I'm completely conflicted with nursing lately :( - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 05-08-2005, 02:50 AM - Thread Starter
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My dd is 18 months. When I first became pregnant, I swore I'd bf for a year. Well... the first year came and went and she was no where ready to give up her nursing, so I continued, knowing it was the best thing I could do for her.

I've been determined to CLW since that time, but lately... I'm really not happy with bf'ing

She nurses (and I'm not kidding) 20 times a day. She's on me 2x an hour and 5-6 times a night. I've been trying to encourage her to night wean, just so I can get some sleep, but we are also going through tremendous changes in our family lately (hubby has been gone in training since Feb, we are moving 300 miles away.. it's just nuts) so I feel like I can't even THINK about disrupting her nursing patterns.

I'm just so tired, and so tired of being nursed on for what seems like all day and all night. I had to make the drive to our new city to sign on our house this last week (a 5 hour drive) and I had to pull over 5 times to let her nurse because she was so adament about it (I can't let her cry no matter what).

I understand that a nursing relationship is all about having both parties happy, but I feel this tremendous guilt about NOT feeling happy about it lately.... but I feel even more guilt for wanting her to stop with all the stress in our life as well. (her nursing hasn't increased at all during daddy's absence, she's always nursed in this pattern).

Has anyone out there ever felt like this??? Is this a normal "down time" in a nursing relationship? Part of me wants her to wean so much, and the other part of me knows I'd be devastated if she did.

I just feel sooooooo conflicted!

: Karen, wife to my : Mad Scientist and mama to :Emma (10-21-03).
I spend my days : : and seeing how many smilies I can fit in my siggy.
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#2 of 4 Old 05-08-2005, 03:29 AM
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Yes, of course we all have bad days! Down times, bad hair days. I keep some EMAB Happy Mama spray handy, and spritz it all the time! (It does work! LOL) Who else in the world is expected to work 24/7 like us moms? I have had days when I've seriously considered weaning the baby... but honestly what would be better then? I'd still be trying to find some way to make a screaming baby happy! But I'd have to carry a huge diaper bag full of STUFF to do it.

Have you read Mothering Your Nursing Toddler??? I have found that nursing a toddler has been the BEST thing in the world... and now I'm talking from experience of having had 3 who were weaned WAY early... 4 mos, 6 weeks, 9 weeks and one at a year. So I was toddler nursing with a #5 baby... and I found that it was BLISS to have nursing as a mothering tool in my pocket. (My diaper bag went to the Goodwill and I carried a PURSE for the first time in years.)

All toddlers--nursing or weaned-- need guidance, and limits. Another good book is The Continuum Concept. Babies are biologically wired to have a craving to know that you are in control. And your baby can sense that you are not in control. The more out of control baby senses you are, the more baby will act out to compel you to assert your control. When my baby has been the most clingy, whiny, and demanding, as soon as I institute ANY kind of routine and act confidently gently firm about it... baby settles right down. And I'm not talking about crying... nice gentle, predictable routine will almost always result in less crying!

First thing is to teach her that while breastfeeding is her birthright, it is also YOUR body. Just as she should have the right to ask you not to touch her body, you should have the right to sometimes ask not to be touched. I start teaching my baby some sign language at 7 months... "eat" is usually a first one... then "potty" and "please".... by 10 mos, when baby climbs into my lap and makes her wishes to nurse known, I'll sign "please" and gently lead her to sign "Please." By 13 mos I can just say "How do you ask?" and she'll sign "please."

Now she's 16 mos, and I've started introducing the concept that Nini isn't open 24/7 anymore. I don't *always* nurse her when she asks, I sometimes say "Not now." Yes, sometimes she's unhappy. I'm lucky that often DH is there to help. She always settles down for him for snuggles, but for me she'll keep fighting longer and asking for ni. I tell her sometimes "You just had ni, and I need a break. My ni is owie and wants to rest." I have also tried to really look at WHY she is asking for Ni so much... sometimes she's actually tired and laying down is a better choice. Sometimes she's bored and needs me to get out some blocks or a toy. Sometimes she's really hungry and really wants some banana. Or thirsty and would actually take some water. So I might offer to take her for a walk, or read a book. Most of the time she'll be distracted from Ni. But I know if she asks again, she really means it KWIM?

And here's another little rule I have, and it might be harder for you.

I have started teaching "If you fuss about it, the answer is no." She simply is NOT allowed to cry to demand her way. I've even done this with my babies that were totally weaned... #3 would cry and demand to be held. I wanted to hold him. But I just could not let this little person come running to me, yelling, and then scream at me "UP! Pick me up! NOW!" I had taught him to sign "please" at 7-8 mos old, and he knew to say "Mommy up please?" So I would ignore him if he fussed and screamed, I'd remind by saying "how do you ask?" and if he started to throw a tantrum, I'd say "please go sit in your quiet place for a minute and calm down, then come ask me the right way." Of course I also treated him with respect in order to model it to him. This has worked so well with all my kids. Well before they turned two, if they even started to approach me in that whiny screaming demanding way, I just had to point my finger towards their quiet spot. It even works now when they're older. My 3 1/2 year old started to cry at the dinner table tonight because he wanted a tortilla... and the tortilla I gave him was ripped! Oh the agony! I asked him not to fuss about it, because I couldn't do anything about it, all the tortillas were ripped. He crumpled into a puddle of tears. So I picked him up and sat him on his quiet spot and went back to the table. A couple minutes later, he came out, climbed into his seat, and ate his tortilla happily.. and then even said "Mommy can I have another RIPPED tortilla?"

I hope that you can use some of what I have shared. Take what you can use and recycle the rest.
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#3 of 4 Old 05-09-2005, 01:27 AM
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Hey Karen (it's me Lydia) - I remember vividly going through something very similar at the same age with my dd, only she wasn't nursing as much as yours. I know i started setting some limits like the other poster mentioned. And just allowing myself the space to say no every so often made me feel dramatically better about the whole thing. I know all that you guys are going thru right now is tremendously stressful. I know you guys will get through it all together, no doubt.
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#4 of 4 Old 05-09-2005, 10:51 AM
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Yup, "not enjoying nursing" can be part of the nursing experience, and it's not necessarily a sign that it's time to wean. You certainly seem to understand why your child is extra clingy and needy right now, and you know it won't last forever. You'd likely be just as overwhelmed right now if you weren't nursing and your dd was clinging to you 24/7 and freaking out whenever the pacifier (or bottle, or sippy cup, or favorite blankie) got misplaced.

Also, keep in mind that you can set limits on nursing without weaning. It's fine to say "no" to nursing if she just nursed 20 minutes ago and try to distract her with another kind of attention.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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