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MamaApril 09-27-2012 08:21 PM

Weaning my 2 yo DD, started today ...
I'm 3.5 months pregnant and nursing is getting painful, and I am certain I do not want to tandem nurse again. I've done it twice and it was so hard. Nursing through the entire pregnancy was hard enough, both in comfort and in just being annoyed by it, but the weeks postpartum when I had two crying to nurse in the middle of the night, and I felt like a sausage rolling from one to the other in bed all night, were miserable. I do not want to go there again! I'm just getting too old for that.

I've been waiting for two things before weaning her. One was for her to turn two, and the other was for DH to take a trip, or have some time off from work, so if she cries at night it won't keep him awake. He gets up at 4:45 every workday and he needs his sleep before his commute. He left this morning for a trip, so I pulled out my vinegar and cotton balls.

This takes some sleight of hand, but it's worked twice before for me, with two different 2.5 yo children. I put some cotton balls in a small snack baggie, pour vinegar in there, seal it, and then put it in my pocket. When they ask to nurse, I sneakily get out a cotton ball and wipe it on me (under my shirt) before I lift my shirt and offer to let them nurse. It's never taken more than two tastes to decide the milk is just too yucky to nurse. Though there have been a few attempts after that, where just the smell makes them turn away. I think it only takes one or two "smells" after the initial tastes for them to give up completely. Once they are reminded of the yucky milk, we get a drink in a cup, eat a snack, read a story, snuggle, or do something else instead.

Today my two year old has been having milk in a cup (cow's milk) and saying "yummy". I agreed with her that the milk in her cup was yummy, but Mommy's milk had tasted yucky ... trying to help cement the idea. I usually precede this situation with some warnings that soon Mommy's milk will turn yucky because they're getting too big to nurse, so it's not a total surprise when it happens.

After the first taste (or two) it just takes some reminders that Mom's milk is yucky and they are usually content to not nurse. The trickier part is at night when they're not fully awake and are more prone to crying. :(

I just "snuggled" my girl to sleep, instead of nursing her to sleep. I hope tonight goes well. If she cries about nursing, I'll get up and rock her back to sleep.

At first I thought it seemed too sneaky, but both times I used it before, I was tandem nursing and BEYOND DONE with nursing the toddler so I was willing to try it. This just seemed the least painful way to wean without them blaming me for taking away their nursies, or throwing tantrums. A friend had suggested it and I was amazed at how well it worked. She's used it for several different children herself, and it's only NOT worked for one of them ... her latest.

I started to say "day one of weaning completed" but it won't really be completed until we get through the night. I hope the night goes well.

strongwoman 09-27-2012 09:23 PM

Re: Weaning my 2 yo DD, started today ...
Wow, you are an awesome mama for nursing that long! I hope it goes well for you, too!

MamaApril 09-28-2012 04:12 AM

Re: Weaning my 2 yo DD, started today ...
She did wake up around 4:15 or 4:20 but was content to snuggle with me. I didn't even have to break out the cotton balls for another taste reminder. But she didn't fall back to sleep. She'd yawn, snuggle, then change positions or move to the other side of the bed. She even got up once and went to the living room for a book, then came back. As 5 am drew closer, I figured I might as well get up. That's when I get up when my husband's home. No crying, but I'm sure glad I went to bed at 10 pm instead of staying up to fold laundry or watch a movie. So, day 1 of weaning completed, and we made it with no tears at all. Now, on to day 2.

JustJack 10-05-2012 07:17 PM

Wow. I may need to try this. My dd will be 2 in a few weeks and I am almost 13 weeks pregnant. Nursing isnt bad for me, it's just I'm tired of how demanding she's become. Everytime I sit on the couch it's "Da? Da? DA!!!!!" or she still nurses 4-6 times a night! I've cut way down on daytime feedings, maybe only 2 a day but I just feel like she's freaking almost 2 years old and I shouldn't have to nurse her to sleep and to let her nurse everytime she stirs at night too. Maybe if I wasn't pregnant it wouldn't bother me as I nursed my son until 2.5 but I dont want to tandem.

rachaeljohnson 10-06-2012 06:25 PM

Re: Weaning my 2 yo DD, started today ...
i am 20 weeks pregnant and nursing my 2yo and so torn too. Part of me wants to let him keep nursing and part of me knows that it would be easy to wean him bc if i tell him no not right now let's go play x...he just says ok and does it. :( So hard.

MamaApril 10-11-2012 07:41 AM

Re: Weaning my 2 yo DD, started today ...
It was a difficult first week, especially days 3-5, then she adjusted and has been fine ever since. Every now and then she lays in my arm in a nursing position and sticks her hand in my shirt, but she doesn't cry when I remind her that the milk got yucky and then went away. She's sleeping all night MOST nights in the toddler bed beside mine (if I can get her rocked to sleep ahead of me going to bed.) Sometimes she snuggles to sleep in my bed, and I can either leave her there or move her to the toddler bed. If she does wake in the night, she just snuggles back to sleep with me. I knew she'd sleep better if she weaned and spent more nights in her own bed, and she is.

The worst part was I didn't realize she was cutting 2 yo molars when I started weaning her. So she was in pain, too. Once I figured that out, I started giving her tylenol and teething tablets, and it helped.

I used the vinegar twice on day one, and once on day 3. That was it. She didn't need it the rest of the time. Just reminding her it was yucky would make her start wiping at her mouth, as she remembered the taste. I ended up slightly engorged/sore for several days, but it regulated by day 5, I think.

In those days 3-5 I had some doubts, I considered giving in, but I knew I had made the right decision, so I didn't. Now I'm very glad I didn't give in. We still rock, snuggle, giggle, kiss, and read books ... and we have plenty of time for her to forget about nursing before the baby comes in March.

I will say that pregnancy hormones make nursing during pregnancy irritating. I've done it through 2 pregnancies with younger/needier toddlers that I knew weren't ready to wean yet. I had to grit my teeth at times and let them nurse, even though it was painful and annoying. Deep breathing and forcing myself to be calm and gentle about it. So, I know it is hard, and it's the hormones causing that feeling. But if you don't feel your little one is ready to wean, you don't have to.

I just was at the end of my ability to keep doing it this time, and I felt like she would be able to handle it, so I decided to go ahead and wean.

JustJack 10-12-2012 06:32 PM

What the heck? I tried the vinegar trick tonight (right now in fact) and it didn't faze her one bit! Gah!! What am I going to do? I can't not let her nurse now and I was a psyched up to start tonight.

sashaz122 10-12-2012 10:58 PM

My mil wants me to try just a little bit of mustard. Garlic didn't work here

MamaApril 10-13-2012 08:06 AM

Re: Weaning my 2 yo DD, started today ...
I'm sorry Meagan. I have to literally drench myself immediately before putting them up to the breast, but none of mine have ever latched onto it. They get just a taste and pull away. But I have heard of a few kids who like vinegar, so maybe it wouldn't work for them.

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