Desperate to stop breastfeeding my 17 month old

(28 Posts)
AllyJU Mon 01-Dec-08 10:51:33

My 17 month old daughter refuses to stop breastfeeding. During the day, when she doesn't see me she is fine, but the minute I walk through the door we have a battle to distract her from wanting to feed. She pulls at my top and shoves her hand in pinching my nipple and screams until she gets what she wants. We are able to put her down to sleep without feeding her, however, she will wake at least twice in the night, crying hysterically until I feed her again. (If I try to ignore her, she just gets more and more hysterical) Then she will lie next to me in bed sucking and crying everytime I try to pull away. (last night she was sucking constantly for 2 hours).
I know that my milk supply isn't as it was, and that I don't really think that she is doing it because she is hungry, as we make sure she has a full tummy before going to bed. She is just using me as a dummy.
Please can anyone help?

kasya Mon 01-Dec-08 11:11:28

Allyju you have my sympathies, I went through this with my ds. He was exlusively breastfed until 6 months, when I moved him on to bottles but he still breastfed at night until he was 11 months old. Like your dd it was purely for comfort and I can totally relate to being used as a dummy ds was doing that to me, feeding on and off practically all night, but I was too lazy to stop as he was co-sleeping so I just let him feed.

But I was feeling really run down and when I got mastitis I decided it was time to stop so I just decided to grit my teeth and put up with a couple of sleepless nights while I resolved not to breastfeed. It did take a couple of nights but after that he got the idea and he has completely stopped breastfeeding now (at nearly 1 year). If you really do want to stop breastfeeding it is possible, but just bear in mind you might need to express a bit while you're weaning dd off as my breasts got a bit engorged until my body got the message. Good luck!

bamboostalks Mon 01-Dec-08 11:30:49

I had this too. You need your dp to help you and you need to go old turkey. This is what I did, I think it is the best and kindest way. Loads of high necked tops and absent yourself as much as possible at morning and evening. It is really tough and heart breaking but like you, my dd was a bully and I was at my wits end.

AllyJU Mon 01-Dec-08 13:25:26

Thanks for your advice. Bamboostalks, what did you do to calm your dd when she woke in the night instead?

Balthamos Mon 01-Dec-08 16:28:31

AllyJU - I could have written that message word for word about my DD (except for the age, my DD is 16 months).

I am sorry but I don't have any advice, but I wanted to let you know that we are in the same situation. So, I will just watch this thread and read what others say.

With regards to stopping, I think what bamboostalks says is right, your DP/DH has to help, I know that in our case, we plan to tackle this and attempt going cold turkey when DP is on holiday (he travels heaps with work and is away about 10 days a month so it we can't do it before then).

It is really hard to have the physical demand - as well as the emotional demand – that constant breastfeeding puts upon you. Also, it is pretty hard to have constant bad nights. I feel exhausted and at times, a little bit resentful. I am very envy of those mothers who are able to feed their DC's once a day! However, I try to remember that it gives my DD lots of comfort and she is a very happy, confident and developmentally advanced little girl (not that that is necessarily related to BFing, but it is good to focus on the positive anyway!).

Objectively, I find it interesting that some children are so breast obsessed and some aren't. Other parents don't seem to understand me when I try to explain what it is like with a child who is SO into BFing so, from that, I must assume that most children are not like this!

Anyway, as I said, I don't have any tips, but you have my sympathy and I will watch this thread with interest!

soremummy Mon 01-Dec-08 16:34:59

Are you me in disguise??? My dd is 18mths and is totally obsessed with 'dilk' she nearly strips me during the day to feed. Even this morning I put a bathrobe on after shower and she climbed under it! I am so glad I don't wear dresses lol imagine what she would do if we were out. I do feel for you as I am used as a dummy every night and it can get you down. We also co sleep for sanity sake. I am reading hmm or trying to read the no cry sleep solution and im gonna do my best to get her sleeping in her cot and try to wean before christmas. I will also watch this with interest

MissLiss Mon 01-Dec-08 21:04:20

I just came on intending to post pretty much exactly the same opening post, AllyJU. DS2 is 14 months and I'm so nearly at the end of my tether with constant demands for breastfeeding, especially at night. I have just been giving in and letting him have what he wants because at 4 in the morning it's so hard to do anything else. And if I try to settle him in any other way, he gets hysterical, arching his back and will cry until he's sick and heaving with sobs. It breaks my heart, but realistically I don't know how much longer I can go on with it. The thought of cold turkey is really hard, although I'm starting to think it might be the only way. It really seems to be all or nothing with him, and some days it's really quite difficult to distract him.

