Nursing 3yo and need to be done - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-24-2010, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never in my wildest dreams ever think I would make it three years. My son is a boob addict. Plus, it's a crutch for me to get him to sleep or sooth or to just plain calm down. At this point, I think he's getting too old and know the end has come or is near. For bedtime, there has been lame attempts to get him to sleep without nursing but I usually give in due to being so tired. It's the old "Maybe tomorrow, I'm just too tired tonight to go through this". It's a lot of work not using nursing to get him to sleep and the only thing guaranteed to work is skip naps so that he is so tired he passes out at night. That works but I chance getting a really cranky boy by 6 or so. Or, tonight, we kept him out late since he napped late and he is currently laying sown with daddy but I'm sad because I couldn't even show him my face (he would want to nurse if he just saw me) and I couldn't give him a kiss goodnight.

Just a vent I guess or if anyone has a been there done that story. I guess I had always hoped he'd self ween one day. I just hate to force him into doing anything and since he loves it so much and is so comforted by it and that's all he knows, this is by far the hardest challenge yet.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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Hello

I don't have any words of wisdom, but I can tell you I am almost in the same boat. My DS is 2.9 years old and I nurse him to sleep then bring him upstairs on my bed (DH sleeps on another mattress for now...so the kid won't wake up more with him there, etc) So I co sleep...he wakes up 1 or 2 times a night to nurse and go back to sleep.

I'm too tired to deal too sometimes, but I know it would be nice if we worked on it to help him wean and sleep in a toddler bed. My DD is almost 5 and she was "easier" on the sleeping front!
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:35 PM
 
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My experience nursing an older nursling was that eventually nursing would not put them to sleep. They would nurse and then roll over or just be awake.

I wonder if working on certain situations for nursing would help. Which ones bother you the most? You can concentrate on them and not worry about the ones that are working right now.

That might work out well for both of you, he still nurses a bit and you feel better about the nursings you do have.

However if you really feel you need to be done completely, talk to your child. He may have a plan too. Ask him what might work instead of nursing in those situations. Of course discussing it not anytime around a nursing time would probably work out best.

I remember discussing with my child that they would be a time when he wouldn't want to nurse anymore. He was amazed! Maybe just letting him know can start the process.

Good luck and remember that nursing is a two way relationship.
Amy

Amy, Mom to ds 2000, dd 2004 and newest dd 3/2010!
Breast Cancer Survivor since 2007
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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At 2.8 years we're down to 2-3 feedings per day, and I'm working on less. He's not ready to be done , but I want a sibling and it's been tough. One thing I'm trying to do is cuddle more without nursing, give him lots of mama time that's different. I've also started talking to him about growing up and not nursing.

Good luck!

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Old 06-27-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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Do you have a good night time routine? That really helped me. After we nightweaned (at 28 mos) I got pretty regimented about our routine, it had been books then nurse to sleep (which could take forever), but we moved on to nursing before books. That worked out really well because that transitioned to DH reading and I eventually left the room once nursing was done. DH travels all the time, so I often do it, but when he's home, it's the same routine, just adding him. We still parent her to sleep rather than leaving her on her own, but it works well. She also can get to sleep no problem without me at home.

DD gave up her nap a few months ago and now unless she falls asleep by 2, I won't let her sleep. I also try to get the routine started way before she is sleepy so we can all wind down.

Another thing, DD has really lessened her need to nurse since she was 3, not really sure when she slowed down. She's 3.75 now and it is so much less than it was when she turned 3. Really it seemed to happen suddenly, so although it seems so demanding right now, he may lessen his need even if you do nothing. She nurses when she wakes up, when we come downstairs and before bed now. I almost never need it as a comfort measure anymore and though she sometimes does nurse to sleep, she doesn't have to at all. Really transitioning from having to nurse to sleep made my life so much better. It was a lifesaver.

I have totally felt the way you are feeling, it did get better. Not sure if this helped at all. I'd say if you don't have a good night routine, get that going, that was the first step to evening freedom for me.

And if you need to wean, then you probably know the best way is usually gradually and at 3, you can discuss it with him. DD wants nothing to do with any discussion of a time she won't nurse. It just does not compute for her! But when I tell her she can't nurse for some reason, we can talk about it and she gets it.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a routine but don't always stick to it, as I usually follow his lead. We always read and sometimes he tries to nurse while we read which I tell him "wait until mommy is done reading". DH has been taking him and laying down with him and he has been successful with that. I notice he just needs that comfort, so he will nurse then turn over and want me to rub his back to sleep.

