'll ramp up at night, so i think i'll have to work on nightweaning again before cutting down daytime stuff. i know i do want to cut down, though - nursing a 30-lb kid every 2 hours during the day and then 3 times at night is really making me feel very bad about nursing at all, and i constantly think about chopping my breasts off or running away to jamaica for a week alone.
however, i really, really feel that she is NOWHERE near ready to stop, so even though i feel pretty ready to at least cut down, i'm not entirely sure how to do this with her. i'm also trying to get pregnant, and i'm not entirely sure if i want to nurse during pregnancy or tandem, although i'm not opposed to the idea. again, i figure i will just keep seeing how things go and change things as needed.
anyway, i would love to hear stories about former toddler boob addicts and how they weaned, whether it's mother-led, child-wed, or whatever the heck else there might be that i just don't know about. just for some support, i guess! i want to get an idea of the different things other 2ish year olds have done during their weaning process, how you managed it, etc.
alternatively, if you had (have?) a boob-addicted 2 year old who hasn't weaned, i would love to hear more about if/when they began cutting down and how it happened, whether you encouraged it or it was all on their own. or, if your toddler nursed/nurses like a newborn and shows no sign of weaning and you don't exactly love it, how do you deal with it?
any and all experiences and stories welcome! i don't know any moms who went through weaning (mother-led or child-led) after dealing with a 2 year old nursling... in fact, i know very few moms who nursed their 2-year-olds at all, let alone every 2-3 hours a day as well as at night! so if anyone else is out there, holler at me and let me know how it went for you, how you deal, etc.
DS was nursing A TON up until I got pg when he was 21mo. Once I got the + we day-weaned him over the course of about a week or two. I day-weaned first because that was when the majority of the nursing was happening and because that was how I had planned on doing it anyway.
I don't remember the nuts and bolts of day-weaning, but it wasn't terribly difficult even though he had been nursing 12+ times a day at that point. Originally, I thought it would be better on both of us to drag out the day-weaning gradually over several months, eliminating one feeding at a time, but after doing it quickly, I think it was easier for us that way. One negative side affect of day-weaning was that he dropped his only nap, which he was still nursing down to. I think that was the hardest part of weaning. I needed that nap!!!
For night-weaning, we did something I didn't ever think I would do. Also, I made the decision to night-wean (and thus wean completely) because I was spotting and DS nursing increased the spotting. If I hadn't been losing a pg, I don't know if I would have been willing to try this way.
I sent DS away to my mom's for 5 days (4 nights). When he came back and asked to nurse, I told him that nursies were all gone. He continued to ask very occasionally (once every 3-4 days, I think) and hasn't asked now in a week or so. It was so much more calm and easy than I thought it would be.
My mom said he didn't have any major issues at her house. She is someone he sees often and is VERY comfortable with. He also had overnights there before without me. This worked so well that I will consider weaning this way with future children (taking their personalities and needs into account, of course). I know it's not for everyone, and my reasons were medical, but it also isn't the 'cruel abandonment' I've seen it made out to be sometimes.
DS is still very attached to me, cuddly, and he still cosleeps and sleeps fairly well (8-10 hours at night, waking once or twice but resettling in less than 5 minutes). I know DS wasn't quite 2 yet when we weaned, but he wasn't much younger than your DD, so I HTH you!
My DD nursed alot until after her molars were in at about 2.5. The nursing sessions were about cut in half in frequency. By a couple of months after turning 3 she nursed to sleep and when she woke in the morning, sometimes going back to sleep for an hour and nursing again. During the day it was less predictable, sometimes about 3 times some days none at all. She just turned 4 and stopped drinking breast milk about 3 months ago. She still nursed for a couple of months, but it was for seconds.
So do 2 year olds who nurse all the time some days slow down, yes. Do 3 year olds who seem no where ready to stop nursing turn into 3.75 year olds who are done, yes mine did at least. The nursing more after an illness is probably your DDs way of getting better faster. Also if your DD hasn't gotten all her teeth in, that was when my DD really started nursing less. Also when my DD was feeling needy, like when we moved about the time she was turning 3, nursing on demand seemed to make her less needy and able to go back to normal faster.
My LO will be 2 tomorrow and has recently been more demanding of nursing, especially at night. He likes to nurse in the morning, after bath, before nap and bed time and several times at night. If we are out and about or busy he will get by without asking and its no biggie but when we are home its a different story. And when he wakes up at night if he doesnt get it fast enough it turns into a full blown meltdown. Poor guy...I guess its developmental. I planned to nurse to 2 yrs but DS is so attached I cant see stopping just yet, but we'd like to TTC soon and I dont want to cause stress if I get pregnant and milk dries up. :-\ Hopefully things will calm down for us all sooner rather than later.
sihaya - very interesting. i know that if i left DD with my mom, it would probably go pretty smoothly - she's very attached to my mom, but my parents live 250 miles away! my in-laws live much closer, and they are also very AP-friendly, so we send her there for overnights about once a month and she's fine - but she wakes up at 5 am. my MIL did say that if i ever want to send DD to her for a whole weekend or for a few days during her vacation time to help with weaning, she's willing, but i'm not ready for that yet. of course this would change if i was losing a pg and saw an increase in spotting whenever she nursed! but still, good to know.
ssh - thanks so much for sharing! i'm not sure if DD has all her teeth or not, but i'm leaning towards no. but hearing your story definitely helps with perspective! i think those molars might be a culprit, as is the fact that she just seems to need extra TLC and attachment lately. she never went through the separation anxiety phase much at around a year old, but she seems to be hitting it really hard right now, so i think we just have to find a bunch of ways to help her through it, nursing included.
jacobsmommy - i'm concerned about milk drying up suddenly while pregnant as well, although a lot of my pregnant friends didn't seem to have huge issues with their LOs even if they did stop nursing very suddenly due to a supply drop. but yeah, i guess it is developmental. i didn't think i'd do it beyond 2 but as you say, she is very attached and i don't want to just stop when she is clearly showing a need or desire for it. at the same time, though, i want to be able to feel good about it myself and have it work for me so that i can be a happier and thus better mom!
i've been trying to explain to her that i have to fill up the mimis (her word for my boobs/breastmilk in general), and that i do this by eating, drinking, and resting. so sometimes i will tell her the mimis are empty and we have to fill them up, and this is how we nightweaned her. (DH slept with her and would tell her this, offer her a sip of cow's milk, and she was fine. but his work schedule has been too stressful for him to manage this right now.) i've noticed sometimes she is just hungry and cranky and wants to nurse, and then wants it every 20 minutes but seems unsatisfied afterwards - but if i put her off, tell her i will fill them up by eating and drinking, and that she can eat and drink with me, she will eat a TON of food and feel happy and normal again. so i think she just doesn't always realize that eating fills her belly. i'm trying to get her to eat a good amount of solids and then nurse afterwards, and hopefully that will help a bit. we also spend a lot of time hugging and snuggling.
anyway, everyone, thanks so much for sharing. i know we're all experiencing different things and dealing with them differently, but just hearing from others helps, especially since the majority of people i know never would have even CONSIDERED nursing to 2 - and definitely not nursing this much at 2!
if anyone else wants to jump in on this thread and share more, it is certainly welcome. i think a lot of nursing support can be focused on small babies because it is really crucial for them to get that milk! but nursing a toddler is a whole different ball game, and of course there are benefits, but the difficulties are just sooooo different and it can be hard to find support for it. i know i've been enjoying reading through some of the toddler threads on this board - even if it doesn't help me find answers to my issue, just knowing that other people have gone through it and dealt with it in different ways helps me feel a bit more normal!
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