Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Breastfeeding a Toddler

I have now been breastfeeding Ben for over twenty seven months and he is showing very little signs of giving up. I was hoping that he would self-wean and had set a deadline of two years in my mind but it is not exactly going to plan. I was lucky with Ben in that he took to breastfeeding straight away and it has never been hard or difficult really but it has come to a point now where I am thinking will he ever stop? I have nightmarish visions of Little Britain and the whole 'bitty' scenario.

When Ben was little I didn't think twice about breastfeeding in public and quite happily obliged my baby's demands as and when they happened. Now Ben is a toddler I have to admit I feel considerably less comfortable about it all. His demands are a lot more vocal and physical, even verging on aggressive with him often just grabbing at and trying to whip my boob out in public whilst shouting "booby time now Mama". As a result there have been more than a few embarrassing moments. Breastfeeding a toddler isn't easy, there is a lot of pinching, tugging and pulling and sometimes I feel like I have gone ten rounds with Tyson as he thrashes about from one boob to the other. I do however still value the bond I have with him that breastfeeding brings, it is a very special thing which is why I was, and still am, really hoping weaning will be baby (or should I say toddler) led.

So today in an effort to reduce Ben's feeds we are trying something out, when he asks to feed I give him a very special Mickey Mouse cup with a twirly straw instead and I am happy to say it has worked so far. It is a start, even if I can get him to use it during the day for now I will be happy as I know a lot of the reason he wants to nurse at night has to do with comfort above all else. So wish us luck and if you have any advice I would love to hear from you.

10 comments:

Mummy Whisperer said...

With Max I brought in the 5 O'clock rule when I started to get tired of it - not before 5am and then not until after 5pm.  He eventually cut down to just first thing in the morning and last thing at night, then just last thing at night.  He just couldn't give up that feed even though he wanted a sibling and I explained it could stop me getting pregnant.  but the day I fell pregnant he stopped bless him so that I could 'save milk for baby' - he was quite old then at 3.  So I got 9 months off lol!  I suspect it will have to be a different plan for my daughter - I've had to use a different strategy at night.
Find what works for the two of you, don't worry about what society thinks, and try not to look for too black/white an option; sometimes there is an in-between that will work for a while.

Mummy's Space said...

Thank you for your comment - the 5 o'clock rule sounds like a great idea and something I may try. Your son sounds very sweet and clever stopping to 'save milk for baby'. I do hope Ben makes his own mind up to stop with a little help and encouragement.

I definitely think you are right about there being an in-between, I don't think I could just totally stop him outright all of a sudden as it would be too distressing for him. I feel more positive now we have made a start and reading you comment has helped too - thank you!

Sarahmumof3 said...

well done for feeding him this long... I breastfed all three of mine my eldest two i ended up weaning with the help of dummies around 9 motnhs due to peer pressure and all the 'are you STILL feeding ?! comments so when i had my third i was determined to ignore them and let him self wean...he was around 20 months so a bit sooner than your little boy, but he was a right boobie baby prior to stopping, he would feed through the day and would not really drinnk anything else at all.. I was having visions of him still feeding when starting school... or on his wedding day...  but I didn't really knwo how to wean him as he was such a milk monster, so I just went with the flow fed when he asked, but then he woke up one morning and never asked, then it got to dinner time and still he'd not asked... he drank out of his cup and never asked.. then that was it night came he didn't ask.. to say i was shocked was an understatement and my body wasn't sure what had happened I had far too much milk and a boy who had suddeny forgot completely about it!!   good luck with the cup I'm sure that will help distract him, and you never know he may just wake up one day and not ask for mummy milk anymore..  :D x

schmindie said...

I'm still feeding H (27 months too), though earlier this year was put on hardcore drugs for back troubles, and had to stop - I thought that would be the end of it, but she was back once I was back to normal - what we found was telling her we'd just do one time a day and that would be the morning helped - she'll sometimes ask during the day, and the only time I've given in is when she has hiccups (it's the only thing that seems to work. Argh) But she seems quite accepting that she can have the one 'mummy cuddle' a day right now.. I'd like to stop by the time she's two and a half though, will read this thread with interest! 

Mummy's Space said...

Thanks - the time has flown to be honest! Thank you also for your comment - it has given me hope that they sometimes just make their own mind up that it is time to stop - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the case with Ben too. Had mini victory with the cup yesterday so hopefully it will continue today :).

Mummy's Space said...

Once a day is excellent - sounds like you are making good progress! I can relate to the hiccups cure, it's the only thing that works when Ben gets them too :). I'll keep you posted on how we get on - maybe they'll both have stopped by the time they are 21/2!

mistressmummy said...

I don't really have any advice for you, but seems like you are doing the right thing by yourself and the little man, so good luck and see what works for you! x

Mummy's Space said...

Thank you - I have a feeling it might take awhile but at least we've made a start :)

Tasha Goddard said...

We're at 26 months. My eldest went to 27 months. Eleanor is down to two a day, pretty much, though she will now have one in the middle of the day on nursery days, when she gets home. I don't mind when it is just a straight feed and that's it - I usually read my book at the same time. But when she's trying to get it at other times it's not so pleasant. I don't nurse her out of the house, but will nurse her when we have visitors if it's the normal time. Fortunately, she calls it 'dot dot', so don't have embarassment when out. Though I do feel I shouldn't be embarassed. Like you I had no qualms when she was little.

I'm pretty sure we could stop it cold turkey without too much fuss, but I don't feel the need to at the moment. It's still quite cute when she says 'dot dot is my favourite and my best,' thought I'm sure that will wear thin in a few months if she doesn't stop soon!

Good luck with Ben - hope he self-weans soon.

Mummy's Space said...

Thank you for your comment. Two a day is really good - I think I could handle that. Day 3 here & cup is abandoned, boob monster is back and is also teething so extra needy. It's been a tough day. Hoping to resume to weaning tactics tomorrow. I am back to state of despair that he'll never give up again though..

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