Advice for weaning a toddler? - - x-posted

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Advice for weaning a toddler? - - x-posted

This is cross-posted to the Everything Breastfeeding area.

So, I have Mastitis for the FOURTH time. Sigh... I'm sure it's because I was sick Monday, then my daughter was sick Monday night/Tuesday, so I didn't get great sleep or as much liquid intake as I should have, entirely beyond my control. I hate having to take antibiotics so much! This is my 6th time since little man was born. (I had bronchitis at his birth, and then got a bladder infection a while ago, so that with the four bouts of mastitis makes six.) I cannot keep taking antibiotics, it's not good for me I know. So I think I have to start weaning him.

I have been nursing my little guy just first thing in the morning and right before bed. He is almost 18 months old now, so I do feel very proud of accomplishing that length of time. But stopping is going to be tough on both of us. That nurse first thing in the morning wakes him up and seems to perk him up. The one before bed means I can lay him down awake and happy in his crib, and I don't hear a peep out of him generally, right through until morning. He sleeps about 11 hours straight. I don't think the length of time will really change, but the happy boy going to bed will! It will break my heart to hear him ask for 'num-nums?' and have to say no... Sad

Does anyone have any advice as to the best way to do this? One thought I had was to try first to change the order of his bedtime routine so that I nurse him first but in our room, and then either one of us reads him some stories in his chair where we usually nurse in his room. For nap time the routine is a couple of stories in his chair and bed, which is why I think it might work. My hope is that he'll then associate the books with bed instead of the nurse, and then dropping the nurse won't be so traumatic...but I don't know.

My daughter has an attachment toy that is very important to her, but she never really nursed, I had to EP (and managed to get enough milk for her for a year). With her we just had to cut out a bottle before bed, but she had her Lion, so I think that helped. Little man has no attachment toy. I am worried his comfort is me, and without it...I don't know. Emotional Mom here!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

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What did you end up doing???

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I'm a little late to this one. Weaning may have been easier for me because I was pregnant and had no milk left so he was just comfort nursing, but I knew with my previous preterm labor issues I wanted him weaned before I got too far along. The morning nursing was easy to cut out for us. We're so busy in the morning I'd just get him out of his crib and bring him straight into the kitchen for milk and breakfast with his big sisters. We had a few tough nights but it really wasn't as bad as I had been expecting since we had been slowly cutting back anyways. I knew the night before we stopped that that would be the last time I offered (3/17) and so I really soaked it up, but we didn't have that hard of a time. Hope it went/goes smoothly for you too.

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Well...I haven't stopped at all, lol, still nursing twice a day. He went through a tough time with sleeping - - I think it was a developmental stage or something - - where he would cry after I put him down to bed at night, which he hadn't done for months. This went on for a couple of months, and only in the last week or so has he FINALLY gone back to letting me leave the room at night without any fuss. I had read that the best thing to do for getting through these stages was to keep the bedtime routine the same...so I didn't want to change anything.

Anyway, I'm back to where I was. Getting rid of the morning session would be easier if I didn't have to get him up so early before I go to work. The morning nurse helps him wake up slowly and happily - - kind of like his own morning coffee, lol. Sometimes he seems to nurse less, so maybe he is on his way to stopping on his own. For now I am back to playing it by ear.

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Ha. I'm right there with you...I just can't seem to give it up, quite yet. Only 2x per day here...maybe we can drop one of those sometime soon.

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Liz, I'd love it if you could keep me posted via this thread about what you do, especially since we're at the same point with little ones the same age. It would help me a lot to keep in contact with someone going through the same thing. If you end up dropping a session, I'd love to know which one and how it goes! I'll keep this thread updated when I make any changes too. Smile

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Hang in there ladies Smile With my son, I went back and forth so many times. Trust me, you'll know when you're ready to cut back or be done. If you're still feeling wishy washy about it, keep at it. Once you feel totally worn out - that's when it will be worth it to you to do the tough job of cutting back. I'm glad you guys are still going!! Yay for you. :kaos3:

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Carrie - It's funny - I think I want to stop, but I don't know if I really do, quite yet.

We just sold our house yesterday and are now in corporate housing for the next 30+ days, until we move to our new house - I'm thinking with so much going on, I should just keep at it for now and re-evaluate once we get settled!

Ontario Gal (Stephanie) - lets definitely keep in touch via this thread...

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oh darn, i was hoping for some magic tidbit in this thread that would tell me what to do with my nursing toddler!

