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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(warning...very long)
I haven't posted here in a VERY long time (probably over a year), but...

I wanted to share the fact that I'm actually done nursing my 38-month son. (I can't believe I just said those words.)

The people here at MDC were SO incredibly helpful with this aspect of my life -- particularly when my son was between one and two years old. That was when I found it the most difficult, emotionally, and the people here really made me feel like I was not crazy. In addition, you all provided ideas and advice for every aspect of my nursing experience. I'm not sure I would have been able to do it without the MDC people.

So I just wanted to say thanks. I also just wanted to share my news about being "finished" with someone -- and I knew you guys would understand. There are very few "real life" people with whom I am comfortable sharing this exciting information.

The details, in case you are interested, are here (very long)...

To be honest, the "end" was pretty unexciting. In same ways, I feel like it came on very gradually and in other ways, I feel like it ended so suddenly. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I don't know how else to describe it.

At several points, as recently as a few months ago, I was quite upset. I was frustrated that he was still nursing several (approximately 8) times a day/night. I distinctly remember saying the DH, "How will this ever end?"

I had always promised myself that I would never deny him "nursies" if he really wanted it. We had "understandings" -- things like only doing it at home, and I would always offer alternatives before saying yes to nursies. Sometimes, I'd tell him to wait a few minutes because "I'm in the middle of doing something," but I never gave him an absolute "no." This was very important to me.

When DS was around two-and-a-half, I was starting to feel like he was just nursing out of habit, or when he was bored or wanted my attention (i.e. when I was on the phone). I didn't feel like he "needed" it like he used to. Therefore, as his third birthday approached, and we started talking about all the things he would do as a "big boy," I started telling him that when he's 3, we will only do nursies in "the chair" (a glider in his room) at bedtime or when it's dark out. I mentioned this, casually, for several weeks leading up to his third birthday. He said he understood, but he never got upset when I mentioned it, so I knew he was ready.

I also concentrated on being more physical with him in other ways when we weren't nursing. I stopped holding him in positions that reminded him of nursing. And I stopped changing my shirt in front of him. I was just trying to minimize the "triggers."

When he turned 3, I didn't make a big deal about the nursing thing. As soon as his birthday party ended, I promised myself that I would stick to my new "rule" -- no nursing except at night in the chair. I was nervous about being able to stick to my guns, but I felt strongly that I should not waver at all (barring something unforseen like illness). This turned out to be very easy. I think he asked to nurse once or twice in the days following his birthday, but I would just laugh and say, "You're silly. You're 3 now. You don't do nursies during the day." Then he would laugh too, and that would be it.

This was also the time when we cut out his nap. He didn't need the nap anymore, but he used to fall asleep when he was nursing in the afternoon. Then he'd sleep for 2 hours and stay up until 11:30 pm. This was very tough for me. But when we eliminated the daytime nursing, so went the nap -- which was fine with me.

Everything was working out great, but I was still wondering how we would ever really stop altogether. Then, after about a month more, I noticed he would forget every once in a while. We'd go right to his bed, instead of the chair, and I'd "play dumb" and try to skip the nursing. He'd usually remember after a minute, and laugh because he thought it was funny that we forgot. I'd tell him that we forgot because his body doesn't really need nursies anymore. He can still do it if he wants to, but he's a big boy now and he doesn't "need" it. We'd laugh, then we'd nurse.

We'd also nurse if he wanted it in the middle of the night. Usually about once during each night. And sometimes, he'd want it in the morning. I always had a cold cup of milk in a cooler bag beside the bed, and I always offered that before nursies. Sometimes, he accepted it -- and sometimes, he even asked for milk instead of nursies (maybe because it was cold).

So, at age 3, we were nursing 1-3 times each night. But I was still wondering how it would end. He does well with benchmarks, so I was thinking of telling him that we'd be stopping when he starts pre-school in the Fall. Or I considered pushing until age 4 and telling him that 4-year-olds don't need nursies at night. I also considered giving him a choice to replace "the chair" with something he would like (train table or something). And then we'd stop nursies when the chair was gone.

Anyway, it turns out I didn't need any of these things. A few weeks ago, when he was 3 yrs, 2 months old, we went on a vacation. We rented a place on the beach for a week. He loved being there. And I guess, since we had a different bedtime routine and no "chair," he just forgot. It wasn't until our third night at the beach that he even mentioned nursies. And it was only because he was having trouble falling asleep. I just told him he was silly. "We don't do nursies at the beach." He laughed and dropped the subject. The rest of the week was simple. He only whined about nursies once, on about the fifth night. He cried a little (very little), but I don't really think he expected me to say yes anyway. We bought some new books for bedtime while we were there, and he was thrilled.

When we came home from our vacation, I wasn't sure what to expect. Advice from DH and my mom was to "never do it again, even if he asks." I didn't like that idea. I decided I would discourage it, but I would not deny him if he really wanted it. I just didn't want it to end that way.

First night home from the beach, we went up to bed to read our new books and do "big boy bedtime, just like we did at the beach." Then he changed his mind and said he wanted nursies. I told him he could choose: big boy bedtime with the new ABCs book OR nursies. He thought about it and picked nursies. I said ok. Then I suggested that we do "really quick" nursies AND the book. That way, we could do both things. He loved that idea. I suggested that we sing the ABCs while we nurse, and then go on the bed and read the ABCs in the new book. He thought that was so cool. If it worked, I figured we'd do it for a few nights and see how it goes.

It worked great. I sang the ABCs, nice and slow, while he nursed. And when I was done, we "ran" over and jumped on the bed to read the ABCs. He thought this was awesome.

That was the last time I nursed!

When he woke up during that night, he asked for milk. And subsequent nights, we got right into bed with the books and the milk. Since then, there have been about 4-5 times that he's even mentioned it at all, and only 1-2 times when he was a little upset. I don't think he was expecting to really do it. I just think we was having trouble falling asleep and didn't know what else to do.

He has even slept through the night a couple of times. He had NEVER done that before (not one single time in his life).

It takes him a little longer to fall asleep sometimes, so I've been working on new techniques. After reading books, we've started "counting ourselves to sleep." I just count really slowly as he drifts off. Sometimes he counts with me and then fades out. It usually works. Sometimes I get all the way up to 100 and then I start counting backwards without altering my tone. I think this just gives him something to focus on, instead of thinking about how to fall asleep.

. . . . . . . . . .

So that's my story. If you're still with me, thanks for reading.
Sorry this was so long.

This post served two purposes. 1) I wanted to tell my story because it felt good to tell it. 2) I also thought some of my techniques might come in handy for some other moms. I know these types of posts were very helpful to me at various times in my nursing experience.

Congrats to all you nursing mommies. And please remember, when you're frustrated and it seems like it will never end...
THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I speak from experience!
 

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I just posted that my three year old is pretty much weaned. Her birthday is 5-27...so our littles are close.

I think it is a little bittersweet. How are you feeling?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool mamaglee.
I'm feeling really good.
I'm not nearly as sad as I thought I'd be. I expected it to feel more...I don't know...something. It just feels "normal."

I didn't mention this before, but DS has a dairy allergy. Therefore I would not touch anything with dairy for most of the time I nursed (2+ years).

Needless to say, I've been having fun lately -- cheese, ice cream, cream cheese, pizza -- all the things I wouldn't have during nursing.

Maybe that's why I'm not so sad ;-)
 

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Thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoyed reading it, from start to finish. Congratulations on a gentle, respectful weaning.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by APCDmama
Thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoyed reading it, from start to finish. Congratulations on a gentle, respectful weaning.

same here
thanks!
 
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