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Calling over 1 year bstfedders-how the hell do you stop?

(55 Posts)
dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 09:29:05

I'm actually getting really upset by this.Why,oh why,don't HVs/Dr's tell you that when you breast feed in the long term you are going to end up with manipulative,militant,spoilt and brattish toddlers that will do ANYTHING to get you to feed them when you want to stop.
I AM DESPERATE!!
It doesnt help that ds2 co-sleeps with us so has titty available whenever he wants and also associates going to sleep with boob-I know I have made my bed..I just wish I knew where to begin.
Do I concentrate on cutting out the night feeds?
Do I concentrate on the day feeds that get him asleep?
Or the loads of comfort feeds he demands whenever he is upset/bored/whatever in the day?
Do I get him in his cot first?

He takes bottles of cows milk from dh when Im at work in the evenings and weekends-he will nick ds1 bottles from him-he will take a few glugs of bottles I give him but on his terms,picking it up when he wants, not when I give it to him.

I am at my wits end and am pulling my hair out now-I would give anything to leave him with someone for a few days if I thought he would forget about my milk at the end of it-could this work?
Ive asked you all similar questions before but now there is an urgency about it as I cant bear his endless screams when I refuse him-I leave him or cuddle him as much as possible but it doesnt work-he just crys and crys and crys and its driving everyone else in the house crazy-I feel like everyone is blaming me for doing it this long and I'm getting my just just rewards!
Sorry to ramble but this is making me really depressed-I'm crying and shouting about it everyday-its also playing havoc with my menstrual cycle with periods coming and going whenever they want-Ive just started one two weeks after finishing! Hormones are obviously buggered.
PLEASE HELP ME!

reddevil Tue 26-Apr-05 09:38:37

Can you get a copy of yesterday's Times? The "Little Angels" woman wrote an article about how to do this.Unfortunately my copy has just gone in the recycling truck so I can't copy out her tips for you.

PrettyCandles Tue 26-Apr-05 09:40:50

Oh dear, this is really upsetting you and messing you around. Don't blame yourself or allow anyone else's opinions to hurt you, it's not your just rewards, it's just a little boy flexing his muscles. For others of us it's food fights, or getting dressed, or going to sleep - the baby realises that there is a way that he can control his environment, and doesn't understand the upsset that it causes either himself or his carers.

You've broken down the problem very clearly. IMO (and IME) the first set to resolve are the comfort feeds during the day. When my dd at about 17m started turning daytime feeds into comfort feeds I decided to drop them as I felt that it was important that she develop the ability to self-comfort. Over a period of about 2weeks I made sure that either someone else was taking care of her for at lest part of the day, or that we were out-and-about, or that there were very interesting things to do. I even used videos (the children didn't know what had hit them - they never get to see so many videos in one day! ). I also came over all bashful, and never let her see me undressed for about a month.

Sorry, have to go now, but HTH for a start.

hunkermunker Tue 26-Apr-05 09:42:30

Is there anyone else you can leave him with for a morning/afternoon?

Distract, distract, distract. Take him to the park and push him on swings. Stick him in the buggy and go shopping. Don't sit at home wondering how you're going to refuse the next demand.

Working on the day feeds first would be my suggestion (but doubtless somebody will suggest working on the night feeds first!) - try cutting it down to morning and evening/nighttime - you might even feel better feeding him a bit less if you could stop him demanding it throughout the day. But if he still demands, you might need to look at going cold turkey.

HTH a bit - try looking at kellymom.com for ideas (think there's some stuff on there) xxxxxx

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 09:43:58

Thank you.

Clayhead Tue 26-Apr-05 09:44:34

Times Article




Breaking the breast habit
Dr Tanya Byron
Every week The Times clinical psychologist answers readers' questions



My son is 16 months old and is still having a feed from me at nap times, and if he wakes in the night he is breast-fed back to sleep. I know I made it tough for myself by letting him sleep with me and suckle most of the night, but I was so tired; I have other children, 4 and 6, to look after. I have tried giving him a dummy or a drink but he refuses both. Can you advise me, as it’s embarrassing to be breast-feeding a baby at his age.


Helen, 35

Please don’t feel embarrassed about breast-feeding your 16-month-old — I have worked with mothers with a similar problem but with much older children. I understand why it has happened. Your day is spent dealing with your other children and then, feeling exhausted, you have that inner dialogue: nipple, or endure your son’s wailing? It’s the nipple every time, and I don’t blame you.

