I am ready to wean Dd who will be 3 at the end of March. She is really attached to it and we have recenlty nightweaned with a few hard nights but not like I exepcted. She does not nurse from 7:30pmish to 5am right now. I am afraid of emotional damage to her because I know it is going to be really hard to not have the milks. She nurses at least 6 xs a day or so and if she is not feeling well more then that. Dh has wanted this for a long time as he feels it is inappropraite with her age to still be nursing and that I have made this harder on everyone waiting this long. I don't agree with that but that is his issue. I have asked him to keep that to himself at this point and that I need his help with doing this for Dd and making this transition easier if at all possible.
Now how exactly to do this is the question. Dh thinks I should just cut down to 3 times a day and work down from there two weeks at a time. Pick 3 exact times and mark them on a clock we made so she will know when the milks will have milk. I would be okay with wake up milk, nap time milk and evening milk. The problem with the nap time milk is I never know for sure when she will fall asleep while nursing. Sometimes it takes 2 nursing sessions or so before she falls asleep. She does not nurse to sleep at night. Thoughts or ideas?
I also want to be able to talk to her about all of this so she knows it is nothing she has done that has caused this to happen. I want to celebrate the 3 years of nursing on demand that we have achieved. I also need to acknowledge that it is hard and okay to be sad or mad etc. about no more milks.
Totally overwhelmed with this one! I have many friends who have done child lead weaning and I know they won't understand why I need to do this. I just can't anymore.
Don't worry about emotionally damaging your DD. She will be ok as long as it is done with love and not a cold-turkey, cut you off and can't even sit with you in case you ask to nurse, type of things. She is old enough to understand that you are done nursing but that doesn't mean you don't love her. Find something else to do with her- reading, playing, watching a movie, taking her outside. She knows you love her still, but at some point we all need to find a new way to soothe and find love. It will be ok.
First, I want to give you hug! You're doing great, Mama. It doesn't sound like your DH is being fair to you and I'm sorry you are not getting the support you need about your nursing relationship.
As far as weaning, I think it would be a good idea to get your DD down to 3 times a day. Going from 6x/day to nothing would be very hard. From about 2ish to when we weaned at 4 years old, I only nursed DD in the morning upon waking up, at nap (which she dropped at 2 1/2) and at night. Could you not nurse to sleep for naps and night? Maybe just rub her back or sing to her.
Starting 6 months ago we started talking about how when she turned 4 she would not nurse anymore. I periodically would bring it up and she would affirm that she understood. On her 4th birthday she woke up, asked nurse, I said no and we were done. She still asked for about a week, got a mad a few times, but mostly just let it go without much sadness or emotion. Now let me tell you this girl loved, I mean LOVED, to nurse. If I hadn't initiated weaning she would still be going, possibly to 5 and beyond. She was not scarred by weaning and it certainly did not ruin her emotionally. She is the same bubbly, loving girl she was the day before she turned 4.
ETA: I would definitely talk to her about it! We did and I think it helped tremendously. Also, as I nursed her to sleep on that final night, I told her that had I loved nursing her, but that I knew that weaning was the right thing for us and that she was ready to take that next step. We also had a special outing to Build-A-Bear and she got to make a special bear to commemorate her passage.
Good luck, Mama!
Mama to my beautiful Ana Carolina (2/07), Isabel Cristina (6/10), and #3 on the way in August 2013!