How to wean my 19 month old?!?

Discussion in 'Breastfeeding' started by Bonknbug, May 25, 2009.

  1. Bonknbug

    Bonknbug New Member

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    My dd is a big nurser, but for several reasons I must wean her. Does anyone know of a gentle way to get her off the boob? I've tried to start by taking away one feeding at a time, but she goes crazy. She screams at me and cries and hits/ kicks/ bites out of anger if I don't let her nurse when she wants to. She goes back and forth from saying "please?" Then she yells "Ta-Ta"( that's what she calls them) over and over and ends up in an all out meltdown. I eventually give in because I feel so bad and guilty. She doesn't have a set routine with nursing, except before nap/bed and when she wakes up. Since I'm home with my kids I always just let her nurse more on days that she wants to or doesn't feel well. Now she doesn't understand why she can't have it when she wants, all of a sudden. She is very smart for her age, and understands everything that is said or goes on. I just don't know what to do. I can't keep them hidden, or take them away since there always there, LOL. if anyone else has experience with this, what did you do? Please, only nice suggestions. Thanks.
  2. Bonknbug

    Bonknbug New Member

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  3. snugbug

    snugbug Watching my baby grow

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    I think one of the most helpful things someone said to me once regarding nursing a toddler was she reminded me that its a nursing 'relationship' and that in a relationship there should be give and take. I think it is going to be imperative that you create some form of a schedule and/or communication about when nursing can happen and when nursing can not happen before you can start working down nursing if you want something gentle to take place. Basically what I'm saying is that you child is 'very smart for her age, and understands everything that is said or goes on' then she is definitely old enough to learn how to wait before she gets what she wants without resorting to 'she goes crazy. She screams at me and cries and hits/ kicks/ bites out of anger if I don't let her nurse when she wants to'.

    I know my kids do really well with big pictoral charts and timers whenever we are trying to establish a new order about something. For your situation and her age I'd do one of two things or a combination of the two to try first. The first which I'm fairly sure should work is get a timer. Throughout the day when she asks for something I would tell her 'ok, mommy says yes but lets wait just a minute' then make a big show of setting that timer for say....1 minute.....and then sit together watching it till it dings. Then make a big exciting to do about going and doing the thing (getting a snack, a drink, watching a movie, a special toy, whatever). I wouldn't do it for everything but just intermittently through the day (aka like maybe 5 points in the day) and none of them should be nursing points the first day or so (or until she can handle the waiting aspect), keep nursing as normal. Then one day go ahead and start doing it before nursing once, she should have the concept of waiting and she shouldn't feel a frantic frenzy of panic because she knows its coming.

    I know that at that age with my nurslings I felt like I was going crazy. All my kids went from around the clock newborn nursers to a nice comfortable relationship and then as toddlerhood progressed they started nursing like newborns again- around the clock but also very pushy. When someone reminded me about the relationship in nursing relationship it reminded me to be teaching even my young nursling to say please, thank you, and how to wait when waiting was needed. I can feel for the child that desperately needs on an emotional level the comfort of nursing and is suddenly being told no- the panicky response is expected. I had to start really seeking out my child at the points of the day that I would prefer the nursing to take place (aka first thing in the morning, naptime, bedtime) and be joyful about nursing them so they would love those times the most, and soon enough I found that my attitude was changing and so was there. I was actually meeting their emotional needs better when my emotions were appropriately engaged and they were easing into a reliable pattern that eliminated my frustration with around the clock nursing snacks. In my case the change in attitude and frequency put me in a happy place with our nursing relationship to where I was comfortable with going on for a bit longer and when natural weaning happened it was again mutual and gentle. If you find you are still needing to wean for one reason or another then getting into a pattern and letting her know how to hold up her end of the 'relationship' will make this process more gentle like you want and the pattern is easier to tweak than not having a pattern to work with.

    Hope that helps some,
    Sarah

    *Btw, I mentioned 1 or 2 things but then didn't mention the second idea and thats because this post got really long and the other idea involves a big chart which I'm unsure about whether the age of your child will go for or not. I think the timer is your best bet to start with to teach a bit of patience without yelling, hitting, biting and screaming. After you've got that going for you then you can integrate the chart, if needed, to create set times during the day that are nursing times. I'll elaborate if requested but I don't know if what I've written so far is helpful so I'll wait.
  4. mamajandtheboys

    mamajandtheboys Amity's Focus Member

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    I started a reply to this a few days ago but didn't finish it because frankly I feel a 19 month old shouldn't be weaned if he/she isn't ready. :hug:
  5. OnTheBrink

    OnTheBrink Amity's Focus Member

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    Do you mind sharing why she must be weaned?
    Is it for medical reasons?
    Does it have to happen by a certain deadline?
  6. mamagael

    mamagael Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I weaned Grace at 2 & 1/2 because she was making me crazy, I was done. I did several things, I kept snacks out, and a sippy cup for her at all times. I would put out a tray with sections, and 4-5 choices for healthy snacks. She would always have access to soy milk or water. This helped a lot. I also had some "treats" for the evening, little ice cream, or something she liked better than boobie.
  7. tikva18

    tikva18 busy building blocks

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    I haven't weaned recently - am down to once before bed, but I used last summer as the opportunity to slow down the nursing drastically. My twins were asking non-stop to nurse and it was really too much. We spent a ton of time outside - and as they didn't normally ask to nurse while outside, it was the perfect distraction. A change of scenery is a great distraction.

