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slowing down an 18 mo old

581 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  jillmamma
i have let ds nurse whenever 24/7. he is 18 mos old. i just recently started working as a nanny and he stays with me all day which is great. However, i am caring for a 3 month old and it is very intense taking care of both of them especially since the 3 mos old is high needs in arms all day long 9plus, i have to bottlefeed her which is another whole thread all together).

I have always thought i would let ds nurse as long as he wanted to. but by age two it would be limited to the privacy of our own home, before naps & bedtime, early morning and any kind of traumatic experience of course. Now that I have this job i am ready to start slowing down active daytime nursing.

As i have started to resist nursing every time he wants (mostly in public) he has become very demanding and aggressive with his desire to nurse. Now if i thought he NEEDED to nurse it would not be a problem...its just that when i let him, especially during the day in front of company or in public...he barely nurses. he just wants the boobs out and he starts interacting with peoplke while in my lap with my boobs out and when i try to put them away b/c he is not nursing he resists. so, i feel this is a power struggle where he is playing with control and limits.

Now i am not a permissive parent and i am not afraid of temper tantrums. For anything else I let him work his emotions without giving in but with providing support and love. It dawned on me that the second he takes a fit for nursing i give in.

Does anyone have experience with this type of experience? I know a lot of moms here let their kids nurse whenever for many years but i do not think that is going to work for us. If anyone has any ideas or support for this situation i would appreciate it,
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What you are looking for is essentially weaning advice, so I think you would likely get better advice in another forum. Try breastfeeding beyond infancy.

Originally Posted by flowers
As i have started to resist nursing every time he wants (mostly in public) he has become very demanding and aggressive with his desire to nurse.
He NEEDS to nurse. My suggestion would be to continue nursing on "demand". He won't be aggressive if you meet his nursing needs.
I would have to agree. He's telling you in every way he can that he doesn't want to "slow down". I can imagine that your new work situation is very difficult, but I think weaning will make it worse. Good luck!
I'm sorry that you're feeling frustrated, but I have to agree with the pps. Your baby still NEEDS to nurse.

hang in there.

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I would like to offer this: It's definately *not* a power thing going on here with your son. I mean, you could see it that way if you wanted, but he's just trying to be close to you in the way he's accustomed to. I know it can be frustrating, but perhaps you could keep in mind that his behavior is completely age-appropriate.

I've recently dealt with having to put some boundaries around my and my 2yo's nursing relationship. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having rules that you two follow. You just need to be sure that the rules you enact are rules your son is capable of understanding and respecting.

So, if you don't want him to lift up your shirt and go to town at his every whim, teach him alternate ways to be able to nurse (or inform you that he wants to nurse). If you are ready to begin implementing only nursing in certain places, make sure that you have a "certain place" in mind for everywhere you go. Know where you *will* allow him the pleasure of nursing when you're out in public...don't just try to blow him off.

At this point, his need to nurse is perhaps not so much a food issue, but it's definately still a relationship issue and he needs to be able to continue to express himself to you. It's normal for an 18mo to want to somehow touch the boob 24 hours/day. The boob is nice and warm and comfortable and soft and attached to probably his fave person in the world: You.

Good luck! I haven't nursed past 3 yet, but in my experience, 15-19 months is the hardest nursing age range. I think if you and your son re-negotiate your nursing relationship in a way that both of you can get satisfaction, you may find that you don't feel like this is a power struggle.
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I can understand your frustration. I went through a somewhat similar situation when my oldest DD was about the same age. At the time, I was pregnant and DD was going through a very clingy stage. I had borderline hyperemesis and was exhausted. Out of sheer desperation, I instituted a totally arbitrary limit that I would only nurse DD once an hour. I didn't want to wean DD, but I needed a break from the constant nursing. Instead of nursing, I would snuggle with DD and comfort her in other ways rather than nursing her. I did not deny her desire to be close to and connect with mama, but I did stick firm to the limit I set.

