I'd like some suggestions for how to change how my 13 month-old nurses. Right now she grazes all day and all night long. In the entire 24 hour day I don't think she ever goes more than 2 hours without nursing. Here are some thoughts on why I'd like to make some changes:
- I feel like she will sleep better at night if she is accustomed to going longer stretches between feedings.
- I would feel better if she were eating more solids in the coming months and I feel like she'll enjoy food more if she isn't constantly full from breast milk.
- I would like to start leaving her for short stretches in the next few months leading up to me taking classes in September, at which point I will need to leave her for 2+ 5 hour stretches/week.
- I am tired of breasfeeding so frequently in the day and night.
- In the off chance that DC has gone a longer stretch between feedings I get the vibe that those nursing sessions are really nice for her. She seems more relaxed and satiated.
I'd love some encouragement, ideas and suggestions for how to do this. I'd also love to hear from anyone in the same boat and/or people who have tried this and how it worked for you. Thanks for sharing!
ETA: I do not see myself as being an CLW parent. I would like very much to work towards night weaning at some point and I am also comfortable with gradual parent led weaning sometime around the second year.
Troll? Here's me...
Good Luck Mama, I'm looking to do the same thing. My 21 mos old is an avid night nurser and I just found out I'm pregnancy w/ number two. I don't want to wean until my 1st is ready but I'm also ready to be done during the night. I'm exhausted w/ this pregnancy and need to sleep before the new baby comes. Just wanted to tell you your not alone.
KendraCalhoun, I love the Mothering Forums, but haven't logged on in about a year. Tired and crabby this afternoon, I thought I'd get on to see if by chance anyone was commenting about their toddlers being avid nursers. I just needed to know somebody else out there might be going through the same thing... (exhaustion!!). I love breastfeeding our 23 month old, but I'm soooooooo tired. She nurses casually during the day, always before naps and bedtime and throughout the night. She rarely goes more than 2 hours between nursings. I've been sick with the flu this week, so it's been torture to be woken up so frequently. We have a family bed (with a twin laying flush next to it for extended comfort) and she and I have been thrashing around all week. Exhausted and frustrated with my Mom REALLY encouraging me to wean our daughter, I just needed a little pick-me-up by hoping there was somebody else on the Mothering Forum who's recently posted a similar situation. I'm not ready to wean her (and baby girl isn't ready either) so I'm not looking for answers, but rather just the comfort of knowing I'm not alone. You've provided that for me today. Thank you KendraCalhoun!
IdentityCrisisMama, my daughter was an all-day grazer until she was 18 months. Then, food got more interesting to her which gave me a break during the day. I'm still nursing her throughout the day, but we go longer stretches (unless it's nighttime). Before her first birthday, my husband introduced me to Dr. Jay Gordon (who was recently on the Anderson Cooper show with Mayim Bialik), who's a Pediatrician, lactation consultant and is on the board for the LLL. My husband, who's a Registered Dietitian specializing in infant nutrition and lactation consultant himself found that Dr. Gordon's teachings and advice were quite awesome. Dr. Gordon shares a gentle method of weaning a breastfeeding child, but he's very specific about not weaning until at least 1 year of age. Dr. Gordon promotes child-led weaning, but knows that the relationship between each mother and baby are different and therefore, he respects and kindly supports those who choose to wean but also supports and praises those who choose to nurse past infancy and into toddler-hood. I'd like to again state that Dr. Gordon does NOT recommend using his tools to wean a child before the age of 1 year.
Here's his website: drjaygordon.com
Desperate for sleep, my husband and I tried his method of night weaning last year after my daughter turned one. I ended up feeling more mentally unstable after hearing my daughter cry with my husband in bed all while I tried to sleep on the air mattress in our living room. Being that we don't support letting our daughter "cry it out", it was torture hearing her screaming for my comfort. I gave in, and ended up back in the bedroom within 10 minutes on that first night of attempting. Call me a pushover, or whatever, but I realized in that instant that although I was mentally and physically exhausted from having a baby attached to my breast for a full year, I was even more so hurting from hearing my baby cry. My husband and I believe in Dr. Gordon's teachings but we weren't ready, and neither was our daughter. Every morning I wake up tired, I ask myself if I'm ready to try again. Things have gotten easier, but I'm still not ready. That's not to say there haven't been many other success stories using his teachings.
