Weaning a 20 month old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-28-2006, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm currently tandeming my two kids. I've come to the point where I must consider at least night-weaning if not full weaning due to a health problem I'm having. I've become quite ill and nutritionally my body can't keep going. This has been very difficult to consider for me, because I'm a dedicated tandeming momma and CLWer, but my health is in serious jeopardy right now and I'm afraid the nutritional demand from nusing is taking a heavy toll. I'm barely able to eat and assimilating little of what I eat, and I'm sure the milk they're getting isn't a good quality.

I need to know how to both night wean and how to fully wean the 20 month old. My daughter is only nursing once every few weeks so it won't be hard to wean her. But I'm concerned over the 20 month old because he nurses a LOT at night and 4-5 times during the day. There's little milk there, and he's complaining mightly about it and trying to nurse a lot to bring my supply up and it's not working, since I can't eat or drink enough due to unrelenting nausea to take care of my own nutritional needs, much less his. Unfortunately, it's a long-term situation, and I'm dropping weight rapidly and having a myriad of health problems surrounding it otherwise I wouldn't even consider weaning him.

I'm thinking maybe night weaning him and limiting him to one or two nursing sessions a day might be do-able nutritionally if I can get a better handle on my problems- we're waiting for a battery of test results to come back, and some will take another two weeks or so to come back. If we don't get answers, we'll have to go through more testing and wait again. I'm expecting weaning to not be an easy or fast process, though, so I think I'd start with night weaning and then work slowly on daytime weaning if it's warranted after we get some test results back.

I am completely heartbroken at the prospects of having to do this and I don't even know where to start. Please help, but please, no flames. This isn't something I take lightly at all. I'm completely heartbroken because this is a lot more than just one decision, my health is at stake in this and my parenting ability is suffering due to constant illness. Right now other people are taking care of my children at times due to my inability to function, which is something I'd never allow if I was well- we don't agree with babysitters or the children being cared for my someone else.

ETA: We do co-sleep.

KerryAnn @ CookingTF dot com - Nutrient dense foods your kids will LOVE!  Real Food Cooking School and Lactofermentation Classes now live! Use coupon code "CTF" for 20% off.

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#2 of 8 Old 07-28-2006, 10:12 PM
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Just wanted to say "hugs" -- I have no suggestions but I'm glad you're going to take care of yourself. Your kids will beneift from a healthy mama.
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#3 of 8 Old 07-29-2006, 12:14 AM
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So sorry you're going through this. I don't have any suggestions for daytime as my 21 month old is still nursing during the day, but I did nightwean her at 18 mos. You didn't mention whether your DS sleeps with you or not. Our system was to put DD down to sleep in her crib at bedtime and then on the first waking we would bring her into our bed for the rest of the night (where she would then wake and nurse 5-6 times). When we decided it was time to nightwean, DH started getting up with her. She didn't protest too much and after 3 nights of this, she decided that if she wasn't getting mommy at night, then she wasn't going to get up at all and has for the most part slept through the night ever since. Although since we do usually put her down in her crib, she does usually stay there for the rest of the night now. But she sleeps with us some too and does sleep through the night in our bed now as well. I don't have the link, but i know others here have recommended Dr Jay Gordon's method of nightweaning on his website. Hope that helps.
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#4 of 8 Old 07-30-2006, 03:30 PM
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Have you posted this anywhere else? I can't believe the lack of input on this post.

Unforunately I have nothing to add either.

I'm SO sorry that you are going through this. I can't even imagine how difficult it is.

Good luck, and I'm sure it will all work out for the best.
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#5 of 8 Old 07-30-2006, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I just went and posted it in 'breastfeeding' so we'll see if I get any response.

KerryAnn @ CookingTF dot com - Nutrient dense foods your kids will LOVE!  Real Food Cooking School and Lactofermentation Classes now live! Use coupon code "CTF" for 20% off.

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#6 of 8 Old 07-30-2006, 08:30 PM
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I'm so sorry mama!

I have been slowly weaning my 21.5 month old over the past 4ish months so I have some experiance with this. We are down to 1-2 times a day. How soon do you need to get them weaned? I have found that very gently and gradually has worked well for us but I you may need to do this quickly for your health.

The best tips I can give are to distract your kiddo at times when he generally asks to nurse. Again, that may be hard with your health issues, but being busy busy busy has helped us a lot. I also tried not to sit in spots where we would generally nurse. Whenever I sat at the computer she would want to nurse so I just stopped sitting here for a while when she was awake.

Even if you are working with a short time frame I would still recommend dropping one feeding at a time. Its easier emotionally and physically. Worst case scenario you could drop one feeding a day, if you have more time you can do it much more gradually than that.

Whenever she wanted to nurse and I refused I always made sure to offer to hold her, snuggle with her, play with her, etc. And I also made sure to offer lots of snacks and drinks. I find when she gets the nourishment and attention she needs she accepts not nursing more easily.

She is actually nightweaning herself so I don't have a lot of advise on that front but this method is the gentlest that I've seen and I have heard that a lot of people have had success with it. http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp

(((HUGS))) mama!
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#7 of 8 Old 07-31-2006, 12:48 PM
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I am so sorry that you are ill. Please, mama, try to let go of any guilt about this. You have given your baby 20 months of mama milk! That is so precious and he is such a lucky boy.

Your health as his mama is more important in the long run! He will survive and thrive, even if you totally wean him now and night-weaning probably won't be a serious blow to him at this point. He needs a healthy mama who can give him all the energy a toddler requires.

Cut out one nursing at a time, be sympathetic to his frustration and have lots of tasty snacks and drinks on hand.

I weaned my little guy ending at 28 months and it took a while. It has been two months since our last nursing and he still asks wistfully once in a while, but he has adjusted really well all-in-all and I have noticed a real difference in my energy and even in my moods as my hormones have begun to level off.

Good luck!

::::: Married for ten years to my good man :. Mama to my sweet and funny boy and my lovely little girl

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#8 of 8 Old 08-01-2006, 12:06 PM
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I'm sorry you're facing these health issues, mama. How rough for all of you! I don't know how much help I'll be, but I did want to send a big at least.

I nursed DD1 until she was 22 months, but at about 20 months I started gently cutting back on nursing sessions (she would nurse all day given the chance). Here's what worked for us:

1. We only nursed in one spot - the recliner. I also only sat in the recliner when it was time to nurse.
2. Like a PP said, busy busy busy! Many of DD's nursing sessions seemed to be inspired by boredom at that point. (I didn't mind nursing her when she was hungry or really needed the comfort, but the I'm-bored-nurse-me-so-I-can-kick-you-in-the-face sessions had to go.)
3. This goes along with #2, but getting out of the house really helped us. We'd go shopping, to the park, to the zoo, etc. She was too busy to realize she was missing a session, and it wasn't on her mind if she didn't see our nursing chair.
4. Chocolate milk and snacks. I know, I'm an awful mommy, but we discovered that DD LOVED chocolate milk even more than mama's milk.

By 22 months, we were down to 3 sessions a day - then I got pregnant and she abruptly stopped nursing and never looked back. So I can't speak to how weaning would have gone for us beyond that point.

Good luck, mama. Hang in there, and get yourself healthy!

Oh, and congratulations on 20 months of breastfeeding - that's a great accomplishment!

(edited to correct my timeframes, oops)
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