Quitting Time

Ok, so I am just putting this out there and assuming that no one is going to be a douche bag.  Please do not make me wrong. Please!

So. I need advice, because as it turns out, I am SO SO SO SO done with nursing.  Katie Dubs is a year old (almost!) but it turns out that she is SO SO SO SO not done with nursing.  And I have no idea how to get her to quit.  And I need to get her to quit or I might lose my mind.

I have no experience with this because Eli thought nursing was for losers.  Right around this same time with him, I was over it, (in fact I was over it much LATER than he was over it) and I just stopped forcing him to do it, and he was done.  So that was it.  I had to pump once because it hurt, and then I never got engorged again, and it was all over and dear god in heaven I finally got to wear a bra without flaps.

But Katie Dubs? She is all about the boobs, man.  She can hold a sippy cup, but mostly if she is given a sippy cup or a bottle, she takes a big gulp and then lets the milk dribble out of her mouth, and then laughs.  It’s fun for games, but then she would like nursing, please.

She sleeps through the night now, mostly, but when she wakes up in the morning, anywhere between 5 am and 6:30, she wants the nursing and she WANTS IT NOW.  I cannot imagine a sippy cup is going to over well at 6 am.  But maybe if her dad gives it to her? In the rocking chair in her room?

I don’t know. I just have the feeling it’s going to suck.  And like maybe I’m missing something? All ya’all that have done this before, what do I do?  Because really, I am done, done, done.




23 Responses

  1. No advice, but you have my sympathy. I had to nurse my now 4 year old son for far longer than I wanted to (he had other issues, and we didn’t want to disrupt him any more than we had to) and it was very hard. Weaning him must have gone fairly easily, though, because now I can’t even remember what we did!

  2. Argh, is there any situation where weaning isn’t difficult on SOMEONE?

    • according to BFF, who tried to TANDEM nurse because she felt so bad cutting off the toddler when the new baby was born, the “natural” time that a kid will quit on their own is SEVEN. So I suppose it’s not hard on seven year olds? E PS Ew.

      • Yup, sometime between 4-7 years is when they actually “self wean,” based on international stats. Which is why I ended up throwing a “Happy 2.5 years, and now you’re weaned!” party 3 months after my 2nd was born. The pink cupcakes did the job for me!!

  3. The one thing that immediately comes to mind is to make that morning nursing session the last one to go. If you can get her down to just that one every day then your supply is going to go way down and she won’t be getting much anyway. It still might be hard, but if what she craves in the morning is the closeness, when your supply is gone it might be easier to substitute a habit you can live with, like cuddling with her while she has a sippy cup of milk.

    • That is what has always worked for me. By the time my first two were ~1 year old, we were down to three nursing sessions each day (not including middle of the night wakeups now and then): wakeup, pre-nap, and pre-bed. The first session I cut out was pre-nap, figuring that if it didn’t go well, I’d rather cut my losses with naptime than bedtime. After about a week of that, then it was on to bedtime. With my second, I actually gave him a sippy of milk while I rocked him, and let him take it to bed if he was still awake. And that was enough. And then, about a week after (again) we just woke up one morning and went straight for the sippy. The end. And it was easy all around. Now here I am, baby #3 is 19 months old and we’re still going, and I’m thinking that I suppose it’s about time to move on with life. I’m a little worried, though, because he’s that much older and that much more aware of what we do around here. I figure either he’ll just take to it right away because he’s ready (and maybe has been ready for a while) or he’ll fight me on it big time. Let’s all hope for the first one, shall we?

  4. Oh, E. Im so on the fence about this right this very second. Night time has become a battle to get ben to calm down and nurse and then the early am between 4 &6 is like BOOOOOOOOBS! I don’t know what he wants. sometimes he’s all about it others he could care less (4x’s per day if you were wondering) and it’s making me want to quit. Looking forward to reading the advice.

  5. Oh man does that sound frustrating. 😦 I hope you find a workable solution!

  6. Claire gave it up at about the same time I wanted to give it up, so that was nice. But, I read a lot about it before she just decided that because I wanted to wean her before Blathering 1.0 (priorities!). I think the standard advice was to drop a session every week or couple of days until there just aren’t any left. Which, I am sure is easier said than done.