    Good luck to you - and I know this can be hard.
  8. Bonknbug

    Bonknbug New Member

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    First off, thank you all for the thoughts and ideas. I'm sorry it has taken me awhile to post back in response, but I've been swamped! I have decided to wait a little longer to wean, and hope I can get her to a place where she will be a little more ready before I begin. There are several reasons why I wanted to wean, which I originally chose not to list because I expect to get discouraging comments, like, Just suck it up and wait until she decides she's done, lol. I will post some of them since I'm sure you're all curious.
    1) Over the last few months she has become very pushy and aggressive while nursing. She demands to be nursed in situations where we normally wouldn't nurse. She has also began to use her teeth while sucking ( not biting exactly, but still painful). She twists herself around, while still attached to me with this toothy suction, and it's really hard for me to break the suction because she turns away from me. I've tried lots of different ways to break this bad habit that she has developed, but nothing has worked, and she eventually just starts doing it again. Anyway, like I said, pushy and aggressive.
    2) I am going to have a lot going on this summer, and will be very busy. I'm not going to be able to drop everything and nurse whenever she wants. I am going to start on campus classes (I've been doing online until now, but it's to the point where being on campus is necessary) and I want her to get used to getting all of her liquids and nutrition from food/other beverages. She still nurses at least 5 times throughout the day (that includes before nap/bedtime/early morning). I also want her to find comfort in other ways, like cuddling, hugs, etc. so when I'm not there she doesn't melt down when she needs comfort and security. I want to prepare her for me not being there with her 24/7.
    3) I know you are all going to think I'm a weenie, but another reason is because I've been getting a lot of comments and discussions about weaning her. Not only from my sister, MIL, my mom, other family members and friends, BUT- also my DH. He keeps saying that she's too old to be breastfeeding, and he wants those back, lol. My breasts were always a huge attraction for him and used to be part of our sexual foreplay, etc. but breastfeeding changes that drastically for both of us. He feels weird about messing with them until i stop nursing, and I feel the same way. Until she is weaned, I can't stand the thought of using my breasts as a sexual "point of interest". I feel like they are for her, and so does he, but he feels like he has been patient and is ready for them back. This is not, by any means a crucial part of the decision to wean, but just a concideration.
    I weaned my son just before a year, but he lost interest, and considering that I had always supplemented with bottles for him ( he was a preemie and needed special formula) it was never a problem for him. My dd is about to be 20 months, and is still nursing constantly.
    4) A big reason is that I want my body back. I know this sounds selfish, but I do. I am sad to end this intimate, emotional connection with my dd, but I feel like we can grow to have other ways of bonding, and snuggling. I just feel so restricted at this point. I want to be in control of my body for awhile. She is the type of child that would nurse until elementary school if I let her. I don't look down on people who choose to nurse until elementary school, but it's definatly not for me. I will wait until I can establish a pattern and hopefully get her to a point where she only needs to nurse at bedtime/naptime. That will be good for now, and I will work towards weaning slowly after the routine is well in place.
    Thank you all for the support and advice you have given. It means so much to me to have others who have been in my position to give me advice.
  9. mamagael

    mamagael Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, it does not sound selfish to me. It is about your FAMILY and what is best for everyone (inlaws not included). I am planning to wean Santino by the time he is 2, we are already cutting way back. I think that mama being happy and rested makes for a happier family. What is with the little girls being so aggressive about nursing? Grace was like that, she embarrassed me in public, and in front of family, I felt like the situation was out of my control. I had to be very firm for a few days, have food ready before she was hungry, and lots of distractions, and there were some tears, but she lived. :)
  10. purplehaze

    purplehaze New Member

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    I weaned my daughter at 19 months but I did it very slowly. I had actually started weaning her 5 months before that. I would use distraction a lot during the day to get her to want to do other things besides nurse. Summer is a good time to do it because you can have her outside more and she probably will not think about it if she is really busy. Find a cup that she really likes a lot. My daughter liked the Take and toss straw cups the best.
    I think it is wonderful that you have kept nursing her this long. I personally think that if I would have waited any longer than that with my daughter it would have been a lot harder to wean her. My advice would to be just take it slowly and try to figure out what works best for both of you. I had to cut out all the daytime feedings with my daughter first. She always nursed to go to sleep for her naps and at bed time but I would not let her nurse at night after 16 months. I was so exhausted because I also had a 2 month old waking me up every couple of hours and I could not handle having to get up at separate times with them anymore. Good luck to you! Sorry for my rambling on, I'm probably no help!

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