2.5 year old will not stop BREASTFEEDING! HELP

Catalina - posted on 04/16/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My beautiful 2 and half year old will not get use to being without the breast ( luckily only at night). Alongside, i haven't been able to sleep well because we both fall asleep then I'm too tired to move her. I don't know how to get my little girl to sleep to stop forcing me to give it to her. WE (both my husband and I) give up usually around 12 am bc we both have to get up at 4:30 to work and just give in.

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Nina - posted on 03/26/2012

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My daughter is 2 1/2 years old too. She sleeps with me and nurses to fall asleep and wakes up a few times in the night and wants to nurse right away. It soothes her and she falls right back to sleep. She does want to nurse during the day but its more a habit or a soothing thing for her I think rather than actually a feed. She doesnt want to give it up, doesnt show signs of weaning and is starting to drain me. I am exhausted all the time and when I try to not nurse her she freaks out and cries and cries and cries. I would love to hear any suggestions to help me with this. I am lucky to have nursed this long but the time has come for both of us to stop. Sadly I have to figure something out.

Vanessa - posted on 04/17/2009

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my daughter was exactly the same at 2 and a half.......but i believed this to be normal and natural for her to want her mother and breastfeeding at night time (what a lovely comforting way to fall asleep!).......so i guess it all depends on you and your beliefs AND how long your willing to do this for. i have to admit when my daughter was 2 and half breastfeeding to sleep i did wonder how long i would be able to cope with that.......but i needn't have worried as it all ran its course and she gradually feed for shorter and shorter times at bed time until it was only a matter of 2 minutes of breastfeeding, then she would happily come off and say "i just want to cuddle you now mummy" and within another coulpe of minutes she would be fast asleep. this all happened by the time she was 3. i never told her she had to stop, so it never became a battle ground. my daughter is now a very happy 3 and a half year old that goes to bed happy with a few minutes of cuddling from EITHER mum or dad. she goes to bed just as easily with daddy, no worries!

maybe if you stop feeling like you are "giving in" and just start thinking you are doing a great job and meeting your toddlers needs, it might not feel so draining for you.

i promise you one thing forsure, she will not be breastfeeding forever and she'll be in high school before you know it. once all of her needs are met at your breast, she will happily give it up.

but if you really want her to wean right now, you will have to do alot of explaining and offer her lots of reassurance in other ways.

although i respect the other mum's advise about pumping and mixing EBM with cow's milk and giving it to her in a bottle/sippy cup......sounds like a whole lot of work and messing around to me. AND remember its NOT only your milk she wants....its YOU and everything breastfeeding has to offer. cow's milk in a cup will never replace what she gets at your breast.

maybe allow her a breastfeed in bed then as soon as you see she is getting sleepy take her off and cuddle her, most times she will want your breast back, but over the course of time as she grows and her sleep changes she will be able to fall asleep without your breast in her mouth. believe me, i did think my daughter would never let go to fall asleep, but she did.

trust your girl, trust yourself.....and as long as you all get some sleep everyone can be happy.

i wish you all the best.

Rebekah - posted on 04/18/2009

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Quoting Vanessa:

my daughter was exactly the same at 2 and a half.......but i believed this to be normal and natural for her to want her mother and breastfeeding at night time (what a lovely comforting way to fall asleep!).......so i guess it all depends on you and your beliefs AND how long your willing to do this for. i have to admit when my daughter was 2 and half breastfeeding to sleep i did wonder how long i would be able to cope with that.......but i needn't have worried as it all ran its course and she gradually feed for shorter and shorter times at bed time until it was only a matter of 2 minutes of breastfeeding, then she would happily come off and say "i just want to cuddle you now mummy" and within another coulpe of minutes she would be fast asleep. this all happened by the time she was 3. i never told her she had to stop, so it never became a battle ground. my daughter is now a very happy 3 and a half year old that goes to bed happy with a few minutes of cuddling from EITHER mum or dad. she goes to bed just as easily with daddy, no worries!
maybe if you stop feeling like you are "giving in" and just start thinking you are doing a great job and meeting your toddlers needs, it might not feel so draining for you.
i promise you one thing forsure, she will not be breastfeeding forever and she'll be in high school before you know it. once all of her needs are met at your breast, she will happily give it up.
but if you really want her to wean right now, you will have to do alot of explaining and offer her lots of reassurance in other ways.
although i respect the other mum's advise about pumping and mixing EBM with cow's milk and giving it to her in a bottle/sippy cup......sounds like a whole lot of work and messing around to me. AND remember its NOT only your milk she wants....its YOU and everything breastfeeding has to offer. cow's milk in a cup will never replace what she gets at your breast.
maybe allow her a breastfeed in bed then as soon as you see she is getting sleepy take her off and cuddle her, most times she will want your breast back, but over the course of time as she grows and her sleep changes she will be able to fall asleep without your breast in her mouth. believe me, i did think my daughter would never let go to fall asleep, but she did.
trust your girl, trust yourself.....and as long as you all get some sleep everyone can be happy.
i wish you all the best.


I have to admit that when I read the title of this I cringed a little at the idea of breastfeeding my daughter at 2.5



But reading your post made me smile. It is about giving them what they want which is just love, mommy and a little nourishment as a bonus.



I agree with the above statement. If you are getting enough sleep (because no matter what you need take care of yourself as well) and it's not causing friction with your partner I say kudos to you to being so dedicated/doing what works for you guys this long.



 



good luck and don't sweat the small stuff. You are all together and happy and healthy!



 

Kylie - posted on 04/17/2009

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I found it relatively easy to wean my 2 year old. At this age they understand language and that others have feelings. I had to stop at 2 because it was starting to hurt, so I explained this to my daughter in a simple way, she was getting bigger and having boobie was “ouch, hurting” Stopping the daytime feed was defiantly easier. At night because I gave her a substitute bottle and really kept a very consistent bedtime routine with bath, book, cuddles with mummy, then bottle and sleep so she adapted very easily. She loved the bottle as much as the boobie as she never had had a bottle before this time. We also transitioned her into her own bed along with the weaning; this stopped the temptation for her to latch on in the night while I was half asleep. We made the transition to her own room a positive experience by using a rewards system. Weaning her does not mean you are showing her less love. You’ve done a wonderful job nourishing her with your body and if you explain it to her in a simple way she can understand and prepare her ready for the transition it should be easy to do especially if it’s what you really want to happen.

Itsamystery - posted on 04/17/2009

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I agree with Vanessa, if you're able to get enough sleep as is, you might find it easier and more peaceful to continue until she self weans rather than create a night time battle. Once my son got to about 12 months I found having him in our bed a bit too squashy, but I put a mattress on the floor in our room so he could have his own bed and I could still feed him while lying down, thus continuing to have minimal sleep interruption. Maybe that could be an option for you if you're having trouble getting enough sleep when you fall asleep and you're too tired to move her? If you fall asleep when feeding her in her bed, once you wake you can move back to your own bed which is easier than trying to transfer her without waking her.

We have just started night weaning our 22 month old because I'm pregnant and I don't want to tandem nurse two children throughout the night. We decided that I would sleep in the spare room and my husband would respond to all night wakings. The first night he cried for an hour and a half and about 20 minutes the second time he woke; the second night for half an hour and about 10 minutes the second time, the third night he cried for 10 minutes and didn't cry much the second time, the fourth night he didn't really cry at all and went back to sleep within 10 minutes both times he woke, and the fifth night he slept right through (some of those nights he might have been up a 3rd time also, I'm not 100% sure). We thought we were home pretty, however, my husband was running out of steam because he was still getting up and going to work each morning after having his sleep broken (and, because he isn't used to having his sleep broken like I am, he was having trouble getting back to sleep each time he was woken), so on 6th night and so I had to take over. I tried for 3 hours but could not get our son back to sleep. Eventually my husband got up (he was awake anyway from the crying) and paced the hallway with our son and had him back asleep in about 5 or 10 minutes. I guess because he knows that I've got the milk he just wont accept any alternative from me. We're now going into the 7th night and have decided that the only way to do it is for dad to get up to him. He seemed to be waking less and settling easier until I took over on the 6th night so we're hoping that it will improve a bit each night until he's sleeping through.

