I am committed to letting my son wean himself but I am feeling challenged by his needs. He has always been a spirited, high-needs, high-touch child so I'm not really surprised but am hoping someone else has experienced this or has any suggestions. My son nurses ALL of the time when we are home, all night and all day, sometimes less than every hour, sometimes every 2-3 hours. We tried the Jay Gordon night-time weaning method and have him up to 4-5hrs straight sleep at night and after that it's every hour until he crawls out of bed. Admittedly, he nurses less if we are outside playing/walking, etc., but we can't be outside all day. There's not a lot of literature out there for what is "normal" for a 19mo nurser so I'm hoping to hear some of your experiences and struggles. Thanks!
Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball
Night times have gotten better around here in the last few months. He's gone to wanting to nurse every hour from about midnight to 6am to sleeping pretty much through the night until 4am, nursing and then sleeping until 6-6:30. But it took months of a nightweaning process to get him there (partially because of an illness-based relapse).
He has also gotten better at taking no for an answer when he asks to nurse, and I have gotten better at figuring out that he is actually hungry or thirsty when he asks to nurse and offering him food or drink more often (which has also really helped!).
Great ideas and thanks for assuring me this is normal! In our society, it's so hard to find assurance about breastfeeding for longer than 6 months anyway, thank goodness for this forum.
Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball
Yes, this sounds normal (at least normal as defined by me!). My 18 mo nurses constantly when I'm at home. I work full time, and I know he doesn't sip on a bottle all day at his school- so it must just be that he wants to snuggle and get a little snack. I love it though some days I do get a little tired of being a snack bar!
In a doctor's waiting room years ago, I read a pamphlet promoting breastfeeding, that said to nurse on demand day and night for at least 2 years, and many babies continue on a pattern similar to newborns (every hour, 2 or 3) for those whole 2 years.
I definitely found that to be the case with my daughter, who nursed every 2 hours day & night the first 2 years.
Your son sounds similar to mine... he just turned 2 and I have often felt that he nurses as much as or more than a newborn. This has been hard for me, but I think it would be easier if it were more culturally 'normal' to be nursing a toddler, if I knew other mothers who were going through the same thing. (Which is why I sought out this forum...) I can't sit down without him asking for 'nana'. I do try to set limits, like "Not now, but at naptime," or telling him we will be all done after I count to 10.... this helps my sanity when I can't stand to sit and nurse for a long time. I felt like I had to start setting limits like this because it seems like the more I give him, the more demanding he becomes. I can totally relate to how you feel; it's challenging! I keep reminding myself, it's just a phase.
OH wow, I am not the only one!
DD is 23 months and I feel like she is constantly trying to nursing, or just finished nursing or wants to nurse again. It is driving me a little crazy but I apparently have no will power.
I try to distract her and she tends to freak out, once in a while I can tempt her with an apple or a sippy of milk (this kid is loves cows milk, just like her mother) but most of the time she would rather nurse. When we're out, not such a big deal but at home if I am sitting down for more than 2 seconds she is trying to nurse.
I just keep trying to tell myself it will pass. She will stop nursing eventually and then I will be sad...Right now I want to stop being treated like a snack bar/jungle gym!
I haven't gotten her to let up on night nursing, she still gets up every few hours but now she will nurse at fairly regular times during the day as long as I do offer her food/water regularly.
Now she'll nurse after waking up in the am; around 11-12 ( before lunch and after snack); before nap; after a snack in the afternoon; then either after dinner plus a before bed if we go to bed late or just a before bed if I get her in bed at her regular time.
Sometimes she really just won't eat well and then nurses more often.
It's funny because I was at a gyn appt yesterday and talking about Mirena. I asked about it having any effect on milk supply or whether lactation was having an effect on my cycles and tried to explain that she nurses a lot because she doesn't eat much food.
But the dr said oh, no, at this age there would be no hormonal effect from lactation since your supply and her need for breast milk isn't nearly as much as it would be under a year old.
yeah, ok, if my supply isn't high then why do I feel engorged if it is a little longer than usual between her regular times, lol
My 18 month old son nurses very often. It's normal for children to nurse frequently into their second and third years (longer for some). In some cultures where children nurse on demand, four times and hour at two minutes each session is the average (in toddlers too).
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