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I can't do it anymore and I don't know how to stop

1002 Views 14 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  *MamaJen*
My daughter will be 2 at the beginning of June. We had a problem free nursing relationship but I started to really not enjoy it and resent it around 8 months (I think). I've been determined to stick it out to two years for all the obvious reasons but I cannot stand it anymore. About 9 times out of ten it makes me cringe, feel nauseous and even feel all out rage towards ny beautiful daughter. This is an awful awful admission but last night, when I was overtired and desperately trying to sleep but all I could feel was little teeth on my nipples, legs kicking me in the groin and nails clawing at my chest, I just completely snapped, slapped her (not too hard, but still
), pushed her to the other side of the bed, turned away from her and let her cry till she went to sleep. I feel sick writing that. But I also feel sick at the idea of being sucked on all night again tonight.
I can't do it anymore. I'm sick of our relationship being all about my boobs. i'm sick of the clawing and the teeth (she doesn't bite, but i can feel her teeth and it makes me cringe), I'm sick of waking up with red raw nipples, I'm sick of being kicked in the ribs.
It's even more difficult because I'm in the final semester of my degree, and work part time as well, and am therefore away from her from about 8-5 for five days a week. I kept saying I wouldn't night wean until this was over (June) and we had more time together in the day. But I can't cope for that long. You would think that the fact I'm away from her all day would give me enough of a rest, but it's nearly 3pm now and my nipples still hurt from the nighttime, and the idea of nursing again this evening gives me the shivers. Seriously, i dread picking her up from daycare because all she wants from me is milk. I dread seeing my baby after a day away from her! How awful is that!
I don't know what to do. I don't know how to wean. I don't know how the hell I can night wean, without a partner around to help (single mum), without losing even more sleep than I do now, and I don't want to do that because I have a dissertation to finish and my final exams coming up in the next few weeks.
And I can't speak to anyone about it because I've spent the last 2 years trying to convince all my friends that breastfeeding is just the best easiest most lovely thing ever and you can do it in your sleep no problem (to be fair, I did use to be able to), and they should all do it for at least 2 years when they have kids cos it's fantastic....
I don't know what to do. It's ruining my relationship with my daughter, and destroying my sanity, and I feel totally trapped. I hate myself for reacting like i did last night but I know, given how tired and stressed I am, that it could easily happen again and that terrifies me.
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That is exactly my feeling during breastfeeding.

I did wean both my kids b/c of it.

It was a slow (and tortuous for me) process but I did it. I used the no nursing until the sun came up. During the night I offered sippy cups of water, and I held and rocked (You get way less sleep this way BTW)
My Dh did very few shifts but he did do it once in while (It was stressful )

BTW..I only really made an effort at nightweaning but the day weaning soon followed.
All in all it probably took a few weeks...3 maybe 4 so it wasn't an overnight accomplishment.
I was feeling spent like you..I could not do it anymore.
I think you should listen to yourself. You have given her a gift for going this long, especially with the obvious torment it is causing you.

I would suggest that if you do wean, you do it in a manner that is respectful to both of you. I have absolutely no idea what they actually means in terms of weaning since I have not gone through that, but I imagine it would mean setting small boundaries and slowly moving them further and further apart. I think cold turkey weaning would be tramatic (and sleepless) for the both of you since she seems to be pretty intense about her desires

Do you think that the stress is what causing it? Do you think you will feel better about it once June comes along? Just curious.

I am sorry you are going through this.
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I felt this way and knew it was time to nightwean (16 months for me- I wanted to wait until 18 months to nightwean but just couldn't)

Like you I am WOHM gone from 7:30-4. That made me feel guilty about nightweaning, but even being away from him all day I could.not.stand being sucked on all night.

Nightweaning has been rough, I won't lie. DS has actually replaced me at night with a sippy of goats milk- not the greatest, but we do what we gotta do to get some sleep around here.

And the best part is I am no longer resentful about nursing during the day. I am truly ok with nursing 3-4x/day as long as I am not nursing all night (not that you shouldn't wean entirely if you like, but you may be suprised to find day nursing is ok as long as you aren't night nursing).
Just wanted to add that we tried slowly nightweaning and it was difficult for my babe- multiple nights of crying instead of just one.

