To wean or not? 3 year old, tandeming, meltdowns, and transitions - HELP! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 04-11-2012, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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DD is 3 and I have a new baby who is 2 months.  I am currently tandeming but my 3 year old is driving me crazy.


She seems to have so much emotion tied to breastfeeding.  She was nightweaned while I was pregnant but lately if she wakes up and wants to nurse and I tell her it's the middle of the night, she will have a complete meltdown - the other week this happened 3 times in one week and one night she screamed for an entire hour.  She will flip out, yell, pull on my shirt, kick me, etc.  I cosleep with both kids because DH works night shift and i'm on my own so it's easier to have everyone right there.  Often this screaming will wake the baby then I have to deal with 2 screaming kids.


I let her nurse in the morning but if I cut her off after a reasonable time, she will sometimes have a complete meltdown as well.  This morning I let her nurse on and off for 45 minutes - then when I told her it was time to get up, she became hysterical.


I ran out of milk during my pg, but now that my milk is back she get SO excited about nursing - she doesn't want to read books anymore at night, just wants to get in bed and nurse.  She wakes up early to nurse.  SHe talks about it all the time.  It's like she is obsessed.  Usually she only nurses at bedtime and in the morning, but occasionally she will nurse during the day and if I let her nure during the day she gets so excited.


The past week my baby has been sick so I've just let dd nurse whenever she wakes up to avoid the meltdowns because I am very, very low on sleep.  It seems my best options are to either wean her completely or let her nurse whenever she wants, because setting limits is not working well.


My mom thinks it's better to just wean her since she is so emotionally tied up in nursing - she thinks it will be better to just take that option off the table and let her learn other ways to be comforted.  There have been several nights when she is in the middle of a meltdown that I just feel like I'm done.


But, we have MAJOR transitions coming up....DH leaves at the end of the month to go to Uganda for a month where we will be moving (from the US), then he comes back, we pack up all our things, head to a 3 week orientation in another state, and then move to Uganda.  Part of me wants to wean her before all this, but I also think the nursing can provide some comfort for her in the midst of all this craziness and transition, which makes he hesitate to try weaning.


What do you think???

Loving wife to DH and
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mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#2 of 3 Old 04-15-2012, 09:38 AM
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I am the parent of a 3 month old, so I have not yet had to deal with weaning, but with all the major changes coming up, on top of the new baby, it may be easier to continue nursing DD until after all the huge stuff is dealt with.


Really, you have to do what is right for you and your family, if you are "done" nursing DD and think it might be contributing to DD's meltdowns, by all means I would begin the weaning process, if a few more months won't bother you too much, then keep at it knowing you have that "tool" in your parenting toolbox for a little while longer.

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#3 of 3 Old 04-15-2012, 10:59 AM
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I would probably keep nursing her, but set strict limits and stick to them very stubbornly. It's rough though being on your own at night with 2, so I completely understand how you don't have energy to move, let alone fight about it, in the middle of the night.

I think you should decide on what limits would be fair (your needs count just as much as hers!) and talk talk talk to her about it so she knows what to expect even if she's not happy about it. I set a timer on my phone for my 2.5-year old, and he knows that "when the timer goes off num nums are done." I have him down to 2 minutes, once a day now. I realize that is not much milk for him, but he eats lots of food (whereas the younger baby does not) and nursing for him is about comfort now. And it's what enables me to stay sane and healthy and keep nursing him until he's ready to wean rather than cutting him off completely.

So when you set limits and she tantrums, I think you should hold your ground. It's not going to be like this forever and she will get used to the limits.

She is probably very jealous of the baby and feeling a huge fear of losing your attention, sadness that she is not your baby anymore. It will reassure her if you make a point to spend special one-on-one time with her. When your DH or someone else takes the baby, you can spend 15 minutes cuddling her, reading books etc. and that kind of baby-free attention can make a huge difference.

If you haven't read "Adventures in Tandem Nursing," I highly recommend it as a resource! You are in the hardest part right now but it will get easier.

My second baby is 8 months old now, and much like you, we had tons of upheaval and a huge move to a new place when she was 3-4 months old. It has been a stressful time for the whole family, but things are getting easier now. Older child is mostly weaned now and baby is eating solids. Now there is less energy being drained out of me (literally, less milk-making=more energy) and although I still have 2 very demanding little ones it is getting physically easier. That will come for you too.

Give yourself credit for holding it together and doing something REALLY hard. Just do whatever you need to to take good care of yourself and to get a break--play dates, babysitter, whatever you need.
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