Hi everyone! My 3 yr old self-weaned when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. Either that or I just dried up & she gave up. Lately she has been telling me she can smell my milk (I'm having colostrum), and yesterday she pulled my top down and latched on!
I'm pretty positive that once she sees the new baby (due Easter) nursing, she'll want to go right back to it. I'm nervous about this because she was VERY demanding even up until she weaned, nursing almost constantly and completely freaking out if I told her not now...also I caught so much negativity and flack from in-laws, and other people IRL it just seems like it would be so much easier on me if she were done nursing.
I've never been opposed to tandem nursing, especially if she had continued throughout the pregnancy, but now it just seems like it would be soooo much easier on me to just have the baby to nurse.
Any tips on making this easier on both of us? I'm not going to make it a huge battle, if she insists I know I'll give in. But truly, I do wish I only had to worry about nursing a newborn and not a very demanding 3.5 year old too.
They make me
My daughter weaned during pregnancy because my milk dried up, but then she started nursing again after the new baby was born. She had been "weaned" for months at that point, but starting again ended up not being a big deal for us. It really helped with sibling rivalry. For the first few days, she was jealous of the new baby and had taken up hitting him whenever she was feeling bad. Once I started letting her nurse again, she realized she wasn't being replaced. She settled down and became much more friendly and loving to her brother, as an equal, not as a competitor for my attention.
We never tandem nursed in front of other people. Older children generally understand delayed gratification to some extent. Nursing isn't a "need" in the same way that it is for babies, so the situation never really arose where I had to explain anything to unsupportive relatives. I tend to believe that what they don't know can't hurt them. ;)
If your daughter still needs to nurse and you can make enough milk for two, I would go for it. If your daughter is still asking you to nurse after all this time, it sounds like it is an important emotional comfort for her. Nursing can smooth things over with behavioral issues. Instead of creating problems, I've found it can prevent the need for discipline in situations where a child acts out because they feel their needs aren't being met.
BTW, my daughter nursed for the last time when she was 6 years old. She's 11 now and very social and well adjusted. Ironically, it is my son who has behavioral issues and he weaned himself far sooner. The point is, nursing doesn't create a demanding child.
Thank you for your reply. I know you're right.
She is pretty demanding with it though and I don't see her cooperating with not doing it in front of others. And it's not like I want her to think that it's wrong or something we need to hide from people either, you know? I think if they're out feeding the baby she'll definitely want some too!
Honestly this is all about pressure from other people, including my husband. I'm sure he won't be supportive of her nursing again. His family has a BIG problem with it and they already hate me for my crunchy ways. As always, I need to just quit worrying about what others think and do what's best for my child.
They make me
My daughter weaned around 2-1/2 years old when I was in my 1st or 2nd trimester with my son, similar to your dd. When ds was born, she did ask to nurse a few times-at first I said no, but when she got very upset, I did let her "nurse" a couple of times and it seemed to make her feel better. I put it in quotes because she didn't really latch on and I don't think she got any milk, it was just a comfort thing, and only lasted for a minute at a time, max. In fact, 2 years later (ds is still nursing) she will still do this every once in a while! It has never led to full out nursing again for us, which I was glad for only because I didn't want to deal with the weaning process again. I would also recommend nursing the babe on one side and then having your dd cuddle on the other, even if she is not trying to nurse, just to make her feel included. So, do what feels right to you-I didn't really tell anyone that I was letting dd even pretend to nurse because of reactions like you are describing-it is our little secret :) Good luck!
Thanks greenemami! As always, I feel comfort after hearing from other mothering mamas! I know it will all be ok! 40 weeks today so we'll see how it all goes soon.
They make me
You have a lot more negotiating power here than you might think! If your 3 year old wants to start nursing with the baby then you can let her do so after setting some very clear ground rules (only before bed, only at home with mommy and daddy, or whatever you want). If you set the rules as the condition for nursing, she might very well comply since your milk is like ice cream for her: a real treat!
I have three children, 7, 4 and 7 months and am currently tandem nursing the youngest two. I cannot tell you how rewarding an experience it can be. There is no rivalry or jealousy issues for my middle son. He was already an immature 3 year old when the baby was born and to an outside objective observer, he looked like he had regressed in his behavior. But I actually think he wasacting more "babyish" (which includes a lot of whining to nurse) because he was play-acting being a baby. Kids make sense of the world through play and play-acting and I honestly think that this was how my son was making sense of the introduction of a new baby in the house. I knew he hadn't truly regressed because he was still interacting with his peers and other adults appropriately. It was mostly around me and the baby that he acted this way. As time has progressed, so has his behavior as he has gotten used to the situation. So if you do nurse your daughter and she acts in ways that feed the critics' fodder, please consider this interpretation. It helped me get over any doubts I had after I realized that he was simply exploring babyhood.
Tandem nursing is also great for boosting and maintaining your milk supply. The older child can help initiate the letdown for an infant who is sleepy or has a disorganized suck. I also appreciate it when my 4 year old can inform me about the status of my milk supply. It helps me read the infant's cues better when I know whether or not there is any milk left in the breasts. The older child can also help you if you have engorgement issues. Now that I am tandem nursing, I really think nature intended for women to tandem nurse (or maybe even cross nurse in close societies) because it really makes nursing a newborn easier.
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