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Help! Extended bfing becoming a battle but neither of us ready to quit - need advice!!

(36 Posts)
phdlife Sat 27-Sep-08 13:29:51

So ds is 17m and very attached, we co-sleep and we're together pretty much 24/7. He's always been demand-fed and I've loved doing it - until now. Two things are going wrong for us.

One is that ds has developed a habit of pushing the back of his wrist against the underside of my breast while feeding, so he has to hold his latch even more tightly, with his teeth. He always did have a phenomenal suck so the result is that my nipples are slightly inflamed and incredibly tender - can't bear a t-shirt dragging across them kind of thing. The wrist thing bloody hurts so I move his hand away but he wants it there so we just go round in circles, with him getting more and more annoyed until he is whacking my hand away and generally flailing at me in frustration.

The second thing is that he has suddenly started to want comfort feeds. LOTS of them. At first this was how he coped with his recent bout of teething (pre-molars) and I think some of it is because we are just beginning the process of moving house so things are a little unsettled at home. It's really not much yet but dh and I are tense and I'm guessing that ds is picking up on that. It may also be because following straight on from the teeth he developed a little cold?

So atm he is feeding 2-3x a night, before his morning nap, sometimes during or after his nap (can go up to 2hrs), sometimes randomly in the afternoon (this almost always turns out to be for comfort as he's quite well fed!)

If I try to not feed him he loses it; if I cut it short (which I'm now doing most of the time, feeling bad about it) he cries but usually consoles himself with his fingers. Not sure if that's making him come back for more though?

I am trying to tell myself it's just a phase but it's been going on like this for over a month now. The fact is I'd really like to night wean - I am keen to ttc #2 but no AF yet - but ds is clearly not in any state for that. Otoh I am finding myself really resentful at being used as a dummy, sore, and irritable. And if it was nice again, I'd be happy to keep going (except at night. That has got to stop soon!)

Any advice/suggestions please?

BeHereNow Sat 27-Sep-08 13:39:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StealthPolarBear Sat 27-Sep-08 14:55:33

hi phd
you poor thing
just joining you as in a similarish position and thinking about night weaning

BeHereNow Sat 27-Sep-08 17:07:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Olihan Sat 27-Sep-08 17:36:59

phdlife, I went through this phase at the same age. Ds2 started pushing his hand into the top of my boob, which made his teeth rub on my nipple and I ended up with a crack for the first time ever. Exactly the same as you, he hated me moving it too. Occasionally I gave him something to hold which distracted him a bit but

He also became incredibly demanding and was having between 5 and 8 feeds in 24 hours. I was constantly on the brink of giving up and going cold turkey but knew that would be horrible for both of us and couldn't face it.

Franny lent me 'Mothering your Nursing Toddler' which is a LLL book and it says that this is a very common phase at this age. That helped me to resign myself to it a bit and he stopped it all very suddenly a couple of weeks ago, at 20 months.

Now he feeds first thing in the morning, and last thing at night, after his story. He's also dropped the night feeds of his own accord but we don't co sleep. He has a double bed that I used to get into when he woke in the night so DH started going in instead of me and he eventually stopped asking for milk overnight. He even sleeps through every so often which is bliss! Can you put him in his own bed/room and see what happens? We did have a couple of hard nights when he screamed and screamed at dh but I knew he was okay and just cross that his instant dummy wasn't there.

All I can say is, hang in there. It's a very tough phase and I have lots of sympathy for you but it will pass before too long.

policywonk Sat 27-Sep-08 17:57:38

I'm still feeding my DS2, who's 3.5, and he went through a loong period of wanting a lot of feeds around the age of 2 - it wasnn't just for a couple of months either. I think some kids are just keener on bf-ing than others and won't cut down of their own accord - or will only cut down very, very gradually. Not saying yours is necessarily like this, but it's a possibility!

