I posted this in CLW but haven't gotten a response in 3 days and just realized maybe this is a better forum:
My son will be 3 in February and I am strongly considering a week or two in Guatemala. My supply has been really low for quite a while. I took a week away from him last spring where I pumped minimally and I have had a few 1 or 2 nights away where I just hand expressed a little to take the pressure off. But he still always nurses to sleep and to wake up and sometimes at other times. I seriously can't imagine that he is getting more than a tablespoon at a time. One side seems like a teaspoon max. But what do I know?
I've heard of kids weaning when mama's milk dries up when she's pregnant but I have a hard time seeing how its really about the milk. He keeps sucking for a long time after the milk has stopped/slowed down dramatically. Maybe he's just waiting for that half-swallow 15 sucks away? Cause some kids his age are totally hooked on silicon nipples (pacifiers), right?
He just started to talk this fall, isn't interested in potty learning (though he went in the potty many times as a baby) more than once a month. He falls asleep for naps at daycare (3-4 days/wk) really easily. Easier than the other kids who are very unlikely to be nursed at home.
I don't really want to bring my pump to Guatemala. And pumping (especially for a half an ounce) sounds like torture. Even though I really know it isn't. (I could hand-express a little. But that'll be more like a teaspoon by the time my back starts to hurt from bending over.)
So, these are my questions:
1. My milk will probably dry up completely, right?
2. What is he likely to do when he tries to nurse (assuming he does) and he gets no (or very little) milk? Will he be upset?
3. What will the transition to nurse-free bedtimes look like? DH spent an hour reading to him the nights I was gone last spring before he would fall asleep. I really like being able to read while he nurses for 20 minutes in the living room and that's the end of it.
I know none of you can know these answers for sure but I have no idea how any other kids have delt with this.
Thanks for any help!!
So, I'm guessing this just hasn't happened to anyone???
I have NO idea what to expect. I can't even imagine what it would look like for my son to want to go to sleep without nursing.
Any thoughts would be appreciated...
I am not exactly in the same spot you are in but I can kinda help maybe. My DD just stopped nursing. Well actually I choose to wean her. I am pregnant and lost all my milk. It got to be way too uncomfortable to dry nurse her. She didn't care at all that there is no milk. I will be back to post more but los are waking.
Honestly, at this point, IMO it is time to wean, and when you come back from Guatemala, don't offer the breast. Perhaps get some natural or sugar free popsicles and say, here is a new treat that we can have together. Make it special, because at some point you will have to wean entirely anyway, right? Why not now? 3 is a great age to develop different traditions... and if you dont want to have popsicle time, perhaps have puzzle time or coloring time; I suggest popsicle because of the oral aspect therein. Good luck to you!
Do you want to wean? If yes, this could be your opportunity.... if no, I am pretty sure you could increase your supply once you got back.
SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)
Sandra, what makes you say its time to wean? (Even if I didn't offer I'm quite sure he'd request. I rarely offer these days.)
I guess I'd like him to wean but not if it means giving up an easy bedtime. I'm probably a bit overly paranoid about rough bedtimes.
As I begin to reconcile this last substantive excuse not to go to Guatemala, I still have reservations. I think it just sounds too stressful. Which seems wickedly ironic, because it's a fantastic opportunity. Its just not a good time in my life. :-/
I disagree with Sandra. A mother does not have to wean her child "eventually". There IS a such thing is self-weaning...it is NOT a myth. The natural duration for human breastfeeding is 2.5 to 7. When allowed the opportunity to self wean, the average child (world-wide) weans around the age of 4. To answer the original poster's question, I do not think your DC will be upset because milk does not dry up over night. It takes longer than 1 week for milk to completely dry out. It can take 1 to TWO years for milk to dry up. The longer you nurse for (you've been doing it for 3 years), the slower your milk takes to completely dry out. Pumping gives no indication of how much milk you are actually making. Having breasts that don't feel full/hard is also not helpful in determining how much milk you have. The reality is that a 3 year old is very efficient at extracting milk from the breast...he/she is somewhat of an expert by that time. Now...I am not saying that you have to nurse to the end of natural duration. I am just saying that letting him self-wean is an option in general because the PP seems to think there is no such thing.
My final piece of advice is this: Follow your gut....if you feel the nursing relationship needs to end, then so be it. If you're not unhappy and neither is your 3 year old, then by all means continue! It sounds to me like you would like to wean, but you are afraid/nervous to be the one to initiate.