ElenorRigby Fri 05-Dec-08 11:38:13

Hi Alluju.

A cousin of mine had this problem and ended up being used as a soother when her daughter was 5!

Supernanny Series 6 Episode 1 had a family with a similar situation...
"The baby of the family has a vice like grip over Mum. Madison is almost three, but she still demands breastmilk or what she calls “mimi” - on tap, morning, noon and night. Despite having a bedroom of her own, Madie has always slept in Jenny’s bed – whilst dad beds down with the boys The couple haven’t slept in the same bed for five years!"
Might be worth a look

weeglenny Fri 05-Dec-08 12:11:18

I just thought I'd post my experience too - I stopped BF DS on the 24th November (he was almost 14 months), as he'd really started rubbing his upper gums/teeth on my nipple and I had a big sore patch that wasn't healing.

So took him up to bed the first night, with his favourite cup with water in it, and gave him lots of cuddles then put him down to sleep. That night was pretty bad with him waking up a lot, but each time I offered water in case he was really thirsty, and also lots of cuddles. The next night wasn't quite as bad and then the third night he slept through for the first (and only) time!

FWIW he has always been a sucky baby,and we did co-sleep for a while,but I think now he's finally accepted that there's no more b/f

Tapster Fri 05-Dec-08 20:38:22

DD self weaned with a bit of a push at 23 months (I am pregnant). At about 18 months I had to cut out feeds as I was conceiving but eggs not implanting. I cut out feeds (SAHM so it was 7-8 during the day, none at night luckily) one ever 2-3 weeks. I did have tears, tantrums but not for long. I would give up the next feed once she had "forgotten" about the next feed. I did use bribes - chocolate buttons most successful!

Things that helped were setting rules - you can do it that age and they will understand. Only BF on the sofa in DD's bedroom was my rule.

Night feeds enlist DH's help is essential. He has to go EVERY time during the night and sit with the child until they go back to sleep, through the crying. It worked in 2 nights for us.

charliegal Fri 05-Dec-08 22:37:51

Argh!! There is no such thing as being used as a dummy or soother! Dummies are nipple substitutes, not the other way round.

mawbroon Fri 05-Dec-08 22:53:14

It might be worth you getting a hold of La Leche Leagues' How Weaning Happens book.

Unless you have stopped already of course!!

My DS is such a milk monster, that stopping him cold turkey is unthinkable. Even if I just tinker with his feeding a bit, his behaviour deteriorates really badly after a couple of weeks, so I am fairly sure that it is still a need for him. Despite those who say that a three year old doesn't "need" breastfed.

I decided to stop stressing, go with the flow and let him self wean, but I appreciate that it's not for everyone.

Good luck

Dominique07 Sun 21-Dec-08 11:08:27

This sounds familiar - I am stopping the breastfeeding sad now DS is 18 months, I feel terrible, keep thinking about the health benefits, since DS is much more resistant to all the bugs than all his 'little friends'. It sounds all too familiar that i was being used as a dummy overnight not everyone knows how that feels, I would literally sleep on my side all night while the nipple was chewed and abused! I feel the same, the milk supply doesn't seem to be as great, or maybe its just the mouthful of teeth but breastfeeding hasn't been as easy of late.

I am in the process of stopping now, day 5 and still tender and engorged breasts when lying down, on front, so that DS cannot access them!!!
You have to cover up, out of sight out of mind... Good job it is winter as i'm wearing polonecks in bed!
DS actually downs 7floz of warm water before going to sleep now, and was never very excited about water so that is encouraging to me! grin. So i'd also advise being persistant, you are the adult, just offer (warm) water as an alternative and then tell DD to lie down and go to sleep.

Also he seems to be eating more chunky solid food in the daytime, since he hasn't been drinking his milk all night, being less picky and also seems to have suddenly matured, but maybe this is all typical 18 month changes and co-incidental.

I wanted to go on to 2 years as Doctors suggest, but I am happy that this is the right decision for us now. My only problem is waiting until the milk supply has run out - and wearing lots of covering tops.

