I can't stop breastfeeding!!

Brittany - posted on 02/22/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )




My son is 20 months and has been an avid breastfeeder the WHOLE time. He never took bottles, even with breastmilk in them. Luckily, I was a stay at home Mom for a year so it didn't take toll on me too much. He's getting to an age where I just think it's time to stop.. I keep telling myself, next month I'll stop, and the next month comes and goes. I'm putting my foot down at 2, but I'm having trouble weening (obviously). He has yet to sleep through the night because I have spoiled him into needing to feed to fall back asleep. I've tried to stop feedings at night and he just cries and cries and my husband and I can't get any sleep. I feel like it's easier to just feed him and get the sleep. I don't know what I need to do to make this easy for him, and help us sleep all night. Any advice?


Allison - posted on 02/22/2009




It doesn't sound like he's ready, yet. You could fight with him, or you could let him continue nursing until she more ready. Try setting some limits instead of completely preventing nursing, like having shorter nursing sessions (try counting to 20 or singing a song, then he'll be done - make sure you explain this to him first, too).

I highly recommend the book Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner - I've found it both helpful when I've gotten stressed about nursing as well as practical in helping me set limits that I am ok with and that work for my child. When I get frustrated, I bring out the book and it reminds me why I decided to do this in the first place :-)

For nighttime, what worked for us was to tell my daughter the bedtime nursing was the last before the sun came up. Then, if she woke to nurse before the sun was up, we'd tell her we had to wait. There were many days of crying and my husband had to do most of the nighttime parenting at that point because if she was near me the temptation to nurse was just too great for her. Even after she nightweaned she still woke up every 2 hours and needed help going back to sleep (nursing was actually easier). But, once her two year molars came in, she started sleeping very well.

I chose not to nightwean my son, and he did it when he was ready at 21 months. His teeth had come in by then, BTW.

Breastfeeding is such a loving, bonding experience, it seems counter-intuitive to force weaning before baby is ready and soil that whole experience. I hope you can find something that works for both of you.

I have to say I weaned my daughter when she was 3 and I was 5 months pregnant and really regret it - she wasn't ready and for over a year asked to nurse every day! I feel badly about that...you can't take weaning back, so make sure you do it slowly and with love ;-)

Kathryn - posted on 02/22/2009




My second son nursed to 20 months as well, and I was definitely ready to stop at that age! He would probably still be nursing at 3 if I let him!! As much as it seems you can't stop, it will probably be easier than you think. Firstly, deal with the sleep issue. You don't want to do both problems at the same time. Start putting your son to bed at "bedtime." Not nursing to sleep, just bath, story, bed. You can sit in his room to get him used to the new system, but ease yourself out over time. 20 months is old enough to understand bedtime. Once your son is used to the new bedtime routine, then decide whether you want to wean him. Everything is much more clear when you aren't exhausted. My doctor told me that when I wanted to wean my 20 month old, but I was worried because he didn't like cow's milk, that he was only getting about 1 ounce of milk each time he nursed, so not to think that he's getting THAT much nutrition from me.

So this was long, but I would say for sure, deal with the sleep issue, then deal with the weaning. Good luck, and no that I feel your pain. Been there, and got through it!

Nancy - posted on 02/24/2009




I did not read the other posts but I am curious what makes the age of 2 a magic number for you?  Is there a real difference between 23 months and 24 months?  It is really none of my business, but I am curious why you think you should stop nursing just based on an age? 

I nursed each of my girls until they were done and can tell you it was much longer than 2 years.  I am not saying that is what you should do, but am saying that stopping just because of a date on a calendar seems odd to me. Not that it should matter to you!  

I don't know how to wean him before he is done, but recommend that you do it gradually for your sake as well as his.  If you wean quickly you can cause complications to your own body.  If you wean gradually it will be easier on you and he both.

Good luck whatever you decide and please realize I am not being judgemental or negative, but throwing my 2cents out there, whatever that is worth!

[deleted account]

I would suggest trying to night wean again, as Kathryn said - deal w/the sleeping issue first, then decide for sure.

