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Old 06-14-2011, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 3 and while she likes to snuggle my bosom and make little suckling noises to relax occasionally, she has been 100% weaned for a long time. My DS is 19 months and I swear he is going to kill me with this nursing. Constant. C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T nursing. All day, he's drive-by nursing. I cannot sit down without him crawling onto my lap to nurse. Sometimes, if I'm just standing still, he starts to go crazy to nurse. If I'm busy, he'd "kinda" like to nurse...if I'm not busy and just "loafing" he NEEDS to nurse. It's like a compulsive thing for him. Me standing still = MUST NURSE NOW. I am all the time trying to look busy when he looks up from his play at me...if I don't make eye contact and "appear busy" he will go back to playing happily...but if he catches me looking at him he will stop his happy playing and start screaming at me to nurse...which bums my DD out (she loves playing with him) and is difficult for me and means that he is no longer engaged in fun. I can't walk too slow in the house because it makes him want to chase me down and nurse....but I can't walk too fast in the house because then he starts crying and chasing after me to see where I'm going...he definitely doesn't like it when I am moving quickly away from him, even just down the hallway.

 

All night he's switching sides, switching sides, over and over again. He will sometimes pull away and sleep without a boob in his mouth (this is relatively new and much appreciated) but if I move a SINGLE muscle in the night, he rolls over in his sleep looking for boob. So I just lay there, FROZEN, staring straight at the ceiling, not even caring that I'm not sleeping because I'm so happy not to be nursing. I can't even BREATHE or he'll wake up and be on me.

 

Here's the problem: He is an extremely sensitive, high needs guy and I think it would be a disaster to wean him...but "setting limits" is NOT working. He comes by it honestly, his dad was the exact same kid and my son looks just like his dada and has the exact same energy.  I know it will turn out just fine, because again, as a kid my DH was a clingy, high needs kid, but his mother was really respectful of his needs to be close and nurtured and now my DH is an extremely balanced, calm and even guy. So, I know that if I give my baby boy the love he needs, the support he needs and the attachment he craves, everything will be okay in the end, I'm not sitting here like "this is never going to end" or anything....

 

But what about right now? I'm going crazy you guys. The high needs personality is one thing...whatever, I can make it through the other trappings of loving a high needs kid. I am a SAHM, so I'm just sort of doing what I have to do to be a mom to a really intense kid and I have a lot of time to do that....but the nursing facet of the high need-ness is making me nuts.

 

If I try to say no, it's meltdown city. Not a little bit, a LOT a bit. Straight up screaming, slapping, scratching, on the floor kicking and screaming like he's possessed. My sweet as sugar kid turns into an absolute hellcat if I won't let him nurse. Sharing, he's fine. "Don't touch that" - he's fine. He will walk away from things I tell him to walk away from, come to me easily when I tell him "come here right now" ...everything else, calmly listening to my words. "No" to nursing...NOT calm. The longer I deny him, the more intense the screaming will get. Same thing if I try to cut a session off before he's ready. No amount of redirection or talking or snuggling or "Hey, let's go over here" "let's eat a snack" "let's take a walk" , etc will draw his attention away from his ultimate quest: Getting breastmilk.

 

 

I have tried everything. The only thing that ever, ever works to distract him is my DD. She is a heaven sent angel and a baby whisperer. If she comes walking up, he can be full-on nursing "not going anywhere for a while" style, but if she says "Hey bud, come play with me, come on come on" - he will sometimes jump off of me and walk away. Not every time, but sometimes...and that's the only thing that has ever ever worked to distract him. THey really like each other a lot and I'm so happy for all the doting she does because this kid can really suck up doting/love/attention and she loves to fuss over people even at three years old...but I don't want to use her to keep him off of my breasts, she's a really independent kid and enjoys her alone time too.

 

Anyway. I don't know what to do. I'm not just whining because it's been 19 months and I'm "sick of it". I REALLY love my nursing relationship with my son when it's what I would consider to be "age appropriate" - in my mind this means: A few times a day to have quiet special time with mama and unwind, maybe before or after naps, when we wake up, when we're going to bed at night, etc. That's not what my boy wants. My son is nursing 20-30 times a day (that's WITH me trying to restrict and distract as much as I can) and four or so times a night, occasionally less and sometimes more. He just wants to hang out and nurse. He would completely forgo food and playing and just nurse all day long if I'd let him stay in my lap. As I write this, he has noticed that I am sitting and has just come up to my chair crying and pulling at my shirt "mama mama"...now he is is crying because I'm saying "hold on bud" and typing instead of lifting him up - in the space that it took me to write that he is full blown flipping out.  (so I stopped typing and tried to keep him from hurting his head on the metal chair legs, he bit me. he kicked me. I set him down and said no, on and on, blah blah...now because I want to finish typing this, he's in my lap, nursing. I nursed him an hour ago for a solid 15 minutes...so, I stopped 45 minutes ago. :( Is this normal? It can't be normal, it's killing me. It feels like literally all I do...sometimes multiple times an hour he comes and latches on...true, sometimes it's only for a minute...but it's SOOO many times a day. He flips out so hard and then as soon as I put him on the breast he's cooing and happily stroking my chest with his hand and making "love blinks" at me with his eyes.