It sounds as if you want to end this cycle, so brace yourself and find the energy reserves to see through the end of breast-feeding. You can approach it in two ways: the all-or-nothing method, stopping all feeds; or gradually stopping one feed at a time. Naturally, option one is quicker.

If you are parenting with a partner you may want to rope him into this process, particularly during the night wakings. Whatever you decide, start wearing non-access clothing as some children will tug and pull at their mother’s clothing until they get to the nipple — I worked with a five- year-old who was the Houdini of Lycra tops and industrial-strength bras. Wearing such clothing day and night helps your resolve that the breast is off the menu and also prevents a sneaky dawn raid when you are exhausted and your defences are down. For naptime and bedtime give your son a milky drink and a song and then into his cot and tell him it’s sleeping time and leave. He will protest because the only way he knows how to get to sleep is by feeding from you — it is his sleep association. Now you have to teach him new ones. You can leave him to cry for a few minutes, go to him, then lie him down but say nothing and do not pick him up.

The less attention you give him, the quicker he’ll learn to settle himself. Leave the room and then repeat the process, increasing the re-entry time to as much as you can bear — but don’t leave him crying too long. Alternatively, you could sit by the cot until he is asleep, but your presence may make him more upset. Repeat the process in the night. This will be tiring but if you persist this approach will work. If he gets out of his cot, return him with no fuss or attention and put him back down. You could also wear muslin in your bra for a while and tie it to the bars of his cot so your smell comforts him. If, when he stops feeding, your breasts become sore or engorged take a warm bath and alternately place very cold and very hot flannels over them. You could also hand express a little. Recently I supported the mother of a son aged 2 with this problem (on the breast constantly and in her bed all night); he was off the breast within two days because of her determination that it had to stop, her impenetrable clothing and her calm and consistent management of his demands.

emkana Tue 26-Apr-05 09:47:25

Dropinthe, I'm sorry you're feeling this way.
How old is your little one?

I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by a toddler's sheer addiction to the breast - it's true, noone tells you that this is what it's like when you choose to do extended breastfeeding.
But please don't think of your toddler as being spoilt/militant/brattish. He loves you and your breasts desperately, and he can't understand why he's being denied the one thing that he loves most of all in the world. I know people will say "But he can still have cuddles and he can milk from a bottle - why isn't it enough?" - but to a toddler who has grown to love breastfeeding the combination of cuddle/bottlemilk does not equal the pure joy, comfort and love of breastfeeding.
Very often a toddler will become more and more of a pain about breastfeeding, demanding it in a more and more annoying way, the more they fear that it will be taken away from them. And that makes it very exhausting for you... a vicious circle there.
Why do you need to stop now? is it really really necessary? Because often a toddler who is totally addicted to breastmilk one month will quite happily give it up four weeks later. But to force it on him when at the moment he's not ready at all will be an ordeal for all of you, as you've found out.
How about if you tell yourself "Okay, I'll give it two weeks - then I'll try again?" And then try "don't offer - don't refuse" this is what I did with dd1 - and it worked. It wasn't a quick fix, but it did work gradually.

Good luck, and don't forget: Your toddler is very very lucky to still be having breastmilk from you - but he will want to stop one day of his own accord. When he's ready.

emkana Tue 26-Apr-05 09:51:58

What p*es me off about an article like this is that it doesn't include the other side of the argument - that it might not be a problem at all to still be feeding a toddler! This is not aimed at you, dropinthe - if you want to stop, then that is your right, of course, and I can totally understand. But an expert should maybe point out in an article like this that it's not necessarily a problem to still be feeding a toddler - that actually the WHO recommends b/feeding up to two years and beyond - so that other people reading the article don't think " oh my god, I'm doing something wrong" but can make up their own mind!

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 09:58:41

Havent really got anyone to help at the moment-mu mumlives in Yorkshire and only comes down for a few days a month-MIL(newly retired) is ill with emphasema-Grandad used to be a big help but has recently broken his foot so as we live in a townhouse he cant come round anymore-dh is too knackered looking after the 2 boys when I work to then be feeding ds2 a bottle in the night-I feel completely alone in this-I know distraction helps but there is only so many walks you can do-ds1 has chicken pox so cant go too public at the moment-I have about three days a week where I am home with both of them allday and its bloody hard work to keep them occupied-ds1 would watch dvds all day if he could but ds2 doesnt really play with his toys much-he just wants to either cause havoc with the tv or climb on things he shouldnt or feed! Im in such a vicious circle!

