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06/06/2010

Comments

Carol

A friend of mine from La Leche League just finished weaning her 5-year-old. I don't know, two years doesn't sound extreme or freakish to me. Is there a La Leche League branch near you? It might be fun to be acquainted with other moms who are doing the extended nursing thing with their toddlers. Don't let the "Boob Nazi" propaganda scare you. There are some really mellow, fun, interesting La Leche moms.

I'm so glad you got to have this great nursing experience. I don't know about you, but for me, nursing really helped me regain confidence in my body after infertility, and helped cure me of some of my feelings of being "defective."

brenna

I weaned DD1 at 2- much harder on me than her. Ten years later I had DD2, who was a 24/7 nurser. She loved it, man! I had to wean her at 19 months because I was in my 3rd trimester and could NOT TAKE IT one second longer. She totally rolled with it, no biggie, who knew?!
DD3 was a get-in-get-out-got-my-calories kind of nurser. Full feedings in 5 minutes flat. First time I had a child who waited a few hours between feedings. Great, right? Except I weaned her a few months ago, right before her second birthday, and she is still obsessed. Still asks, sticks her hand down my shirt ALL THE TIME. In retrospect, I think she sensed my feelings of being "over" nursing and stepped up her own need. Then, at her most desperate, I cut her off. I wish I had taken more time to do it more casually. I tried to let her one more time a month or so ago, but it was really weird and not pleasant or warm- just desperate and skeevy. That was so sad!
Moral of the story, she may sense your feelings and feel you pushing her away a little and that is encouraging the desperate, hang-on-for-dear-life nursing that is further encouraging the "over it" feelings you are having.
Good luck and no matter what, you have done a fantastic job providing for her needs! She is a lucky girl and she will be just fine.

PS- So glad you are back!

Anna

At 22 months my second daughter still wanted to nurse several times a day. At some point I just needed to reclaim my body, and I decided that she would have to quit-cold turkey. I told her and did not let her nurse any more. There was a rocky week, but then she accepted it. I nursed my two daughters for a total of three years, and co-sleeped with both. No, I am not a hippie, just another working mom.

cass

I weaned my twins at 28 months for a business trip, but we were down to just nap and night nursing by that point, and they'd go down fine without milk if someone else put them down, so I knew they'd be able to do it. Leading up to that, I started with a "don't offer don't refuse" approach, but had to transition to "sometimes refuse" and then "set limits". Near the end, I'd tell them they could nurse for the count of 10 (or some such) and pace my counting depending on how I was feeling. I was sad to have had to wean them instead of letting them self-wean, but it worked out pretty smoothly. Although in this rough 3.5 year old patch I've had moments where I wished I could just offer a boob to calm everyone down. Alas, no.

Erika

My story is remarkably like yours (in the beginning, complete w/ drugs from Vanuatu after I'd gone back to work & needed to pump). I was so glad I stuck it out, b/c my daughter loved it, and it was a great experience--and really helped w/ toddlerhood. She continued to nurse until she was 3 yrs, 9 months (and about 5 days). Finally the milk wasn't there, and in fact it was her decision to stop--she said "no more milk," popped off, and that was it. We'd been down to just bedtime for awhile, and before that we'd just done morning/bedtime. Unfortunately, I don't really really have any good advice--I'd been ready to stop for awhile, b/c she was beginning to forget how, and I didn't like the feeling. I think I was able to get her to stop nursing in public after about 2 1/2, just by saying no, not right now--but I just don't remember anymore. Mostly, I wanted to let you know that you're not a freak, and there are lots of people who bf longer than average. I did find the bf'ing forums at Mothering.com helpful, since there are plenty of extended bf-ers there. http://bit.ly/cFT0UG Ignore all the other AP/natural family stuff if that's not your thing. (I personally try to ignore any mention of vaccinations there--but I work in public health, so it's kind of a thing).

