S.S. asks from Muldoon, TX on October 05, 2010
Strictly for Breastfeeding Moms...
My son is 21 months and yes, he still breastfeeds and will until he self weans. I am not looking for opinions or ideas on weaning or breastfeeding as a whole. I am looking for advice from other nursing Moms. I am a SAHM and my son's typical habit is to nurse throughout the day, typically when it's nap time or if he needs comfort from falling down or isn't feeling well (ie. teething, etc). He co-sleeps and nurses at night too. He's pretty independent in many ways, but of late has gotten REALLY clingy! I have turned into the pacifier and I don't mind cuddling or loving on him, we do a lot of that and that's a benefit to being at home full time. BUT, he'll have a fit to sit in my lap and just hold on without actually actively nursing. Any loving suggestions on dispelling clingyness, but continuing to promote affection and nursing. I find myself getting frustrated because at times, he won't let me get anything done because he's holding on and I don't want that kind of behavior to spill over into a full time thing where I cannot even leave the room.
So What Happened?™
I took a moment to step back and consider when and why this was happening. We've made some adjustments to our routine and I am making a conscious effort to not try and multi-task while it's us time. Continuing to practice the trust of explaining that mommy is going in the other room for a minute, etc. Also involving him more in things like having him help in the kitchen etc....
So far so good!
C.W. answers from Lynchburg on October 05, 2010
I just wanted to say that my kids breastfed...and all 'self' weaned when I became preggers with the NEXT child...lol. Don't know if the taste/quality of milk changed...or if it was my lap getting smaller...but by 18 to 20 months all were more interested in sippy cups...and big people food...and hugs and snuggles for sake of hugs and snuggles...
Best of luck!
J.V. answers from Chicago on October 05, 2010
Why do you think he will self-wean anytime soon? In my experience, LOs don't really self-wean. Why would they? Who wouldn't want to stay attached to mom for as long as possible?
If you are getting frustrated, then it is time to wean.
K.K. answers from Springfield on October 05, 2010
You're awesome for giving your son this great start in life! What most of us USA moms forget to notice is that breastfeeding is actually reccommended for several years, not just the 6-12 months we'll give it.
I didn't set out to nurse long term, I just wanted to make it to 12 months -desperately - because of the health benefits to my daughter. However, by the time she was a year old, I had seen how she showed me when she was ready for a sippy cup and when she was ready for solild foods and I decided I wasn't going to make the decision to wean her. I let her pretty much do it on her own and she was 33 months old. She has been as healthy as a horse and as smart as a whip her whole life. I will NEVER regret nursing her long term. If you read studies - the benefits of continuing past 12 months are incredible and multply exponentially each month. Don't let anyone make you feel bad. (I went through that too.) It still amazes me at how hard people work to make a person feel bad for doing the BEST thing on earth you can do for your child... It is a gift that keeps on giving and that you can never, ever replicate. Obviously, I still feel strongly about it.
As with all things in their little lives, they are constantly moving through phases. I would simply alter the routine when he is not actually nursing. When you notice he is not nursing, simply close up shop and tell him its snuggle time or something like that. Maybe transition with big sloppy kisses or something that signals the change - make it fun.
Great job on the breastfeeding!!
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E.A. answers from Erie on October 05, 2010
What you need to to is start redirecting his attention. When my nursing toddlers got to be about that age, I found I had to keep them more physically active instead of having them "sit with me", since up to that point, they identified that with nursing. Also, you can lay down on the floor, on your stomach, with him and play, which prevents him from getting to the boobs lol :)
Don't ever be afraid of saying "no" to nursing him at this point, it's your body, and you get to define the boundaries of when you want to nurse him. But you have to redirect him to do something else. My kids all had binkies, so I allowed them to use them until about 3yo for self soothing, but if your son doesn't use binkies, it's time to find something else that can help him self soothe (while he's with you!) so he becomes less demanding of your body.
