DS is 24 mths.
He has nursed on demand his entire life, slept with me every night since he was born and the midwife placed him in my arms, I am a SAHM and he is with me all day every day....He has always been a voracious nurser, especially overnight and I have done everything I can think of to meet his intense need to nurse.
Until recently, like a week or so?
It feels like a switch has been tripped and I don't know what to do.
Lately, usually at night when he gets "chewy" in his latch, or his hands are moving whisper soft up my arm, pinching, twiddling etc I NEED TO STOP NURSING HIM. I unlatch him and tell him "mommy needs a break please" and sit up. Most nights I stay seated and wait for him to fall asleep. It can take 30-60 min. I KNOW he wants to keep nursing, even though he isn't crying for it. (Last night he DID cry a little for maybe ten 45 second bursts and I didn't want to nurse him, even when he cried --what is happening to me?....) But for some reason I can't nurse through it. The thought of it makes my skin crawl. And when I try to soldier thru and BF--I get angry. Like, really really angry. And his persistent twiddles and mouth feel like torture. And I can't do it. I have to unlatch him, and sometimes I am not as gentle as I want to be with my movements or words....and I just feel horrible. Sometimes I do the same thing in the middle of the night. I can't explain it well. DS isn't really crying, but I know he wants to nurse, but I say "can we try something else?" and hug and kiss and rub his back, or let him roll (often he is complaining, often he wakes all the way up....:( but still I do not nurse, because the thought makes me soooo uncomfortable that I would rather he roll around and kick me for 30 min until he falls asleep than nurse )
Also, I know he is getting a molar --and in the past, that knowledge has given me calm loving patience....like, "He really needs this nursing now" and the all night nursing (every 30 min? sure!) is fine with me. But this time? It's awful, because its not making me offer my breast...not only that, but the negative feeling I have from nighttime is spilling over! This morning he wanted to nurse and when he latched on my shoulders shot to my ears, I was so tense and again --angry. WTF!?
Please don't flame me. I am beating myself up hard enough....I do not know what is going on. I am NOT pregnant. I'm crying as I type this. I don't want to hate nursing. I don't know what to do!
I should add --up until about a few weeks ago there was no way on earth DS could/would fall asleep without nursing....so maybe that's when things started to change? He even went one night sleeping from 9pm-3am and then nursed a little and slept til 630 (about 2 weeks ago) Until that night he had nursed every two hours (on a good night)
I wish I had a way to just *poof* fix this, but I really don't.
I think a lot of moms go through a real period of nursing aversion, so dont' feel alone on that count.
I'm going to give you the same advice that I give every woman when nursing isn't working for them: try to determine what is bothering you MOST and fix that first. Sometimes, if you can get one thing "fixed" the other things don't bother you as much.
Another idea--- are you getting enough "me" time? You might just need to recharge a bit.
I totally understand, though, that what at one age may seem sweet and cute (various strokings and stuff) just feels ick at another time. I think it is totally fine for you to limit nursing in ways that will make it bearable for you.
Lastly, while I was pg with DS and DD was nursing, if it was painful I would practice my relaxation breathing for birth. I know you're not in the same situation, but having an internal mantra or calming phrase may help.
While you said you aren't pregnant, hormone fluctuations can also cause irritation/sensativity. I found one thing that helped in those situations to be a little counterintuitive--- pull your little guy *closer.* That gives you a bit more control over their extremities (you can hold hands instead of allowing them to tweak or stroke) as well as make sure their latch is strong.
I'm sorry I don't have more wise words. I hope you are able to get through this in a way that you're comfortable with.
THANK YOU so much for the support. I was feeling so alone!
And great suggestions as well, thank you. I have been trying to "breathe through" the discomfort as much as possible but I have had to end nursing sessions early:(
Hugs, this sounds really rough on you.
One last thing--- how are you feeling *in general.* I didn't know until within the past few years that irratinal anger is actually a common sign of depression in many women. Is there any chance you're depressed.
Good luck setting some limits that you're comfortable with.
Please don't be too hard on yourself. I can totally relate. I am so burned out with nursing my 3.5 yo. We have been tandem nursing for the past 15 months and I have hated nursing him for most of it. For me, night-weaning helped a lot. I wish I had more advice, but I just wanted to say your feelings sound normal to me.
Maybe some time for yourself would help. I know it does for me.
Thank you. Time to myself would be an amazing miracle. Not so easy when DH works such insane hours just so we can (almost) make ends meet right now. And family is no help too, as they are 3000 miles away (and honestly, even if they were closer - they are rough and judgmental people that I don't want alone with my son!)
But I AM feeling burnt out and need to address that fact.
In many ways it seems like all signs are pointing to a gentle night weaning. But that brings up so many questions for me. I have let him lead the way up until now, trusting that Mother Nature knows best....he usually only nurses at naptime during the day now....maybe one other time if we are home...he never asks for it in public any more....but he nurses SOSO much at night, I don't see how to do it gently and I don't know if it's fair to him. But I am so. so. tired.... :(
And nursing aversions at times are not uncommon and it is completely ok to put limits on nursing to make it bearable for you. I agree with the advice of trying to fix the most annoying thing first and go from there as little annoyances seem much larger when together with big annoyances!
