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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My daughter seems to be weaned. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> This is about what we were shooting for -- self-weaning around her 3rd birthday -- and it happened pretty painlessly. She just nursed less and less, and about a week ago when she did nurse she started saying things like, "I drank up all the milk" after a very short time (30-60 seconds), or just saying, "There's no milk, Mama."<br><br>
So, now there is basically no milk left, with some exceptions. We talked about this a lot before it happened, and I told her she could still have lots of hugs and kisses and snuggles whenever she wanted them.<br><br>
She's really seemed freaked out since it became consistent that there was no or very little milk, though. Yesterday she hurt herself, assured me she was fine, kind of started towards me, and then clenched her fists and just wailed in a really mad, frustrated way. She hadn't actually nursed after being hurt in a long time, but her thought process was clearly, "I CAN'T nurse even if I wanted to!!"<br><br>
I've let her nurse whenever she wants to, but she doesn't stick around long enough to get the supply back up, just noshes for a while and gets frustrated.<br><br>
This hasn't been continuous -- she's basically fine. It's just that there is this background of being unsettled. I have held her and given her a bottle, and have had lots of snuggling time, reading books, etc.<br><br>
The main way it has come up is when she is in some sort of situation where she might have nursed before -- hurt, frustrated -- and she either does nurse and there isn't anything, or she doesn't nurse at all and acts mad about it. Again, she HADN'T been nursing in those situations for quite a while, but it seems like she found comfort in knowing she COULD.<br><br>
I'm just not quite sure how to handle all of this. Any btdt advice appreciated. We have such a close, trusting relationship, and I hate to see her feeling badly and not be able to solve it.<br><br>
Thanks.<br><br>
P.S. I wasn't sure what category to put this in -- it's not quite Extended Breastfeeding, getting on the old side for Toddlers. But go ahead and move it if another category is more appropriate.
 

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Sozobe - hugs to you and you daughter. I'm not sure I have any advice, but I can imagine how difficult this is for both you and your daughter.<br><br>
I think I would continue to handle it the way you are handling it - letting her nurse if she wants to, offering cuddles if she needs them, but doesn't want to nurse, etc.<br><br>
I'm not sure what else you can do other than the things you are already doing. Sounds like it's just been a bit of a rough time, but I'm sure you'll both come out the other side just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Carolyn! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Has anyone else experienced this? Any ideas for me on how long it will last? (I'm sure it's highly individualized, but...) Any ideas on how to allay her concern further?
 

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I'm going to move this to EBF, because I know they talk about weaning there, and I'm sure some mamas there will be able to relate. If you're having trouble getting the answers you're looking for, sozobe, just PM me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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sozobe, I just want to offer you my support. My dd is 6.5 yrs and is still nursing. I am, for the most part, letting her lead the way because I know how important it is to her, and so far I'm fine with that. She has always been a marathon nurser so my milk production has almost always been there, but a few times when it was low it always picked back up eventually. Your milk production should adjust to meet your dd's needs, so if she nurses briefly then I would think your milk would adjust by being more concentrated with quicker let-down. The only other thing besides nursing more often to bring production up would be to drink LOTS of water just in case you are dehydrated. And stay away from caffeine (if you already don't) unless you want to drink even MORE water (I think it's 8 cups of water for every cup of coffee, or something insane like that) because caffeine dehydrates the body immensely. You could always try a tea called "Mother's Milk" made by Traditional Medicinals (found in health food stores, or online...maybe even at Drugstore.com?). The only other thing I can think of, and maybe this has nothing to do with it, is to omit the bottle as a soothing tool. You mentioned that you try to soothe her with a bottle, and even though she is a toddler it seems logical to me that it could still create a problem with suckling since there is a difference between suckling and latch-on of the breast versus bottle. It may be a longshot but it's worth a try too...<br><br>
Looking back, we all go through hard times...and they do eventually pass. Hang in there. Keep being there for her...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for moving it Piglet (this does seem to be a better fit), and thanks for your support, mother_sunshine. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
There isn't any nipple confusion; the bottle thing is more play-acting than anything else. She tends to have some regression when she hits a milestone -- potty training, whatever -- where she likes to pretend she is a baby. She only was given a bottle a few times when she was tiny with expressed breastmilk when I had long meetings to go to, and so she associates having a bottle with being a baby.<br><br>
An update -- she was persistent enough that she seems to have gotten a tiny bit more of a supply going. She also finally napped after about 2 weeks without, and that has made a big difference in her outlook.<br><br>
I think this is probably the best way for things to happen. I was very, very ready for her to wean, for a few reasons. She had 7 cavities filled a bit over a year ago; the 6 month and 1-year checkups were fine (whew!), but I brush her teeth after she ingests anything other than water during the day, and it's weighed heavily on me to have half of the day busily making sure her teeth are clean and the other half of the day (11+ hrs) with milk hanging around. We successfully nightweaned, but she was still nursing to sleep, and I was having a hard time figuring out how to go to the next step and have her fall asleep without nursing.<br><br>
So now that there hasn't been milk at night before bed, she just sucks for a little bit (human pacifier) and then snuggles into the crook of my arm and goes to sleep.<br><br>
Anyway, the point is that this is something I was hoping for (some other reasons too), and I don't necessarily want to take steps backward, but this happened more suddenly than either of us expected, I think. So good to have a little respite, take a deep breath, and then go ahead with things again.<br><br>
I'm still curious about hearing from moms who HAVE weaned -- what was the period after you weaned like? Did you have a harder time with behavioral issues? How did you deal with them, if so?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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I am headed off to bed, but I wanted to let you know that someone else is going through it too. My daughter "weaned" at just over 3, she chose to go to her grandma's for 2 weeks with her sister, and we discussed that my milk would probably go away while she was gone. It has been a hard road with her behavior since, but it has been getting better. Just todat though she told me she was sad that she grew up, because she had still wanted milk. It made me so sad. PM me if you would like to chat more about it.
 