If you decide to research his recommendations and find success, I'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, be super proud of yourself for nursing a 13 month old grazer. I KNOW it's not easy. I've been there, and kind of STILL am there, probably just not as intense as what you're experiencing. Stay strong and keep loving friends and family who support you within reach. Sometimes, a few hours away from babe at a movie or dinner allows yourself to reset and be refreshed for the next 24 hour grazing. Ha!
Cheers to both you girls... you made my day knowing there are others experiencing the same joys, frustration, sleeplessness, love and rewards of breastfeeding our babes.
Thanks to both of you!! I find myself so jealous of those parents who nurse like we do, sleep like we do and all of that and end up with such reasonable nurslings - both of my kids were such freaks for the breast every minute! I do like Dr. Gordon - and even read his article a while back. I think DC was too young to try his method but I like that, unlike Dr. Sears, it's a least something outside of the completely obvious. Grr...
One thing that I don't really get about his night weaing article is that he talks about "putting the baby down". Well, I don't know any co-sleeping mothers that pick their nursling up during the night...and I certainly don't. Also, my baby eats while mostly sleeping so the notion of putting her down awake (even if I could put her down) doesn't really work for us. I'd love to hear some thoughts on this because otherwise I like that there's some system we could try if we really lost our minds. ;-)
What I've decided to do STOP trying to space out nursing during the day. I did like the break no matter when it came but I'm thinking that the goal is to eventually night wean so stretching out nursing during the day is kind of counter to that. Right? So, when I may have pulled DC off the breast after her 4th nursing session in an hour during the day, I'm letting her stay on in the hopes that she will get most of her food and breast comfort in the daylight hours. I'm going to do this for a while.
I'm also going to continue to nurse during the night because, like both of you, I can't really deal with the night crying. But, I am going to try to pop her off the breast as often as I can and encourage those little moments where she will take gentle rub back to sleep over the breast. I may ask DH to leave our bed for a while and even get some ear plugs in the hopes that DC will learn to sleep a bit better at night.
Thanks for the commiseration!!!
Troll? Here's me...
I find that if you have distractions going on during the day my kids didn't nurse as often. So if you can plan a couple busy days your child might get used to not nursing as much on those days and not nurse as much when your back home and life is slower. That worked my my 13 month old who grazed all day!!
SAHM to 6
With both my kids the only thing that worked long-term was setting limits and saying no. Gentle weaning did not really wean my children at all. I like nursing on a schedule because you can then plan to be somewhere discreet during nursing times and not live in fear of your toddler trying to undress you every 5 minutes in church, for example. :) I think your LO needs to be a little bit older before they can really understand a schedule, though. 25 months old was a good time for DD. I weaned her down to 4 times a day--before and after sleep times--told her what the limits were and she was mostly cooperative. I am weaning DS now at 16 months and I have to admit its a little too soon for both of us--I miss our daytime nursing sessions.. he still feels like a baby... and he didn't really understand in the beginning which times he would be allowed to nurse and which times he wouldn't. In the beginning I wanted to wean him down to 4X a day like I did with DD but he figured out that I would refuse daytime nursing so he didn't ask after nap time either so instead he nurses nap time, before bed time, and a couple of times during the night/morning before getting out of bed. Offering to nurse during awake time just confused and frustrated him and I concluded he is really too young to nurse on a schedule. I have some weekend long classes coming up (every 2nd weekend for 6 months) during which there will not be time to pump. I will be home at night so it is really the day time nursing I want to cut down on so that we will both be more comfortable apart on these weekends. Otherwise I would have waited a few more months before setting limits. If you want to cut back now I would say go slowly, maybe you could try and refuse if he asks to nurse more frequently than every 2 hours but if he gets too upset go ahead and nurse him. After he is comfortable with 2 hours you could try 3 hours.. of course by that point he will probaby be teething or sick and you will be back to square one! ;(