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
The way YOU feel is "Mother Nature" too...your body and your emotions are telling you that you need more physical space now that he is getting a little older and you are under a lot of stress. That is natural. It can be hard to balance his needs and your needs and I wish you the best of luck with whatever you try. It's clear that you're a caring, loving, and generous mother who is doing your very best.
ITA with this. My urge to wean was so clear. I honestly never gave any serious thought to continuing. I knew my job was to help them figure out nursing-free life.
It's why I don't get CLW actually. I can't imagine not having that clear 'we're done' feeling that I had with my kids!
DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).
I know the feeling well-- when DD started teething again last month and wanted to nurse through the night for 3 days straight, I thought I'd lose it, just wanted her to leave me alone! My own lovely lactation consultant wrote about identifying with her kids' guinea pig--the mother who was on top of the wheel seemingly to avoid nursing her pups. It's all about finding some kind of healthy balance--taking care of all the family members including ourselves. I hope it's going better at night for you!
So glad I found this thread. My DD is 1 year old, and I Have just started to get that horrible, skin crawls, want to shake them off and run out of the room feeling when we nurse at night sometimes. Really, it is only that first night nursing that is so awful for me. DD sleeps in a crib in our room, and I nurse her in a rocking chair during the night. And the past 4 nights has been AWFUL doing that. It is better the rest of the night, because I have been pulling her into bed with me earlier, and I am not so awake when I nurse her then, and don't think about the fact that I am nursing her. Last night was so bad that I got nauseous nursing her, and DH had to quiet her down because I could not do one more minute.
I do get "alone" time during the day, and I am not pregnant. I think my body is ramping up to ovulate, though, so maybe my body thinks it should be done nursing this baby (I haven't started my cycles yet, postpartum) and prep for the next one. Ha.
Glad to know it will probably pass!
PM me about low supply; insufficient glandular tissue; posterior tongue tie; lip tie
I didn't have quite the same experience, but here's my story for what it's worth:
Nursing was never a physical joy for me, my feet would twitch, legs move, skin crawl-- 2 daughters, infant, toddler, all the way. I wouldn't be surprised at all if hormones, or lack of, were the cause of it. (It would explain the sudden switch you have experienced.) While I always loved the ideal, it was always enervating and I never encouraged my girls to linger, especially when I couldn't distract my attention from their nursing. I would have thought something was strange or wrong with me if my nearest friend didn't have the exact same experience. I felt bad that I couldn't have that lovey-earthy nursing relationship with my girls as other mamas seem to have. Then I remembered my sister's dog. With a brood of puppies that were perfectly ambulatory and capable of entertaining themselves, they would want to nurse, but she would get up and walk away. Thinking about it in this way (thank you, Puppet!) I felt a little better about myself. I wouldn't use my experience to argue that this is the way it "should" be, just that this is the way it was for me, and it is OK to feel that way-- to *be* that way. It takes two to nurse.... be gentle on yourself.
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
I don;t know if it's hormonal shifts or what but I totally get what you mean by you get angry all the sudden while nursing. I am nursing DS and sometimes I will get SO aggravated all the sudden. Not even about breastfeeding, i'll just think of something and get so pissed off it's weird. My blood will be boiling all of the sudden. I realized after a while that it was happening and it seems to happen in the morning so maybe because I'm tired it adds to it but it's definitely related to bfing somehow. After I recognized it was happening I am able to control it by taking a break and breathing deeply. I kind of talk myself down. haha.
There are lots of options--night weaning, partial night weaning, blocks of time when numnums are "off limits," a certain number of nursing sessions per day, or even no nursing at all unless it's your idea. The important thing is not to say yes if you really mean no. He is old enough that he can be re-directed or stalled, at least some of the time. You can even bargain, get him to agree to snuggles or a snack instead at times when you're really not feeling it.
Something that helped a lot with my DS is that I count to ten, and when I reach ten we stop. Most of the time I draw out the counting really slow, asking him questions in between each number so he'll say "mm-hmm" and then when I cut him off at "ten" he's prepared for it. It's turned into a fun game and helped him learn counting too. When my skin is really crawling I count much quicker and he's usually fine stopping at ten.
I also tell him sometimes that my num nums are out of milk and we need to wait until they make some more milk for him. A white lie, I know, since there's always *some* milk in there, but that explanation makes sense to him and he accepts it without question. (Consider that it really is *your* milk to give--you may have milk but none to *give* at the moment--your body, your milk.)
You really will be able to tell when he *really* needs to nurse as opposed to just wanting it. You can nurse on your terms and still keep going until he's ready to wean on his own. It's a happy medium between feeling fed up/resentful and complete weaning.
Don't feel guilty!
I know this thread is old, but I am currently experiencing the exact same thing. I'm wondering if you ever figured out what was going on and ever figured out some kind of resolution? Any information would help! Even just reading this and knowing I'm not the only one has helped a lot!!