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Hi Sozobe!<br><br>
This sounds similar to my older son's weaning, which happened when he was about 2.5. In our case, my drop in milk supply was because I was pregnant. I agree, his overarching emotion seemed to be frustration - he'd nurse for a bit, try again, try the other side, and just sort of get mad. Naptimes were the hardest, and in fact this was about the point that he gave up napping consistently.<br><br>
It sounds like you're handling it wonderfully.<br><br>
Behavior problems as a result of weaning... hmmm. Given that I was more than halfway through my second pregnancy, it was a rather tumultuous time in our family, plus ds was going through normal 2-year-old stuff, so it's hard to separate things out in retrospect (he's 4.5 now, btw). What I remember was that it took us both a little time to figure out new ways to interact and/or soothe him. That's not to say that we didn't cuddle frequently or anything before weaning, but I guess we both had to learn how to bridge this next step in our relationship. It had really become such a habit (not in a bad way, necessarily) for me to nurse him. I remember being in specific situations (tantruming toddler, for example) and really missing nursing.<br><br>
Hope this was at least somewhat coherent - I'm up in the middle of the night with a wakeful little toddler and I'd better try to get us both back to bed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks so much for your support and suggestions! Most appreciated.<br><br>
Milkbarmom, yeah, I guess it's the eternal struggle that starts early and goes throughout our lives -- we want independence, the authority to make decisions and do things ourselves, but we also just want to be taken care of. That's good that you talk about it, though. I'm sure that helps her.<br><br>
beccaboo, yes, very coherent! This part especially; "What I remember was that it took us both a little time to figure out new ways to interact and/or soothe him." I think my husband is OK with this, since he never had the "ultimate weapon" at his disposal (his terminology, from when dd was tiny and sometimes only one thing would calm her down), but yeah, I've always relied on having the "ultimate weapon" there if needed. Try this, try that, but if nothing else works, there's always mommy milk.<br><br>
We've been talking a lot, and she understands that the milk will be going away, and that it's OK to be sad about it. I have deputized her softest teddy bear to be there for her and help her feel better. She likes that idea. So if she is sad, Mommy will hug her and kiss her and Teddy will hug her and kiss her and help her feel better. She enthusiastically participated in some practice hugging-and-kissing sessions.<br><br>
She generally responds well if there is something I can prepare her for and then, in time of crisis, remind her of. With nightweaning, it was, "Remember, you can have milk again in the morning, but Mommy's boobsies need to sleep now." "OHhhh, OK." Hopefully this will be something else along those lines. "Remember, Teddy is here to help you feel better." "OHh, OK." (Her "OH" in these situations is adorable. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">)<br><br>
At any rate, I feel a little better prepared for when it happens again (no or almost no milk -- she seems to have brought the supply up again a bit for now.) The first time it took me by surprise -- I thought I would <i>know</i> when I wasn't producing milk anymore, somehow.<br><br>
And I also feel like she is better prepared. So we'll see what happens.<br><br>
Thanks again!
 

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Sadly, both of my children weaned earlier than I would have liked and neither ever looked back again-"no more nursing, thanks but no thanks mom!" and that was that.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> But, I do feel for you too, seeing your little one so frustrated and not sure how to handle those feelings. I think you're right-she doesn't really neccessarily want to nurse but takes comfort knowing she always COULD if she wanted to, kind of like how my DS was really completely potty-trained but resisted switching to underwear JUST IN CASE. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">: I am sending support vibes and I'm hoping your little one adjusts to this major change in her life. What a wonderful, caring and gentle mother you've been.
 
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