This was prompted by a comment from Jane.
It was 2 years ago that Margaret ate avocado for the first time and started the weaning process.
Now, at 2 and a half, she eats meals, snacks, and nurses up to 8-10 times a day. Two of those times are longer (10-20 minutes) than the others because they are for sleep. The others (and there's sometimes more- I don't count) are less than 5 minutes, most less than a minute. She nurses for owies, sleep, and when there's a disconnect.
While she does nurse often and full weaning is not a goal for us right now, we do employ some weaning techniques.
Don't ask, don't offer
This is when I don't offer the breast, but if she asks, I let her nurse. When we're out, she's usually too busy to think about nursing and since she doesn't ask for it, she'll go hours without nursing.
Margaret likes to nurse on the couch. If I don't want to nurse her, I direct her to the playroom where she doesn't have the couch to tempt her. Going for walks also helps.
A few weeks ago we were having dinner at a friend's house. Margaret asked to nurse and I responded with, "We're going home soon. We can nurse when we get home." She doesn't like this answer, so I held her, to reassure her that she would get breast at home. I also use this when I know I'm going to need to be hands-free soon. The other day we had the missionaries over for dinner and I knew they were going to leave in 5 minutes (mission rules- 1 hour max for dinner appointments) and I'd have to get up and shake hands, so I told her that she would get breast after they leave.
Singing a Song
When I was big and pregnant, I lamented to an LLL leader about being touched out in the middle of the night and she suggested I tell Margaret, "I'm going to sing a song. When the song is done, nursing is done." This allows for the option of choosing a long song or a shorter one depending on how touched-out I feel. At that point in time, I didn't think Margaret was ready for that technique- especially since the issue was in the middle of the night and I didn't think a 2 year old would honor a deal I just introduced at 2 am when she's not even fully conscious. The whole rational thinking thing is too much. But for the past couple of weeks, I've been using "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the nights that I'm touched out. She's mostly respected the boundary and will turn over and away from me when the song is done.
Cuddles and hugs
A couple of months ago, when I unlatched Margaret at night I would say, "Cuddle me?" and in the day I wouldask her if she wanted a hug. Not long after, Margaret would sometimes opt for the night cuddles, asking, "I want to cuddle you." Just last week, she unlatched in the day and requested a hug. I wasn't always consistent about not giving her breast after offering cuddles because some situations did necessitate more nursing, but I was always consistent in offering a hug or cuddle option. It took a while, but she does sometimes choose the non-nursing option, which is definitely another step towards weaning.
Sometimes the cuddle option turns into the daddy option. This usually happens when Isaac needs to nurse and I can't nurse 2 kids at the same time. It also happens at the end of days that I really really need a break.
Lately our connection issues have been my fault. I'll be knitting and concentrating on counting stitches when suddenly someone will come tug on my yarn. Or move the ball of yarn. This irritates me so much (I'm concentrating here!) that I tend to snap, "Stop!" "Don't touch!" a little more harshly than I need to. That just reiterates the lack of connection and when she would have been satisfied with a story or hug before my outburst, now only breast will give her the connection she was looking for. The other day this happened 3 times in a morning. So I nursed her. Denying her wouldn't have been nice- and I was obviously needing a way to decompress as well.
Neither of us are ready to wean. I still do occasionally offer the breast when she doesn't ask. But I do employ some weaning techniques and set boundaries. Will she be weaned next month? Doubtful. Next year? It's possible. In 10 years? For sure.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
This was prompted by a comment from Jane.