    It’s too bad you can’t bribe a one-year-old like you can a two-year-old.

  7. Would it be really horrible to offer her a bottle?? I mean, I know, why a BOTTLE, you’re going to have to wean her off of that TOO, but maybe it would work better than a sippy?

    Honestly, this is me grasping at straws because my children hated nursing too and were more than happy with their Silicone Nippled Mother.

  8. I don’t know what to tell you. My daughter was over it at 9 mo and I kept pushing it until 11 months, when *I* was finally ready to be done. However, I think a big part of the reason she preferred bottles by 9 mo was because my supply was dropping rapidly (from using the pump at work. The pump never worked that well for me.) So I think dropping sessions and lowering your supply sounds like a good idea.

  9. When it was time to wean, I started substituting either snacks, sippee cups, or “Hey, let’s go on an errand!” for the usual nursing times, one by one until they were all gone (I left the middle-of-the-night one for last because I can’t think straight in the middle of the night). But it sounds like that’s what you’re trying, and she’s determined, whereas my kids were like “Oh, a graham cracker instead? Sure!”

  10. First of all, let me say that it might end up being easier than you think. My son was still VERY much about the nursing at 11 months, and completely weaned by the time he was like 13 months. I cut out feedings one by one, starting with the ones he seemed least interested in. (And by “least interested” I mean he was biting me instead of nursing.) I started out by letting him nurse for a minute or two, then offering the sippy cup if he was still thirsty, then after a few days just offering the sippy without nursing at all. His favorite was the before bed session, so I thought we’d probably keep that up for a few months after we’d quit everything else. Instead, just a few days into that being the only time we nursed, he started flat out refusing to nurse at all. I offered for a few more days and then it was over.

    Also this was all during the biggest blogging loser competition which is why my boobs are so much bigger in the “before” picture.

  11. When my twins were 15 months I hit a WALL with nursing them. Like you, I was DONE DONE DONE. Luckily, I hit this wall while visiting my parents, so I started weaning them right away. Whenever they would start begging for milk, I’d leave. Out of sight, out of mind; they were happy as could be with my mom. The last 2 feedings to go were the first thing in the morning and last thing before bed ones. By then we were home, so I decided to give up the am one first, so when the woke, we went straight to the high chair for breakfast instead of nursing. They were surprisingly ok with it, after a week of mommy disappearing every time they wanted milk. After the morning one was gone, gone, gone (maybe 5 days of no am nursing?), I decided one night to have David put them to bed w/o nursing… Basically, it really helped to remove MYSELF during typical nursing times.

    With Marin, I reached the DONE DONE DONE phase around a year old… but for whatever reason I stuck it out (I think it was incredibly bad timing, so I thought I’d stick it out for another month before weaning), but after a few weeks, I was in LOVE with nursing again. She self-weaned at 18 months and it was sad for ME not her.

    Good luck!

  12. slowly. that’s how i did it. slowly start replacing a nursing session with a solid food meal (or snack), give it about a week before you drop the next session. as for the early morning one…i was worried about that one too. she still wakes up at the crack of dawn now (between 5:30 and 6am). Husband just grabs her from the crib and plops her (with a binky) into bed with us where she usually falls back asleep. i realize that this will cause problems in the future, but she is my last and I;m willing to do that. My other two just got up early and we’d feed them breakfast.

  13. I am so happy to see everyone above offered sympathy or really good advice. Nursing can be such a sensative subject!

    My son weaned himself before I was really reeady, so I don’t have any real experience with this. But, I read a lot about weaning as well, and agree with the consensus – drop one feeding at a time.

    It might not be as bad as you think. And, you can do it. 🙂

  14. I have no real life experience in this arena, having adopted a foster child who was 14 months old and on formula when we got her. I have friends who only nursed for a few weeks and friends who nursed for a LOT (and by LOT, I mean icky) longer. As in post-kindergarten. So really, all I would tell you is that if the child can *spell* breast, he or she should not be still drinking from it. Just my opinion.

