I think partial weaning may have saved our nursing relationship! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 08-30-2006, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 26 mos and since I got pregnant with DS last fall I have been struggling with our nursing relationship. I really wanted to nurse her at *least* 2 years and I liked the idea of tandem nursing but the reality of nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing was SO MUCH harder than I thought.

I haven't posted here (because I really worried that I wouldn't get support for weaning a young toddler and didn't feel like debating it with anyone) but in the last month or two I have been SO DONE nursing her.

I have been gritting my teeth to get through nursing. Feeling a pit in my stomach every time she came at me screaming for "monnies". Dreading her voice first thing in the moring knowing she wanted to nurse. Counting down and singing songs and trying to shorten every nursing session. Constantly grabbing and squeezing her hand so she'd stop pinching and touching me. Feeling horrible guilt for feeling so angry and resentful about nursing. And...this one made me the most sad...starting to resent nursing my 4 month old DS because I was just so tired and worn down.

I've been meditating, journaling, talking with supportive mama friends, my DH and my own wonderful mother and it became very clear to me that my nursing relationship with DD was no longer working and that I wanted to wean her.

I decided to begin by partially weaning. Three days ago I told her that she is getting to be a big girl and that I need her to eat more food (she had all but given it up since my milk came in with DS) and nurse less. I told her that I was comfortable nursing her 3X a day...morning, nap and after dinner. She listened intently and when I asked her what she thought she said it sounded ok.

The first day was tough. She asked to nurse mid-morning, post-nap, mid-afternoon, right before dinner and melted down when I said no....but we stuck to the plan and made it. Second day was easier...I think she only asked one "extra" time. Today was amazing. She asked once and when I told her when the next nursing time would be (after dinner) she smiled. I said...I'm so looking forward to it, aren't you and she clapped and went on her way to play.

OMG! I feel like a new person. And I am LOVING nursing her once again.

Three times a day I am willing and able to nurse her until SHE is done. No more games, counting etc. And three times a day she can count on me nursing her. No more...just a minute....after I do XYZ...maybe later.

Tonight as I was nursing her I told her that I thought our new plan was working really well and she enthusiastically shook her head yes.

I really feel like this is one of the best parenting decisions I have made.

I just wanted to share in case anyone else is struggling. I was thinking black and white a few weeks ago...all or nothing....nursing on demand or weaning completely. This intentional middle ground is an amazing place and I really can see myself continuing to nurse her for many more months.
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#2 of 23 Old 08-30-2006, 09:43 PM
 
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That made me tear up! My DD lost all interest when my milk dried up when I was pregnant, and never looked back. I'm so happy for you!
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#3 of 23 Old 08-30-2006, 10:24 PM
 
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Wow! You did really good problem-solving--I sometimes have trouble stepping back and coming up with creative solutions like that when I'm tired out and unhappy, so I'm really impressed. Good job!
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#4 of 23 Old 08-31-2006, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas!
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#5 of 23 Old 08-31-2006, 08:46 AM
 
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I'm so glad that worked for you. I did the exact same thing with dd1 when tandem nursing got to be too much for me..but I started it when dd2 was only 3 weeks old. DD1 was 33 months at the time. We dropped down to 3x/day morning, nap and night. Shortly afterwards she dropped the morning nurisng on her own. THe nap nursing dropped when she gave up napping a few months later and she continued to nurse 1x/night for anther 10 months or so until she weaned completely. I can very much relate to the difficulty of tandem nursing and nursing during pregnancy. It is so very hard.

Good for you for finding a solution which works for you and your dd. I completely agree that the resentful nursing is not good at all. In our case, the limiting it to 3 sets times a day, also helped so much and made a huge difference.

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#6 of 23 Old 08-31-2006, 09:49 AM
 
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i'm so glad you found what worked for you! i may follow in your footsteps soon ... nursing my 20 month old during pg, and he loves to pick a mole of mine until it drives me crazy!!

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James 12/04 & Cecelia 4/07
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#7 of 23 Old 08-31-2006, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mezzaluna
i'm so glad you found what worked for you! i may follow in your footsteps soon ... nursing my 20 month old during pg, and he loves to pick a mole of mine until it drives me crazy!!
oh yeah...i've got a mole picker too! makes me want to :
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#8 of 23 Old 08-31-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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You go girl! What a wonderful solution.

Tamara: hs'ing Christian mom of five here and five in Heaven. Joyfully awaiting Punkin, coming mid-Sept!
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#9 of 23 Old 08-31-2006, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You go girl! What a wonderful solution.
Thanks!