 

Who has been there, mamas? I'm not looking to wean, I'm looking to love breastfeeding again. Right now I feel spent and used up and resentful and angry and I've noticed it's really starting to effect us in our home. When I'm cooking, trying to unwind with DH, giving DD some attention, etc...and he sees me and decides it's time to nurse and then completely breaks down when I won't and throws himself on the ground, hitting his head and wailing like an animal...it really stresses me out, shuts down any special time that's happening between me and DD and makes my husband really frustrated. It wrecks a lot of moments of harmony. DH would love if I would wean DS because he doesn't understand how this is still enjoyable for me, he just sees me stressed out and harried. I need help.

 

 


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Old 06-14-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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I reallllllly feel for you.  My DS went through a period of time very much like this.  Chances are this isn't what you have going, but when we pulled dairy out of DS's/my diet, his neediness dropped dramatically.  Do you think there are any sort of possible food intolerances/allergies going on?  In hindsight, DS was uncomfortable all the time and wanting to nurse to comfort.  Maybe new teeth coming in are hurting?  Something bothering him? 

 

That said...20-30 times a day wouldn't even be close to okay with me.  You need to consider yourself in all of this too and it sounds like you need to set some nursing boundaries.  Your DS will still be okay.  If you give him a hug and a snuggle, instead of boobs, he's going to survive and be fine.  He might not think so, but you need to give yourself permission to comfort him in other ways.  You won't be turning your back on him.  You'll just be offering him comfort in a way that works for you too.  Hugs...

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Old 06-14-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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DD was like this. at 18 months I introduced a pacifier because I was pregnant and couldn't take the constant nursing. I set specific times when she could nurse for a while, and outside those times she only got the pacifier. after a couple months I relaxed the limits because she realized she didn't need to nurse as often as she had been. and she doesn't need the pacifier anymore


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Old 06-14-2011, 11:11 PM
 
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I think you and your DS will both be happier people in the long run if you set really specific limits.  Like it's summer now - don't nurse outside.  Just say, "when we are inside" and then do it as soon as you go in.  It will be good motivation to play in the yard all day! :) 

 

When my DS was that age we nursed upon waking, before and after nap, probably once before supper and then at bedtime.  All pretty established times.  Also, pick a certain one or two nursing spots and only nurse there.  Then when you are standing around other places, your DS will stop associating nursing with those other places and he won't think of it as much.

 

Limits are a good thing.  They make the relationship livable.  My DS nursed until 3yo.

 

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Old 06-15-2011, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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APToddlerMama: Thank you so much, I know he will be fine...but honestly, there is SO much crying here with my son that it's so hard to tolerate when I know that I'm only as far away from silence as lifting my shirt..you know? It's just so constant. When he is not crying, he is the light of this family, so goofy and loving and funny. He has an amazing personality and we love him...but the smallest little things set him off and all. day. long. I'm comforting or redirecting or somehow managing a meltdown. I know my reaction and direction is going to be the key to turning this around, it's just that his tantrums when I deny him the breast are SO intense, it's just never "a good day" to start....I'm so worn down and tired and his crying and fits really send me to a "I wanna hide under a rock" kind of place.  I know I have to shift this though and I think summer time is the perfect time to do it. On days when he is outside a lot, he nurses much less, so I'm going to try and use that as a tool. Thanks again.

 

Marissamom: Thank you for your reply. I tried to give him a pacafier, he got SO mad....seriously, my sweet and gentle boy actually glared at me and threw it in my face. I tried a few more times when he was sleepy, sort of slipping it to him while we were in a "nursing position" and it woke him right up and he was so angry. He REALLY gets that it's a fake nipple and really doesn't like it!

 

Tjej: Thank you for your reply! I really loved your suggestions about nursing times and places. I've tried the "only during these times" before, but didn't attach them to a place...I think the combination of time (which he has limited concept of) AND place (which he gets completely) will help him to feel the routine part of it.

