Advice on encouraging 3 year old to wean? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 03-01-2010, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter will be 3 in a week. She nurses first and last feeds of day, asks to nurse at night and once or twice during day. I am desperate to wean her. It's been 6 years that I have been pregnant &/or nursing.

That is part of challenge of weaning 3 year old -- her older sister is almost 6 -- and this is the only thing that she can do that big sister can't, or can't tell her she is doing it wrong...

(As in: that's not how you write an A -- that's not how you jump, etc etc.) So little sis definitely uses it for comfort AND the exclusivity.

She turns 3 in one week -- I have the fantasy that this could be the significant moment in time to stop nursing. Advice?

Also, my husband and I will be going away for 2 nights in early April. First time away from the kids, so I'm also thinking maybe it will just naturally stop then. But two nights away doesn't seem long enough to kick the habit.

Any input would be welcome. Thanks!
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#2 of 12 Old 03-01-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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I just want you to know that you are not alone. My son turned 3 in December and I also have a six year old. I have been pregnant or nursing for just over 7 years now and I'm ready to stop.

I came here looking for advice too. I have a breast lump that they want to biopsy, but I don't want to do it while I'm still nursing. I scheduled an appt for June 1 and they want me to have weaned one month before the appt. (The lump looks benign, so I'm not uncomfortable about waiting.)

But it's REALLY hard to get my son to stop. He LOVES his na na and even though we talk about him being a big boy and having to stop na na soon, he's just not that interested. I'm kind of thinking of taking a weekend trip, like yours, in order to initiate the weaning. I know I'm not making much milk anymore, so maybe it would be long enough to make my body stop producing milk. Maybe I'd eat a lot of sage or some other drying herb in order to help make it happen while I am gone that weekend.

Good luck. Let me know if you figure something out that works.
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#3 of 12 Old 03-01-2010, 07:54 PM
 
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I totally understand. I am SO ready for my almost 3 year old to wean, though in my case- I am nursing a 6 month old, and can't figure out how to tell the older one he can't have it when his sister is nursing right in front of him.

In your case- I would make a point of talking about how mama milk doesn't last forever and soon she'll be done nursing. Two days is not long enough to kick the habit or for your milk to dry up, but you can return from those 2 days and say that the milk dried up and not nurse again. I think if you are going to go that route- I would be sure to talk to the child a lot before hand about stopping, and have your dh be prepared to do bedtimes- I would not mention nursing to dd until she asks- in the hopes she won't ask. I would also make a huge point to sign her up for a kindermusic class or something else similar to do with you to replace that special thing that sister isn't doing.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#4 of 12 Old 03-02-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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I mlw my ds at 3.5 years, while tandem his sister. The first step for us was limiting the time he nursed. I got it down to the count of 10 a couple of times a day and we held on to that for a couple of months before cutting out one session at a time. I think if you cut back slowly, talk about it alot, your child will begin to understand.

Meadowgirl, while you work towards overall weaning you could let your child know you have a 'sick' breast and that all nursing needs to be done from the other side so the doctor can give your sick breast medicine.

OTMomma, your plan sounds alot like what I did. I emphasized to my ds that he was big and he got to do alot of things that his sister didn't get to do, including going to preschool. I do think that helped him understand the process. We did alot of special non nursing activities together at first.
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#5 of 12 Old 03-02-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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My story of weaning at 3rd birthday… (and continuing to cosleep/bedshare...)

My DD turned three almost 3 weeks ago. She LOVED her nursies. (and still does) I started telling her a couple months ago that 3 year olds don't nurse. I also started cutting her off... that is, I became firm about only nursing at bedtime (during nightime) and at wake up time. Before/after naptime was allowed too. However, I would only allow her to nurse for a little while, and ALWAYS made her stop before she or I fell asleep. I rarely said no, but always gently pushed her off after a brief nurse. As long as she put her head down on the pillow for a little bit, then I would allow her to nurse a little more if she asked. I also started sleeping in fitted shirts, even layers of shirts, to make it more difficult to get at them.

So… the day/night of her b-day we had dinner, cake and presents. Then got ready for bed as usual, including reading many books. When I wouldn’t let her nurse, she freaked, wanted to be a baby, wanted to give her presents back, told me she was NOT 3 years old, NOT a big girl, etc. She hit me, kicked me, pulled my hair, etc. It was horrible. I cried too, but I have been ready to wean for while. I did not let her cry it out though… I held her, rocked her, sung to her, picked her up and carried her over my shoulder and paced around like she was an infant, turned the lights back on and read more books, and started over again. She finally fell asleep crying in my arms. When she woke up during the night she cried again, I held her, and she fell back asleep quickly.

In the morning she asked to nurse, we talked about it calmly, and I told her how proud I was of her, and gave her one more special little cuddly toy as a present. (I had not bribed her with this in advance, it was a true surprise. For us I don’t think bribing with a toy, party, etc. would have worked because I think she would have chosen nursies over anything else.)