Amelia...SO glad to hear it worked so well for you and that you were able to keep nursing your DD!!
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#10 of 23 Old 09-13-2006, 01:47 AM
 
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This is EXACTLY what I want to achieve with my daughter (29 months old) but don't think she will buy into it :-( She does throw the worst tantrums around nursing, and there are times when I am just dreading the request.... Somehow I can't physically keep up with constant nursing. 3x a day would be fine, as long as it didn't involve rough latch/ passive sucking which happens a lot before falling asleep --- but that's a different story.

Your DD seems really mature to have accepted and stuck to that idea. But don't know how to get my DD to do this... She is a fussy eater and I think not nursing before mealtimes will go a long way to helping her develop better eating habits. I'd appreciate any thoughts on how to "sell" this idea of 3x a day.
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#11 of 23 Old 09-13-2006, 02:39 AM
 
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I wouldn't still be nursing if I hadn't done something similar. When my baby turned 12 months, I gave myself permission to say 'no' once in awhile. I needed to feel like I had some small measure of control over my own body. It helped that DD loved solids like crazy so things went really smoothly until her molars came in.
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#12 of 23 Old 09-13-2006, 02:56 AM
 
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Thank you so much for posting this! I am going through a very similar struggle with my 32mo (omg! I can't believe he's 32mo!). Singing songs and counting, holding him off, telling him to keep his hands still, the whole thing.

I think I'm going to do this. I'll talk with him about it tomorrow. The worst time for me is he wakes up like clockwork at 6am wanting to nurse. If I let him, he'll go back to sleep for a couple more hours, so it's worth it, but wow I really resent that particular nursing session. I really can't stand nursing him in bed.
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#13 of 23 Old 09-16-2006, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by radhika
This is EXACTLY what I want to achieve with my daughter (29 months old) but don't think she will buy into it :-( She does throw the worst tantrums around nursing, and there are times when I am just dreading the request.... Somehow I can't physically keep up with constant nursing. 3x a day would be fine, as long as it didn't involve rough latch/ passive sucking which happens a lot before falling asleep --- but that's a different story.

Your DD seems really mature to have accepted and stuck to that idea. But don't know how to get my DD to do this... She is a fussy eater and I think not nursing before mealtimes will go a long way to helping her develop better eating habits. I'd appreciate any thoughts on how to "sell" this idea of 3x a day.
nak-ing (my little guy )...

i *think* my dd was receptive when i first presented the idea because i was really excited and positive about it. once we actually got into it (ie an hour later when she asked to nurse) she wasn't so accepting of the idea. things were rough for a couple of days but i really think the fact that i was very positive about it and really committed to making it happen helped us get through those tough days.

Ok...two hands now...

Then I think she started to see that it was actually in her favor the new way. I'm sure she could feel how much more positive I was about nursing her instead of the constant "hurry up and finish" energy I was sending out before during every nursing session.

Everything was great about a week into it and then, wouldn't you know, we went on vacation and that set us back a bit. When we returned I had to start over again and I think my resolve wasn't as strong. (I started to question myself and if I was doing the right thing or pushing her too hard to be a "big girl" just because I have another baby now.)

Anyway...I think we're three or four weeks into partial weaning now and it's going more smoothly. I have needed to add a 4th nursing. The mornings were just too long for her (nap has been getting later and later) and we were having too many meltdowns.

Quote:
I think I'm going to do this. I'll talk with him about it tomorrow. The worst time for me is he wakes up like clockwork at 6am wanting to nurse. If I let him, he'll go back to sleep for a couple more hours, so it's worth it, but wow I really resent that particular nursing session. I really can't stand nursing him in bed.
I can relate to that. Post-nap nursing is the one I resent the most. I used to to dislike te 6 am nursing too but I am feeling better about it (maye because I'm nursing less the rest of the day ).

be back for more when i can.....
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#14 of 23 Old 09-18-2006, 10:31 PM
 
