Nursing my 4.5 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-01-2014, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and it is not always pleasant for me, I want him to decide, but at times it feels wierd and other times I am so glad he has it.  Support?!  Does the uncomfortable feeling pass?  Maybe it is because he only does it every few days?

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#2 of 16 Old 03-02-2014, 09:13 AM
 
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Anyone have experience with this?
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#3 of 16 Old 03-04-2014, 04:40 PM
 
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My youngest turns 5 tomorrow and nurses to sleep most nights, but not every night, and rarely nurses at all other times.  My eldest nursed until she was 5.5.

 

I totally know the uncomfortable feeling.  I'd say for me it came and went, but I was mostly able to overcome it with positive thinking! (I am a bit of a pollyanna, I'm afraid!)

 

Is there anything in particular that is setting off the weird feelings?

 

For me, knowing that my days of nursing are waning fast, I treasure these moments, fleeing as they are.  I'm sure your little one appreciates it, even when it is infrequent!


Pregnant and/or Breastfeeding since 2005
Mama to two girls: 5/06 and 3/09
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#4 of 16 Old 03-04-2014, 04:49 PM
 
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My son weaned right about his 4th birthday and I encouraged other connecting activity (reading a book together is great!) and we made a ritual of it weaning.  We talked and planned it and then had a little celebration (cupcakes and sparklers) and it went well.  It is a transition - Mothering a Nursing Toddler is a great book.  Good luck! 

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#5 of 16 Old 03-04-2014, 05:06 PM
 
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My Breastfeeding journey came to an end in August, a few days before my daughter's fourth birthday. To that point, she was nursing one to two times per day, mostly before bed or if sick/hurt/needing comfort. It was such a bittersweet time for me. I had thought I was ready a year prior and had told her that Mama's milk would go away when she turned three. It didn't last three days and we were both miserable. From that point I gave up any notions of "when" or "how" weaning would happen, and just continued to roll with the highs and lows of it. The highs were so high and most of the time that was where I was at. The lows came when I felt tied down at bedtime by a little girl instead of a baby; when family would say "you're still nursing her!?", or before my period when my breasts were sore. As a lactation counselor and an RN, I let my gut lead us through those negative times. "It" finally happened without planning one morning right before she turned four. We were all snuggling together on a weekend morning (her sister is 16mo older) and she nursed for maybe 5 min on one side. For some reason, it just felt dry and uncomfortable. I was getting my period, in hindsight. I asked if she was getting any milk, and she said no. We switched sides, and after five minutes, same thing. I said matter of factly, "I guess the mama milk is gone" and she said, "okay mama" and that was it. She didn't ask for three months. Part of me wanted her to, and the other part realized that she was ready to accept the transition. I still mourn the loss of that daily experience with her. Initially, I wondered if we would feel more separate and lose the strong connection that nursing had solidified. But we haven't. At all. She continues to be a snuggle bug and needs physical closeness with me frequently. At bedtime, especially if she is struggling to fall asleep or sick, she needs me nearby and lays her head on my breast. In the shower, 7 months later, I still drip milk at times, and those times make me feel that bittersweet longing again.
I read an article recently, http://sarahbessey.com/learning-live-ache/, and I really connected with the idea that no matter how long you nurse, you may still years later feel "the ache". The author based the story on the ache of missing pregnancy, or growing children, etc, but the sentiment rang true. The same would be for me and Hershey's chocolate. Whether I had one bite or a whole bar, I'd still be wanting more.
I think that's how nursing has been for me. Whether it was four months or four years, I still wanted more. There will be no more babies from my womb, though I'm lucky to "borrow" them frequently for hours or days, when I'm needed by friends. I'm grateful for the experience of nursing my girls, and know it helped me become the mother I am today.
I hope you find a way to follow your gut through this time, Mama. Sometimes our heads and our guts say different things, or sometimes we hear one louder than the other. I hope you have a supportive person in your life that helps to remind you of the important work you're doing, when you don't feel like doing it anymore. And somehow, I hope that nursing doesn't become a burden. Once it loses its pleasure or benefit or comfort for one of the nursing diad, things have to change. Know that there are lots of mothers out there with similar experiences as yours, even if you don't hear their stories. You and your little one are in my thoughts tonight.
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#6 of 16 Old 03-04-2014, 05:42 PM
 
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I can totally relate! The oldest of my nurslings will be 5 in June. He and I have discussed that he will be fully weaned then, but we had that talk last year too lol. He seems ready and will go days in between times that he asks to nurse. He does mention it once in a while if he sees either of the other 2 nursing, but it is too much of a lapful to nurse more than one at a time now, and he's usually forgotten by the time they're done. There are times it drives me a bit nuts, but then there are times when I look down at him all curled up at the breast and realize that these days are numbered and that helps me get through it.

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#7 of 16 Old 03-05-2014, 01:39 PM
 
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I remember those days vividly!  First I was nursing our second child at about 4.5 and tandem nursing her little sister, who was about 12 months at the time.  It was pretty easy to convince the elder child to drink water, have a snack, read a book with me, settle for a back rub, play with big sis (7 yrs), or play with dad during the day.  Bedtime, tho, was something she insisted upon.  Somehow it just seemed to me that she must wean before that 5th birthday.  No reason other than the way I felt about nursing such a "big" child.  Succeeded, but felt a bit devious.  I think her dad read her to sleep a few nights in a row and she stopped asking.  Hard to remember, since she's now a freshman in college.

 

Then I had the same experience with our third and last child.  It was actually a little easier, tho, since I wasn't nursing a younger sibling.  Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.  Plus she had 2 older siblings for distraction, as well as dad.

