Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Ontario County, NY
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I'm new to the breastfeeding forum, but I feel for you. I had the exact same experience at about the same age, and I thought it was because of tandem nursing, but when my second daughter was a little over three, the same thing happened again, and I didn't have another nursling then.
With my first daughter, I read her Maggie's Weaning (from LLL) a couple of times - she loved the book. I had been worried about her reaction to the idea of weaning and thought she might hate the book, but it had quite the opposite effect. She quickly decided that, like Maggie in the book, she was big enough to be weaned, and weaned herself in about a week. It was actually much more sudden than I expected and I was taken by suprise. It was a bittersweet time.
With my second daughter, I pulled out Maggie's Weaning again, and like her older sister, she loved the book. She wasn't suddenly ready to wean, however, and it was over a few months that I gradually cut her back and weaned her. I did feel rather guilty, but I just couldn't stand it anymore, and I vaguely remembered something from La Leche League saying that breastfeeding should go on as long as mother and child desire. I definitely didn't desire it any more, and I endeavored to wean as gently as possible. It wasn't easy, and she didn't always like it, but I felt like I was able to be a better mommy when I wasn't dreading nursing her, and could enjoy our nighttime cuddles and snuggles much more when nursing wasn't involved. She did develop a habit of sucking on her blankie, which I do feel kind of badly about. I think she would still be nursing now at 4 1/2 if I had been able to keep going. I have no objection to nursing a 4 1/2 year-old, and never had set a limit for how long I would breastfeed, but this is what ended up working for me. She sleeps in her own bed now, but I rock or snuggle her to sleep every night, so I feel like that is helpful in replacing that nighttime nursing.
Now I'm looking forward to starting the process again with #3 in December, and we'll see how long this little one nurses!