 

I think if he wants to nurse and it's "nursing time" and I remove him from the action of the house and take him into our back bedroom to lay down and snuggle and really get into it...that may really curb his desire because a lot of the time he wants to nurse and watch everything that's going on...or nurse right next to his toys and then go right back to them, etc. So maybe if he gets a sense both that 1. I'm going to nurse him when it's time, it really is going to come and 2. that when we nurse, it means we have to go away from everyone and his toys, etc to our quiet spot he may not be so hot and bothered to nurse all the time.

 

Thank you so much ladies. I'm going to go to Parenting and post something about other aspects of the "high needs-ness" because I'm really struggling...I'm not really even struggling with HIM, it's just the fatigue and mental exhaustion of being his mama that's getting to me. I love my boy and I hope we still have a long while to nurse.

 

Thank you, thank you thank you..I really appreciate your words, mamas.


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Old 06-15-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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Sounds like you're seriously burned out! Have you considered taking a few hours for yourself during the day? I'm not talking every day, but I've found that when I've reached my "breastfeeding" limit, what I really need is 2 hours to be "kid free." Sometimes I can do this at home, where I go to the garden and DH keeps the kids inside for a while. Sometimes I go shopping (not in any particular way, just get out of the house).

 

Breastfeeding at this age is about learning about relationships, respecting other people's rights to be their own person. You are a person and you have the right to say no. HE HAS THE RIGHT to not like it. If you give in every time he tantrums, he will learn that tantruming is the way to get what he wants. Decide on limits that you can live with. Talk to him about what those limits are. And go slow enforcing those limits. First it may be, we only nurse once per hour, or half hour (depending on your current situation) plus at non specific times like nap, morning, bedtime, etc. Then set a timer. When the timer goes off, stop everything. Ask if he wants to nurse. If he does, nurse him. However there is no allowing him to say no, but then changing his mind in 5-10 minutes because he was "busy.", He will have to wait for the timer to go off. Then when he's done, go back about your day. Knowing that the timer will go off, whether you want it to or not, will allow both of you to know that he will get to nurse, and you will get to do what you need too. This is the perfect time to compromise. Let him in on the discussion. Let him help choose things like, will we nurse in our chair or on the couch. Do you want the left side or the right. Give him control of a few things and you take control of some of the others. Once he has learned to nurse only at those specific times, you can talk to him about extending out the time. If he does however, start telling you he doesn't need to nurse right now, then it is prime time to extend out the timer. Keep going until you're happy.

 

This is a weaning technique. BUT, when you do this in a loving manner, and SLOWLY, there is no danger of complete weaning unless your child or you decide to be done.

 

AND, tantrums are NOT a sign of your failure as a parent. Toddlers have big feeling but not enough words for them. Sometimes the only way to get them out is a tantrum. And for the record, I have seen some pretty hilarious (from my point of view) examples of adults throwing temper tantrums.

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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I really feel for you. My 19-month-old isn't as nursy as yours, but he's been nursing so much recently that my nipples are totally sore, and for the first time since we first learned to breastfeed, nursing HURTS. And he's been doing the same thing at night - if he feels me move in bed, whammo, he needs to nurse. I work part-time, and he went through a phase of only kinda wanting to nurse when I came home, but right now, for reasons I don't understand, he wants to nurse almost constantly whenever I'm home. Is it boredom? Is my supply low? Does he need extra comfort right now?

 

I'm trying to stick it out, in part because I don't really know what setting limits would look like (the furthest I've gone is to now say, when he wants to nurse in a store, "Let's wait until we're in the car and can be cozy, okay?") But it's been kind of difficult. It's really the first time I've resented nursing at all, and it's an uncomfortable feeling.

 

Anyway. Just wanted to let you know that I commiserate, and I hope you guys work it out!


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Old 06-18-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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My son was instense like that and the only thing that worked was to put him on a really strict schedule.  I actually did in the context of weaning but with my DD then I did it too as a way of keeping the relationship going.  we nursed at x, y and z times.  They knew when that was.  Yes there were fits but knowing EXACTLY when they could nurse again kept them calm(er) than when I was just trying the distraction/don't offer stuff which was just useless here.


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Old 06-19-2011, 04:06 AM
 
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Hugs, mama! You sound so very tired! I resonated with so much of your post, esp the laying frozen in bed part. You pretty much described my DS at that age, minus the tantrums.

1. I think the suggestion of only nursing in certain times/places sounds really good.

2. Is there any way you can get some nighttime help so you could catch up on your sleep? I know what 19 mos of 2-3 hr stretches of sleep does to a woman and it's not good. My DS could actually make it ok thru the night w/o nursing (while sleeping with a trusted adult) at that age--I just couldn't be in the house. Doing so when he was around 22 mos helped us to nightwear with no tears.