DD is 27 months old and i'm tandem nursing her and baby brother who is 11 weeks old.

personally, i'm totally ok with her continuing to nurse for however long.... BUT her latch is getting bad. i'd say half the times she wants to nurse (and i NEVER offer anymore she always asks) i have to stop her because it hurts! usually she'll ask for the other side, so i reposition her and hope that its just an angle thing, but its not. Whats really funny is that DS sleeps in his crib, in the kids room, 9 hrs straight most nights. DD still sleeps with us, and wakes about twice a night. just shows you how different these 2 are!

i've noticed that the more full/engorged i am, the worse her latch is and the more it hurts. and when she does nurse, i'd say a good half the time she's trying NOT to really get milk, just wants to suck.

i hope that she is ready to wean soon because i'm getting sick of telling her NO in the middle of the night when i'm full (but she's going back to sleep with less fight lately!) and even more sick of making her stop once she's tried both sides and is still hurting me Sad

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Anything new to report, ladies? Still going strong here (2x/day). Interestingly enough, this morning I went for a run before I nursed Mady - she wanted milk when I got home, so I got her situated, she latched on, and then wanted NOTHING to do with it! Perhaps mommy was a little salty?? Smile

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Lol, I'm still going strong at 2x a day here too. That is interesting about her not being interested after you ran - - maybe she doesn't like 'milk shakes', LOL.

Not really sure if I'm seeing any signs of him being ready to make any changes. I will be taking a couple of weeks off work in the summer, so I'm thinking of seeing if I can get him interested in playing rather than nursing first thing at that time, if nothing has changed by then. But we'll see what happens.

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LIZ - I have an update! Yesterday I went to nurse the little guy in the morning as usual, and his sister woke up while I was just about to start. He immediately squirmed off and wanted to play, and when I asked him if he wanted to nurse he said no. I asked a couple more times, and since he seemed quite sure I just pumped. Then this morning I decided to see what happened, and didn't ask him about it, just got him interested in playing. He didn't seem to have any interest in nursing this morning either, so I just pumped again.

I am going to give it a little while longer before I decide to completely cut out the morning session, but if this continues we may just be down to once a day (at night)! I will continue to keep you posted. I'm glad it seems to be his own initiative. Smile

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My DD hasnt been nursing as much, she's gone down after just a moment or 2 of nursing (bad latch again, so i stop her after just a few minutes) or only asked if she was really over tired lately too.

it was inconvenient that in the middle of the night when i was full and didnt want to get up and pump she fell asleep after like 2 swallows.

i'm quite certain that after her molars come in she'll be done, and those 2 yr molers have been killing me for like 4 months now!

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Ouch on the molars! I hope they're all done soon!!!

Today was day 6 of no nursing in the morning. Today was the first of those 6 days that he did ask about it, but let it go without getting upset at all. I stopped pumping in the morning too, so I am pretty much officially down to once a day - - the right before bed one. I'll just follow his lead on that too. I expect that one will last much longer. I'd love to be done nursing before my brother's wedding at the end of July, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Wow Stephanie! That is a big update! Are you good with the dropping of the am? Mady usually wakes up around 5:30 and comes to bed with me for another 30-45 minutes - she immediately starts asking for milk at that time. Then again, it is so easy to just nurse her while I lay there! Smile
I've decided that 2 years is my absolute limit, so I've got four months to wean her...

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So it's gone really well Liz! I have to say, the thing that made the big difference was getting up and going straight to playing - - which is not so easy at 5:30, lol. Maybe you could try to interest her in a book or something - - have a little Mummy-daughter reading time instead?

I'm totally with you - - really thinking I'd like to be done by 2. I'm hoping that what will help me when I decide to cut out the evening nurse is the way he goes down for naps now. We read him a couple of books in the same chair I nurse him in at night, and then lay him into his bed. So I'm hoping that having a similar routine for bedtime will help him not miss the evening nurse so much. Still, I can't see doing that for a little while. He doesn't seem ready to give it up yet.

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By the way - I just saw that you are still pumping??? Wow! My pump is long gone. Are you just trying to keep up supply?

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When I first stopped the morning nursing session I kept it up with pumping just in case he wasn't truly ready to stop it. But after a handful of days I felt more confident that the morning session was done, so I have since stopped pumping.

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Just got here a little late! Smile

Looks like you're having some success with dropping your morning nursing.. WTG!! I've been trying too but to no avail. Grady is now 25 months and nursing 3x a day still. Morning, nap and bedtime. I don't offer, but those naptime and bedtime routines are pretty ingrained, so I really don't know how I'll ever stop. My other two weaned themselves around 19 months, so this is a first for me. He IS nursing for shorter times though, so I'm hoping that's a sign that he's slowing down?

