I have ebf DD for almost 2 years, no bottles. I have loved it and so has she. At about 18 months she started ramping down her frequency and duration, and we night weaned her (gently) - she still nursed before and after sleep and nap, at cocktail hour, and after boo boos, but just for a moment. Then two months ago she ramped it right back up again. It seems like she wants to nurse all the time. Not compared to an infant, but I am really struggling with the increase. She has gotten very clingy, nurses much longer, and whenever she needs to be held or consoled, it has to include a full-on nursing period. To be honest it might be a mild increase, and the difference is just that I'm feeling done.
I really hoped to let her lead the way on the weaning, but I have been getting really frustrated. I have been talking to her about how sometimes mommy can hold her and hug her and she doesn't always need milk. I have refused to nurse her during dinner when she is upset, because I feel like she's old enough to finish the meal. Then I look at this and think, what am I doing?
I don't think intentional weaning is bad. And in fact, if I'm going to get annoyed about it, it's probably better to just wean her. But the thought makes me sad. And I wouldn't even know how to do it!
I would appreciate any thoughts. Why the increase? Is there a halfway point to weaning (ie/just at sleep/nap and wakeups) and how do I get there? I wouldn't even know the steps to do this with my very strong willed toddler.
I am going away for a week, actually, a month from now. It's a big deal for me. DH is totally ready and I have my pump because I was so hoping, though no guarantees, that she would resume upon my return. Now I am conflicted. I kind of wish she'd give it up, but I know I'll be really sad too.
I feel guilty for feeling this way, and like I'll regret it.
Thanks for any thoughts.
PS: I nursed DD1 exclusively also, though used bottles for expressed milk at times. I weaned her abruptly at 23 months when I had to take a narcotic for pain following an injury. We were both sad but it worked out fine.
I know what you mean. You want her to wean but you miss it too.
I wonder if she's getting her final molars? Do you think she might have some more teeth coming in? They are the list baby teeth, but I wonder. Sounds to me like you're really close. One of the things La Leche League says is, "Don't offer, Don't refuse." That worked for me. Seems like you're doing it right by trying to distract her from some nursings. The night nursings are the last to go, in my experience.
She will wean herself. Your ambivalence is part of the weaning. Try to get clear about what you want to do. Maybe she's getting mixed messages and that might contribute to the clinging. It's OK for you to be limiting some nursings and experimenting. Give it some time. You're on the right track.
Here's another sub-forum we have on Baby-Led Weaning. Hope this will help too.
Thanks Peggy. She already has all her molars and teeth. I may post to the Toddlers forum to try to understand if there's a separation anxiety that might be going on. I'm just not sure how to go about handling the psychotic meltdowns when I try to tell her to wait until nap time, etc.
I could have written your post! My youngest is about to turn 2. She has suddenly turned into a boob monster! We were down to just a few times a day (naps, boo-boos, nighttime). Now it is like I have a newborn again! She wants to nurse every 2 hours or so, all day, all night. I would really love to sleep at night, and I'm not so pleased that I've become a human pacifier. We recently moved, and I credit some of this behavior to adjusting to our new home and routine, but it still gets annoying.
I weaned my oldest at 4.5 years of age, so I am used to nursing an older child. What I don't like is this all day, all night routine she has fallen into. I'm hoping it is just a stage.