3. My son doesn't really tantrum so I've not had to learn to deal with that--maybe you could get advice in the GD forum? Seems like you'd just deal w/ them as any other tantrum at this point.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by konayossie View Post

Hugs, mama! You sound so very tired! I resonated with so much of your post, esp the laying frozen in bed part. You pretty much described my DS at that age, minus the tantrums.

1. I think the suggestion of only nursing in certain times/places sounds really good.

2. Is there any way you can get some nighttime help so you could catch up on your sleep? I know what 19 mos of 2-3 hr stretches of sleep does to a woman and it's not good. My DS could actually make it ok thru the night w/o nursing (while sleeping with a trusted adult) at that age--I just couldn't be in the house. Doing so when he was around 22 mos helped us to nightwear with no tears.

3. My son doesn't really tantrum so I've not had to learn to deal with that--maybe you could get advice in the GD forum? Seems like you'd just deal w/ them as any other tantrum at this point.


You the tantrums really wear on me...but I actually don't mind them as much. It's the tantrums for NURSING, you know? He throws that at many other time during the day and I know how to handle them...it's when he is throwing a tantrum for nursing that I don't know how exactly to handle them because he is so much more emotional about it. I WILL ask at the GD forum, thanks for the reminder that it's really there for exactly this sort of thing!

 

I am going to set something up with my husband to try and get a handle on night times. If my husband puts him to sleep in another bedroom in the house and then sleeps with him there all night, maybe we can get a handle on this nighttime situation. I'm thinking giving him a super protein rich meal for dinner that night so that I KNOW he's not going to get hungry and then sending him off with my husband to get some sleep. I'm actually kind of  giddy at the thought of getting some REAL sleep!

 

Ladies, thank you so much for all of your words....the fact alone that so many of you can relate to my experience has helped me tremendously to feel more calm about this and remember that it is going to be alright in the end. I'm doing the work of mothering, I guess, and right now it's really challenging, but I feel good about where to go from here.

 

THANK YOU! :)


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Old 06-19-2011, 05:11 AM
 
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When my son was super-tantrumy about nursing it was a reminder to me that I had been slacking on helping him learn other coping skills.  For my 18 month old to ONLY have nursing as a coping skill (not saying this is true for you but it was true for us) was lazy parenting on my part.  It didn't 'feel' lazy to nurse him 800 times a day but I had to admit that it was I guess maybe short sighted or not creative or something.  It was a bad idea, anyway and wasn't serving him well.  

 

That realization put his tantrums in a different light to me.  A harsh reminder of the work I had to do!  First up: keeping calm!  If I panicked and opened my bra every time he had a meltdown then I was just reinforcing his mistaken understanding that not-nursing WAS something to panic over.  So in the face of his drama I had to be calm and reassuring.  As the adult I knew he could not nurse for 2 hours.  But he needed help figuring out what he COULD do.  

 

It only took a couple of days to diffuse these situations and we very quickly found new ways to relate.

 

With my DD I did this earlier and to this day she has better coping skills than my son.  I like to think the two are not related, though.


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Old 06-21-2011, 11:12 PM
 
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((hugs))  I have what I would call a high-needs 3 yo son, and he sounds sooo much like your boy.  I night weaned him at 20 months because I was newly pregnant and couldn't handle it anymore.  He would wake to nurse every hour or two and would stay latched for at least 45 minutes.  I wanted to throttle the kid.  When we night weaned we went cold turkey, and he screamed for a month.  And he still asked to nurse several times a night until he got his own room two months ago.

 

I mean, he still nurses 6-12 times a day and he's three and a half for friggin' sakes.

 

*sigh*

 

Sorry, this is supposed to be about you.  And I don't have a ton of advice since all I do is meltdown and scream when nursing gets to this level.  Oh, wait, I did have some advice, I remember now.  Sorry, it was lost in the haze of thinking of all that nursing...

 

Nights went so much better for us after he got his own bed.  We had a twin and a queen pushed together.  I would nurse him down on his twin and slowly slide over to my place.  It took a lot of practice, but after a bit he would let me sleep for about 2-3 hours before needing to nurse again, and it was soooo nice having my own body in bed, if that makes any sense.

 

Okay, I need to get to bed myself.  Best of luck, and you're not alone.


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Old 06-29-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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Having specific nursing places really helped DD. That way, if I didn't want to nurse, I could avoid those places or just spend all day out of the house. I also limited times too, but the places is what helped it stick for her I think more than anything. Besides that, biting and hitting/kicking/pinching/crazy squirming were the only other limits I was firm on because I can't tolerate any of that so I did it from the start and was always very no-nonsense about it.