Anyway, I feel quite strongly that when you're bf-ing an older child, it has to be enjoyable for the mother as well as for the child - otherwise it's just martyrdom. I think you should decide for yourself how often you are happy to feed him, make a plan and stick to it; you'll be much more likely to feed him for longer that way. First off, I'd decide whether you want to continue to demand feed. If you don't, think about roughly how many times a day you want to feed him, and think about what you're going to do to distract him the rest of the time. If you want to night-wean him, do!

I would definitely stop the feed every time he hurts you. If you let him carry on for a while and then stop him, he's getting mixed messages about what the problem is.

mawbroon Sat 27-Sep-08 20:32:32

Hi phdlife. It's hard isn't it! I am still feeding ds who is going to be three next month and there are still some days where he would feed 100 times a day if I let him!

I do remember that at around your ds's age, I was still pretty much feeding on demand. (We are also together 24/7) because like you say, not feeding was more hassle than it was worth. Also he had developed an dairy intolerence, so I was keen to get as much breastmilk into him.

Have you read "how weaning happens"? The LLL book? It gives info on all aspects of weaning, including night weaning. you might find it helpful.

Re the wrist thing, I would take him off and put him down as soon as he starts. he will soon make the connection, but might make an almighty fuss the first few times.

Good luck

preggersplayspop Sat 27-Sep-08 20:41:28

Hi Phd, sorry, don't mean to be stalking you from the nightweaning thread! My DS and yours sound like twins, they are about the same age and I am experiencing very similar things. Haven't plucked up the courage to try any of the Jay Gordon stuff yet as I think he is teething again, though I have told him a couple of times when I got sick off being human-dummy for hours on end that 'booby had gone to sleep' and it has worked a couple of times, so eventually I will give it a go properly.

Its so hard. I had my first row with DH this evening about co-sleeping and bf sad. He's starting (or rather he has felt like this a while but not said anything) a bit pushed out.

DS seems to be going through a real clingy phase at the moment as well, crying again at nursery drop off or whenever I leave the room, so I don't feel like this is the time to cause him added stress when he enjoys bf so much.

CoolYourJets Sat 27-Sep-08 20:50:11

<agree with Policywonk>

Nothing wrong with BF manners imo. I have generally found that the scrapey teeth thing always conincides with teething/new teeth and a latch adjustment is required. A shot of teething gel before feeds is sometimes helpful.

As far as cutting the feeds down how is he when you are out? Neither of mine were fussy if we were out playing/other kids/animals etc. I found mine would feed and feed because they couldn't think of anything else to do if I was sitting down.

I have just noticed my two year old seems to have stopped requesting day time feeds after we did a fairly prolonged effort to occupy her with other stuff.

phdlife Sat 27-Sep-08 20:59:06

thank you all for support

glad(ish) to know it's common, but really not sure I could cope with this going on a couple more months

A thing I forgot to mention was that, because his feeds are hurting me and I'm stopping him, a major part of his bed routine is disrupted - not that I let him go to sleep 'on', but he did used to like a nice, settling feed last thing - and bedtimes are now also hell. For both of us I suspect. (And poor dh, when I stomp in there and mutter grimly at him!)

we can't put ds anywhere else - flat is too small and we are already in process of emigrating. In fact I would like to keep bfing specifically to help him come to terms with the big move, if only we could find a way that was less pain/stressful!

might see if I can borrow any LLL books from somewhere. policywonk spot on - it is starting to feel like martyrdom and not my idea of a good time. Like the idea of introducing a bit more control, the prob of course is that I'd be happy to feed him during the day (when easily distracted) not so much at night, when distractions less available <<sigh>>

and will try getting up when he does the wrist thing, thanks mawbroon

BeHereNow Sat 27-Sep-08 21:12:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

phdlife Sat 27-Sep-08 21:20:06

BeHereNow I'm too sodding tred to have picked up on any flippancy - was going to ask what you meant here:

Don't do it! Or if you do do it, go away for one night, then two etc and never return/stick to it.

I did it as was pg and thought I should. It achieved nothing and I was glad to stop trying.