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I can remember posting here 5 months ago after Dd was born asking for advice. I felt much the same as you and was ready to wean. We came up with a similar solution, Ds nurses now first thing in the morning and is good to go for the day. Occasionally he will ask during the day, but I just smile and tell him "num nums in the morning" and he is fine with that. We have nursed a few times during the day when he was really out of sorts and needed to calm down and center himself, it is those times when I am especially glad that we didn't wean.
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#15 of 23 Old 09-20-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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I can remember posting here 5 months ago after Dd was born asking for advice. I felt much the same as you and was ready to wean. We came up with a similar solution, Ds nurses now first thing in the morning and is good to go for the day. Occasionally he will ask during the day, but I just smile and tell him "num nums in the morning" and he is fine with that. We have nursed a few times during the day when he was really out of sorts and needed to calm down and center himself, it is those times when I am especially glad that we didn't wean.
What was the transition down to 1x a day like? I would love to be at that place. Well, I'd be happy with morning and night. Right now we are transitioning to 4x a day. Once early morning, late morning, afternoon and night. Sometimes he just sobs and sobs when he asks and I tell him later, sometimes he does great with a distraction. He really loves for me to play cars with him, for the most part he's really happy with that alternative, but those times when he gets inconsolable it's just so hard!
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#16 of 23 Old 09-22-2006, 10:42 PM
 
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I wanted to report back that we've been working on this new pattern for > 1 week and have had a fair bit of success with this method! When I first brought up the concept DD nodded enthusiastically -- obviously because I phrased it as a new "DD big girl game" and the first day actually went beautifully. Days 2,3 were much harder; she didn't think this new deal was fun at all, and there was a lot of emotional protest. I also benefited a lot from advice of friends that it is important to be consistent... Our earlier BF relationship was completely unscheduled so giving it some schedule really needed consistency. We are now at a stage where today I was even able to make an hour-long call to my mother without having to nurse which was always DD's "pound of flesh" (pardon the pun!).

We have increased the duration of the nursing sessions, which is fine with me. The early a.m. ones range from 30-60 mins -- DD is typically awake before me and allowing her to nurse lets me doze off!
I also make exceptions to soothe a boo-boo -- happened twice in the last week.

I'll write back in a week or two to confirm if this 3x a day is really established or its just a freak for the last few days! Thanks for the idea Dharmama; for too long I have been struggling not knowing how to establish partial weaning. I used to keep postponing, saying later etc. but DD has accepted this fixed-time nursing far better.
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#17 of 23 Old 09-23-2006, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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radhika ~ Glad things are going so well for you!

We're sliding back a bit and I'm having a really hard time. She has started asking to nurse again WAY more than I want to and when I tell her...our next "monnie break" will be after lunch (or whenever the next one is) she just falls apart sobbing.

I have also read so many places about the need for consistency so I've been just plodding through this mess but in the last couple of days I've been thinking I need to re-think what I'm doing. I feel like it is causing her too much distress...which then causes major tantrums and totally colors the whole day for me (and DS too).

But...then this morning she asked to nurse again after we had her sleeping 6 a.m. nursing. This was about 7:30 and I said...cheerfully...no I'm sorry. Next time we nurse is after lunch. She had a tantrum. I comforted her with snuggling and rocking. About 30 minutes later she came back and said...in her sweetest voice with wonderful manners...Mama, can I have my monnie break now, just like baby Quinn did (I had just finished nursing DS)? :

I said yes and as she was nursing I thought...this isn't so bad...but then DS started screaming to be picked up and I started trying to hurry her again...

ok...time to finish up (shakes her head no) ok...almost done (shakes her head no again) starting to feel angry and resentful....baby is SCREAMING...Lily all done!

Tantrum begins again.

And we're back where we started.
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#18 of 23 Old 09-23-2006, 11:11 AM
 
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radhika ~ Glad things are going so well for you!

We're sliding back a bit and I'm having a really hard time. She has started asking to nurse again WAY more than I want to and when I tell her...our next "monnie break" will be after lunch (or whenever the next one is) she just falls apart sobbing.

I have also read so many places about the need for consistency so I've been just plodding through this mess but in the last couple of days I've been thinking I need to re-think what I'm doing. I feel like it is causing her too much distress...which then causes major tantrums and totally colors the whole day for me (and DS too).

But...then this morning she asked to nurse again after we had her sleeping 6 a.m. nursing. This was about 7:30 and I said...cheerfully...no I'm sorry. Next time we nurse is after lunch. She had a tantrum. I comforted her with snuggling and rocking. About 30 minutes later she came back and said...in her sweetest voice with wonderful manners...Mama, can I have my monnie break now, just like baby Quinn did (I had just finished nursing DS)? :

I said yes and as she was nursing I thought...this isn't so bad...but then DS started screaming to be picked up and I started trying to hurry her again...

ok...time to finish up (shakes her head no) ok...almost done (shakes her head no again) starting to feel angry and resentful....baby is SCREAMING...Lily all done!

