How do I get my 18-month-old down to just nursing in the morning and night instead of 6 times a day?

Mary Renee - posted on 10/21/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My daughter is going to be 18 months old November 5. I have absolutely loved breast feeding her and I'm not ready to wean her COMPLETELY, however, after recovering from a long cold about three weeks ago, she is refusing breakfast and nursing as much as she did when she was 9 months old.

I want to breastfeed her in the morning and before bed. I enjoy the bond and the snuggling. In fact, if I could just nurse her in the morning, at night, and maybe once during the day before her nap... that would be ideal. However, she would honestly nurse from the moment she woke up (around 7am) till 10:30 am if I would let her stay on the boob! And to be perfectly honest, sometimes it's my fault, because I've let her so that I could answer emails and get things done on the computer.

I've tried giving her a breakfast of solid food first thing when she wakes up, putting her in her high chair with all foods I know she loves (grapes, strawberries, apples, pears) and some diluted apple juice (she refuses to drink cows milk, I've been offering it to her since she was 12 months old) but she won't eat it. She'll push the grapes to the side until they roll over her highchair, or worse, scream and cry "Maaaaaaaaaaaaamaaaaaaa" and try to nurse if I get anywhere near her.

Prior to this I always believed in Attachment Parenting and always nursed on-demand. I don't want to do anything abrupt or hurtful and don't want to wean her entirely. I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions!



***p.s. Her father works 8:30am-10:30pm Mon-Sat, and I'm 5000 miles away from any family so basically any solution or suggestions has to rely on me alone as I don't have the opportunity to hand her off to someone who say... doesn't have breast full of milk.

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Celeste - posted on 10/22/2011

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I'll share what I did with my twin boys.Like your daughter, they'd nurse all day if I had let them. None of my family helps out either, even though they're 45 min away (sigh)

-Distractions. Lots of distractions. I'm not sure if it's possible for you, but I took them out, like trips to the park, grocery store, getting them busy so that they "forget".

-Limiting them. I'd say "OK, when I count to 10 nah nahs are all done!". You could even use a song eg "When twinkle twinkle little start is over, all done!"

This isn't an overnight solution. It took us awhile, but I was able to get them down to twice a day, and eventually, once a day.

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[deleted account]

I never actually 'cut down' my son's nursing. If we were home... it was frequent. If we were out (which happened more and more) it was less.

I didn't 'wean' him though. He went to his dad's for 4 weeks starting July 1. He nursed for nap that day and then never again. When he came home though... he asked almost every day for about 6 weeks. He was 3.25 when he left.... ;)

Before he left he was nursing 1-5 times/day depending on the day. ;)

Celeste - posted on 10/23/2011

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For us, it definitely was gradual. One twin weaned at 3 1/2 and the other 4 1/2.

Mary Renee - posted on 10/23/2011

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You guys are so right. It's totally true with her that she wants to nurse more when we're at home.

I took her to a farm today (with a pumpkin patch, hay ride, etc) She did pretty well not nursing from 10am-3pm (which is great for us) but then she slipped in a playhouse and when the waterworks started, she was pulling my shirt down and trying to latch on to my collar bone, haha, and I just couldn't say no since she was hurt. Then after that it's like she "realized" she had gone a while with out nursing and nursed again in the car around 4pm, and then AGAIN at 5pm when I stopped to get us some dinner (she ate some solids too) I think I have to take her on outings on a more consistent schedule to try to get this to work. But thanks for the advice!

Here's another question, how long did your kids continue to nurse after you cut out some of the nursing sessions? I am emotionally attached to breastfeeding and love the closeness and cuddle time (my daughter is SUPER active and not much of a cuddler if she's not nursing) and I don't want her to be TOTALLY weaned until she's closer to two. If I get her down to once in the morning, and once before bed, will is cause a drop in supply that increases until there is no more left and she's totally weaned? I just hope it's gradual... for both of our sakes.

[deleted account]

Ditto Celeste. Keep her busy. At that age, my son WAS nursing quite a bit as well, but he always nursed more on the days that we just stayed home all day.

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