We had more luck just saying no more night nursing, you can nurse in the morning. I think it depends on the kid's temperament.
I know how you feel... being a giant pacifier is no fun. I cannot imagine being alone all the time... DH travels and it's really difficult on those days having DS 24x7.

Sounds like you are overwhelmed, school, work, being a single mom... I found that night weaning, which I am in the process of doing, doesn't necessarily means more sleep, especially at first and there can be many relapses... teething, illnesses, growth spurt, anything that would cause discomfort to the child... and it takes time. Just like us our LOs can only handle so much at once and they also have to be ready to make concessions... give and take...

The method that works best for me is "The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night" by Elizabeth Pantley and William Sears. It's a gentle way to go about it. Since you're already busy, here are the pages you could read and get started: the section about 'how to diminish the sucking-to-sleep association' starting on p126 and the 'help you baby to fall back to sleep on his own while you continue BF and co-sleep' starting on p 130. Your library probably has a copy; otherwise, use WorldCat to locate one... I'm assuming you have access to it in England and due to the name that it's available world wide. If not, pm me and I can give you the gist of it.

Using one of the NCSS suggestions, I found that just waiting and seeing if latching on was really what all the racket he made at night was about helped cut the nursing in half. Most of the time he was just making noise by shifting around... we co-sleep now btw... we used to bedshare but due to the lack of room he would wake up a lot... now that he is on his own surface, we don't bother him as much. I also make my boobs harder to get to and will sleep detached from him instead of snuggled. I figure we can return to snuggling later he is wants to... he seems to dislike contact now though... he whine if I touch him when I check on him LOL

The other method I have reviewed, I personally didn't feel comfortable following it, but here it is for you to read:

Good luck and big hug
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Originally Posted by SuzyLee View Post
Just wanted to add that we tried slowly nightweaning and it was difficult for my babe- multiple nights of crying instead of just one.

We had more luck just saying no more night nursing, you can nurse in the morning. I think it depends on the kid's temperament.
We had the same experience.

I also wanted to add that nursing isn't all or nothing. If you're nursing too much for your own comfort, then you can cut down until you're at a level that you can live with. For us, nightweaning and nursing at specific times (rather than on demand) made a world of difference to my attitude.
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Night weaning saved us! We talked to DS a few days before we were planning to night wean;telling him no more milkies when it's dark or only when the sun is out etc. He was 18 months at the time. It took 3 nights of Daddy helping settle ds back down at night and we were set.

I am now ready to wean altogether. Ds is 2.5. Kids seem to adapt to change much easier than we adults do. Good Luck.
Yeah, I would start with night-weaning as well.

I nursed DD for 3.5 years and the last 9 months or so were exactly like you described. I think I let it go on too long. Our relationship improved after we weaned. It felt perfectly natural to wean. Much more natural than gritting my teeth and glaring at her while nursing.
I nightweaned my dd at 2, and it was ridiculously easy. And she was waking up ever hour and a half at that point. She was nursing every hour and a half, or more, 24/7 at that point. And it was still really, really easy to nightwean. I'd at least try it. You might be surprised to find that it's easy. All I did is warn my dd ahead of time that if she got thirsty I'd be giving her some water instead of nursing her, and then she woke up and I snuggled her, she whimpered for a second and fell back asleep, and she woke up later and did the same. The next night she did that once, and the night after that she was sleeping through the night and slept through the night from them on. I wonder if before 2 it would be harder, but at 2 I bet a lot of kids can handle nightweaning.

Once you nightwean you might find you don't mind nursing as much and might feel OK with continuing nursing. If not, give up one nursing at a time, and leave her favorites for last. It'll be OK. 2 years is really good and if you're that upset by it then try nightweaning first and see what happens and go from there.
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You've done a great job nursing for this long, working, being a student and a single mom - I am impressed!

I just recently night weaned my son at 15 months. He was an all night nurser and I really thought I was beginning to lose my sanity due to lack of sleep. I essentially did it cold turkey and it went well for us. The first night I work a jogging bra to stop me from automatically nursing him in my sleep. Every time he started to root or fuss I just held him tight and reassured him that I was there. The first night there was a lot of fussing (neither of us got much sleep), but, very little crying. The next night he only woke twice and I did the same thing - held him and reassured him that I was there. It has been a week now and both of us are sleeping so much better (although he is still waking up once or twice a night).

