Hi there! I posted this is breastfeeding beyond infancy in response to someone else's thread about milk drying up. I also want to note that I am stressed out beyond belief about this, and my husband and son don't seem bothered at all:
(after reading that my milk may be drying up for good) Oh. no!!!! Really??! I am so upset. I came here to post about this problem. I actually have some pretty bad cracks around the one nipple because my DS sucks so hard.
Why did this happen? My son still needs it so much, and he cries when we have to stop because the cracks come open and hurt me so much.
He will be three in two weeks. Nursing is painful and I admit that I mostly don't want to do it anymore because of that, but my son is just not ready to wean.
What can I do? I have asked my friend who is a LLL leader, and she said that at this age there is not much I can do to increase supply.
My nipple is not going to heal if there is no milk to make the suckling easier. And the "good" side is starting to get bad, too. I have asked my son if there is milk, and sometimes he says yes, and sometimes no, so I don't really know. I can sometimes get a little if I express. And by a little, I mean I can see drops form on my nipple, and not streams like I used to get.
I am so sad. I don't know what to do. My son still needs it.
For the nipples, I have tried a few things: no bra, adding calendula cream, tried not nursing on that side at all for 3 days. When it seemed fine, he nursed again and the cracks came back.
Daniel has always nursed a lot, and lately has cut down significantly. He has slept all night for the last couple of months.
This doesn't seem like natural weaning to me. I imagined that if I ran out of milk, DS would just suckle less and less until he didn't do it at all. No trauma. And now I am wondering if my decrease is due to depression, stress, whatever. And now thinking that my milk is going is making even MORE STRESS.
Right now, Daniel is at my neighbor's house, playing with her and her 2 year old. Which is good because I can't stop crying. He really is okay. I mean, he's happy and has fun. Why is this so traumatic for me? And no one understands.
I saw this in "New Posts" so I'm not a regular in this forum unfortunately.
I just wanted to add though that I've read sometimes older kids start to just get lazy with their latch. Is he still latching correctly? Maybe you need to reteach him like a smaller baby. If he's latching wrong, no amount of creams is going to save your nipple, and a bad latch could be causing the decrease in your supply.
Hugs to you, Jean! Somehow this will work out. It is so hard when things don't go as we envision them to, though. Slow down, breath deeply, let this work itself out.
I agree to definitely check his latch. Make sure he isn't nursing sloppy, his head turned, you know.... discourage toddler gymnastics.
It also could be a yeast infection. Do you show any signs of this? White patches in creases, shooting pains in breast, vaginal yeast infection, recently taken antibiotics, etc. Also, milk supply can drop during menstruation.
It is also definitely possible to just nurse him on the "healthy" side. If you have a pump, you can pump the other side or hand express. Moms have nursed their children on just one side for different reasons. You can, too!
When my children were nursing when they were getting older, it became more painful. Not to the point of cracked nipples, but a lot of discomfort. It is hard to get through a nursing session and really hard when I had to cut it short and made my little one cry. It's hard for a lot of people to understand because they can't comprehend why you would even want to nurse a 3yr old. But I understand! This would have made me upset, too. Hang in there. Hug your little guy. He knows you love him even if you can't nurse as much.
After some crying, I feel much better. Also, I called the birth center, and spoke to a midwife. She said that sometimes when your supply drops naturally when your child is around three that the child will nurse much harder, trying to get the milk to flow. When she said that, I knew that was happening with us.
She said that I can care for it with "soothies" which are a comfort, healing compress that you can get at a pharmacy, and that they are anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, and so help in healing much better than doing nothing.
Also, thanks for your encouragement about just using the one side for now. That is what I will do, and hopefully the soothies will clear me up.
I feel really guilty because I had been wanting to set some limits before this, and now I feel that I was getting what I asked for in some horrifying way.
I now know that I do NOT want to wean Daniel before it is time. I was just feeling bad about nursing because it hurt so much. I am going out in a few minutes to get those soothies and the midwife said that I will feel better right away. And I was especially happy that the midwife told me that she went through this when nursing HER three year old!! YAY! Super YAY!!
I'm glad to hear you are finding some relief and an answer to your situation. I experienced some of the same feelings when ds really began to lose his latch; I felt like that wasn't truly child-led weaning and was really sad for him and me too.
There were times he would suck painfully hard trying to draw out milk. I'd never heard about a third-year drop in supply but it makes sense now that we've been thru that phase.
Just after I posted here about the loss of his latch, he had a week where he tried really hard to nurse correctly and we had a few nice, painfree nursing sessions... I am so glad to have had those. He has only nursed once in the last week and a half or so, now I know he is truly weaning and it's not being ended by some fluke of nature.
Oh, by the way - we nursed 90% on one side for months. The other side didn't seem to dry up significantly, at least he said there was still milk when he did nurse there. It worked out fine.
My milk has gone away for a different reason (pregnant), but I think it's important to talk honestly to your 3 year old about it. Let him know that mama's milk is going away because he is a big boy who eats food. He can still nurse when he needs comfort or to fall asleep or whatever you decide, but he needs to be gentle and realize that there won't be as much milk as there used to be. I'm completely without milk, but so far I'm still comfortable enough for my daughter to nurse to sleep. (She's been forgettting to ask at other times.)