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 10:04:40

Really nice to talk to you again Emkana! Have been looking out for you-Yes, I really do want to stop now-its draining me of all energy,upsetting me beyond belief and I dont want my boys to pick up on how unhappy mummy is which they are!
Clayhead-Thank you so much for writing this out for me-much reference to cots though which I havent conquered yet-is it not really cruel to go cold turkey if I'm still around? If I'm not and he has other loving people around,is that not kinder?

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 10:08:46

emkana-I know in my heart that he is not those things I called him really-it just feels like that when he has me wrapped round his little finger-he is 15 months old and very savvy!
He is a complete mummys boy and ds1(3 and a half) is a daddys boy-MIL in particular has been giving me mucho grief about it as I think I mentioned before-my mother thinks I am hanging on to his babydom and not letting go as arent having anymore! She thinks I'm still doing it for my own emotional reasons!

tiktok Tue 26-Apr-05 10:15:41

dropinthe - your little boy is normal and not brattish! He just knows what he wants and that's good....it doesn't co-incide with what you want, and that's not so good but it doesn't reflect on him, his personality, or yours or how you have brought him up.

If trying to stop and not succeeding is making you feel this way, then you can stop trying for a month or so. Just go with what keeps him happy, and then try again when you have mustered a new plan and new energy.

Think about if stopping co-sleeping and breastfeeding all at once could be too much for both of you. Instead, think about stopping all feeds in the day apart from the morning one, but continuing at night. When you feel you have this cracked, you can work on the night time stuff.

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 10:17:10

God,it sounds so easy!

triceratops Tue 26-Apr-05 10:21:46

I finally got fed up with being a dummy when ds was 2. I cut out day time feeds first by avoiding situations when he would demand the breast. It meant that I couldn't sit on the sofa for a fortnight but it was worth it. I had to wear the inaccesible clothing so that I wasn't tempted to cave in during a weak moment. I told him he could have a cuddle but no breast. (I think if you withdraw yourself along with your boobs it may be a bit traumatic). After about two weeks he had got used to not asking during the day and then I started to cut the night feeds. We did co sleeping so it meant wearing a bra in bed to stop stealth feeding. It didn't take long and I have to say I missed the closeness that you get with breastfeeding but I felt it was the right time for both of us. Good luck.

emkana Tue 26-Apr-05 10:24:21

The thing is that I found that between 12 and 18 months is the worst time really - they are totally addicted to the breast, but not open to any negotiation! After that it becomes far, far easier to distract and to impose rules, because they start to understand you much better - so you can say things like "We only feed in bed/when it's dark" or whatever and they begin to understand and accept, and then you can cut down that way!

Blu Tue 26-Apr-05 10:27:32

DropInThe....oh, please don't beat yourself up, I don't understand why anyone has to do an 'I told you so' act either...completely out of order.

Sorry - haven't read all posts...

I fed DS morning and night til he was 20 months. I got it down to morning and night be leting other people look after him at feed times in the day, and distraction. Then, for a few mornings, instead of waking up and plugging in, as soon as he woke, DP swooped him up and took him downstais away from me to play and have a drink. After 3 mornings of this he forgot the habit.

Then, I simply stayed out in the evenings for 2 nighhts and let DP put him to bed with a beaker of milk - again, the absense of me enabled him to simply forget his habit, and he never looked back. I think your absense is the key!

Good luck.

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 10:34:29

I dont know what to do-am feeding him now as had to tell him off for climbing on top of the sofa ten times and pulling the pictures off the wall-he cried so much I caved in although trying to stop the comfort feeds!

handlemecarefully Tue 26-Apr-05 10:39:27

Haven't read the rest of the thread and have no personal experience, but my sister said she weaned her militant toddler off the breast by applying nail varnish remover to her nipple before a feed. I kid you not!

serenity Tue 26-Apr-05 10:50:11

well, I've just found out I'm going into hospital at the end of may (earlier than I expected) so thats going to be it for DD (18 mths). I didn't want to do it quite like that though

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 11:39:30

Maybe I'll try catnip instead!!

