I have a good friend who is struggling right now on weaning her 2 1/2 yr. old daughter and I told her this would be a good place to find suggestions!
Her daughter is still waking up around 4 am and throwing huge tantrums until she gets "boo boo". My friend is very frustrated and going crazy. She has spoken to a few lactation nurses and hasn't gotten anything really solid that she thinks will work for her.
If anyone has any ideas or has gone through this, please, for the sake of my dear friend's sanity, do tell! Thanks!

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Is the 4am feeding the only time she nurses? This may not be what your friend wants to hear, but maybe she should let her daughter have that one indulgence for now until she's ready to stop. When my babies are weaned it's a natural process and not forced, but none of mine were still nursing at the age of 2. Eventually her daughter will sleep through 4am and not need her "boo boo". It may happen at once that she's able to sleep through every night, or she may skip a night here and there and eventually be sleeping through every night. If your friend co-sleeps it should make the feeding less of a hassle so she won't have to get out of bed to go to her distraught child. I feel it's traumatic for a child to be refused the one thing that is most comforting, and you can't really reason with a 2 yr old.

Maybe someone else can offer suggestions on how to encourage the weaning to happen sooner, but I personally feel the emotional well-being of the child and the bond she feels is more important than missing a little bit of sleep.
I have lots of opinions and suggestions but I need some more specific information to know which one to give.

Is this the only time the child nurses?

Does she go back to sleep after?

Has their been any significant change in the household(good or bad)?

Do they have any other breastfeeding children?

Thanks for answering!
This is NOT the only time she nurses. I don't really know how much she ends up nursing in a day, but I know there are days when we are at work and she's gone for 13 hrs. and doesn't get booboo all day and is fine.
She does go back to sleep.
There has not been any change other than her getting a new sitter. That has been a good positive experience for them though.
There are no other nursing children.
I'm a big believer that breastfeeding has to work for both the mom and the nursing toddler. It sounds like your friend is having a lot of trouble with that 4 a.m. feeding, and probably needs to either co-sleep so she can sleep through it (if she can; I stopped being able to sleep through nursing when my daughter was 9 months old), or set a boundary with her daughter about nursing only when the sun is up or something like that. A mom I knew allowed the toddler his last nursing session when the mom put her pajamas on; whatever works for this family.

But if the mom is going to really cut out that pre-dawn "boo boo," she's going to need help from the dad to let the girl throw her tantrum without getting a payoff for it. If the mom sleeps in another room for a week and the dad knows good and well what's required, that might do it. In my view toddlers are ready for some limits and they need to know that when a boundary is set, it's firm. It is possible the child is waking up with a full bladder and, if taken to the bathroom, seated on the toilet and allowed to play in the water of the sink, she'll pee and be ready to go back to sleep. Or she might be having a bad dream around that time and a firm boundary, some loving attention and a good cry will help her work through something that's scaring her. It might not be about the "boo boo."

Regardless of why the child is asking to nurse at 4 a.m., a happy, rested mom is going to function much better during the day, which means the child will have a nicer time with her. Mom and Dad can both talk to her about how important it is for mommy to sleep well, and how when mommy is rested she can take the kiddo to the park, etc., because she has more energy. Conversely, when mommy is wakened up so early, she's going to need some quiet time later to recuperate. This helps the child begin to understand that her choices affect her family and her loved ones, an understanding that won't mature until much later, but something that will serve her well as she goes through life.

I hope some of this is helpful!
Is your friend wanting to wean completely or just eliminate the 4 am feeding?

I had the same problem w/my son. He would wake up throughout the night and want to nurse. He did not need the calories/nutrition, he wasn't hungry. He just wanted to nurse. It became too much and I decided that he was old enough to sleep through the night and I was closing "Mama's Diner" which until then had been open 24 hours :) My sister gave me this advice and it worked in 3 days. She said to have Daddy wake up and give him a bottle/sippy cup of water. She said that when he realized this was all he was going to get it would not be worth it to him to wake up anymore. She was right.

I wasn't trying to wean though, just eliminate the middle of the night feeding. At that point, my son would nurse 2-3 times through the day, just no longer woke up at night.

If your friend is wanting to wean, I would advise her to eliminate the middle of the night feedings but continue to allow the daytime nursing until her daughter stops waking up in the middle of the night. Then gradually eliminate 1 feeding at a time, waiting until daughter is comfortable with the reduction before eliminating another feeding. Also, make sure that as feedings are reduced quality snuggle time is not. Replace the feeding with reading a book. That way daughter knows that while the milk is no longer available the closeness and comfort is.

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