Later on, when I had VERY sore nipples, I only allowed DD to nurse to the count of 10. This allowed her to connect with me, but it prevented me from completely weaning her due to the pain.

Long story short, DD is now 4.5 and is still tandem nursing with her 2.5 year old sister. Although others will not agree with my choices, I truly believe that setting limits preserved our nursing relationship. If I had allowed my DD to nurse as often and for as long as she wanted, it would have driven me crazy. It would've stressed me and hurt me to the point where I would've felt that weaning was the only option.

I know that some mamas are stronger than I am and can continue to nurse their children without limits for years on end. And some mamas believe that limits are not compatable with CLW. But I personally believe that FOR ME, imposing (reasonable) limits on nursing helped me to continue nursing my children in a way that is acceptable to BOTH me and my child(ren).
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I know my DS was in no way ready to slow down in the slightest either day or night until he was into his third year.

I also think limits can be useful and sometimes necessary. Limits must be acceptable, not create stress for either and must not have the intention of or lead to premature weaning. Since every child is different only the mother may have a finger on that one, and that depends on how well she listens.

I agree with a previous poster to look for ways to customise your nursing pattern that meets both your childs need and yours.

Warning. I am now heading way out there. But it may be the most important thing I have to share.
I have found that it was way too easy to jump to an assumption that some undesireable behaviour of my child is somehow assignable to the thought that he must be doing it on purpose. And if that thought became a belief then I was headed in a downward spiral ......... until I started to recognize that any time my child was behaving in a way that I thought was inappropriate I started to project into the future with great fear "oh no, my child is becoming a monster". I have learned, to my horror, how distrustful of human nature I have been led in my upbringing; and that is not to say that I think my upbringing was awful. I think this distrust is deep in our culture. The book "Unconditional Parenting" opened my eyes to this. As I practice seeing differently, I find my thoughts changing. I ponder every day how potent thoughts are.

I'll give an example. Nursing isn't always a blissful state for me. When I am experiencing any irritation, I intentionally raise the thought of how lucky my son is to be nursing and how lucky I am to be the one nursing him. Often, whatever has been irritating me disappears. If my own irritation persists then I find a way to handle it which respects my DS for who he is and his needs as much as possible.

May you be blessed with wisdom, love and happiness.

PS Sounds kind of cheesey doesn't it. But I really mean it.
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Thanks for all the kind support.

I realized reading through some of your replies that a lot of my desire to slow down in certain situations has to do with peoples new response to nursing. I have never had a negative nursing experience and all of the sudden in the past few months it is loke the world has turned on me. While most friends and family support me I know they are getting to the stage where they are asking "how far is she going to take this".

I find myself a little jealous of my friends whose dd slowed way down by 18 months and nurses very rarely. Not because I don't love to nurse but because i do not like the negative attention we are starting to get and like some of you mentioned it is hard to define where and when it is appropriate b/c situations of comfortability change.

We live in an especially close-minded community and we are working so hard to bring ideas of attachment parenting, environmental morals, homebirthing, bfing, non circ to the general public but we have found moderation to be the key. For example, when I was expecting and planning a hb I only spoke about it to people who asked (and people did) or when I felt it was extremely appropriate. Therefore people were much more responsive and open to the idea. Or, when we switched our car to run off vegetable oil we added the stickers to inform people of this but we left off any bumper sticker that referred to our crunchy ways. Our idea is that it is more important to open people to this more gentle way of life and if you give people to much at one time they just shut off and go into defense mode. However, nursing is so much different b/c ds and his needs and desires are involved and he could care less about society.

I just don't understand how some of you are doing it. So let's say I am at a mortgage lender's meeting sitting in a office across from a middle eastern man and ds is trying to open my vest. Take him to the other room???...well dh has a hard time listening at these "dry" info meetings so I am the one who is retaining the info. Or what if we are in the grocery store in the middle of a shop? How do others deal with these sticky situations as they get older?