Jen

I weaned my son at 18 months because I was going on a business trip, and I thought it was about time for us. For us, it was a long, gradual process, and I think the fact that we did it slowly helped both of us tremendously. I posted about our nightweaning here: http://fertilitynow.typepad.com/fertility_now_/2007/08/nightweaning.html and our slightly unorthodox use of Muppet videos on Youtube to get us through those difficult first few nurse-free days: http://fertilitynow.typepad.com/fertility_now_/2007/09/done.html.

I'm so glad that after a rough start, breastfeeding turned into something that brought you such happiness. Best of luck on transitioning into the next phase.

coach purses

When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.

Jane

just found your blog again and wanted to say, Welcome back, I missed you and your sassy observations!

Jane

Heather

I'm so happy you're back...I'd pretty much given up, and then I thought...I'll check just one more time ! yay !
But beyond that, so awesome that you are still nursing.
I started my nursing journey kind of kicking and screaming. I really didn't want to do it, but I believed it was the best thing to do, and I began my pregnancy in a Nazi-breastfeeding state and truly did not think there was any other option- giving up never crossed my mind.
So I thought, oka, let's make it to six weeks...then six months, theny hey, let's just do it the whoel first year.
Then we moved to Europe, and while my American friends were all bottle feeding or weaning by six months, those Europeans were much more liberal with breastfeeding and they are glad to remind you that WHO says at least 2 years of breastfeeding...and holy heck, that's what I did, until one day child #1 just didn't want to do it anymore. It took a little bit of coaxing, as in, not letting him do it just because he was bored kind of thing ( and a few car rides to nap instead of boob), but he was just done.
child #2... I thought she'd wean earlier, then she had a horrible accident at 2, and well, mommy milk is awesome pain killer in between doses of codein... so she made it to 2.5.
So far, the littlest squirt has made it to a year...my husband fears she won't wean until she's pubescent. But you know, my kids are all very healthy, very bonded, and I am so so glad that when number 2 got hurt so badly, I had something like that to give her...it makes that whole "old enough to ask for it, too old" thing seem very stupid, because in a moment like that you see that 2 is still very much a baby. Good For You !!!!

A

You're back huh?

Gina

I saw another blogger comment that you were blogging again and welcome back! I read your blog for years, but I don't think I ever commented as I was rather blog-shy. Congratulations on your beautiful daughters.

I weaned my older son just after he turned 3. Like your Bo, he was, shall we say, an avid nurser. I would say that he actually got more attached to nursing as he was between 18 months - 2.5 years (although he nursed a lot less - but loved it even more it seems). I nursed through being pregnant with his little brother, but around age 3 I was ready to be done nursing him - it was becoming a power struggle to some extent. Our weaning story is here:

http://www.mendolo.com/2010/01/01/the-end-of-an-era/

It went amazingly smoothly (I think a sign that we we both ready for it.) He still remembers nursing (although never asks to do so) and will speak of it fondly which makes me really happy. In the end, the advice that I give other mother is to nurse "as long as it is working (physically and emotionally)" for you and the child.

And it is awesome that you succeeded at nursing after a rough start and while taking care of a toddler/preschooler at the same time!

Jeanne

I weaned my kids both around a year... no advice really, but I definitely encouraged them to eat/drink other things and sought other forms of comfort. Bottom line... if you are ready to be done then don't feel guilty about giving her the nudge, if you want to keep nursing, do that. Either is fine, for everyone.

But really what I want to say is glad you're back... I was a reader from the good old days when I too was doing the infertile thing.

Now I also have a 4.5 yr old and a 2 yr old, so I can't wait to hear your story again!

You were always one of the best writers around the IF block. Welcome home.

Laura

First.. Welcome BACK! I had no idea you were blogging again (clearly, by my delayed comment)... I'm so happy to see that you and the girls are doing well. They are both so grown up and so beautiful!

My daughter turns three next month and she's still nursing. She's my fifth baby.

I had my first (now 20) back in 1990. He nursed to 20 months and I was QUITE the freak back then. My 2nd (now 17) broke my heart when he self-weaned at 13 months. My next two were twins.. they weaned at 27 and 30 months.