I was not a child-led weaning mom. I wanted to nurse as long as possible, but for my own sanity I had to set limits about when they nursed. I stopped all night nursing at 18mo, even though they all co-slept with us until 3yo. By setting that limit, they began to respect my "no" answers without question. I still nursed for comfort (what a blessing it was to still be able to nurse if they hurt themselves!) but not because they were bored. They nursed before going to sleep, but not when they woke up (after 18mo), I would let them nurse after breakfast. Sometimes if I didn't want to nurse, I would just tell them there was no milk right now, and then redirect.
You may not be able to sit "with" him for a while, so that he can begin to understand that you will be saying "no" sometimes. But getting him some kind of Lovey might help too, a stuffed animal, a special blanket, something sensory he can rub on his face or squeeze in his hand.
Also, remember that this is a phase, it will pass. You don't need to wean and you can go on to nurse for as long as you both are comfortable with it. Just remember you can, gently and lovingly, say "no" at this point, you will simply have to redirect him.
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A.R. answers from Chicago on October 05, 2010
I am still nursing my daughter and she is almost 3. We have gone through the same thing. My first daughter (now 10) self-weaned at 3.5 years entirely on her own. Disregard those who say wean!!
One thing I notice is that she nurses MUCH less when she has distractions. It is definitely harder for me to distract her than when others are in the house (big sister, Daddy, grandparents), but one thing that does help is to get out of the house! Or at least away from the chair where you typically nurse. Distraction can sometimes help when they ask to nurse too. I try to delay at this age quite a bit. I keep reminding her that nursing is for boo-boos and bedtime, but she can have a "sip" if she really needs the comfort.
A lot of it is probably a phase. It could be that he is fighting a cold (it's rampant cold and strep season!) and feeling a bit under the weather, or cutting teeth. I find that things tend to cycle, and just when I think I can't bear anymore, the phase passes! Thank goodness!!
Try engaging him with helping you clean or cook. Just giving a damp rag or a few pots and wooden spoons, etc. Yes, more mess will be made, but maybe you can at least get the important things done, like put food in your tummy! We got one of those kitchen helper things, which helps a lot since she can be up high enough to see what is going on, or play with some shallow suds in the sink.
Preschool Power is an awesome series of videos about things toddlers can help do that empower them and cut some of the boredom (that I think leads to the increased clingies.)
Too bad you aren't closer- I'm in IL. Would love to get together with another mom! Look into meetup.com for attachment parenting groups or a La Leche League for nursing toddlers for more support too.
2 moms found this helpful
P.S. answers from Bloomington on October 05, 2010
I nursed my daughter for 20 months and I weaned her because she wasn't eating her solids well as she was being satisfied by her nursing sessions. Which were only in the evenings and nights, as she goes to daycare.
However, if your son is eating well, I don't see a need to wean him,
When my daughter got clingy during her nursing days, she would want to nurse because that was the only time I would sit down and forget all other chores. I had so many house chores to do and my husband works late some evenings.
So I realized that I should give her some mommy and baby time, so that she has something other than nursing to associate with mommy time. It seems like you are doing it, but progressively increase how much you can distract him from nursing during this mommy-son time and the bonding will give him additional security that mommy pays attention when I am not asking to be nursed as well. (not that you don't but we don't know what he interprets yet)
And if he absolutely needs to nurse he won't get distracted by anything you do!
Also, have you started anything new for him? activities, play dates, daycare? that can cause the clingy behavior too.
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M.P. answers from Houston on October 06, 2010
I can't tell if he is also truly nursing at this point and getting a feeding in during any of his nursing. Regardless, how and when you wean is your decision. I loved the closeness it fostered with my kids and will always cherish that time. Here is my take on what is happening for your son and how I handled the EXACT same thing with my son.