It is day 5 and DS doesn't seem badly affected by it, he hasn't forgotten, and it makes me sad to say no, but he is sleeping much better - i just say lie down and turn off the lights and he is off to dreamland, he seems to be accepting it is just water at night and cow's milk during the day now. smile

Grendle Sun 21-Dec-08 20:06:35

It's a really common 'velcro' age, where children's needs seem v v intense. I know my 16 month old is driving me spare at the moment with all sorts of demands for my attention, arms and breasts.

Some people find this a reassuring read:

Personally I'm not a fan of cold-turkey, as to me it seems unecessarily harsh on the child. The need to breastfeed might not be a nutritional need, it might be an emotional one, but does that make it any less valid? Or the consequences of withdrawing it suddenly any lower in their impact?

Some mothers do choose to wean at this age by gradual substition, whether of snacks for the nutritional need or cuddles and other methods of reassurance for the emotional ones. The need to be glued to mum is unlikely to go away just because breastmilk is no longer on offer. Unfortunately it's another normal developmental stage, but fortunately, like all the others, they do grow out of it smile.

cindeeta76 Sat 27-Dec-08 02:50:36

I also have a 17 month old son, who is unwilling to let go of breastfeeding. I'm absolutely miserable, but don't know how to stop. He loves it so much and refuses cow's milk altogether. We're often up 4 times a night. He doesn't even know how to sleep unless I breastfeed him first. And the worst part, is I'm being highly criticized by family members, especially the in-laws!

Inthedoghouse Sat 27-Dec-08 21:11:45

Cindeeta - your experience is exactly the same as mine except my dd is 20 months. It really does upset me when the in-laws have their two pence worth. Not like its not hard enough already. Btw...this is a great post and will take lots away from it. xx

blueshoes Sat 27-Dec-08 21:34:59

Ds 2.3 is still bf-ing. I managed to wean his older sister at 17 months during a fortuitous nursing strike. No such luck with ds.

I tried weaning him cold turkey at the 2 year mark. But he was too persistent and I broke down in tears (ds is going to be my last child so I was getting very emotional and sentimental about giving up bf-ing too). I gave up and am also waiting for him to be readier before trying again.

In the meantime, I have managed to carve out some personal space for myself. We co-sleep - he is allowed to nurse once when he comes into bed and then only from 5 am (because otherwise he will wake at 5 am!). I achieved this with just refusing to nurse him whilst he cried and cried and eventually accepted cuddles. Now he knows the rules and agrees to cuddles immediately, well mostly anyway.

During the day, the rules are we only nurse at home, no nursing outside, although it does not stop him from trying it on, in which case I have a huge tantrum on my hands unless I can find a private area to nurse him in.

I would say his world is going through some emotional upheaval at the moment. So I have to just ride it out for now.

FeminineWear Sun 28-Dec-08 00:14:39

I have just started to wean my daughter at 20 months, quite a bit younger than yours but, I had had enough. 20 months is a great start in life!
I started by saying "all gone" each time she asked for it and replacing it with warmed cows milk, full fat. At first she refused the bottle because she was used to me. We had a few tears and a few screaming fits! Day 2 she just pointed and said "want that" and I said "all gone, do you want some milk?" Then presented her with the bottle. By day 4 she had stopped asking.
I still bf her at night a little but I think she is using me as a dummy because she sucks a little and pulls herself off. I think I may have dried up!
A good result and she is finally starting to sleep at night!

slummymummy1981 Fri 02-Sep-11 23:05:16

some great advice on here. ds has just turned 1 and am returning to work so would like to stop bf ...wish me luck

MigGril Sat 03-Sep-11 08:10:51

Totaly agrre with charliegal - dummy's are boob subsituties. I remeber DD going through a clingy phase around 16-18months where she would spend a couple of hours during the night latched on. IT does pass, she grew out of it.

The WHO recomends BF untill 2years and beoned. I know you may want to stop before that but there is a developmental phase around this age to do with seperation angsiaty which may make it more difficult then if you waited a couple of months.