We're doing child-led weaning. My son night weaned by about 18-19mo. I too had water there for him that both my hubby and I would give him. Then I also told him, sorry honey the boobies are sleeping now and making milk. You can nurse in the morning. Go back to sleep now and he did. He protested for a few days, but then he stopped and would go right back to sleep - often w/our help rubbing his face/head. I would offer to let him hold my hands at times too. All this helped and he weaned in the night. He's 26mo. now and only nurses in the day and to sleep. Although even to sleep is dwindling more and more. We moved him into his own toddler bed at the end of our bed around 24mo. because I am pregnant (33w now) and he was kicking me bad in the night. I told him he was doing this and thus needed him to sleep in his bed. I would nurse him to almost sleeping in the bed, then give him water just before he was out completely. Then it got to where I couldn't get out of his bed anymore so we started nursing to sleep in our bed again and would move him down to his bed once asleep. I would again give him water before he was totally out, out of his sippy cup. Well now, my hubby after a bath will say, want me to lay in bed w/you w/your water and go to sleep? Sometimes he says yes and they do that and I don't have to nurse at all. But, his 2yr molars are coming in so lately he says he needs to nurse. So I say, ok buddy, only 5 mins or only 10mins. It's hard since I am so pregnant. So we nurse for however long I say I can take it and if he is still awake I say, OK buddy time is up, here is your water, let's get in your bed now and he does it. I give him his water to have right there, kiss his head and say night night. We have just been real open with him, talking him through all this and patient, but trying to be rather consistent, but also allowing him to decide some too.

Here is a link on night weaning that might help too!
Best wishes!

Mary - posted on 02/22/2009




Excellent advice Kathryn... and also, the baby will take more cows milk and other things to drink the less he is nursed. I would bring a sippy cup of water to my son (who was my most difficult to wean) or have my husband do it when he woke up at night, and one of us would say, " Are you thirsty honey? Here's a drink!" At first he would throw the cup, but after a few nights he would go ahead and take a drink of it. Then I switched to leaving it propped in his bed near him and tell him its there if he gets thirsty. Sometimes it is cuddling they need, sometimes they just get thirsty. :) Good luck.


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Carrie - posted on 02/24/2009




We weaned at 20 mo, with some opposition, but any time he got really worked up i just nursed.  I didn't want him to be under that much stress, and after a while he did learn to sleep without nursing. 

However... I will say that stopping nursing has NOT made him sleep through the night.  I think some kids just do, and some just dont.  In time they will learn to sleep longer, but until then I think we're stuck with two options.  Get up and tend to them (or bring them to my bed which is what I do) or let them cry (which just hurts me to listen to, so I don't do it.)

Good luck making the decision - but know that weaning doens't always make a baby sleep! :)

Shannon - posted on 02/24/2009




Lots of great advice here!! However... I don't personally agree with the getting rid of the night feedings. I understand the sleep issue completely... but that I think is really the hardest one to forgo, and until your child is good an ready.. it's more difficult to fight it.

We managed to get rid of all the daytime feedings by replacing them with cups of juices, water, milk etc... and little snacks to go with them. We went from waking and before each nap and bed time and then night time, to waking and bedtime and night time, then to just bedtime and night time, and eventually she gave up the bedtime one since I was working and had to actually wake her up some nights at that point... to only once during the night... after about 3 months of that, she just started sleeping longer since she was only taking one nap a day too...

I know there are some great books out there on the topic as well... try doing some reading up , and good luck to you...

Nicola - posted on 02/23/2009




my son is 1yr in 4 week's so the last feed before bed  as of last night was a formula feed of which he didn't mind too much, as the night before i interduced a 50lm formula feed to prepare him, but he still doesn't sleep through the night either and i end up getting up to comfort feed him back to sleep too, but every now and then i leave him to cry a little to see if he will fall back to sleep some time's he does other times he cry's louder and louder till i get up to him, but our plunket told me with the first son when weening the final midnight feed just to let him cry, I know it was hard but it did pay off in the end,

the first night it took 40mins till he put himself tosleep the second night half an hour third night 20mins and finally the fourth night only 10 min's, after that if he woke he just put him self to sleep but plunked did tell me it would take at least four night for him to find that routine out. and there was the odd night my husband had to hold me to the bed lol

so now in 5 weeks i have to do it all again for my second son which im not looking forward too  i hope this help's you a little just remember when he's crying out your not a bad mum your just teaching him it's good to sleep the hole night through for both of you and good luck if you wish to try this  from Nicola

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