So if you're really sure that weaning is what you need to do, you might find it's best for dad to do it, and it might take about 1 or 2 weeks. It's tough going though if you have to get up and go to work because you're up and down all night. My poor husband has really been struggling. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask dad to do it though, since you've been doing all the night parenting for the last 2 1/2 years. It just depends whether your husband can afford to lose sleep. If he can't, I think Vanessa is right on the money.

I just re-read your post and realised that she might not be feeding throughout the night, just feeding to sleep. If it's just needing to nurse to sleep that you want to stop, you could try putting the nail biting polish on your nipples (the one that tastes FOUL). I did this when trying to wean my son (and told him the milk was yukky now) and it was an instant deterrent. Once he tasted it he hardly asked for it again. When he did ask, I would let him feed and when tasted it again he would immediately come off the breast. It took a couple of days for him to stop asking at all. When it was time to go to bed we just cuddled him in our laps until he fell asleep. (When we did this my son - although he physically weaned really well, he wasn't emotionally ready so we abandoned weaning, but that's another story all together. If your daughter is only feeding at night I can't see her having the same problem). So perhaps you could try this - you can buy the polish from any chemist. Actually, this might work for cutting out through the night feeds too.

Hope that helps. Good on you for giving your child the best nutrition and emotional bond for the first 2.5 years of her life.

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Madeline - posted on 04/18/2009

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Catalina! I feel your pain girlfriend. But I'm so glad you breastfed so long!! I think it is such a nice bond to have with Juliana.. One way I got Bella to wean off when she turned two was to let her rest her hand on my breast when she would fall asleep. It made her feel comforted even though she wasn't nursing. She is a thumb sucker so she would suck her thumb when she fell asleep. The one problem was that she started to want to put her hand in my shirt other times throughout the day, which could get embarrassing when we were in public places! It really did help her slowly wean off though. The hand in my shirt episodes lasted a couple of months after weaning but she would normally stop when I would ask her not too.. She is now over two and a half and doesn't do it anymore!! So you might try it and see if it will calm her enough to help her sleep...

Cynthia - posted on 04/17/2009

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choose a night when one of you doesn't have to be at work the next day to do this. One option is to cold turkey it with her, but it is a not fun alternative.



another is to pump your milk and have her drink it out of a sippy cup on your lap in the sitting position. That is a cold turkey for the nursing, no bones about it, Bottle/sippy cup or not at all. first night you feed her the bottle but then have Daddy sit right beside you each night. Read a story while she is drinking to change up the routine a bit. then after story is finished kisses good night all around and back rubbing in her bed to help settle her in and good night. wailing etc may persist but explain to her she is a big girl and how great she is and how proud of her you are for being such a big girl and sleeping in her own bed. After a couople of nights of you feeding her on your lap have her sit in Daddy's lap and he feed her, but you sitting beside them. After a couple more nights you should be able to leave the room and let Daddy handle it thus hopefully breaking your cycle of the Mommy only connection. We did this at 11 months with our son. Hope it works for you.



You could, since she's old enough, set up a reward chart for her going to sleep in her own bed such as three nights in a row and we get to a park of her choice or an afternoon at the lake or beach or playground or whatever. Something that involves positive playtime with the parents/parent but also not a huge expense.



so once you've got the breast milk pumped start mixing it 25% milk to 75% breast milk, then after a couple days change to 50-50 mix then 75% milk to 25% BM. that worked great for us. hope it helps.

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I do the same thing. Give in so that we can sleep. Mine is only 9 months old, though. I can see myself in your position. I hope you find an answer!

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