R.S. asks from Chicago, IL on November 22, 2010
Pregnant, Nursing, Weaning...
Our almost 16 month old loves nursing. She curls up with her blankie, asks me to sing her favorite song, and enjoys the closeness. I do, too, but I'm ready to stop. I took a pregnancy test today and it was positive. :) I have an appt with my Ob-Gyn in a couple of days to confirm all is well. I don't want to deprive my daughter of something she enjoys but I also feel strongly that I don't want to nurse while pregnant; it's too draining on my body. Currently, she nurses between 3 and 4 times in a 24 hour period. 1) Very early in the morning when she wakes up (anywhere between 5:15 and 6:30)...my husband brings her to our bed and she cuddles up, which means I get to rest a little longer. 2) Before her morning nap 3) She doesn't take an afternoon nap anymore but more often than not, she asks for it when she starts feeling tired or bored 4)Before bed.
Although I've basically stopped nursing her during the night but there are times when she wakes up around 3 or 4 am and I nurse for about 10 minutes but I know I need to stop.
So, I'd appreciate any tips from moms who have been in my position, or a similar position -I don't want to go cold turkey like some of my friends because I feel that would be cruel to our child...but I also don't want to drag it out.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for the great support. To those of you who were able to nurse while also pregnant, kudos! I know my body well and know that it would be too draining for me to both nurse a toddler and also nurture a developing baby in utero. With great apprehension, I sang my daughter a song this morning and put her down for her nap. She protested, asking to be nursed, but I gently repeated the song, walked out and she fell asleep. It wasn't as traumatic as I imagined...though we'll see what tomorrow brings. One step at a time...
T.B. answers from Miami on November 22, 2010
Breastfeeding is draining on your body? I nursed my 3 1/2 year old while pregnant with baby #3 and I did not find it to be draining at all. In fact, it gave me an incentive to get MORE rest because pregnancy naturally makes women more tired. However, I did wean my toddler when my breasts become too sensitive during pregnancy. Every woman is different, but my reason for weaning was because nursing was becoming painful.
So, if you are sure you want to wean, first of all, you need to stop nursing during the night. Without a doubt, a 16 month old is not waking up during the night because she is hungry. Thirsty maybe but you can easily remedy that with a sippy cup (not a bottle) of water...no milk, no juice. Just plain water. The point of cutting out night time sessions is to make it undesirable for her to wake up in the first place. IF she knows she is getting something yummy like juice or milk, that is all the incentive she needs to wake up...and more frequently. Give her water, only water and that will eliminate her desire to wake up.
Once you have gotten rid of the night time nursing sessions (could take a week or two, maybe a few days if you are lucky), cut out the day time sessions, leaving the first session of the day and the last session of the day the last ones to go. The last session of the day, from my experience, was the hardest for my toddler to give up. Replace those day time sessions with sippy cups of juice, water, or milk, and a snack and/or activity. Start making your breasts hard for her to get at by not wearing a nursing bra and tops that are hard to lift up. Make excuses by saying, "Mommy's milk is sleeping now, let's get something else to drink (or eat)." You don't have to drag it out unless you want to but you don't want to go "cold turkey." That would be unfair to your daughter. She is too young to understand and for her breastfeeding brings her comfort and you need to help her find other ways to find comfort. Make new routines in the morning so she isn't getting to breastfeed. I hope this all helps you. It could take about a month before she is totally weaned and once you stop a session, do NOT allow her to have it back. Good luck.
2 moms found this helpful
D.B. answers from Los Angeles on November 22, 2010
I tandum nursed my older two. My daughter (first born) just would not give it up easily. I did cut out the night nursing and had daytimes cut down to the same few sessions as you have now.
For me the experience was wonderful. My older two are best friends and look out for each other even now. The memories of my daughter curling up and holding her baby brother's hand or stroking his face the same way i did her while they were both nursing are priceless. Even while I was pregnant she got to feel her brother kicking my belly when she nursed.
