Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: where the buffalo once roamed
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WAY TO GO on nearly 2 1/2 years!! Congratulations!!! That is an enormous accomplishment - especially considering the societal norm. Try to keep that in mind as you find a way to get through this phase.
I haven't posted on a forum here in ages, but I read this post and just couldn't pass. I have gone through this a few times. While I can't speak to the emotions you are working through with the loss of a pregnancy, I can tell you that from my experience, it is normal for a lot of mothers to begin to feel frustration with extended nursing toward the end.
I have nursed through pregnancies, tandem nursed, and tandem nursed twins - and for me personally, after experiencing it with my first child, I know now that when I begin to feel frustrated and sessions are no longer enjoyable/comfortable, weaning is near. Once thoughts arrive like "yeah, you need to get off me now…" followed by pangs of guilt, then channeling inner focus to go longer resulting in annoyance that my relaxation/concentration isn't making it better, it's a matter of time (for me). Weaning the first time is difficult, IMO. I felt confident that I would be able to sustain 100% child-led weaning, but so far through weaning 4 kids, that hasn't been the case. Looking back, I think that's okay. All of my kids nursed for 2 years or more, and that is pretty good.
I think the hardest part is breaking the ritual of nursing at habitual times, i.e. sleeping/naps. I think nap times are the easier of the two to begin spacing out. It can be helpful to try various distractions (activities that make them more tired, being outside/fresh air/sunshine, etc) that may facilitate falling asleep without nursing altogether. That can be helpful unless you have a very dedicated nurser (I've had those) that have a hard time deviating from the nursing/sleep cycle. In those instances, I allow nursing for a short period of time (either having an exact duration in mind (which you can slowly decrease), or going with what feels right in that particular situation) and explain before/during that it isn't going to be very long. Initially, I often have to force unlatching. This usually involves some crying which results in consoling and cuddling (and whatever other methods are necessary, singing, stroking hair, and sometimes allowing more nursing). Then it slowly turns into voluntary unlatching albeit begrudgingly, followed by unlatching expectedly. Eventually you get to the point where it is acceptable to skip sessions altogether. For me it is a gradual process. Nursing until asleep and then immediately unlatching. Nursing until almost asleep. Nursing for 5 minutes … then 3 … then 1. Nurse for several days, skip one. Nurse for three days, skip one. Nurse for two days - you get the idea. Some kids are more accepting of the change after you implement a deviation from the routine.
Once I let myself accept that it's okay to begin the weaning process, it is easier to let it happen more organically even though I am the one that is initiating it. If I focus on any negative feelings (i.e. failure to making it to 3yo, failure to allow child-led weaning, guilt in making my child(ren) upset), the experience becomes exponentially more stressful which just heightens my emotions and intolerance in general. Don't get me wrong, even when I'm at peace with the decision, there are still times that the process is difficult. However, knowing that our relationship is gradually moving to a new phase that is happy for BOTH of us makes it better.
I don't know if that helps or provides you with any comfort, but I thought that I would share my experiences.
I hope you are able to come to resolution that works well for you both. Good luck!!