getting tired of breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-10-2016, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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getting tired of breastfeeding

After reading numerous posts in this forum regarding child-lead weaning, tandem nursing and continuing breastfeeding into older ages, I feel rather apprehensive about posting this thread. I wonder if I'm not a very good mother for feeling the way I do. But as time goes on I find I am getting more and more tired of breastfeeding my toddler DD. She is nearly 3 now. There are times when it is really nice, it feels comfortable for both of us, it helps her to fall asleep when she is tired, and she is my sweet little baby in my arms. I don't want to lose that too soon. But, increasingly, it's becoming difficult for me, physically and emotionally, to breast feed on demand. It seems that I can't sit down without her wanting to jump on my lap and get some "mama milk". She pulls up my shirt and tries to use bf to comfort herself whenever she is upset about anything at all. She also wants to nurse all night long, which leaves me drained and exhausted, not to mention stiff and sore, in the morning. She squirms and pokes and prods, it feels really yucky to me at these times. I feel anchored to a chair when I want/need to get up and do things frequently. And yet, it seems so cruel to refuse her access whenever she wants it. It breaks my heart if she cries because I denied her mama milk, even though I may be completely exhausted from all-night breastfeeding and just want my body to myself for a little while. But then, she gets over it. After a short cry, she finds something else to do and forgets all about it for a while.
I'm not very good with scheduling, when it comes to my children. I can't seem to adhere to prescribed times when I do allow breastfeeding and others when it is not allowed. I just go by intuition. It's not perfect, and definitely not systematic. And I wonder, is this the right way to wean her? Do I send mixed messages? Or is this just a long, slow process where she can still have the comfort of mother's milk every day, but learns that there are other forms of comforting too, and sometimes her mother's breasts need time to rest.
Not sure if I'm explaining myself well. Can anyone relate or share similar stories? Am I doing the right thing by occasionally refusing her breastfeeding?
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#2 of 11 Old 09-10-2016, 04:53 PM
 
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QUOTE] And I wonder, is this the right way to wean her? Do I send mixed messages? Or is this just a long, slow process where she can still have the comfort of mother's milk every day, but learns that there are other forms of comforting too, and sometimes her mother's breasts need time to rest.
Not sure if I'm explaining myself well. Can anyone relate or share similar stories? Am I doing the right thing by occasionally refusing her breastfeeding?[/QUOTE]

I think that's mostly how mammals wean-gradually with a lot of distraction! I called it the "moving target" method and it involved not sitting down unless I was prepared to nurse and a lot of putting her off for a short while: "After Mama finishes the dishes, want to help?" "Let's take our walk first so we can visit the kittens". Sometimes they would remember and ask afterwards but not always, and it got them out of the habit of assuming that the milk bar was always open.

Of course if they were hurt/tired/scared this wouldn't fly, but in general it worked pretty well.

ETA- Neither was fully weaned until about 5, but after awhile it was just at bedtime. I think getting the frequency down to the point where I wasn't 'touched out' was the key.

Last edited by stormborn; 09-10-2016 at 04:56 PM.
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#3 of 11 Old 09-14-2016, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Stormborn. Since starting the post, DD came down with a bad cold (or maybe flu?) Then I was glad I'm still nursing her, because I can't think of a better medicine for her. But now I've caught this nasty bug and I'm feeling really yuck and run down. Distraction seems to help, except when I'm really tired (like right now) and just want to sit down for a few minutes without being jumped on. Oh, well. THis too will pass...
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#4 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 10:53 AM
 
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my daughter is just 15 months but i negotiate with her. i know that breast milk is no longer her primary source of nutrition so even she signs for milk (she knows asl), i offer her food or water first (through asl and actual food or water). or i ask her to wait until we get home (in case were not home). oftentimes, it works. when she is just frustrated or stressed, i try to distract her by pointing other interesting things (like dogs, birds, or bright lights) and showing her the sign for that. sometimes, i sing her favorite nursery rhymes. oftentimes, it works too. my only problem is at night, i am yet to find a way to negotiate. she usually crawl to me quietly and sign for milk. sometimes, she just cries and waits for me in bed (i stay up late). my point is, talk to your son. he can understand more than what you think. explain to him that he should try to sooth himself too. you are not being a bad mother. you are just taking care of yourself in order to take care of your children.
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#5 of 11 Old 10-04-2016, 06:19 PM
 
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I am right there with you! DD is 4 and I feel done. Just done. I have been bf for almost 11yrs without a break. So, that has a lot to do with it. I feel done.