Do your homework. You'll need to consume more calories as your body will provide for the pregnancy first and then your nurseling - and then after birth the calorie count grows even more. Make sure you get some calcium in your diet everyday so your body doesn't pull it from your bones. Keep up with the prenatal vitamins.
I'll also say that somewhere in the 4th or 5th month of pregnancy that your milk production slows way down and changes taste. With my first i couldn't even hand express milk although she somehow managed to still get a little by nursing, but its possible that your LO might decide that its not worth the work or might not like the taste, and will self wean at that point. You could also wait for that change in your body to happen and help encourage her self wean. Just remember to give her some extra cuddle/snuggle sessions to replace the nursing connection to help ease the transition. When I unexpectedly got pregnant with my third, my second born self weaned at that point (he was almost 3 then too, so i was really encouraging).
wishing you the best.
1 mom found this helpful
B.B. answers from Dallas on November 22, 2010
I would suggest cutting out one session per week, ending with the bedtime session. This is how I weaned my ODS when he turned 1, and probably what I will do when I wean my YDS (he's 12 months, but I have no plan to wean anytime soon). I would definitely cut out the night feedings if you want to wean, and try to find other ways to soothe her back to sleep. I think those can be the hardest to cut out. My LO has finally gotten to where I can pat him back to sleep, up until about 5am, then he really wants to nurse. He sounds like your LO, he always wants to nurse more when he's tired. Going slow helps not only your LO, but also helps your comfort level so your milk slowly adjusts rather than you being engorged by going cold turkey. Hope it goes well, and congrats on the new baby!!!!
M.S. answers from San Francisco on November 22, 2010
Some people are not supportive in the least, and it's too bad.
I started with a different approach - I wanted to nurse while pregnant - but it was incredibly draining on me! I had bad morning sickness, and between nursing and feeding the baby in the womb it felt like there was nothing left for me. For your sake, I'd try to keep the morning nurse for a little while, and find different transitions into napping. My son started weaning himself anyway because my milk was changing. Give it another 4-6 weeks and see if your daughter starts losing interest on her own.
A.J. answers from Chicago on November 22, 2010
I stopped breastfeeding my first son at 18 months and second one at 2 years. They were a little older, but I think the technique I used might still work. The first thing I did (following my midwife's advice) was to designate a "nursing chair". So I started only nursing my baby in one certain chair in the house. This helped cut down on nursing outside of the house. Then we started offering a sippy cup (of milk, then water) before bed, and my husband put him to bed (rather than me). We also had my husband start getting up with our son at night to comfort him, rather than me, so the option to nurse would not be there. Finally, when we were only nursing before nap and in the morning - I put bandaids on my nipples. No joke. I told my son that I had "boo-boos" and couldn't nurse. They totally got it. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it worked. (My midwife suggested this - it worked for her too). After a few days of bandaids on my nipples, my sons stopped asking to nurse. Each step in this process was slow and gradual - it took at least a week to stop nursing at night for example.
Good luck to you. You'll get there eventually!
K.P. answers from New York on November 22, 2010
Cut the out one-by-one if you don't want to just "stop". Make sure you have a back-up soothing plan, but make it totally different than the nursing routine. Cuddle her, read books, rub her back... just keep it consistent. Take one away each week and don't cave! It's going to be a rough couple of weeks doing it one-at-a-time. My thought would be that it would be less drawn-out and if you just stop. It will be a long week, but she doesn't need the nursing for nourishment, just for comfort so it will really be a behavioral issue, not a nutritional one.
My thought... it's going to be upsetting (not cruel) either way, so go into it with the band-aid mentality... one swoop so it's over with sooner! I did this with my son at 9 months b/c I just couldn't keep up with it while working and in school. I tried to do the "one at a time" method and it was much more difficult. Cold Turkey took less than a week and we were through it!
S.H. answers from Honolulu on November 22, 2010
Give her a bottle or sippy.
It is really up to you, when to stop.
I was pregnant once... and was still nursing my daughter, my eldest child.
Then I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks into that pregnancy.
Or, speak to a Lactation Specialist about it... that way, you will get firm facts about it... and any tips.... and then make your decision...
all the best,