I feel a little torn too on whether I want it all to end. He's my 3rd and last baby, so in a sense I don't mind holding onto his babydom.. but I'd love to be down to just once a day at bedtime by this point. Those morning nurses are inconvenient with how busy I am.. but he's pretty insistent most mornings. I do try to whisk him to the kitchen, get him interested in a toy, playing etc.. but the minute he sees me that's all he wants. DH is busy running out the door in the mornings, so mostly doesn't have time to get him.

I'll probably be one of those moms with a nursing 5 year old! lol

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you have plenty of time to drop those sessions before he's 5! especially since lots of kids drop the nap before then too Smile

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Kirsten, I totally hear you on the mixed feelings. It will be nice to actually not be tied to him in the evenings anymore - - whenever that actually happens - - but at the same time we are done having kids too, so it's my last time in life to nurse. I like that comforting time with him, and he goes down to sleep without any complaints.

I am very lucky that we nixed the before-nap session a while ago. I think I nursed him after nap longer than I did before. I think we did that so my husband could be the one to put him to sleep sometimes. I am hoping that it will help me when I do decide to stop nursing, because we can go to the before-nap bedtime routine of reading books instead of nursing. But, like you, I really can't see this ending anytime soon. It is very ingrained in his bedtime routine, and he really insists on it. I like that when he's done I can lay him still awake but sleepy into bed, and, unless he's out of sorts, he generally goes to sleep without any fuss.

Keep us posted on this thread with your experiences too. I'll be very curious to hear how/when you end up dropping sessions.

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So, I've been trying to keep moving in the mornings and give Mady "daddy" milk (sippy with strawberry milk inside) instead of nursing. Two days so far and no issues! We'll see how it goes. I can't even imagine dropping the evening session - how in the heck will we get her to sleep...one thing at a time, I guess. Any update out there?

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nice work on the substitution of "daddy milk". That is too cute. Katie still nurses about 6x a day... and about 2-3x at night. I need to be more vigilant about cutting back/distracting her during the day because by the end of August I need to go back to work without pumping (and without exploding.) I think when we are busy and outside she forgets about it... but this week it's 90+ every day! Smile Maybe next week....

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Well done with the Daddy Milk, I love it! I'm still doing just the evening session, but I totally agree, how on earth am I going to drop that one?? No clue. Oh well, I'll probably miss it when it's done, so for now I'll just enjoy it.

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Day three was successful, although she asked for mommy milk when I got back from my run. I just told her she could have some daddy milk instead and could have mommy milk tonight. She seemed fine with it!

AND - day four is a success as well!!! Smile

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Yay Liz!! At this point I think you are safe to say you've made it to one nursing session. Woo-hoo! Matteo only very rarely asks for 'num-nums' in the morning anymore, and when he does he's very easily distracted from it.

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Good to know, Stephanie! This weekend will definitely be a challenge. Mady and I are flying to Greenville, SC (just the two of us) to celebrate my grandmother's 100 birthday. We'll probably co-sleep in the bed and I won't be able to necessarily get up and get moving right off the bat, but we'll work through it regardless! Smile

Carrie - I just re-read your post...2-3x over night? Poor momma!!

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Morgan is almost 14 months and is still nursing 3X during the day and 1X at night. I just got her down from 2-3X per night a couple weeks ago. It has been a rough transition and she often doesn't go back to sleep easily after waking up the second or third time. I got more sleep when I was nursing her 2-3 times per night....lol. She is close to only nursing morning and before bed for her daytime feedings. She is just too busy playing during the day and doesn't really ask for it. She really likes the morning, before bed, and middle of the night feeding. My goal is to get her down to morning and before bed fairly soon and roll with that for awhile. She is my last and definitely my most attached to nursing.

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I am loving this thread. I am still nursing my 15 month old 4 x a day and 2 x at night. I am not ready to wean but i would like to be done before she is 2. She is my 3 and last baby as well so i am just going to enjoy it for now. I love all the info you ladies are giving us. I am so worried about weaning when i finally decide its time and i want it to be mostly on her terms.

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"TB34" wrote:

Carrie - I just re-read your post...2-3x over night? Poor momma!!

Ha ha. At least during the summer I'm home and we can sleep in a little (we usually stay in bed until 7:00 or 7:30) where as during the school year Everyone gets up at 6:00 to get ready to go to daycare and work.