I hope this helps - good luck with everything!
Oh mama, that is so hard. I would definitely start with night weaning. I recently completely night weaned my just turned 2 year old son. It was a hard few nights, and he will occasionally still ask to nurse in the middle of the night but for the most part, he doesn't.

Here is what I did: I pretty much cut him off cold turkey, which I realize is most likely not the most gentle way of doing things, but I also didn't want to confuse him. I said, "We are going to nurse now, and then not again until it is light out". I always make a big deal about him being able to open the curtains in the morning to see if it is light out too.

When he would wake up, I would say, "No more nay-nay (our word for nursing) now, you may snuggle". He would squirm away crying, "No snuggles! No snuggles! Nay-nay!!!" I would say, "You are ok, Mama is here, No more nay-nay right now, and you don't have to snuggle if you don't want to". He would then go back and forth a bit, and eventually say, "Snuggles, Mommy" and come snuggle in next to me.

Some nights were definitely easier than others, and I would occasionally have to literally pick him up and put him on the other side of the bed so he would stop clawing at me. He would nearly always at that point ask for "snuggles", and it would be over and we could get back to sleep.

He still nurses like crazy during the day, sometimes as often as every hour, but I totally hear you on the teeth scraping, and raw nipples. I swear, he is scraping little razor blades over my nipples. Just tonight, he was nursing, and he started shaking his head like a dog with a bone, and I screeched uncontrollably, and unlatched him. He ended up crying, but there is no way I could have him do that. I held him while he cried, and tried to explain that he had hurt my nipple when he shook his head, and that it was not ok to do that. He snuggled for a while, and in a half hour or so, I let him nurse again, and he was much more gentle.

Hope some of this helps!
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It sounds like you're ready to wean, and that's okay. You've done a great job. I weaned when I got to the point that nursing enraged me. There was one night in particular that I just couldn't do it anymore without going crazy and I told my daughter that I hated nursing. I felt absolutely horrible the next morning, and that's when I knew that it was time for it to be done.

I decided that even if it was more traumatic for dd than I would have liked, I needed to do it for my own sanity. I nightweaned first, which I'm not going to lie, wasn't easy. I had tried NCSS and Jay Gordon before and hadn't been able to stick it out. Once I decided though, I just told her that we weren't going to have "mat-la" again until the morning. The first week she honestly didn't sleep much, but after that it's gotten so much better.

I did end up transferring her into her own bed because our bed was just too associated with nursing for her, and I think that's part of what helped. After that, weaning during the day was easy. Now that she's weaned and hasn't nursed in months, she cosleeps again.

It might not be easy, but you can do it. I did have my dp, but he wasn't much help throughout the process, so I felt like I was doing it alone. But I can't tell you how happy I am not to be nursing anymore. I'm kind of sad that I waited as long as I did because before about 18 months we had a great nursing relationship, but what I remember more vividly is how miserable I was at the end of things.
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Thank you for all the lovely supportive replies, I really appreciate it and was quite relieved that nobody told me what an awful mother I am (which is what I was half expecting!).
Things have been a little better the last few days, I have been setting more limits although I don't seem to be particularly consistent with them... I have managed to refuse night feeds a few times, but haven't cut them out altogether yet. It was quite impressive how short lived the crying was when I said the milk was asleep-and it wasn't her deeply distressed, agonising cry that tugs on my heartstrings, more her whiny tantrumy cry, so it was bearable with lots of cuddles. I am definitely planning to fully nightwean asap but need to get the strength to do it. Ha, I buttoned up my shirt the other night thinking that that would be enough to stop the night feeds-I seriously underestimated the boob locating and extracting power of a 22 month old! But, amazingly enough she went to sleep by herself tonight! I nursed her in bed, cuddled for a bit, then said 'mummy needs to go, I'll be back in a bit'-didn't hear a peep from her and 15 mins later I checked and she was asleep!
: If we can keep that up my sanity may get a major boost and I may be able to tolerate things a bit more, although I think I'm fairly decided on gradually weaning over the next few months.
Thanks again mamas! It makes me feel a lot better to hear of other people who have experienced similar feelings. Perhaps I'm not a heartless evil mother after all
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That "nursing aversion" that you're feeling is actually really common among mamas nursing older babies, though it's one of those things that you don't hear about. I'm glad the nightweaning seems to be going well, and good for you for recognizing what you need to do to keep a wonderful relationship with your daughter.
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