Monday, May 21, 2012

Nursing Limits

Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning - Your Stories

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.

When Spencer was born, I continued to let Sasha nurse all she wanted, but had to set limits as far as timing. I'd been warned several times to make sure to feed the newborn first. That task was nigh impossible! Sometimes they'd nurse 1 hour apart, so then who really nursed first?

Tandem Nursing - Take IWho nurses first if you're
literally tandem nursing?

Eventually I started cutting back on her nursing sessions. And then my milk supply dwindled. I didn't make the connection at first, but someone else finally did. (Not until after I'd tried supplements, diet changes, more pumping...) So I started letting Sasha nurse pretty much all she wanted! It didn't help my milk supply like I'd hoped. I did, however, find that I just.. I just don't like nursing her.

As I mentioned in my recent series on Night Weaning, I just don't like nursing Sasha anymore. If I nurse her for more than about 10 minutes, my stomach turns. It is not a pleasant sensation. Plus, she continues to leave teeth marks, a habit she has had for at least a year now!

So... I went from Sasha waking every 2-3 hours through the night to nurse to night weaning her. Then we moved into a travel trailer. Her first night she slept on the floor near our bed. Then she slept a few nights on the futon before being transitioned to her bunk at the other end of the travel trailer for naps before finally transitioning her night sleep there as well.

First night in new bunkSasha's first night in her new bunk.

Then I really started my crack-down. I decided 15 minutes ONCE for bedtime was enough. I remembered my advice for the Night Weaning, as well. I needed to make the decision and stick with it. The first night was a battle, though not as bad as the night weaning. I kept having to tuck her back into bed over and over again. She cried and asked for different things.

In the first week, we only had a couple nights' practice at going to sleep without a nipple in her mouth. She'd skip naps and then fall asleep with less than 10 minutes of nursing. I also started limiting nap time nursing to 10 minutes. And I always advise her first. "You can have Mommy Milk for 10 minutes, and then night night." She always agrees, but she'll agree to anything for Mommy Milk! I nurse her and tuck her into bed the way she likes. If she doesn't go to sleep (for a nap, anyway), she asks if she can get up. Yes, I don't force her to take a nap.

Since then I've even shortened bedtime nursing to 10 minutes as well. Sometimes she falls asleep in half that! It all has to do with whether or not she napped and how well I time bed time. We've also finally instituted a healthy bed time routine. We brush her hair and teeth. She goes potty. That last one is very important and I've forgotten it several times!

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

She has had so many changes in her life in the last year! I feel bad about it at times, especially about all the changes she has had in just our nursing relationship. I have a lot of guilt over that anyway, though. I feel guilt for having negative feelings about nursing her. I feel guilty when I see articles about how beneficial it is for toddlers to nurse until they're ready to wean on their own. I even question whether some of her behavior might stem from having milk taken away from her. But what parent doesn't second guess themselves, right? People say not to feel guilty, but that is easier said than done.

I am leaning heavily toward weaning her completely, especially as she is asking for milk during the day less. (She also gets "Morning Milk" for just a few minutes.) Up until recently, she was still asking for milk all day long. My thoughts are that once she gets into a habit of going to sleep without milk (on those nights when she nurses, but not to sleep), then I can consider taking the next step. Right now I don't feel like I can take it away from her completely.

It breaks my heart to consider forcing her to wean on my terms rather than hers, but I know my negative feelings toward her aren't good for either of us.

How did your children wean? Do you have any regrets about the process?

Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):

  • Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update — Sheila at A Living Family bares all her tandem nursing hopes and fears during what feels like the beginning of the end for her toddler nursing relationship.
  • Memories of Weaning: Unique and Gentle — Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares her weaning experiences with her two sons, each one unique in how it happened and yet equally gentle in its approach.
  • Weaning Aversion'Gentle Mama Moon shares her experience of nursing and unplanned weaning due to pregnancy-induced 'feeding aversion'.
  • Three Months Post-Mup: An Evolution of Thoughts On Weaning — cd at FidgetFace describes a brief look at her planned (but accelerated) weaning, as well as one mamma's evolution on weaning (and extended nursing)
  • Weaning my Tandem Nursed Toddler — After tandem nursing for a year, Melissa at Permission to Live felt like weaning her older child would be impossible, but now she shares how gentle weaning worked for her 2 1/2 year old.
  • Every Journey Begins with One Step — As Hannabert begins the weaning process, Hannah at Hannah and Horn's super power is diminishing.
  • Reflections on Weaning - Love Changes Form — Amy from Presence Parenting (guest posting at Dulce de Leche) shares her experience and approach of embracing weaning as a continual process in parenting, not just breastfeeding.
  • Weaning Gently: Three Special Ideas for SuccessMudpieMama shares three ideas that help make weaning a gentle and special journey.
  • Guest Post: Carnival of Weaning — Emily shares her first weaning experience and her hopes for her second nursling in a guest post on Farmer's Daughter.
  • 12 Tips for Gentle Weaning — Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting describes the process of gentle weaning and gives specific tips to make weaning an organic, joyful ripening.
  • Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries talks about the key issues in the difficult decision to wean for infertility treatments.
  • I thought about weaning... — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her story of how she thought about weaning several times, yet it still happened on its own timeline.
  • Celebrating Weaning — Amy at Anktangle reflects on her thoughts and feelings about weaning, and she shares a quick tutorial for one of the ways she celebrated this transition with her son: through a story book with photographs!
  • Naturally Weaning Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses the gradual path to weaning she has taken with her preschool-aged twins.
  • Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes about knowing when your child is not ready to wean and taking their feelings into account in the process.
  • Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy discovers non-mutal weaning doesn't have to be the end. You can have a do-over.
  • Prelude to weaning — Lauren at Hobo Mama talks about a tough tandem nursing period and what path she would like to encourage her older nursling to take.
  • Demands of a Nursing Kind — Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her conflicted feelings about nursing limits and explores different ways to achieve comfort, peace, and bodily integrity as a nursing mother.
  • Breastfeeding: If there's one thing I know for sure... — Wendy at ABCs and Garden Peas explores the question: How do you know when it's time to wean?
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