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Help! I Can't Stop Breastfeeding

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: I'm completely depleted, exhausted most of the time, and can't stand the DD breasts I am toting around. And even though I just went to the doctor yesterday and he suggested I start to wean my 15-month-old, I still don't want to do it. Dr. Chin calmly told me the baby is fine, that he can get nutrients from food now and I have to consider my own health. But I don't want to.

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I am starting to feel like an addict. Every morning I tell myself, "Today we will only nurse twice." Then around 10 in the morning, Gideon gets fussy and doesn't like his sippy cup and after all, I'm right here, what's the big deal? He's not going to breast feed in college for god's sake.

Then this morning I remembered what Chin said, "I think that's why they invented chocolate milk, frankly. Breast milk is sweeter than cow's milk, so the baby is never going to be the one to stop it. It's up to you. Unless you want him unbuttoning your blouse and saying, 'Mommy I want boobie!'" He didn't say that last line about boobie. I don't know what he said because I stopped listening. I don't want anyone telling me to stop even if it is killing me. Of course it's not killing me, but it is sucking the life out of me -- pun intended.

And just like an addict, I'm afraid to stop. Breast feeding is the only experience I can have with my baby that no one else can. I'm afraid if we stop, I'll be just another grown up who hugs him.

Maybe my husband should do an intervention. Boobie Anonymous? Anyone?

Dani Klein ModisettDani Klein Modisett is the mother of 1-year-old Gideon (pictured) and 5-year-old Gabriel. She is comedy writer/creator/producer of the show "Afterbirth...stories you won't read in Parents magazine." An anthology of stories from this show will be published by St. Martin's Press, in stores in May 2009.


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18 comments so far | Post a comment now
Michelle October 22, 2008, 9:10 AM

If you don’t want to stop breastfeeding, then don’t! YOU know what’s best for your baby. I nursed my daughter until she was almost 3, but by then we were only doing it once in the morning, and at night before she sleeps. As a very fussy baby, it was the only thing she wanted. Never had a bottle and never had a pacifier. Even her pediatrician tried to tell me to stop by the time she was 18 months. Not only did she love to nurse, but it kept my weight down and it made her happy. Now that my 6 yr old is so big and grown up, I look back on her nursing days and wish it had lasted a little longer. I miss them.

Natalie October 22, 2008, 9:14 AM

You should never stop until you’re ready. If you’re not ready, you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life. My son is 15 months old, and if I hadn’t have dried up, I’d still be breastfeeding him. Plus he wasn’t interested in it anymore (which is why I dried up in the first place). Doctors don’t always know best!

Lela October 22, 2008, 9:28 AM

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2. You’re fine. You’re not an addict. You’re a normal, nursing mother. The world average is 2-7 years old.

Maureen October 22, 2008, 9:55 AM

I’m struggling with this too, mostly because of sheer exhaustion.
My oldest was weaned at 16 months (she’s 4 now) but it was because I’m military and had to leave for temporaray duty. My little one is almost 13 months and, because she’s in day care I think, she wants to nurse off an on ALL NIGHT because she finally has me home.
It’s totally exhausting and I’m so conflicted because I’m sure she’ll wean when she’s ready, but I need my sleep! :)
But I am a firm believer in this, if nothing else: if the mommy in you is screaming to do something, (ie, continue nursing, you can’t let your baby cry, etc, etc) there’s a reason. Listen to the mommy in you. If you go against what feels fundamentally right and true to you you’ll just feel crappy about it later!
Good luck.

Uly October 22, 2008, 9:55 AM

I agree with the other commenters.

If you want to stop, no guilt there. But if you don’t, don’t feel pushed into it.

Please contact the local LLL about the other issues you have - feeling exhausted all the time, etc. If this is related to your breastfeeding, they should have some advice on how to breastfeed and build back up strength.

mar October 22, 2008, 7:47 PM

Your body is not ‘depleted’…there is still milk there, OK?! If you want to keep going, DO. You can wean your child gently at whatever age you feel appropriate.

Mandi October 24, 2008, 7:06 PM

If you want to keep bf’ing, keep doing it. I wonder why the picture has been censored?

trinaclaren October 24, 2008, 9:20 PM

Breastmilk is the best, it could defend your baby from getting sick. You should wean him by the time he’s 2 years old. Our housemaid’s daughter was even weaned at the age of 5. But its your choice when you should wean your child.

alhorton79 October 26, 2008, 2:46 PM

I’m sorry if this sounds rude or mean, but I think that nursing children past a certain age is wrong. I mean five years old? Many children are in school by that age and more than capable of feeding themselves. While breastfeeding is highly beneficial and I nursed both of my girls, eventually you need to move on. If its because your afraid of losing your identity as mommy it sounds more like a selfesteem issue than anything else.