My son was a bad sleeper, but at this point he only woke about 1x a night. I'm at a loss of what to do other than be patient. She sleeps in her crib until 1-3am and then when she cries I bring her in with us, since that's the only way I get any sleep. If I try to put her back down, the moment I break physical contact she starts screaming. :rolleyes:

Someday she'll be 14 and she'll want to pretend I don't exist... so she's a little clingy now, I just try to be patient.

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Someday she'll be 14 and she'll want to pretend I don't exist... so she's a little clingy now, I just try to be patient.[/QUOTE]

I say this all the time about all 3 of mine

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"mommycarrie" wrote:

Ha ha. At least during the summer I'm home and we can sleep in a little (we usually stay in bed until 7:00 or 7:30) where as during the school year Everyone gets up at 6:00 to get ready to go to daycare and work.

My son was a bad sleeper, but at this point he only woke about 1x a night. I'm at a loss of what to do other than be patient. She sleeps in her crib until 1-3am and then when she cries I bring her in with us, since that's the only way I get any sleep. If I try to put her back down, the moment I break physical contact she starts screaming. :rolleyes:

Someday she'll be 14 and she'll want to pretend I don't exist... so she's a little clingy now, I just try to be patient.

Sounds like us here. My other two were sleeping STTN at 11 months. Morgan sleeps in her crib until 12 or 1 am and then I bring her into bed. I will say that it has not been easy for me since I don't deal well with sleep deprivation. I, too, try and think that it is not forever. Since she is our last, I try and cherish the clingy moments Biggrin

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I think it is *safe* to say we are down to one session per day! Almost two weeks of no am nursing and no problems yet!

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:woohoo: congrats. Once a day is a beautiful thing. Biggrin I found with DS, as I cut back sessions, I felt less *demanded* of me, and I enjoyed that feeling. It made me willing to keep nursing longer if I knew that there were limits.

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Two days running with no nursing whatsoever. Last night we read, and had snuggles, but she didn't even ask for milk. Could this be the end? I have to admit, I have somewhat mixed feelings. 22.5 months has been an amazing accomplishment for us, and I really do want to stop by the time she is two..., but still...I guess we'll see what happens this weekend.

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Nice work Liz! Smile I will say, at the end there were times when Drew would skip days nursing, and then want to again. (and he didn't care about the lack of milk) Even when I was ready for him to wean, it was still bittersweet. I cried even though it was what I wanted.

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Oh wow Liz, just saw this now! Are you done? Part of me is jealous, and the other part is not ready to wean him, lol. Curious to hear how the weekend went for you!!!

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Well, we went all weekend without nursing. She asked once - at nap time on Saturday, but I just said milk all gone and she was fine. My husband thinks I'm a little nutty, since I've been so conflicted about this. As ready as I am to be done, I'm still mourning ending this stage with Mady. But, I feel really good about how things ended - I don't think it has been upsetting to her in the least! At night now, we sit side by side in the rocking chair (instead of her sitting on top of the boppy in my lap) and we read a few books, then I turn out the out light and put her on my lap for snuggles. I'll still lurk here, if that is ok with you ladies! Smile

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Aww...I hope my nursing ends as well as yours did!!! Sounds perfect. I totally get being conflicted, so while your hubby may not be able to understand (mine is and will be the same, lol) there are lots of us out here who do!! Congratulations on such a successful finish to such a successful nursing stage. Very happy for you. Smile

And yes, keep lurking please! When I get to that point I'll want to tell you about it. Smile

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Congrats on such a wonderfully calm ending! (When I did choose to wean Drew he was quite attached and there were definitely tears) We'd love to have you stay and offer your sage advice Smile

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Ok, I know you girls will understand - I'm doing don't offer don't refuse for naps and bedtime (and refusing/distracting other times which she handles fine) but she still almost always asks to nurse at naptime and bedtime.

Today at naptime - she DIDN'T ask to nurse. :cry: So we didn't nurse, because she was content to just rock in the chair without it. It makes me happy AND it makes me sad too.

Lastly, why can't she drop the middle of the night sessions that I really really really really want her to drop, but she CAN drop the sweet pre-nap session that is the one I like :rolleyes:

Just had to mention it to someone who would understand the predicament. THanks!