Are most people here nursing their older babies right out in public?
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I don't work in an office situation, so I can't help there, but yep, dd often nurses through the store. I don't think I'd ever make it through Target without nursing
I just latch her on and keep walking. Sometimes I use the cart handle to rest my arms on so I'm not holding her whole weight. Honestly I've never gotten a negative comment or glance. BUT I have a big ol' "don't mess with me because I've got it together and know what I'm doing" aura about me

good luck!

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My 2yo (in 7 days) nurses everywhere she wants to nurse. So, yes, we nurse in stores (I find a mostly-empty aisle and sit on the floor with my back against the groceries if in the grocery store; if in a department store, I find a rack of clothing and sit with my back to the clothes) all the time. I actually don't look at people when I nurse my babes in public. I look at the babies themselves when they're really young and something else (I don't know what) when they're older. I do lists in my head. I add up my checking acct register in my head. I do some serious thinking while keeping a look-out for my older kids. I pay no attention to passers-by.

I think that is very important when nursing an older baby in public: Don't pay attention to passers-by.

If you are in a meeting and baby needs to nurse, ask him to wait until a specific time ("wait until we get in the car, okay?"). If he refuses, nurse him. It doesn't matter if there's a Middle Eastern man there. If he's ME, chances are, he's seen boob, b/c ME women breastfeed. If he agrees to wait, make sure you definately nurse him when you get in the car, whether he reminds you or not. When putting nurslings off, it's very important to remember what you said you'd do and do it.

Confidence is good. In leiu of confidence, don't look at anyone. You know how sometimes you can be in a room full of ppl, yet feel completely alone and isolated, even if someone tries to talk to you? Well, wrap yourself up in that feeling when you're nursing your toddler in public. You'll look shy, helpless, etc., but that's okay, b/c you'll be protecting yourself from passers-by until you grow more confident.

You can do it. You've recognized your issue and you're going to work through it and surmount it. Yay you!
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I am sorry that you have been getting negative attention.

I have a sister-in-law who has a definite opinion about how long to nurse. She couldn't wait until her daughter weighed enough that according to the doctor she didn't need to nurse anymore - that was 7 months old!

My in-laws were never comfortable around DS nursing, not even when he was a newborn.

For the most part, as soon as these people realize that they will not be the ones making the decision of how to nurse or when to wean, they are quiet. Yes my sister-in-law leaves the room when 4 y.o. DS nurses. That irked me at first but I'm ok with it now. She also jokes that my son's broken leg will heal really fast because of all the milk he is getting.

I also have support. My sister nurses her 3 year old.
My DS nursed any and everywhere for the first three years, maybe more? AT some point a toddler gets way more involved in what is going on than in feeling hungry etc.........

Let me count the places:
beaches and pools
playgrounds and parks
ski slopes
cars, not moving
clothing shops
sailboats, motorboats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats

My advise. Dare I?
Take some time to listen to your own voice. Then follow it.

I just bought a card for my sister which reads: "Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly."

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At 18 months, I started carrying a sippy cup of water around when we would go out, and if he seemed to want to nurse, I would offer that first sometimes if it was an inconvenient time to hold him off a bit, and usually he would accept that. Otherwise, I would just nurse him, but find a good place to do it (couch in furniture aisle at Sam's Club, pew in church, sometimes in car, etc.). By 18 months, he was getting too heavy for ME to walk around and nurse (23-24 lb), and no longer fit in the lying down position in the sling very well. I think part of the reason for so much nursing at that age is all the teething they are doing. Those molars and eye teeth come in around then, and I know Matthew really struggled with getting his teeth in and nursing was one of the things that worked best to comfort him. I do in-home daycare, and have figured out how to use my boppy pillow to have my child latched on on one side and hold a baby and bottle feed him/her with the other arm.
Might be worth learning to do in your case too. By age 2, once all the teeth were in, he did not seem to NEED to nurse as often, and I was pg again, so /i started setting some limits on how long and how often tp keep me from having super sore nipples. Good luck!
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