 

I remember reading a book I bought through La Leche League about nursing toddlers and preschoolers.  Check their web site for books and for local meetings.  What it comes down to is your attitude as the mama.  If you sincerely feel it's time to stop, you will find a way.  If you are uncertain in your heart, your child will feel that uncertainty and perhaps want to nurse even more because of feeling unsettled.

 

All the best to you and your family!

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#8 of 16 Old 03-06-2014, 10:40 AM
 
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"Once it loses its pleasure or benefit or comfort for one of the nursing diad, things have to change."

 

^^ Thanks for reminding me of this, BethyRN!  I came on here to post about whether to wean my 3.75 year old daughter, but this and another recent post have already helped.

 

The stubborn part of me still really wants her to self-wean, but I've gotten to the point where there is zero pleasure/benefit to me. I don't quite have what many refer to as a sharp nursing "aversion," but I don't think I'm far from it. Maybe mild/moderate aversion.

 

My daughter only nurses once a day, and while she still likes it, I don't think it would be too (if at all) traumatic for me to wean her.  But how do I find the right balance of what's right for me and what's right for her - that's the question I'm struggling with.  If I had to guess, I'd think she'd self wean in 1-2 years, but I'm doubtful that I will want to go that long.

 

How have others figured out the right balance, and decided at some point that their own needs/comfort outweigh the child's?

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#9 of 16 Old 03-06-2014, 01:45 PM
 
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How did you ladies Handel what your family says. Mine think I'm crazy bc I haven't started my son on food yet but he's just now 6 months. How do you get people to understand. They discourage me, but I know they have never had this kind of connection. My son loves breastfeeding, my husband is very supportive but I don't think he will be able to handle what people say. It's it bad if I hid it from people. I just don't like feeling like I'm crazy I guess or have negative things said about what I do.
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#10 of 16 Old 03-07-2014, 11:16 AM
 
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I nursed dd1 until she was a month shy of 4 years (she stopped on her own), and I nursed dd2 until she was a month shy of 5 years.  I had pretty much decided that I was not comfortable with dd2 nursing when she started kindergarten.  She would start kindergarten a month after her 5th birthday.  She was only nursing for maybe 1 minute right before bedtime every night.  A few months before she was to turn 5, I just casually mentioned that I thought she could stop nursing when she turned 5.  I talked about it a few times.  She did not make a big deal about it and she actually weaned herself earlier than I expected.

 

I never hesitated to tell anyone that I was still nursing my preschool/pre-K aged children.  The only person who ever commented negatively was my MIL, who would say to my daughters "You're too big to still be nursing."  I just ignored her and they ignored her too.  They did not see her very often so that helped.

 

I am proud and grateful to have been able to nurse my girls for so long.  Nothing is better for booboos or a stomach virus than "mama's milk."fly-by-nursing1.gif

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#11 of 16 Old 03-07-2014, 04:03 PM
 
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Families can be the hardest part of parenting.  My own mother thinks nursing is disgusting.  (Thank God for my mother-in-law!)  If your child sits with everyone at the table and shows no interest in the food, you have nothing to say, right?  They don't expect you to force her, I hope.  Some babies want to explore food and others simply don't.  All the best.

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#12 of 16 Old 03-23-2014, 02:29 PM
 
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I miss it, mine is old enough to have finished Latin III. My clumsy attempt at humor aside, I think we miss the bond, it is a loss and part of the letting go we do as mothers.
Very normal in my opinion.
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#13 of 16 Old 03-23-2014, 05:07 PM
 
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Thank you ladies. He had started food and likes it but he still would take a boob over milk. My MIL is ok with it but doesn't think he should be nursed so long. My mom doesn't get it at all my dad says it makes me more women than half the women in our family, so he makes me feel ok about it. Breastfeeding is almost the only way my son can fall asleep at his bed time. I use my breast milk for so much. Like his diaper rash I'll squirt some on at night and when he wakes up its gone. You ladies are very supportive thank you again.
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#14 of 16 Old 03-23-2014, 05:08 PM
 
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Oops a Boob over a spoon
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#15 of 16 Old 03-30-2014, 07:40 PM
 
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@alissa0903

I use my milk for everything too! I have put it on all kinds of rashes, and in his eye to cure a clogged duct. It's amazing stuff. None of my family gets breastfeeding either. Everyone around here just expects you to start food at 6 months. And if you breastfeed much longer than that it's unusual. My baby is only 4 months and when the subject has come up, I say things like "I'm not going to worry about it. Some babies start later than others." and I get comments back like "but you have to get him used to the different textures!" Why? My milk is more nutritious for him than any of that, and I want to do what I can to keep our breastfeeding relationship strong. I don't care if he takes time to want solids.

 

It's hard when family doesn't get you and support you. Try not to let yourself feel shamed, or pressured into hiding it. But I find it easier on myself to ignore unwanted advice. Nod and smile and then just keep doing what you are doing.. Though I am always proud of myself when I do speak up about why I know that what I am doing is good for my baby.

 

You should read "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by LLL. It's fantastic for many reasons, and it has helped me a ton, but specifically there is good information on starting solids that may be helpful.  

 

It's lovely to come here and remember that there are actualyy many wonderful mamas who do understand, even though family doesn't. Even my husband doesn't get it. But he is supportive, and I am helping him become more educated. ;)

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#16 of 16 Old 03-31-2014, 01:00 PM
 
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Thank you do much I will read it. My son liked food but here recently he has been really hard to get to eat food. It doesn't bother me at all that he doesn't want it. But we will be going home to visit and my family just annoy the crud buckets out of me. My husband tells me to ignore it. He really doesn't care about the food either. I wish I was stronger and not so nice.
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