I encouraged my first son to wean due to the social stigma back then. The twins pretty much self-weaned but I wasn't discouraging it. I was WORN OUT!

I know my DD (my only girl) is my last and it will be a little sad when she weans but I am ready. She's pretty much down to morning and night unless she's hurt or needs comfort. I no longer NIP.. I think she's plenty old enough to wait.. but if there came a time that I HAD to because she really needed it, I would.

I know someday she'll wean and those days will be gone forever. I'm trying to enjoy the end of her babyhood.. I know I'll miss it when it's gone (but dang my boobs hurt!)

Not sure if anyone else posted this but it's an interesting read:

http://www.kidcityny.com/breastfeeding-in-the-land-of-genghis-khan/

Laura

I forgot to say KUDOS to you for all that you went through to nurse that baby! I can't imagine having the tenacity to stick it out the way you did! WTG!

Rebekah

I've just now come across your blog again! I hate to admit it, but after almost a year, I gave up on you coming back. I got pregnant when you were pregnant with Bo. I loved being pregnant with you!
I thought I would definitely be nursing my son until he was at least two. He was like Bo, nursing all the time. Weaning him was very very gradual, over the course of several months. First, I night weaned him (which was hard because we co-slept). Then I wouldn't nurse him at certain times of the day. He would get mad, and sometimes refused to be distracted by anything else, but I just acted like my boobs didn't work. There were many fits, and it was hard. But that's how I eventually got him to nurse less and less. I wasn't actually trying to wean him. I just wanted him to nurse less because I started feeling kind of like a dog. It sounds terrible, but that's how I felt. So my aim wasn't to wean him, but to kind of harness our nursing relationship, so I didn't feel so abused by it, I guess.
Then when my husband and I decided to go to the RE to try and get knocked up again, the Dr said I needed to stop breastfeeding to lessen the chance of miscarriage if pregnancy was achieved. We were down to nursing two or three times a day (which seemed like so little!), and I just stopped nursing him. When he asked for it, I told him it was all gone. Not easy, but somehow possible.
The engorgement will be probably the biggest resolve breaker in weaning. When your boobs are like rocks and you know that your kid can make all the pain go away, and you'll both be cuddled together in mother/cherub bliss, it's so hard not to nurse. The only thing that helped me was cabbage leaves on my boobs. Take them straight out of the fridge and break the veins in the leaves and just stick them on your boobs in your bra. Make sure you use enough leaves to cover all the boobage. Change them as often as you like. Also, wrapping your chest tightly with an ACE bandage can help, too. These two things helped me more than pain drugs, by far. You will smell like cooked cabbage, but only you can smell it (that didn't stop my husband from calling me "Old Cabbage Tits", though).
Now that I have rambled quite enough, welcome back! It's wonderful to read your blog again, and I hope some of the above assvice will help.

Callie

It sounds like we had very similar nursing experiences. Cash was a big baby from the start, weighing in at 9 ½ pounds, and it felt like he did nothing but nurse. When we had our follow-up home visit from the hospital nurse, she was concerned that he wasn’t gaining enough weight, which began an awful spiral of badgering phone calls and requests for weight checks, finally stopped by the pediatrician who said “Your baby is not dehydrated, he’s gaining weight – just slowly. He’s fine.” Thank God for that man. And now here we are at 25 months, still going. Oh, how I would love to find those nurses and show them my 36-pound, still nursing 2-year-old and say “See? This is the kid you were worried about not gaining weight.” Anyway, glad you made it through. Before Cash was born, I had a very lackadaisical attitude about nursing. If it worked, fine, if it didn’t, I’d give him a bottle. But all that changed after he was here in my arms and I wanted nothing more than to breastfeed him and felt like the ultimate mom failure when I thought it wasn’t working out. (This does not mean I think formula-feeding moms are failures, that’s just how I felt about myself.) Anyway, all that to say, I hear you. I have no immediate plans to try to wean him because I know he’s going to pull a Charlton Heston, all “You can have the boob when you take it from my cold, dead hands” and I’m just not up for the fight. :)