I changle your thinking on this one your daougher is doing what is Biologicaly normal for a human infant her age, natrualy weaning doen't happen untill some where between 2 1/2-8years of age. You of course may want to stop but it's important I think to remeber your trying to get her to do something that isn't biologicaly normal for a human baby so it will be hard on her so go gentaly.

spaghettina Sun 06-Nov-11 12:38:08

It's good to read that other people have been through this experience, I've been a "human dummy" for at least 9 months (DD is 19 months now), with DD feeding to sleep every afternoon and every evening, co-sleeping and waking at least once if not 6/7 times a night to feed ...I'm exhausted but have been too tired/lazy to say no. Thre was a time when she could be rocked to sleep by DP but then she "regressed" at the age of 1 when I tried cutting out the aftrenoon feed.

I've now had to fly back to the UK suddenly without DD due to a family emergency, and my DP is dealing with the cold turkey situation at home, he says she's like a junkie without her fix and screams hysterically. I know from experience she will scream until she's almost sick. But we feel this physical distance is also a good opportunity for us to wean her, as it's taking its toll on our relationship with me being constantly tired and us both waking up every night.
Question is, how is she going to learn to get to sleep now?

Meanwhile my breasts are very engorged and painful and I'm trying to hand express tiny amounts for the moment. Having gone through stages of low milk supply in recent months, I am quite surprised at how full they are, hadn't really realised it would be this bad sad

milky11 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:57:07

Hi to all, I am trying to wean my 17 month old baby in the past and it hasn't been successful and I am desperately trying to wean him off as I have had enough, like the other reads, he wakes up several times a night and constantly feeds until I can put him back to his cot! He strips me and puts his hand down my top every time his is in my arms, I have decided to go cold turkey and I am finding it very emotional, he is also finding it very hard as he loves bf, it's been 18 hours since his last feed, tell him all gone and he is like a demon, temper tantrums the works, need advice, how am I going to get him back asleep in the middle of the night!,
Advice please! How did all of ye get on??

Tryingtostaycalm Thu 06-Dec-12 12:03:23

Oh my god, mine is 13 months and I keep thinking he will grow out of it. But I am having the same experience - night feeds etc. he won't even look at a bottle. Any more ideas?

leedy Thu 06-Dec-12 14:53:08

Just as another data point, I night-weaned DS1 almost a year before he fully weaned, at around 18 months, and that made everything muuuuuuch easier, I was happy to keep feeding him morning and evening after that. It involved DP doing a lot of settling him, me sleeping on the hideously uncomfortable sofa bed downstairs for a week, and some squawking, but was actually easier than I expected. We used some of the techniques in this:

He eventually basically self weaned (with a bit of a nudge) when I was three months pregnant with DS2. Oh, and has basically slept through every night (with a couple of blips when ill/unsettled) since night-weaning, which was a bonus.

Also, as I think someone mentioned upthread, there's a big developmental spurt around 18 months that can make some toddlers very clingy/wakey (it's one of the Wonder Weeks), but once they get through that I think it's a very good age to night wean, fully wean or make other BF adjustments.

welshbetty77 Tue 09-Dec-14 13:19:06

Don't know if thread can be ressurected but found it whilst desperately googling for help on weaning my 16 month old DS! I'm planning on fully putting things into motion after Christmas but now after reading this thread I'm worried I should wait until after the next leap, until he's 18 months old?! My eagerness is due to the fact I'm 3 months pregnant, I definately don't want to tandem feed and want to leave enough of a gap so that DS doesn't feel pushed out when new bub is feeding. Also I'm bloody exhausted and need the chance of at least a few full nights sleep (which I've not had since he was born) before I start again with number 2! There are a number of issues that daunt me: DS was quite badly intolerant to dairy and so has never had cows milk, now I think he's pretty much grown out of it but rejects any milk or milk substitute as a drink option. He wakes continually in the night to feed, sleeping with me from about midnight, do essentially co-sleeps as well (double trouble). He's also a complete bully when it comes from demanding milk from me, pulling my top down and generally being heartbroken until I give in, which because I'm a complete wuss doesn't take much, this is during daytimes as well, on days he's not in nursery (then he copes absolutely fine!) . I just feel like I've created a bit of a (very lovely and adorable) monster! I feel guilty that I've not yet 'taught' him to sleep through the night, which let's face it, at his age he really needs. As a result day naps are completely inconsistent too. Despite all this he is an absolute joy to be around, happy and clever and the absolute light of my life, this is the one saving grace! I'm really proud of my breastfeeding journey so far and so happy that I've got to now but I am completely and utterly ready for it to end. Help?! Advice, similar stories, anyone in same boat? Anything! TIA xxx

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