    My niece’s best friend quit nursing her daughter when her daughter was about three and a half. O. would stand in front of her mommy and give her puppy eyes, but Shelly would say “Nope, O., sorry.” One day, O was bawling and begging, and then said “Can I just *touch* one of them??”

    And for the sake of stories, my friend Jolene, who died last year at age 79, told me once that she weaned her son from breast milk at eighteen months. But he was still on the bottle at age EIGHT.

  15. Definitely echo the advice about doing it gradually. If you try to drop all your nursing sessions at once you’ll end up engorged and will risk plugged ducts and other unpleasant things. And I agree with making the one she is most attached to the last one to go. When my son turned 1 we stopped the daytime nursing sessions and just kept morning and evening. I dropped morning via cry-it-out (because he was waking up to nurse at 5 am and going back to sleep afterwards, and I was over getting up that early). After a couple of days of crying he started sleeping until 7 and there were no adverse effects. I waited a couple of weeks to drop the evening session–we had a couple of evenings of unhappiness, but ultimately he got over it pretty quickly. Obviously it’s different for each kid (and I know CIO doesn’t work for everyone), but that was my experience. Good luck!

  16. I am with Eisha and the other “cut out each session gradually” suggesters. And enlist that dad, he’s going to have to step up. And just–if you’re DONE DONE DONE, that’s so totally fine. Just BE done. It will be okay. The weeks will go by and then months and then it will be a memory for you and not even one for her. It’s ok, it’s not that big a deal. She’ll be fine, not scarred, not bothered, fine.

    My youngest kid is five, and l now look back on my, um, nearly seven years of nursing (not the same kid! not at all!) with entirely different eyes. I have three kids who nursed and one who didn’t, and it just doesn’t play into things any more at all. Good luck!

  17. First off, good for you- nursing for a year is a huge committment! I only nursed my boys for 6 months each time (I travel for work so I thought I was going to rip my eyes out if I had to pump in another airport bathroom and also was so tired of TSA examining my pump and saying “how old is your baby?” EEW) Weaning the first time wasn’t too terrible for me, but the second time my body rebelled and I was an engorged mess (again, it did not help that I was presenting at a conference at a rural resort in Montana where the only fridge was behind the front desk so I had to deliver bags and bags of milk to the poor front desk guy). Hot compresses and decongestants got me through that nightmare.

    It is such an emotional time (and the hormones don’t help at all of course), so no matter what you do just remember to be kind to yourself for however long it takes for it to happen.

  18. One feeding at a time is the way to go. Both of my kids seemed to be really attached to that morning nursing, but I was pleasantly surprised that if I hopped right up and put an egg in front of my kids, they forgot about the boob. The downside for me was hopping right up, rather than laying in bed nursing/dozing. Good luck!

  19. We are going through this right now. Nate was nursing 3x/day (morning, pre-nap, and pre-bed). What we’ve done so far is have my husband get up with Nate in the morning and put him to bed. If I’m there, he still wants to nurse, but he’s totally fine if I’m not there. I don’t know how to drop the naptime session, because 5 days a week I’m the one putting him down for his nap.

    He has gotten MUCH better about accepting a cup of milk if he ever asks to nurse sometime other than pre-nap, even though he was NOT happy about being turned down only a few weeks ago. Now, he’s totally fine to get milk; he’s just thirsty.

    I have a feeling that final session might not get dropped until David and I take a weekend trip without Nate next month. I’ve also heard, though, that cutting the amount of time you let them nurse during a particular session can help.

    Hang in there!

  20. As a 62 year old woman who nursed, who’s watched her daughter, daughter-in-law, nieces nurse- remember, you are the adult and that’s the child. It’s hard for them to give it up because it’s a consoling thing for them. Find other ways to distract/console them. If slowly weaning them works for you, then do that. This is the first thing that you will have to deny them- followed by many more. It’s never killed one child to be denied or to scream/cry. In fact, this is the beginning of learning to delay gratification, be patient, you will not always get what you want, etc. Please do not raise one more entitled (I want it and I want it now!) child.

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