kellie

I weaned my son at 4, lol I'm soooo not good with weaning advice, my son from birth to 1year old (when I went back to work Gotta love Canada's maternity leave) nursed every 45 minutes I guess, he was a nursing machine he liked it laying down also he played with the nipple of the other boob and never asked for it just grabbed at my shirt. After a year and when I went back to work he nursed in the morning, and alllllll night long to make up for the day I guess. At four he was nursing in the am and pm. I finally said "your going to school time for the booby to stop" he said ok and that was it lol.

My oldes daughter self weened at 8 mths she didn't mind a bottle or baby food was the most easy going kid around. Shes 12 and very stubborn and set in her ways...

My son as stated above was done at 4, never ever took a bottle or formula or baby food went right to table food. He was a fussy needy baby who only wanted mommy.
He's now the most easy going , funny and light hearted 9 year old around.

I think the baby stops when they are done, I'd leave it, Bo will most likely will leave it when she's ready.

Note I too was a weekend milk spigot lol all day and night long...

Just watch for tooth decay B ended up with bottle mouth who wouldn't he was a all night nurser.

Cheers!

DKM

I just found you via Tertia's link - you have a beautiful family. I thought I would share my weaning story since I remember desperately searching for them when I was nursing my over 2 year old. My first son and I had a great nursing relationship - he LOVED nursing and nursed to sleep every night. After I went back to work, I pumped and he nursed exclusively until a year old (correction - he had solids, but no other milk source). When he started drinking cow's milk during the day, I stopped pumping at work and gradually weaned him from day time nursing (which was relatively easy since he was used to drinking from a cup while I was at work), though I continued to nurse him down for a nap as needed, at bedtime, and in the morning. He loved nursing to sleep and when he woke up (I remember finally starting to watch the clock and cutting him off after 40 (FORTY!) minutes of nursing) and that continued well past his first birthday. At 18 months, we decided to try for another child (my period returned when he daytime weaned around a year old). I continued nighttime/morning nursing + occasionally naptime, thinking that if I got pregnant, he would wean himself. Well, 6 months later, no pregnancy (now he's two!) 9 months later, no pregnancy. I finally go to a doctor and she wants to put me on clomid, but I am nursing and won't take clomid and nurse. So I decided that when he turns 2.5, we will stop nursing. We plan a half birthday celebration, complete with cake and presents and start talking about how after he is 2.5, no more ba-ba (that is what he called it). We talk about it for 3 months and on his 2.5 birthday, we sing, have cake, open a present and remind him - no more ba-ba. Can I say, he was fine? He whimpered ever so slightly, but I sang to him and patted his back and he went to sleep. The next day, I sang and patted his back and he was happy. the next day his dad put him to bed (something he rarely did when I was nursing him to sleep) - he read him some stories, shut out the light and walked out - there were no tears, and he was asleep within 2 minutes. He had no problem transitioning from nursing to sleep to putting himself to sleep and after the first day he never asked again.

Fast forward to today - I have another son, now 19 months old (born via IVF since it turns out my tubes were blocked). He just self-weaned due to a combination of the fact that I am pregnant, I left town for a few days and then he had coxsackie (throat sores and all) and he just wasn't getting much milk and suffering for it. I am so sad that our nursing relationship has ended so soon! But now I rock him to sleep and it is lovely too and I look forward to nursing #3. P.S. - this pregnancy was unexpected as I was infertile per my previous experience. Turns out blocked tubes can clear themselves, I guess. We are so blessed.

Sorry for the long post!

Kristin

I am in the process of weaning my 13 month old daughter. I plan to do it slowly, over a period of months. She hasn't nursed at night for a few months, so that part is already taken care of, thankfully.

