Feeling really torn... to continue to nurse or wean soon?

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Marite13's picture
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368
Feeling really torn... to continue to nurse or wean soon?

I know I posted before... I'm pregnant- 15 weeks today. My DD is almost 20 mos old, and still nurses quite a lot really. At this point I still have milk, and my nipples feel RAW. She has also been teething and sick for the last MONTHS. So she's biting because of the teething (this is really the only time she bites- and it's all 4 cuspids coming in- thank God all four have *just* broken through the gums), and she is doing a suck, suck, breathe through the mouth because nose is stuffed, and then relatch thing because of being sick. It's all adding up, along with pregnancy hormones of course, to major pain for me!

But as I said, she still nurses a lot. Typical day would be nursing at waking, down for naps, just after waking from naps, and at bedtime at a minimum. At bedtime, I now have her nursing, but not nursing to sleep. We nurse, and then I sing and just be with her until she falls asleep on her own. She still wakes every few hours usually, and I don't nurse her every time, but, the closer it gets to the middle of the night, the more asleep I am, the more nursing she does. Some nights are better or worse than others, but, there are nights where from like 3am on, she's waking once an hour or more, and comfort nursing until morning (usually between 6 and 7). Needless to say, this much nursing at night is wearing on me, and adding to the sore nipples.

I have two major concerns-

1) What if I push through, and then find that I just CANNOT (mentally/emotionally) tandem nurse? Then I'll be weaning her in a way that has the new baby seemingly replacing her. I hate the thought of that.

2) I have been SUPER committed to letting her self-wean since before she was born. I REALLY wanted her to nurse until 2 at least. As much as I wanted another baby, I didn't ever do anything on purpose to bring back fertility, etc... it all happened on its own, and we were able to get pregnant very easily... and now here I am... a good 4 mos shy of her 2nd birthday, wondering how I will make it til then.

So... really, I'm looking for either support or advice from mammas who have been through this. Did you push through your whole pregnancy even though it was painful (did it ever get better?)? Did you find you had a hard time nursing both your kids once you had a newborn in your arms again?

I think the thing is in my heart, I want to keep nursing. But the last few days or weeks have me feeling like I really might not be able to make it... but I don't want to quit on my worst day... but I also REALLY don't want to leave the weaning until the new baby arrives, as I said before. And I think a part of me is questioning the real why I'm doing all this... because the WHO says so, because I set a goal and MUST FINISH, because I'm just stubborn, because I want to be a martyr... I don't know...

So... what would you do? What did you do? Help!

TiggersMommy's picture
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043


I've not BTDT but I can give you a "what would I do" response. I *totally* get feeling like a stubborn martyr. DD's constant night nursing has left me with raw nipples for weeks at a time. I'm sure if I were a SAHM she'd be nursing as much if not more than your Benita. Heck, its 9am and she's already nursed about 3 times. I'd be just as torn as you in your situation. I think what I'd do is try to really cut back on how frequently she nurses without weaning entirely. If you can get it down to once in the morning and once in the evening your nipples will thank you for it. Nursing twice per day likely won't seem like tandem nursing (though I could be completely wrong about that) and will give you time to reconnect with her after a long day of tending to baby. The night time nursing will be hard to cut back on but the day time nursing can probably be avoided simply by keeping her really busy.

As for the teething, I found the canines to be rough. They took for-ev-er and lead to the exact behavior your talking about. They're also freaking sharp and positioned just right to inflict serious nipple damage! With all her other teeth, DD had a week or so of bad nursing but the canines took at least a month if not more. But, it did end and she went back to nursing politely. I am sooo happy I don't have to deal with another set of teeth for like 4 more months (I'm expecting 2 year molars at 18 months because that's how DD rolls). If Benita's are through I'd guess you're at the tail end of it. So, perhaps that will convince you to tough it out.

There's also NOTHING wrong if you're truly fed up. 20 months is a huge accomplishment and another pregnancy is a perfectly acceptable excuse to wean. I think of it in terms of biology/anthropology. Pre-historic women likely had pregnancies very close together. Nursing while pregnant is hard to say the least. I can guarantee that pre-historic toddlers were weaned intentionally due to pregnancy because they didn't have the WHO telling them to stick it out. And look, the human race made it through and we're doing quite fine. Such thoughts are comforting to me. At this point, she's practically 2. You can call it a huge success and make the call to wean or not based on your individual situation. No one has the right to judge you and you most certainly shouldn't judge yourself.

Whatever you decide, you've done an awesome awesome job and I'll try to help you through carrying out the path you choose.

Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Were it me, I would absolutely 100% night wean. It sounds like that is really the problem, not nursing in general. Nips just aren't meant to take that sort of use while pregnant, IMO.