All children need to learn to self-soothe. You can't be there 100% of the time. When they realize that, it is pretty scary. Thus, they often find a "lovey" to help them learn how to soothe. In child development psychology, it is called a "transitional object." Feel free to do a Google search, Wikipedia states that the transitional object is "often the first ‘not me’ possession that really belongs to the child. These could be real objects like a blanket or a teddy bear, but other ‘objects’, such as a melody or a word, can fulfill this role as well. This object represents all components of ‘mothering’, and it means that the child himself is able to create what he needs as well. It enables the child to have a fantasized bond with the mother when she gradually separates for increasingly longer periods of time." It is healthy for them to have as it teaches them that they can create whatever they need and aren't at the mercy of mommy's availability.
I had to help my son foster this attachment. My breast had becoming his "lovey!" Thus, I created "blankie." It was the blanket he slept with, so I knew he was comfortable with it. I gave it its name so it would take on personality. I started having him hold blankie when he was nursing so he would associate the feelings of nursing with blankie. Eventually, he started turning to blankie for comfort and continued nursing for food. He still wants to snuggle, but wants blankie as well as mommy. I also can tell when he is overwhelmed by the way he will go get and hold blankie, so it is a good cue for me to check in with him. Sometimes, when he won't/can't talk, I ask "blankie" questions. I also love on "blankie" which transfers some of my scent.
Hope this is helpful. He is at a clingy age because he can't quite comfort himself yet. Good luck!
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S.L. answers from Brownsville on October 05, 2010
I nursed my first two until they were both 3 years old and weaned only because we had another on the way. They were both very clingy like your son so it was really hard to put my foot down and commit to weaning. During the day, I offered sippy cups and continued to hold and hug and love on them. We would do something special like put on a movie or read their favorite books to make it a little more meaningful and get their minds off of my breasts. At night, I just said that 'mommy didn't have teetee anymore' but we could snuggle until they fell asleep. Yes, there was kicking and screaming and crying, but it lasted only a few days until they realized 'mommy didn't have teetee anymore' but snuggling with mommy was just as good.
Those days were really hard on us all, but we got through them and my boys realize now that nursing is just for babies. They are my precious "big boys". I do have a 1 year old right now and I'm due with baby #4 in two months. On to my next challenge...tandem nursing!!
Good luck to you! You can do it!!
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J.F. answers from Nashville on October 05, 2010
I breastfed both of my sons for a little over a year. I weaned them when I thought they were ready and I was ready too but I certainly had to make the decision. That being said, my boys are still very cuddly (they are 4 and 2) and weaning did not change the affection I have with both of them. I read books to them every night and we cuddle during that time and both most often sleep with me and my husband unless he leaves for lack of room :) In other words, you can still have a very affectionate relationship with your son even after breastfeeding is done.
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M.W. answers from Huntington on October 05, 2010
I nursed my 7 kids, 3 yrs each. Some were more into using me as a pacifier than others. Each kids is a unique person, w unique needs. A mother who fills these needs at this stage, raises self-assured, independent adults. I should know, mine are in their 20's, 30's & 40's now!
Actually, the kids who nursed the most, was the "high-needs" baby, is the one who I have the closest bond w today, but she's not a bit "needy" now, just we are very close, plus she's the one one gets & keeps the family together, planning family holiday get togethers... which isn't easy w that many families to gather!
But now back to a solution for you - I used baby carriers (not the fashionable, but unsecured slings!) where I could carry the baby hands free to do other chores, while baby was free to nurse, cuddle, sleep, as they desired. Oft times I even carried the baby on my front AND the toddler on my back as I went about w my daily chores.
Whenever possible, I nursed in bed, so I could nap w my kids, when it wasn't, I just strapped them on and kept going w whatever I was doing.
From 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 is the clingy stage, but it is just a stage. If you tend to push them away at this point, they will feel more insecure & just get more clingy. Keeping them close at this stage, helps them grow in their feelings of security. It is a very trying stage, but well worth the effort in the long run!
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