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Bittersweet, huh? Hopefully, if she continues down this path, the middle of the night one is next! Smile

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so how do you do bedtime routine w/o nursing? We are down to about the same. I always offer before naptime and bedtime, and sometimes at naptime it is very short nursing because they want to get down and play, but oh well, they still go to bed. and I am working on cutting out the first wake up in the morning and first wakeup from nap nursings as well.... I refuse most days, but somedays give in, depending on what kind of a day they are having, but maybe that sends mixed messages? IDK. But the before sleeping nursings are hard, because that is our routine, sit in the thinking chair (a child's blue's clues chair) and nurse and go to bed (turn on fishy music--fp aquarium thing) and lights off and say we are going to sleep, but the real routine is nurse and then sleep).... so anyhow... any tips for me?

I would LOVE to cut out those middle of the night nursings too... someday! lol

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With DS, we cut out the bedtime nursing by first making it NOT the last thing we did at night. We would nurse without him falling asleep - lights on, etc. and then rock or sing to sleep instead. That way we weren't ending the nursing session completely, and he got used to rocking to sleep instead. Then, when I cut out the bedtime session we still had a routine of book, sing/rock to sleep, so we were only ending one part of the nighttime routine, not the main deal.

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I was terrified about cutting out the before bed nursing (which was the last one we kept) - however, it ended up being a non-event. Previously, I'd put the boppy on my lap and Mady would sit on the boppy while we read a story and then she would nurse. I started putting her in the rocking chair next to me with no boppy while we read a story and then just cuddling. It went incredibly smoothly - this was at 22.5 months - not a single tear shed! Smile

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Ah.. I guess we will work on that.. switching it up a bit, thanks for the ideas. I guess we'll nurse with the lights on and add in a story time, then lights out and snuggle for bed.. no rocker in their room. Smile

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Just thought I'd update that we are stiiiiiiiiiill nursing over here. It's still just the one time before bed, part of his bedtime routine. I have all along planned to let him tell me he's done, but he's such a routine toddler that part of me wonders if he only is continuing because it is such a routine?

I have played with the idea of using the switch from crib to bed as a good opportunity to change the routine, but I'm also dreading the idea of how he'll react to the initial change, and he doesn't really need to change from crib to bed yet.

For now I figure that with cold and flu season upon us it doesn't hurt for him to continue nursing a bit longer. But I am finding that when the rare nights come where it really isn't convenient, I get very stressed out. For example, we are going to a wedding this Saturday, so he'll be put to bed by my friend without any nursing that night. He's been put down for nap time by her before, and nap time routine doesn't involve any nursing (he gets to snuggle in the rocking chair with a couple books instead), so I am hoping that will help. But I still will stress about it (actually have been stressing about it for a while now!!), and I know that once he's done nursing these nights won't bother me as much for him to be put to bed by someone else.

Anyway, that's what's happening with us!

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I feel the same way. We are still nursing for nap and bed here at almost 19 months. I am always the one to put her down for her nap and bed. My problem is that she wakes up a few times in the middle of the night to nurse as well. I like to go out once a month with my dh and i always feel a little panic that she will wake up. No one understands this and they all tell me she is 19 months old and should be sleeping through the night. I understand how you feel about not nursing him for bed. Let us know how it goes. I plan on nursing her as long as she wants so i have no advise on weaning but i would LOVE her to sleep through the night with out nursing sometime soon.

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Stephanie - you are a superstar! You are right that it may just be routine more than anything, but I absolutely agree that if you made it this far, continuing through cold and flu season makes so much sense. Smile

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So Liz, not sure if you come on here anymore but thought you and whoever else was following this might like an update. We haven't completely quit nursing over here - - yup, little dude is 2 1/2! - - but I feel much more free, as we are down to every OTHER night. So one night DH puts him down, no nursing, and the other night I do, and we nurse as part of the routine. For the most part this seems to be working, as long as the little guy doesn't get it into his head that it's Mommy's turn when it's Daddy's. So we try and have Daddy sitting ready in the chair, and that seems to work. I think I could probably quit anytime now, but since he's still more than happy to nurse on the days where I put him down, since the Spring is still a time for colds and flus, and since I DO have nights off if I want to do something in the evening, I haven't been in a big rush. We shall see, but I definitely want to stop before he's three!

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Joined: 05/23/07
Posts: 88

Hi Stephanie! I haven't logged on here in forever, but when I read your post, I had to dredge up my password!! You are awesome for making it this long - I'm so glad that you are able to continue to nurse your son and still have the freedom you need to make it a good experience for both of you! It is funny - I haven't nursed Mady in 6+ months, but occasionally, she'll point to my boobs and say "I want to drink milk out of those"! Ha. Enjoy this last period of time nursing your son!! Smile

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