I nursed two babies through about 22 weeks of pg, DD was 22 months when she weaned, but she slept all night, so after the first couple of weeks I had no soreness or what have you, it was easy to continue.

I wouldn't get ahead of yourself with worrying about tandem nursing ~ you still have a good 25 weeks before your due date! There is a very good chance that she will wean on her own, or if you decide somewhere in that time frame that you love nursing again (after nightweaning perhaps?) OR decide very clearly that it is not for you (tandem nursing) you will have total confidence in your decision.

2 years is just a number. It is why I always always encourage my friends to not get hung up on a number ~ nursing is a relationship, not a rigid timeline. If it is not working for you, either tweak it or be grateful for the wonderful nursing time you had ~ feeling guilt for honoring your body is unfair to you!

Either way, good luck! I really, really recommend night weaning in your situation, as you get bigger the situation that you describe just does not sound tenable to me~ so were it me I would take proactive steps to change it now.

Good luck Mara! Hope whatever you choose comes easily and naturally for you both.

Marite13's picture
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

So, last night, out of the blue, I think she "STTN" (at least 5 hours) for maybe the first time ever. ?????????????? She went to bed an hour later than usual because we were out at a party. When I went to bed at 11:30 she had woken, but I just snuggled her, and got her back down in her own bed, and I went to sleep in mine. At some point I woke and found she was in bed with us, but I don't remember nursing her- I suppose it's possible I did, but I honestly don't think so. I think she might have just crawled in by us. I know I looked at my watch at some point, but I really think it was at least near 5 or past 5 by the time I did. She did not nurse all night, and she slept til 8am.

Seriously, if we could just do this, I'd have NO problem. Melissa, you're right, nursing in general is not the problem, it is the night time stuff- and not just any night time stuff- like I said, nursing her once at 5am would be FINE, but, it's the nurse-a-thon that is not working.

I had considered to just wait and see what happens (if she gets nicer once these teeth finish up- Erin, I kid you not, we've been dealing with them for 2 months MINIMUM! RIDICULOUS.) and then consider a weaning process of any sort once I am back in the States. It'll just be me and her then (DH will be staying behind in Laos until I'm 38 weeks), and so if we decide to night wean, and go through nights of being awake and screaming and whatnot, it won't bother his sleep. We'll see.

Thanks for your input, either way!

jolly11sd's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/02/05
Posts: 3327

Best of luck with whatever you decide on doing.

I'm nursing 4 times per day, at 22 weeks, and sometimes once in the very early a.m. (3am or 4am) but not every night. I don't think I could handle it if he was nursing at night numerous times. It would just be way too uncomfortable. We to nurse mainly for wake up and down for sleep times. Anyway, I have some soreness too that mainly happens during inital latch on (ouch) even with latch correction. I also find this pain returns right when my letdown starts. DS2 cut his 2 top front teeth this month and they are still growing in so those have cause some extra discomfort for me. He likes to touch my other nipple while nursing as well and I have to completely cover it up and re-direct his hand because it is so uncomfortable for me at this point.

If I was in your shoes I would totally try to cut down on the night time nursing and focus on nursing those other handful of times throughout the day. See if that help make things better for you before you decide to wean.

I do totally understand where you are coming from though as there are moments I totally question my comittment to going on. Usually at those moments I'm just sore or annoyed after a less than enjoyable nursing session. Some days are just hard. I would stop nursing DS2 if he wasn't interested anymore and it was just me that wanted to push through. The truth is though, that he really wants and depends on those 4 times each day that we sit and connect and thats why I keep on going. There are times when he is distracted and wants to go play after he wakes up so I let that session go, but then the next day he will want to cuddle and nurse during that same session. I figure when he is ready he will stop coming back for those sessions and gradually decrease the amount of times we nurse per day. My hope is that I make it to the point of nursing my 2 little ones if DS2 is still interested. I think it will all work itself out once baby arrives and will be a great way to connect differently and together with both of them.

Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 04/30/09
Posts: 2257

I haven't BTDT, but we are in a similar position in that DD nurses constantly, I have been really determined to nurse her until she was at least 2 and let her self wean. She's been giving me a really hard time in the last few months, both with not sleeping great, being really rough while nursing and doing the same biting thing with teething. It's almost made me resentful and I hate that. I love BFIng but something had to change.

Knowing we will be TTCing sooner than later, I have wondered about BFing and later pregnancy as I have a high chance of having the same high risk condition again, so something like nursing could throw me into labor early again.

What I've decided to do is try to wean her little by little. She's horrible about sippy cups, but in the last few days she's drank 2-4 oz from a sippy. I know thats not much but it's huge for us. We haven't cut out any sessions yet, but I am making sure she has her favorite sippy full of (soy) milk for her all the time.

I wish I had more solid answers for you, and I hope you find something that works well for you!