So here we are at 18 months and yes, we are still nursing. I thought I’d write a post about it since its been such a huge part of my life for the past year and a half and because I hope that some of the women out there reading this will identify with my story.
Jasper latched on fairly easily and once we both got the hang of it, it was pretty much all we did for four months straight. He was kind of a colicky baby. The only time he was happy and resting was when he was breastfeeding. No one and nothing else could soothe him or get him to sleep, mama’s milk was the one and only answer for him. He’s always been on the small side, so his weight has always been a concern for me. Of course I had all that new mom guilt, I wondered if there was something wrong with me or my milk. After starting solids and not seeing any difference in his weight gain, we started supplementing with some formula, around 6 or 7 months, but around 11 months he decided he hated it and never touched it again. Even with the extra bottle or two of formula a day, he still wanted to nurse every two hours around the clock. Finally around 8 months old he started sleeping for longer stretches at night and I finally got a break. From that time on (minus the occasional travel and growth spurt) he was pretty much night weaned.
Our struggle has always been with naps. He will not nap without me. Without being nursed to sleep, without nursing while sleeping. He has been this way since day one. No one else has ever been able to put him to sleep and he’s so darn stubborn, he’d rather not nap than have it any other way. And I’ve tried. I’ve tried letting him CIO and he will cry hysterically for an hour or longer if I let him. I feel a little ashamed to say that I have let him cry for that long. Please don’t judge me internet. I had to at least try and see what he was capable of.
We are in full toddlerhood and I’d say we are still nursing (at least) four times a day. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon at nap time and before bed. I say at least four though because he usually demands another nursing session after breakfast. I try to keep him busy and not thinking about my milk as much as possible because he’d be on me all day if I were to let him.
People say, “stop nursing him” when I start to complain about his naps. How I wish it was that easy! Like I could just say, “Nope, sorry kid!” and he’d be like “ok mommy!” and we’d be done with it, right? I only wish it were that easy. I definitely want to stop. If he wanted to stop today I’d be extremely happy, I might be sad for like a second, but then I’d be really really happy. If you’ve ever nursed a toddler than you know how hard it is and unfortunately, I just don’t think my sweet boy is the self weaning type. But we’ve been testing the weaning waters for a while. I started refusing the “gimme it when I want it” or “boredom” feeds, telling him “no milk until nap/bed time” and it seems to finally be setting in. My next move is to tackle the nap since its the hardest part of my day. I’m afraid I’m just going to have to let him CIO and realize that mom is serious and trying to set a boundary. Then I plan to cut the pre-bedtime session and the morning one last. I don’t plan on doing it all at once, but gradually over time. Hopefully he catches on sooner than later.
So that’s my strategy, I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for reading my story, I’d love to hear your experiences if you’d be willing to share!