And I just wanted to sympathize that it can be so hard to set BF limits, because it is mom's body, but it is the kid's food, comfort, etc. so much is wrapped up in it, but it is ok to set limits too. I know you know that, but I know it helped me to hear it from others!

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Old 06-29-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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Wow, he sounds a lot like my DS in many ways!!

One thing that really helped us when DS was that age was counting... "I'm going to count to 10 and then we're all done with that side" (repeat on the other side), making sure to keep the counting pleasant/upbeat or sing-songy -- not threatening the way counting is used by some people as 'discipline'... Of course, at first he didn't want to unlatch, so I gave him a choice ("You can let go or I can unlatch you") and more and more often he'd choose to let go himself and now when I count, he lets go as soon as I get to 10 (although once in a while he will ask me to count one more time, and I'm OK with that as long as it's occasional!) It helped me a lot to be able to limit the sessions somehow, and sometimes I'd let him nurse for 20mins first and other times I'd tell him right away, "You can nurse, but only for 3 seconds." He was happy he was 'getting his way' and I was happy to not be nursing for an hour+ straight. It did lead him to eventually cut back on frequency and be more accepting of other limits down the line.

Obviously, lots of distraction is necessary too... which is hard when you're so worn down, it's easier in the short term to just nurse rather than deal with his emotions AND provide some kind of 'entertainment'... so it can help to have a go-to 'distraction' which for us was reading because DS was in a MAJOR book-loving phase then!! So whenever I had to cut the nursing session short or deny him altogether, I would ask him what book he wanted to read & settle down with him. It wasn't by any stretch an instant fix but it was something that helped us cope a BIT.

Another thing that helped was just giving him a little more time. At 23mos, he was not in any way ready for limits much beyond the counting thing. At 24mos, he had this magical shift (in multiple areas, not just nursing!) and was suddenly ready. I was able to partially night-wean him & cut down a ton on daytime nursing as well, with much less drama than if we'd pushed it sooner. He was nursing 20, 30 times a day or more up 'til age 2 and now at 2.5 he is only nursing for a few hours in the morning & 3-4 more times throughout the day. I would like to continue nursing him indefinitely, but at the same time I am working with him on not nursing through naps and hoping to eventually cut back on the 'few hours in the morning' because those things really wear on me. I feel like I'm walking such a fine line between meeting his legitimate needs and going absolutely insane myself. I had hoped to fully CLW but I need more restrictions to make it doable on MY end. Anyway, giving him a couple more months before pushing any major limits might not be even an option for you right now if you're at the end of your rope, but if you can find ways to cope in the interim it might be easier in the long run if you can catch him during a good window. Then you seize that window of opportunity & run with it. I noticed that the times I was (am!) most fed up up with things & wanting/willing to make changes are usually the WORST times for him, because it's when he's going through some developmental or emotional or physical thing... so even if you can just wait out a bad week or two and THEN start to initiate some of these techniques, you might find it less stressful for both of you. Not sure if I'm making sense there...

Finally, I always felt DS's nursing was... different, I guess, than other kids', and part of a larger issue... so (after lots of encouragement from MDC!!) we ended up getting an EI evaluation. DS is now getting OT etc. for his sensory issues and all... I'm not sure yet how much it's helping (it's only been a month or two), but at least I feel like I'm doing everything I can to help him, you know? And it takes the pressure off me a bit. I find a lot of their techniques are things I'd already researched to death & tried, but sometimes they give me the encouragement to try something just ONE more time & then it clicks or whatever. And honestly, just having that validation that I'm not crazy, there's something 'off', they totally see the issues we're dealing with, even though he's on his best behavior for them so they only see the best of it, I don't know, it's good support for me & DH I guess. I'm not saying your DS needs Early Intervention but just bringing it up as an option in case you do feel it's something more than 'regular' high-needs...

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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maybe i am just a big old meanie, so take it for what it's worth.  i personally would not want to keep on with what you're doing.  my dd is about the same age as your marathon nurser.  and we've nightweaned.  i wouldn't care if there was a fit pitched.  kids are going to tantrum when they don't get their way, and eventually, if they don't get what they're flipping out over, they will stop.  i would refuse and limit the sessions as you see fit, and just offer gentle comfort during the tantrums. 

you've gotten really good actual advice, like having a specific location.  just remember that biologically, at this age, kids only need around 3 nursings a day total to get all the benefits.  if it's a choice between mama being unhappy and your little one getting momentarily upset that things are changing, remember that a burned out, tired mama isn't any good to anybody!  :)


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