Tantrum begins again.

And we're back where we started.
Do you have a special fun activity that just you and she can do together that she really loves? Like reading a special book, doing a cool puzzle, getting out playdoh, or something like that? Just wondering because I am also tandem nursing, and have found that sometimes DS would just ask to nurse a lot during the day to get my exclusive attention, especially if I was needing to spend a lot of time caring for the baby. I found that he sometimes would be okay with me telling him, "we get to have 'muh' next after lunch (or whenever the next one was), but right now we can read XXX (or go play in the sandbox, or something else fun)." I could then put the baby in the sling, and try and spend some exclusive one on one time with my boy. Things are much better now that I am tandem extended nursing, as both kids have slowed down in frequency (DD is 12.5 months and nursing ~6 or so times a day, and DS is nursing 2-3 times a day at 3.5). One other thing I found helped me was to sometimes nurse them together (before bed we do that a lot); DS thought it was cool to be able to nurse at the same time as his sister. Just a few thoughts from my experience...hope they help! Kudos to you for your patience and willingness to give both your kids the best.

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#19 of 23 Old 09-23-2006, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks jill. i will try that tomorrow. i appreciate the suggestion.
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#20 of 23 Old 09-23-2006, 06:24 PM
 
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oh yeah...i've got a mole picker too! makes me want to :
I actually had a mole removed because of my mole picker!

I'm glad you were able to find a solution that worked for all of you.

ETA: Just read your update. Hope things get better!

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#21 of 23 Old 09-23-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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ok, mama. Time to get real. Your dd is like really close in age to my ds (born 5/31/04 so almost a 6/04). Consistency has been key w/us, as has been sometimes slipping when it is obvious the battle isn't worth the war, and also thinking about the guilt b/c this is my last baby. That boy is so ready to do his own thing, to be his own little man, and to need to feel that mama is there, no matter what. I *almost* thought we were done. THen I felt (feel) like it almost could be, w/out much help, but I think the key things were my vibes I was giving off. When I wanted it to be done, was so over it, and was like, this is IT, I'm rolling w/it, he was all about being on board. When I started to realize I was on the last feedings I'd ever deliver, I got funky, sad, depressed, and clingy to him (talk about role reversal), and it was like he took the lead again (I'm a control freak, btw). I think they learn from us more than bonding and leadership. THey learn autonomy, trust, resiliance, and control of emotions. I really believe this. What I'm saying is that while being consistent is good for showing that you are confident so that they pick up on it being a good thing and the way to go, if you don't really believe it and feel it, they vibe on your ambiguity and pull out that you aren't really sure. Then, as a good team member, they pick up the reigns in your stead. Maybe I'm reading too much into this dynamic, but I seem to believe it, and belief is a big part of faith. You have to have faith in that what you are doing is right and feels right. You have to make peace with it, ahead of actiing it out. If you waver in your faith, I swear that they pick up on that. They then take the strength you've armed them with and start making up the path for you both. You might not like that turn in the road, though. I don't have any sage advice, b/c I'm real waffly these days myself, but I do know that when I don't take charge, Z does, and when I lead the way, he follows, and when there is a disconnect, we both look to each other to pick up the pieces. And we're still nursing. Only not so much these days.

And I never read stuff on it, but I can say in hindsight that tandeming was hard me-physically and emotionally, and when I was done, I really really wanted middy ds to be done too. I set it in my head that I wanted him done, and waited for him to say it too (but I set him up for that day), and the day he did, BAM! party, made it stick and that was that. Maybe a handful of times "just to be sure he could" did he ever nurse again, and those were quickies. You're doing hard stuff. draining stuff. Figure what you need to do for you and your family to keep you all happy and then just do it. DOn't look here for words that might make you backpedal and don't drive yourself nuts over it. Soul search it and settle on it. This is your life, your family, and a hard thing to do. I don't envy you and I feel badly that I'm not in the mindset to cheer you on and on. I think you need to decide now what you can handle. Again, to you!!
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#22 of 23 Old 09-23-2006, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Damn mama. You're good. I think I need to print out your post and just keep re-reading it until I get this sorted out in my head.

Wow. Thanks.
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#23 of 23 Old 09-23-2006, 09:39 PM
 
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Thank you. that means a lot. I actually came back on to delete it, only to see you responded (favorably). I felt I was too over the top and not helpful enough after I hit submit...... I sincerely hope you find your way very soon. Again,
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