K. Cleaver October 27, 2008, 8:56 AM

It is hard to move on. (I certainly agree that you should wean when the two of you are ready though.)

What helped us wean was for my husband to step in to do take over where I would normally nurse. Instead of me getting up and nursing first thing in the morning, my husband would get our son up and dressed and sit down with him with breakfast. Again, when it was “snack” time, my husband would step in to take care of it. At the beginning, I would actually leave the room or go outside and let him take over. It only took a few days.

We started weaning when our children were around 14-16 months old so they were only nursing a few times a day anyway. Of course we started with just eliminating one session at a time. Honestly, our child didn’t care. It was harder on me just ending that special time between us, but at the same time it was nice to move on and reclaim my body.

Rita October 27, 2008, 11:27 AM

I second Natalie’s comment — I didn’t wean my little one until he was THREE! (My favorite breastfeeding book encourages weaning once both of you are ready — and by then, we were!)

Boobie Anonymous (hahaha) is not necessary. I can understand why you’re afraid to stop, but don’t let the prospect trouble you. Enjoy the time you two have together and when you’re ready, you’re ready — I can’t stress that enough.

rrika October 27, 2008, 11:45 AM

Bfing Mommy, I am so proud of you for bfing this far. I am a “breastfeeding counselor” and what I do is tell my mothers that I service is to set a goal for themselves. Please stop breastfeeding when you are ready. Mom if you are that exhausted do as someone suggested and start weaning “when you are ready”. In the morning feed the baby breakfast if you have help “dad” great, and again at lunch and maybe at dinner. Whatever you are comfortable with. Every baby is different so for someone to say well you should stop breastfeeding at 2 or 3 may not be the right choice. So whenever you feel like the best time to stop bfing is now then if you are ready slowly wean and not just “STOP” mom you don’t want to feel bad about it. Come on people she said that she needed help, not nasty comments.. Good grief Maybe if you have expressed milk you can put that milk in a sippy cup. I have noticed that some children even like the sippy cups with the straws and explain to your baby that “mommy’s milk is going bye-bye ” I know that alot of viewers are probably laughing but children are very smart.. It may take a week or two but stay consistant and I hope that it works. I hope that it works out for you.. I have a 1 year old son whom I still bfeed and will be slowly weaning soon. I also have 3 other children that I breastfed and I did not listen to anyone when it came down to me choosing to stop. Oh, everyone kept the comments going but I promise you, do it when you are ready not when everybody else is…..good luck mom

Michelle N. October 28, 2008, 10:30 AM

In non-Western countries, mama’s milk is precious as long as it is available. In Western countries, we feel this incredible pressure by society to wean early on. Extended breastfeeding is more than just nutrients. Yes, your child gets it from food but that emotional bond, that time together is also part of nursing. No one else can duplicate it and as long as you and your child still want to, there’s no reason to stop it.

rotchana L November 8, 2008, 5:51 PM

I am one of the mom that is still nursing my two years old son… he is my first and maybe the only…. I also struggle with weaning too.. I have been searching for support that it is okey nursing big baby.. and am feel better after reading moms who have same experience. I now nurse him before nap time and night times plus a couple times during the night, coz he never sleep through the night and I cosleep with him. I wrote this to share with other mom who think she might feel better compair mine to hers.

Rotchana MN.