Clayhead Tue 26-Apr-05 11:52:23

I copied it from the website

I have never done cots either!! Both of mine just suddenly stoped feeding - I was getting frustrated with lack of sleep with ds but then he went from voracious feeder to not in the least bit bothered quite quickly. I did, and still do, offer him a cup of water if he wakes and he often has a little drink of that before settling back to sleep.

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 11:56:13

I sooooooooooo wish he would just lose interest but am getting really bothered with all the negative comments I'm getting and am going away to Turkey in July and I really dont want to do it then-I just want him to stop NOW!

Marina Tue 26-Apr-05 20:18:05

Hi dropinthe, following on from the Pares thread, I said I'd find the details of the b/f drop-in on Westmount Road, and I've got some hopefully good news for you...they seem to have got funding from Greenwich PCT and turned themselves into The Baby Cafe. They have moved to Court Road, United Reformed Church, still in Eltham.
Their official launch is Weds 11th May for Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2005, but I know the group has been going for a while. The contact no is 0208 294 8959 and the time is 10.15-12.15pm.

I held off posting on this thread because you won't want to hear this, but ds still fed night and morning until he was 2.5, when he self-weaned. He still co-slept with us, and I used Pantley "No Cry Sleep Solution" tactics to stop the night snacking. That worked OK. Have taken a tougher, controlled squawking, line with dd, as she is altogether a tougher character and she took a whole 24 hours to see sense and now sleeps through. In her cot . She is 21 months.

Best of luck and please don't feel bad about letting this one run. I agree with extended b/f but I also agree that how difficult it can be to wean the little buggers after age one is not well publicised. you are not the only to have been caught out by this.

PrettyCandles Tue 26-Apr-05 22:58:13

I have to say that I didn't find it difficult to wean dd off. I started at about 17m and finished at about 22m, each feed taking only a week or two to drop.

It's not just the breastfeeding though. For dropinthe it's also a behaviour issue. I agree with another poster that right now may not be the right moment to start weaning. (Apart from the first set of feeds I followed my dd's lead in dropping feeds.) But the behaviour issues are all mixed in with the feeding. For example the business about jumping on the sofa.

Please don't be upset by what I'm going to say, dropinthe, but if it took many tellings to stop him and then he threw a wobbly and would only be soothed by a feed, then he is manipulating you very effectively. He is obviously an intelligent and forceful personality. But a 'no' from you needs to mean 'no'.

What I do with my two is generally a sort of 'three strikes' scenario: first the 'no' (though not necessarily said that way, more on that later), then if the behaviour is repeated they get a warning what will happen next time, then if next time happens then they get the consequences - which might be being removed from the room, or the object taken away etc. Action and consequence have to be linked and consistent. Yes, he'll cry; yes, he'll be upset; but you must must not offer him boob to get over it. That totally devalues your other actions.

It's tough going, especially at first, which is why now is perhaps not the right time to start - with your other child chickenpoxy. But you can start with the alternative to 'no' which I mentioned. And that is to tell your ds what you want him to do, and not what you don't want. Eg 'Jump over the cushion on the floor' rather than 'Don't jump on the sofa'. If he persists, just take him quietly away from the activity, without showing any upset yourself, and redirect him to another activity.

BTW, extended bfing is not an issue in the Mediterranean countries, so please be reassured that if you do end up bfing your ds in Turkey, nobody will bat an eyelid. They might even think 'Ah-ha, an enlightened Brit.' (Brits can be so stupid about feeding - what do they think boobs are for?!)

dropinthe Wed 27-Apr-05 10:24:05

Thank you so much Prettycandles and Marina-you have both REALLY made me feel better today about things-I am going to go to The Baby Cafe and might even be able to offer the font of my boob knowledge to those that need it and hopefuly get some good advice to.PC-what you say is absolutely right-I had heard of the three strike rule but thought that maybe at 15 months he was too young to do it with but will try next time he is being a pain!
Marina-is Pantley a book? I would really like to cut the night feeding out and the co-sleeping as I think I would be able to deal with the day better after less broken sleep-He is going to have to share a room with his 3 and a half year old brother so have been putting it off for so long as we have only got him to sleep all night in his bed over the last 6 months so havent wanted to disrupt him but it will have to happen soon-think I might start a new thread as to room sharing best practice!

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