desperate to wean my 21 month old who nurses 10-20 times per day....

Itsamystery - posted on 03/07/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I have posted this in the breastfeeding moms group but posting it here also as I thought some of you might have had some recent experience weaning and advice.

My toddler asks to nurse somewhere between 10 and 20 times per day. Literally, I counted the number of times he fed the last few days, it was 14, then 16, then 18, the 19. I've tried everything (unsuccessfully) to wean him for about 8 months and now I'm really stressed out, frustrated and depressed. I have another on the way and am starting to wonder if it's a good idea to bring another baby into this when I can't cope with the first one.

I have tried limiting the time he feeds - he gets upset and comes back asking again 20 minutes later. I have tried totally refusing him when he asks if it's been not long since his last feed, he cries and becomes hysterical. He will be hysterical for upwards of half an hour but I can't let him go on like that so I usually feed him if I can't calm him down. I have tried distracting him, playing with him and keeping him busy. This works for about 20 - 30 minutes and then he wants the feed. I try to keep the days full and take him out of the house alot, which works to an extent but I can't have him out and about all day every day (I work and study from home). I offer him plenty of water and snacks, he basically has both available all day. I also offer plenty of hugs but he doesn't want hugs, he wants to breastfeed.

So I've tried all the usual tricks and tips for weaning but they haven't been very successful, I haven't managed to cut down his feeds at all really. Basically all this has made both him and me miserable; he is miserable because I'm constantly limiting his nursing and I am miserable because when he's not crawling all over me and grabbing at my boobs, he's screaming and crying at me. His father is also getting frustrated because there's just constant tears and frustration from both me and our son. His dad tries to help by taking him out to play and keeping him occupied, but he too can't do this all evening and all weekend.

I'm booking him in to childcare 2 days a week and taking him to his grandma one day a week starting in two weeks time. I think this will help somewhat because he just wont be able to feed a million times a day on those days, but I desperately need a plan of attack for the other days. There's no real rhyme or reason to his feeding, so I don't even know where to start. Some say cut one feed out every couple of weeks, which I can try, but where do I start when his feeding is all over the shop?

If he cries hysterically for an hour when I refuse to feed him is this ok? I'm not a 'let them cry' person and I feel like this is not good for his emotional and mental health. Did anyone else have a hysterical toddler on their hands when they weaned? How did you deal with it?

I'm desperate for help/advice so thanks in advance for any replies.

7 Comments

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Sarah - posted on 03/07/2009

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It depends, sometimes it'll only last a half hour, but for example, when she is sick for a week and is sort of babied, she knows if she cries we will come to her, even after she is better again. She'll do it every hour of the night. One night I got fed up with it, so I let her scream. I had the monitor on and I listened to her the whole time, but I never went to her. It killed me at the time but it is what she needed. She screamed bloody murder for 2 hours straight, and I think I cried for most of those long 2 hours too. After that she was back to sleeping the whole night. Everytime she gets sick we go through it. Although now it isn't 2 hours anymore, its about an hour at the longest..

Itsamystery - posted on 03/07/2009

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Sarah when you let your daughter scream, how long does she scream for?

Itsamystery - posted on 03/07/2009

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I've done the nail biting stuff, it worked for a while but he became really distressed being weaned cold turkey, after 10 days he was getting worse and worse, his whole personality changed. He was kicking and biting, scratching my face, very angry and frustrated all day and generally not the little boy we knew. It didn't feel right so I googled it and the breastfeeding exprts say this is the result of weaning too quickly... so I let him start feeding again. Now he knows that if he just ignores the taste an sucks long enough, he'll get some milk. So the nail biting stuff, was a miracle cure for a while but for anyone else reading this I'd only use it to get rid of the last one or two feeds.

Ashley -he wont take milk of any kind, we've tried my milk, formula, cows milk, soy milk, he wont even take flavoured milk. When you had to wean your son how many feeds was he having and when he cried how long did he cry for?

Thanks for your replies.

Sarah - posted on 03/07/2009

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Or you could put that anti nail biting stuff on your nipples, harmless to him and you, but it will taste awful and eventually he won't even ask anymore

Sarah - posted on 03/07/2009

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I am not the kind of person who likes to let my baby cry and scream either, but there is a point where enough is enough. My daughter is only 17 months old and has quite the attitude already. I have put her in time outs which are fairly effective, i just sit her on the stairs for a minute straight and if she tries to get up, the minute starts over... The best advice I can give you is let him scream. I know it sounds awfully harsh, but I have done it before and it has worked. He knows what to do to get his way, little ones are very smart. It is a battle of wills. You have to be calm, tell him no, that enough is enough.... Ignore his screams, as hard as that can be. It won't take very long... Maybe a week. Or 2. He is still young enough where it isn't going to damage him in any way.

Ashley - posted on 03/07/2009

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does he get milk? my sister had the same issue she need my nephew to wean before my niece was born and tried chocolate milk... it is kinda a cop out and created a new problem of him only wanting chocolate milk  but she was able to get her breasts back until Izzy came along.



sorry I can't offer more. my son took well to me not breastfeeding ( i was on pain killers so I had no choice but to let him cry the couple time he did)



 



Good Luck!



Ashley

Erinn - posted on 03/07/2009

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I'm not exactly sure what words of wisdom to give you, my son was the same way! I nursed him for about a year and a half and quit cold turkey when his teeth grew in and he started biting me! My daughter just turned 4 months old and is ALWAYS HUNGRY!! I understand your frustration and wish you luck, i'd actually like some advise myself!!

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