The one thing that I am concerned about for myself is the pain of weaning. Once I had this mysterious rash on my left breast and I was afraid of letting him nurse on that side until I knew what it was. The engorgement of milk (surprisingly this late in the game) was crazy and it got all hard and painful and I had to manually express in the shower and then even break out my pump. I guess it has to be gradual? I mean, it's gradual now so I don't quite get how to do it to avoid that pain? The only time we nurse is a little in the morning when he wakes, sometimes for nap and always for bed. I guess dropping one by one..sigh...like I said, this is by far the biggest challenge. Potty training doesn't hold a candle to weaning.
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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I, too, am nursing my 3yo DD and have started to encourage less nursing. I'd like to do just before bed and waking up, naps included if needed. (She doesn't always nap.) The camping trip we took last weekend started us off on this path of less frequent nursings. But guess what? I'm getting headaches that I'm thinking are hormonally related. Ugh! I'm increasing my magnesium intake, not sure what else would help. I find that if DD sees me sitting, ever, she asks to nurse. Sigh. I need to talk to her about weaning more I think.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJMama521 View Post
Plus, it's a crutch for me to get him to sleep or sooth or to just plain calm down.
This is just me, but I don't view extended nursing, nursing to sleep, or nursing to clam down as a crutch. I see it as part of my parenting strategy. For me, nursing a 3yo means that I have a child that is in bed every night at 7:30, takes a long early afternoon nap, sleeps in until 6:30 or 7am, and is very happy, gentle, and well-adjusted. For awhile I really got down on myself for nursing, but then I realized that it was because the people around me were influencing my attitude. Now I think it's great that I'm still nursing and every day I see the benefits of extended nursing. I love nursing to bed/nap (if he wants to) becuase it's a chance to cuddle and I get time to read a book while he nurses. I love it. It's not a crutch, it's simply part of how I parent.

I know lots of people think that when a child weans, it's some sort of huge achievement. I think we need to stop thinking of weaning as the final goal of breastfeeding and start looking at breastfeeding as an integral part of toddler development and a handy tool for effective parenting.

I really don't mean to diminish your feelings. I just tend to really admire fellow mamas (like you) who nurse older toddlers.

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Originally Posted by kiwiva View Post
Do you have a good night time routine? That really helped me. After we nightweaned (at 28 mos) I got pretty regimented about our routine, it had been books then nurse to sleep (which could take forever), but we moved on to nursing before books.

We nightweaned @ 26 months and now we only nurse to sleep if he wants it. I don't refuse. For the most part, a solid night time routine is what works for us. Bath, brush teeth, read book, and cuddle until he goes to sleep. And the #1 rule is that once we get in bed, we stay there. No TV and no getting out of bed. With our routine, he's out by 8. And I DO let him nurse if he needs it, but it's rarer and rarer lately.

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Originally Posted by kiwiva View Post
unless she falls asleep by 2, I won't let her sleep. I also try to get the routine started way before she is sleepy so we can all wind down.
Yup. For us, he need to be napping by 1pm, or there's no nap and he's in bed at 7. I do let him nurse to nap, if he wants to, becuase it's a good opportunity for me to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiva View Post
I almost never need it as a comfort measure anymore
And I'm happy in knowing that it's there if he needs it.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I think crutch was a bad term to use but for lack of a better word, it just is our style I guess. I "use" nursing let's say, LOL. I do think it's the outside world and maybe that he is now 3 and it's just almost nearing the end now that he is such a big boy. But I do enjoy it, I must say, it's our little thing and we snuggle and no one has that with him but me. It's special. I cherish it even because I know this will pass and I'll miss it. So, I have mixed feelings, I know how wonderful it is and what a wonderful little boy he is turning out to be because of it but there are days, I must say, that I get pretty annoyed with it. When I sit down on the couch, he immediately hops on my lap and wants to nurse. Or how about when he stretches my nipples to ridiculous lengths as if they were rubber. Sorry for the graphic image, but I'm being honest, right? Or if I get out of the shower and he sees my boobs it's all "boobies, boobies!!!" and I have to run and get dressed before he attacks me. I think, if I truly let him, I will be that mom on that special (can't remember if it was 20/20) that is nursing an 8yo. I did think that was beautiful but it's just not for me. I will end up nursing through a possible pregnancy (trying for #2) and tandem nursing so that should be interesting. I just cannot fathom making or forcing him to wean when there is going to be a huge change in his life. Thats too much for a 3yo to take in. So at this point? I just got to roll with it and see what happens.
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Old 07-18-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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I'm still nursing my 4.5 year old. In the last few months I've gotten tired of it (his suck is annoying.) I'm just not willing to wean him. (Actually I came to this forum to get support about that.) I am also nursing my almost 2 year old adopted daughter.

So, I'm not sure why you're trying to stop the night nursing if you both like it so much. If it works to get him to sleep and you both like it, keep doing it. My 4.5 year old just wet the bed so I was cleaning him up and he woke up in a screaming, confrontational sort of way. About 2' away from his sleeping sister. Once I got old pants off and pullups on (I forgot to put them on him earlier) I was beside him and nursing faster than you can blink. It shut him up immediately and kept his sister from being woken. Without that I most likely would have had 2 screaming kids to contend with.

If it ain't broke, don't break it.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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