Content of the material
- Baby Addicted To Breastfeeding
- Struggle #6 Co-sleeping
- How I deal
- Troubleshooting Common Breast Weaning Roadblocks
- Tips for success
- More on Babies and Toddlers
- What Should the Frequency and Duration of Breastfeeding Be?
- How To Deal With A Baby Addicted To Breastfeeding
- Get Your FREE Pregnancy Announcements!
Baby Addicted To Breastfeeding
It is interesting watching how excited toddlers get whenever they’re been breastfed especially if you’re a new mom.
The giggles, the gentle blinking, the twiddling are all beautiful things to watch. You can watch them do this on and on so long as they’d outgrow it someday and you’d have some time to do other things.
But there are situations where these babies do not know when to stop or rather they’re not interested in stopping or formula.
It becomes a thing of worry when they’re not interested in stopping anytime soon, especially if they’re well past the age when breast milk should be a thing of the past.
At such moments it becomes obvious that your baby may be addicted to breastfeeding and it is quite understandable seeing how comfortable they look when sucking.
The trouble comes when you try to wean them, if not careful, you may find yourself at war with yourself.
You may be emotionally and physically drained if you try to yank them off your breast because, unlike adults, babies do not understand that you also have a life aside from being their food supplier.
They sometimes may interpret it wrongly and this may affect their feeding pattern onwards and trying to rectify this will be an even tougher task to accomplish.
Read Article: Best Formula For Picky Breastfed Babies
Struggle #6 Co-sleeping
I mentioned above that my daughter never drank from a bottle. That is why I nursed after work, all evening and through the night. I even woke up my daughter in the early morning to feed her before I left for work.
With that being said, she obviously slept with us as a baby, and she still sleeps with us now.
Habits like these are hard to stop.
I let her sleep with us because it was the only way I could get rest.
Now, she relies on the boob to fall asleep. A habit that is really hard to break.
Sometimes I find myself holding her for hours as she sleeps, and I wonder how I let it happen. My achy back and lack of sleep lead me to wonder too.
Then I remember our early struggles.
It was hard on my husband during the day being home with a hungry baby. All I did was worry at work.
I remind myself that I did what I had to do.
Plus, she is only going to be my baby for a little while longer, and this is a significant aspect of our relationship. It will be something I will probably miss more than I realize.
How I deal
I don’t deal with it. Every night we go to bed together, and we wake up together. I would not trade it for the world.
As mentioned above, I also remind myself why we co-sleep. We all have our reasons.
If you are wondering how my husband and I are intimate with a child in our bed, let me tell you we make it happen. We have a guest room upstairs with a full-size bed. When in the mood, we meet upstairs after she falls asleep. It is hard work to have alone time, but worth it for our marriage.
Troubleshooting Common Breast Weaning Roadblocks
Although stopping breastfeeding can be as easy as I just made it sound, sometime parents hit some roadblocks. I’m going to run through some common ones to help you troubleshoot. With all of the suggestions below, know that it’s important to stay consistent and keep trying. All of my boys ended up loving cow’s milk, but it took a month or so before they were drinking it really well, usually by the time they were completely weaned from the breast. Keep in mind that once a baby turns 1, they only require 16 ounces of a milk source.
- Refuses a cup of any type:
- Try and try again – every day, at every meal, put the milk in the cup and don’t pressure them. Offer it and even demonstrate, but don’t force. You can experiment with serving cold and warm if you like. If your toddler spits it out, that’s okay, it’s all part of the process.
- Try pumped milk – if you are willing and able, pump and offer that milk in the cup. It will seem foreign and some will likely be wasted, but some babies do better with the familiar taste.
- Focus on 2-3 different types of cups – cycle through a few different kinds of cups, maybe some with bright colors or a silly character on it.
- Water in a cup during the day – always have the water in a cup throughout the day. Give it to them in the car, in the bath, outside, wherever.
- Nursing to sleep:
- Change up the routine (as described in the previous section)
- Transitional object – if your child doesn’t already have a special object like a stuffed animal or blanket, start encouraging one. Give it to them every time you are nursing, put it in their arms when you lie them down. Every time.
- Well-fed – I don’t want you to overly worry about this, so many parents do naturally, but it will give you peace of mind in knowing that their tummy is full. Serve a later dinner that is a favorite or a bedtime snack, where you can give milk in a cup. Knowing their well-fed will help you feel better if they protest a little and they will be less likely to request nursing.
- Distract – while I urge you to not push your baby too fast, some will protest a little. This is when you’ll want to change gears and do something really exciting. I remember with my oldest, I always used to feed him on the couch in the middle of the day and I’d rearrange the pillows to support my arm. In the process of weaning, I started to do that just to straighten up and he saw me and thought it was time to nurse. He didn’t cry, but I quickly grabbed him and stood up, saying, “Oh my goodness, did you just hear that car go by?” We went over to the window to have a look and he forgot about it in a second.
- Offer another drink – without making to big of a deal about it, provide a drink instead, “Oh, here’s your water.” Notice, I didn’t ask, I just made a statement.
- Cuddles – give lots of these at other times, so they feel that connection with you still.
Tips for success
- Don’t feel rushed, watch for your child’s acceptance and adjustment.
- You may be emotional, this is normal. Make sure you are feeling comfortable with your decision.
- Don’t listen to other people’s opinions.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments, I’ll be happy to answer. And if you’ve been through this before, share your tips, it will be helpful to everyone that stops here.
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Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 15 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.
More on Babies and Toddlers
What Should the Frequency and Duration of Breastfeeding Be?
Since the baby is only given breast milk, the frequency of feeding depends on the baby; feeding should be done as per the baby’s demand. This means that you will be feeding your baby at least 8 to 12 times a day.
Nighttime breastfeeding should be made possible by co-sleeping with the baby. The duration of breastfeeding again depends on the baby’s needs. Each session could last from 20 to 45 minutes. The baby should be satisfied feeding from one breast before another is offered.
Read on for some useful tips for exclusive breastfeeding.
How To Deal With A Baby Addicted To Breastfeeding
There are tons of benefits of long breastfeeding, this includes boosting the baby’s immune system, protection against certain illnesses, growth, and general well-being of the baby.
However, babies will not remain babies forever, they’d have to grow up at some point and this will mean there would be some changes in their growth pattern, behavioral patterns, and how they reason.
These changes come along with certain requirements on what they are exposed to and the food they consume since they’d be needing a different kind of food as they progress.
It is only wise that you start preparing your baby’s mind and body for the changes that will unravel in the following years to come, starting with changing their food intake.
The best way to effectively wean off your toddler is by spacing out the meal times. You can create a timetable for breastfeeding your baby and space them out longer than your usual meal times.
If you’ve been breastfeeding him/her every 3 hours, you can make it every 5 hours and gradually increase the time until it is convenient for you.
While spacing out the meal times your baby will automatically not be hungry during those hours that have been stricken out so you’d have to introduce it to some other type of baby food or formula that tastes closest to breast milk to make up for the absence of the breast milk.
Introduce your baby to the use of a feeder. A feeder will serve as a replacement for the breast so that while you’re at work, your baby can still have that feeling of sucking a real nipple while eating.
Some women recommend the use of beakers in place of feeders so that instead of sucking, they’re getting used to sipping from the soft and flexible spout of a beaker.
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