Since that first night we’ve had a few bad moments, but very brief compared to that first night. It was really just one bad night, and some very early mornings of turning the light on and reading books (instead of nursing) because I couldn’t get her back to sleep or to snooze. Now, almost one month later, she still usually falls asleep with her hand down my shirt touching the nursies, which I’m fine with. (I still sleep in a shirt.) Occasionally she still asks to nurse, but I tickle her and tell her that would be silly. I’ve also learned to read verrrrryyyy slooooowwwllyyyy and sometimes she falls asleep while I’m reading. Daddy has done this a few times too, but she usually wants to fall asleep with me.

FYI – It was important to me to be as gentle as possible. (I know some may disagree with my mother-led approach b/c she did get upset for a while.) I know she may have memories of nursing and weaning, and I want her to remember that I was with her, at her side, cuddling, reading, singing, etc. I never left her alone and never got mad at her (even when she was mad at me).

Also FYI – I have taken a few trips, and been away from her for up to 5 nights. I even thought my milk dried up once b/c I hadn’t pump at all. We told her my milk was gone, but when she tried it was still there!

Good luck!

P.S. If 3 doesn’t work for you, you could try 3 ½. We potty-trained cold turkey at 2 ½. We had a little cake, cards, and wrapped up big girl underwear for her present.
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#6 of 12 Old 03-03-2010, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reach-out! Good luck to you too, I know it is not easy when they love the na na so so so much. I second the advice about weaning on the side that requires a biopsy. Best to get that checked out, and bonus: it might facilitate a wean on that side too.
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#7 of 12 Old 03-03-2010, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks OTMomma: I know it is hard to tandem -- my eldest started to re-nurse once baby came, she did it for a few months and then when she turned 3 I told her that was it. But she did BEG a few times up until she started kindergarten this year -- I noticed it tended to be before big days, her birthday, pre-school starting etc. It was really tough for her to see her sister eating all night long and then hear "kitchen closed" from me at 3am when she told me she was hungry. It took me a bit to connect the dots, then I kept crackers by the bed and would sit up with her while she munched if she claimed to be hungry during the night. That worked, but I do think that big sis -- and the entire family (frankly) is ready for the na na na na demands to be done.
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#8 of 12 Old 03-03-2010, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks PBJMama -- I am going to try the nursing to count of ten. We have tried doing the alphabet as the sign off, as in I give her warning to unlatch and once the alphabet is done she complies. Cut back slowly and talk about it alot, makes sense. I think I'll aim for a gradual withdrawl. Maybe a few months? oh please oh please oh please
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#9 of 12 Old 03-03-2010, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jennifer thanks for telling me that story. I am thinking of going that route. I have cut her off at night several times -- telling her that we nurse before bed and then in the morning -- and the relentless every 10 minute Q "is it morning" are hard to answer/explain since morning isn't light out in the winter...I started putting music on when it was morning, but found that if I nursed her at 5am she could get another few hours sleep.

Also, I have just buckled and nursed her at night when I was totally wiped out, or she was sick or etc. And my eldest said "Why don't you put bandaids on your na nas, like you did with me?" I hadn't realized she knew that...when she was two, I cut her off at night and had similar reaction to your daughter. Two super rough nights, then fine, then within three months she had weaned during the day.

So I know if I make the decision, then I can't go back on it. Like your idea of the extra present for the morning and to proud her non-stop.

Will digest all this great advice/experience and make my choice. I really really like the idea of no more na na na.

Thanks again to all. So appreciate the support and input.
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#10 of 12 Old 03-12-2010, 12:12 PM
 
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just want to send you strength during this time. I came to mdc today looking for posts about weaning older kids (my dd is turning 4 in a few weeks. I have been nursing for 12 years of my life. I'm ready to be done!). The suggestions here were very helpful...

For us, we're down to once or twice a day on one side (I had some skin breakdown on the other side, so I told her truth--it hurt to nurse), and it is rather brief, but I don't see her giving up "morning milkies" (which dh and I sometimes call "kiddie coffee") anytime soon. DH is trying to do bedtime when he can and that also helps.

Good luck!!!!!

Mama to four great girls: 14 , 12 , 7 and 4
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#11 of 12 Old 03-12-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer1208 View Post
My DD turned three almost 3 weeks ago. She LOVED her nursies. (and still does) I started telling her a couple months ago that 3 year olds don't nurse.

When I wouldn’t let her nurse, she freaked, wanted to be a baby, wanted to give her presents back, told me she was NOT 3 years old, NOT a big girl, etc.
I know different things work for every family, but for me I didn't want to associate it directly with the birthday for this reason. [In our case it was actually the 4th birthday I was trying to wean her by, but anyway I realized it was making her dread both the birthday and the new age.]

Anyway, I know some people do a weaning party, but separate it from the actual birthday day.

teapot2.GIF Mama to my sweet girls: notes.gif (2/02) and energy.gif (2/08) and brokenheart.gif 3/11 and now belly.gif  EDD 5/24/14
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#12 of 12 Old 07-18-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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My little guy will be three a week from today... we have been talking for about 4-6 months about "no more sides" when he turns three. I had a big internal meltdown yesterday thinking about what this means for me! I am filled with anxiety thinking about how it will go, and am SO ready to wean, and try and conceive again. DO not want to be pregnant and nursing, and need a break.

I like your ideas. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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