SABRINA December 18, 2008, 6:28 AM

GO BOOBIE MILK!!
I HAVE NURSED ALL THREE OF OUR CHILDREN, BUT THIS LAST ONE, OUR 20 MONTH OLD BABY GIRL IS STILL NURSING! I HAVE NEVER NURSED THIS LONG BEFORE. THE OTHER KIDS WERE AROUND 14 MONTHS AT THE LATEST, SO THIS IS ALL NEW TO ME! I HAVE FINALLY GOT HER DOWN TO MAYBE ONCE IN THE DAY, BUT USUALLLY JUST ONCE AT NIGHT TO GO TO BED AT THAT’S IT. PART OF ME IS KINDA TIRED OF IT, BUT THE OTHER PART OF ME IS HAPPY THAT WE ARE STILL A LITTLE NURSLING COUPLE. IT IS SOMETHING SHE AND I AND ONLY THE TWO OF US CAN SHARE AND BOND OVER SINCE SHE CAME INTO THIS CRAZY WORLD! AND REALLY I AM STILL NURSING HER BECAUSE SHE ABSOLUTLY LOVES IT:)~
I JOKE AROUND WITH HER AND TELL HER “YOUR SUCH A MAN!” LOL:) BUT HONESTLY…IT’S ALL GOOD! SOME PEOPLE WILL ASK NEGATIVELY AND SAY “OMG! SHE’S STILL ON THE BOOB?” AND SOME WILL SAY POSITIVELY “THAT’S AWESOME! WAY TO GO!”…YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD. I DO KNOW THAT I AM SLOWING WEANING HER OFF LITTLE BY LITTLE AND SOMETIME EVENTUALLY SOON SHE WILL NO LONGER HAVE HER “BOOBIE MILK” AS SHE LIKES TO CALL IT. AND WHEN THAT DAY COMES IT WILL BE BITTERSWEET FOR ME! I AM SOO GOING TO MISS MY LITTLE NURSLING! I ALSO DO KNOW THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH SHE IS UNWILLING TO GIVE UP HER BOOBIE SHE WILL NOT BE NURSING STILL AT AGES 4,5,6, ETC. BECAUSE I FEEL THAT IS TOO EXTREME!
BUT LIKE I SAID, THAT IS ONLY MY OPINION. YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD! TO EACH THEIR OWN!
IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT LOVE. IT’S ABOUT GROWTH AS AN INDIVIDUAL AS WELL. AND MY DAUGHTER NEEDS TO ALSO LEARN HOW TO DO THAT FOR HERSELF AS WELL AND SHE DOESN’T NEED MY BOOB TO DO THAT. SHE JUST NEEDS MY LOVE.
AND MY LOVE FOR ALL THREE OF MY BABIES WILL BE FOREVER…

SO GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE NURSINGS MAMA’S OUT THERE!
ONE DAY AT A TIME!
WE ROCK!
:)~

Erika January 19, 2009, 2:46 PM

So I’m in the process of weaning my 19 month old right now. I wanted to stop at 12 months, tried, gave in to the screaming, and never followed through. But my little guy just got about 6 teeth in including his molars and during that time he bit one of my nipples really bad so at that point…I was done. I just made the commitment…that’s it, I followed through. We’re on 24 hours no boob!!! I am super happy to be getting my breasts back and it’s amazing how my little guy responded. He sleeps with me so last night we just went into bed and laid down together…he cried for a bit “Nigh Nigh” (that’s his term for the boob) and I just showed him tons of love, told him that the nigh night was gone and mommy is so proud of him because he is a big boy now and just rubbed his back…I offered him water, but when he was freaking out he wouldn’t take it,eventually, just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore he calmed down, drank the water,I told him to give mommy a kiss and he did and then fell asleep. It was awesome…it brought me to tears…he was ready and I just needed to let him get through the pain of it and then he was ok. His nap today I did the same thing…we went and laid down, he threw a fit for “nigh nigh”, banged his head on the ground a few times and screamed, but after a little bit he just crawled up next to me and fell asleep. It’s working…I know sometimes it seems like you’re not going to ever get there, but trust me you will…just keep at it and it will work, just make a commitment and follow through and show love in other ways…I’m actually enjoying now that I can cuddle with him and rub his back and give him kisses and that I can satisfy him in other ways besides the boob…it’s a good feeling…good luck and just keep strong!!!

Jen April 1, 2009, 2:00 AM

I have a 9mth old and am in the middle of a family court battle and am terrified that the courts will make me stop breastfeeding. I know pumping is an option so the dad can have more time but my letdown doesn’t work with pumping and I do not get enough milk that way. Also my child has never taken a bottle or even a soother(they spit it out) There are extreme food allergies that run in my family and I feel it is best for my child to breastfeed as long as possible. I have tried and tried to explain my breastfeeding situation but nobody seems to care. All they seem to think is that I am deliberately breastfeeding to keep the father away, which is not the case at all. I am a total supporter of breastfeeding and because of the allergies feel this is the right choice. I live in Ontario and would appreciate any help anyone can offer me to help me convince the courts that breastfeeding is best.
o.jennifer12@rocketmail.com

Steve McPhail May 22, 2010, 10:23 AM

As a very strong supporter of breastfeeding including extended breastfeeding; let me ask you… Why would you want to stop breastfeeding in the first place? Breastfeeding an older child is one of the greatest ways a mother can bond with her child; To be honest, I could care less as to what other people think about breastfeeding an older child; As far as I’m concerned I think all nursing mothers should be able and willing to breastfeed their children regardless of how old they are
Besides, it’s really no one’s business as to how long you should continue breastfeeding your child If you wish to continue breastfeeding your child beyond the age of 3 or 4 years that should be your business and no one else’s!!. There’s nothing absolutely wrong with breastfeeding a child beyond the age of 3 or 4 years!! Breastfeeding an older child has so many nutritional benefits; I really can’t name them all!
Breastfeeding an older child is wonderful! Who cares what other people think? As long as you and your child are happy with breastfeeding GO FOR IT!!


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