Just done.
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#6 of 11 Old 10-05-2016, 03:40 PM
 
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I think it's fine to set limits or wean at this point. At the end of my BF time, I would tell my child that we're not going to nurse right now, but if you're hungry or thirsty you can have something to eat or drink, and if you need some time with Mama, you can have a snuggle or read a book. You might also use some sportscasting techniques - describe what you see and acknowledge feelings. "You're really upset. You wanted me to nurse with you, and I said no. It's hard to want something and not get it."
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#7 of 11 Old 11-28-2016, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your advice, everyone. I haven't replied to this post in a long while, but right now I just need to complain. It's 4am and I can't sleep. I've been trying to night-wean the lo, but running into problems. Last night she woke me up with trying to nurse, and I tried to get her back to sleep any other way I could, but didn't have good results. She must have cried and wailed very loudly for an hour before finally accepting the drink of water I offered her and falling asleep just before 6am. She often accepts water in the night and it helps her get back to sleep without (much) nursing. But tonight she woke up after only a few hours sleep and screamed and cried so loudly when I didn't let her nurse that my ears are still ringing. Finally I gave in because it just seemed so cruel, even though nursing no longer feels "right" to me. She often wakes up every few hours in the night wanting to nurse. Tonight, I couldn't get myself back to sleep, and when I finally started to drift off, she woke up crying again. I didn't want her to have another screaming fit, and was too tired to get up and try to comfort her some other way, so I nursed her back to sleep as quickly as I could. But now that she's asleep, here I am wide awake, muscles aching, feeling despondent and unable to sleep. I don't know why this is so difficult. My mother raised far more children than me and tells me I need to be more determined, but I don't think she's seen anything like this. Don't know what she did differently. Maybe used bottles and soothers? Maybe having another baby on the way helps the older baby/toddler to wean sooner? My first child didn't put up this much fuss, and he is the more spirited and strong-willed of the two. There seems to be nothing physically wrong with DD, she is healthy, good-natured and eats well. She doesn't nurse during the day, as long as I don't sit down when she's nearby (in which case she'll jump on my lap and try to push up my shirt). But she wakes several times in the night, crying and needing "mama milk" to settle her back down. My sleep is disrupted and I don't like the feeling of nursing anymore, most of the time. But I also give in to her demands to nurse in the night. It's so much nicer to see her soothed and sleeping peacefully, even if I'm uncomfortable. And yet, I want to give my own body a chance to rest and restore. I feel so torn, and run down, and I wonder where I'm going wrong.

Nazmum, your emoticon looks a lot like my situation!
Maybe this is just a passing situation?

EDIT: I'd like to add that I don't seem to have a supply issue (I check periodically, and yes, I'm still producing). Part of me is reluctant to give up producing milk. I love being able to nourish my child with my own milk, especially if she gets sick. And breastfeeding is healthy for both of us. But the other part of me is tired of not being able to get up from a chair or sleep in a better position at night because she is nursing.

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#8 of 11 Old 11-28-2016, 04:15 PM
 
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I really don't know if this is passing. I believe in sleep! If I can get sleep I will. So, I never really night weaned. I would give them milk then unlatch when they were just going to sleep. I lay next to them till they are really sleeping. That has work to help them to slowly learn to get to sleep on their own. This has been very very slow. All 3 of my kids did not sleep really thur the night till 4. YES 4.

I total feel for you. I know that it will get better.

Sorry for spelling mistakes my computer is acting up.
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#9 of 11 Old 11-28-2016, 04:39 PM
 
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My youngest DD is four and still feeding a few times overnight most nights. Recently I have started letting her feed for as long as l can tolerate and then just quietly whispering "time for sleeping now". Generally she will roll over and go back to sleep then. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries.


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#10 of 11 Old 11-28-2016, 07:23 PM
 
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I'm so with you. My 2 year old has been very challenging with nursing at night lately and I've been trying to work in some nighttime limitations that result in hour after hour of dreadful screaming. It makes me so angry. My first was such an awful sleeper that I felt like I was going insane. These nights with DD2 are calling up those awful memories and tapping into a pool of leftover rage.

I'm thinking about trying something similar to the PP - trying to nurse for shorter periods instead of not at all. Setting limits at night is so darned hard.

Hugs to you.
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#11 of 11 Old 11-29-2016, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So good to know I'm not alone! Many nights are like Katelove described, where she will roll over and sleep on her own after a while, with just a little prompt from me. But some nights, either I'm too impatient or she is too demanding, I'm not sure which. Luckily, what happened 2 nights ago was rare. Last night was much better, probably because I was too tired to attempt any weaning or limitations. We both slept peacefully.
I think DS was somewhat similar to what Nazmum described. He sleeps well through the night now (he's 6) but a couple of years ago he'd wake up and sometimes give me a very hard time every so often, even after he was weaned. I remember night tantrums and inexplicable crying fits that had me so stressed out. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. But it was probably just a passing phase and he soon stopped having those night fits. Funny how easily you can forget about these things. I'll probably forget about these difficulties with DD soon too, once she's sleeping through the night.
After having such a rough night, I think I shouldn't try so hard to night wean her completely just yet. She probably isn't ready. She rarely nurses in the daytime anymore, so a little mama milk at night really isn't doing either of us much harm. Really, it's more important to get a good night's sleep!
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