In the last few weeks we've gone from about 8 times a day to 4 or 5. I give her a cup with cow's milk to replace the nursing sessions we've dropped. We've kept the first one in the morning, right before nap, after dinner and before bed. I will try to transition out the before nap and after dinner in the next few weeks.

I don't mind keeping it at morning and before bed for awhile longer, but my goal is to be able to get through the day without nursing or pumping while at work. So far it's working well. It took her a few weeks to get that the cup was something more than just for sipping once in awhile, but now she drinks it down.

My son (now 3.5) was weaned in a weekend, at 10 months old. It was pretty horrible. He just would NOT stop biting me. I put up with it for weeks, with bleeding nipples and frantic calls to my friend, a lactation consultant. I tried everything and then just gave up because nothing made him stop. So, I had a very physically painful weekend until my milk dried up, but he didn't care a bit. He never once tried to nurse after I made the decision to stop. So I guess he was ready! Biting should maybe have been a clue.

Good luck!

Nelba

I've nursed my first son until he was well over 4 and it looks like it's going to be the same for my second son who has just turned 3. Weaning kind of just happened for the first one. He gradually let go of it even though I wasn't suggesting that he stops. If other people have a problem with the idea of my kids asking to nurse, then that's their problem, not mine..

Ev

I know this is a late comment, but I wanted to say I just found your blog and I love it!

My daughter nursed until 15 months. I weaned her b/c I wanted to get pregnant again. The process was pretty easy, she was just as happy munching on cheerios as she was nursing. I, on the other hand, was pretty devastated and vowed to nurse my next kid for as long as s/he wanted.

So, my son came along and I stopped pumping after 12 months. (I am an OB/GYN and work long hours, so had to pump. I hate pumping!!) I continued to let him breastfeed. His nursing seemed to only crank up and he ended up nursing until he was 2 years and 1 day old. I just couldn't handle his high demand for breastfeeding anymore and I had to stop to keep my sanity. My husband totally encouraged it so that he wouldn't have to deal with any of my son's tantrums. I prep the kid for the few weeks prior to, let him enjoy the heck out of my boobs on his second birthday. I cut him off cold turkey the next day. Cruel, I know, but he was a junkie, and it had to be done. It was a rough few weeks though.

I am now pumping/nursing my 9 month old son. I can't wait to stop pumping, but I'll continue to let him nurse for as long BOTH he and I are happy with the arrangement.

Kate (Bee In The Bonnet)

Just wanted to thank you for posting this, as I sit here in my third consecutive hour nursing my two-month-old twins, shooting Nystatin in their mouths (and smearing it hither and yon on my nipples), wiping their (frequent and copious) barfys off of my belly, reeking of sour milk and sweat because they cannot separate from me long enough for me to shower, etc., and they can't/don't want to be anywhere except pressed with their hot little bodies up against mine...

Just nice to know that eventually the relationship evens out or at least gets a bit easier. My pediatrician (and all my mom friends, etc.) keep referencing a "growth spurt" in regards to their once-an-hour nursing preference, and I just have to wonder if they have been having this "growth spurt" for the last 5-6 weeks, 'cos that just doesn't seem probable...

Midlife Mommy

I always thought extended breast feeding was just plain weird. When a good friend of mine told me she weaned just before her daughter's fourth birthday, I thought "no way would I ever do that."

I believe that breast is best, where possible, and I also believe in child-led weaning. And then time goes on, and before you know it, your child is FIVE before she decides she's done, as mine did. Peacefully. A job well done. No stress. No regrets.

It's amazing to me how much pressure there is to breast feed, but it is apparently only "allowed" in many people's minds for twelve months, at which point the pressure becomes equally great to stop. I swear, a group of my mother's friends cornered me AT THE FUNERAL HOME AFTER SHE DIED to inquire if I was still doing THAT. Seriously poor taste.

And then there were the multiple pediatric dentists who blamed me for my child's cavities. Or the doctors who didn't want to be bothered looking up a compatible drug ("can't you just stop for a week or so?").

Still makes me want to scream.

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