(or is that the flippant bit, and I shouldn't worry about it...?)

I think my plan is, once he's over this cold and feeling a bit happier in himself, we'll do the Jay Gordon nightweaning thing. Daytime feeds going to follow mawbroon's advice to put him down when he wrists me. If AF will come back once I stop night feeds I'm quite happy to keep going, if not I'll have to quit fully I don't want to but verily I am aged, can't mess around

mawbroon Sat 27-Sep-08 21:22:41

Would he be distracted from the wrist thing by a toy or something? Something that he only got to play with at breastfeeding times?

Something like a soft toy would be fine for him to have at bedtime too. I made the mistake of letting ds have his toy london bus whilst feeding at bedtime last night and got clonked on the head with it.

I sometimes read ds a story whilst feeding him which distracts him from his incessant nipple twiddling.

phdlife Sat 27-Sep-08 21:31:37

that could be worth a try - (note to self, not his wooden tractor). story could also work in daytime, though he tends to want to turn all the pages at once, finished in 12 seconds hmm

mawbroon Sat 27-Sep-08 21:33:18

Which hand is he pushing with? The near one or the far away one? IYSWIM

phdlife Sat 27-Sep-08 21:35:29

erm, near? [tired/thick emoticon]

we almost always feed lying on the bed, his top wrist is worst - he sometimes is happy to shove it down my top - I do think it is an urge for skin-contact - he gets quite frantic if he can't get his arm against some bit of my chest skin. (just thought of that)

tbh I think the 'bottom' arm gets involved too, it's just less of an issue thanks to position

mawbroon Sat 27-Sep-08 21:38:26

I see. I just wondered if you were feeding sitting up if the "near" arm could go round your back, if that was the one he was pushing with.

DS is a terrible twiddler. I decided just to go with it because it was obviously a very important part of feeding for him. BUT it didn't hurt me, it was just annoying and now I am not that fussed by it. In fact, sometimes if I am not willing to feed him, a quick twiddle down my top is enough to satisfy whatever comfort it is that he is after!

phdlife Sat 27-Sep-08 21:41:50

yes have noticed that if I put him off early, he's got to have his arm down there for a bit. Could live with that, at least once my poor nipples are less inflamed. right now they're so tender I'm jumping whenever he brushes against them. which is a lot, whatever he does

mawbroon Sat 27-Sep-08 21:48:51

Aww, sore nipples are just shit aren't they!

I was going to say that I haven't had sore nips since ds was tiny, but it's not true.

i was briefly pg at the beginning of the year and my nips were sore. Ds had developed a lazy latch which hadn't hurt before but was sore with the pg nips.

If it was sore, I told him to come off and try again. His problem was he wasn't opening his mouth wide and was sooking my nipple up like spaghetti rather than taking a huge mouthful IYSWIM. He got the hang quickly, but he was over two, so quite a bit older than your ds.

Have you tried telling your ds that it is sore for mummy and asking him to try again?

phdlife Sat 27-Sep-08 21:52:49

yes - also tapping side of his mouth saying "gentle" - he just gets mad. tbh I think he does it almost deliberately when he wants comfort rather than food, his proper feeds (in the night when he was dozy) don't hurt half so much.

mawbroon Sat 27-Sep-08 21:59:48

Some other mothers' experiences here from LLL

Haven't read them all, but there could be something in there that will help you!

BeHereNow Sat 27-Sep-08 22:07:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeHereNow Sat 27-Sep-08 22:08:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alittleteapot Sat 27-Sep-08 22:39:17

Ah sorry to hear this phd. dd is feeding alot more in the day too but i think it's the cold. she's hardly eating any solids. also comfort feeds that last no time at all. plus nipple twiddling and also a bit of biting lately that she thinks is hilarious. sounds like you need to get past the cold as you say then go for JG. But make sure you're as rested as poss and have good support from dh that week because it is really knackering. i'm thinking we might buy dd a bed for the next stage.

BeHereNow Sat 27-Sep-08 22:52:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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