I bought my nearly 2.5 year old 2 pacifiers for the first time in 2 years this week, desperate for him to find something else to suck on than my boobs.

Yes, I’m STILL breastfeeding my toddler. And YES, I’m actually okay with that. I’m okay with it about 2-3 times a day.

I am NOT okay with it 2-3 times a night, and while he’s watching Chuggington, and when he gets mad at his sister, and when he gets out of timeout.

It’s obviously comfort for him. I get that, and I’m not trying to take the comfort part away from him. I’m just trying to take my exhausted nipples away and replace them with a nipple that is devoid of nerve endings and need for sleep.

I do the don’t ask, don’t refuse thing, except now I really have to refuse because it’s just getting crazy. He asks to nurse more now than probably 6 months ago. His interest is doing the exact opposite of decreasing as he gets older.

So I bought him pacifiers. His sister LOVED pacifiers so much she didn’t give them up until she was 4. And now that I’m on the other side of that and she seems perfectly well adjusted, won’t shut up, and seems to have what looks like a normal smile, I’d be HAPPY if he loved them just as much.

Except he’s been spitting them out since he was 6 months old. But… but… maybe he just needs to give them one more chance! Or 20? Or however many times I need to put one in his mouth until he finally realizes it’s power.

I don’t know. This could take a while. So far, he’s handed it back to me every time (after trying to chew on the wrong end) and said, “No.”

IMG_7233

WHY ARE YOU SO CUTE?!

I know, I can already hear some of you- “You just need to learn to tell him no and walk away. Stop coddling him. This is gross.” 

  1. Fuck off.
  2. I AM telling him no, and our life is just DELIGHTFUL for it. Scott is exhausted because he has to go to Lowell’s room 2-3x a night and put him back in bed after he stands at his door, SCREAMING for me. Lowell follows me around the house trying to rip my sweaters off of me while crying incessantly. Trust, none of this makes me feel like a great mom.
  3. Also, it’s not “gross” and I’m okay with breastfeeding him for a while longer, JUST NOT SO MUCH.

I really, really don’t want to cut him off cold turkey. I just want a glimmer of hope that at some point in the not so distant future he’s not going to be so attached to me. Literally.

Well-meaning suggestions from non-assholes welcome.

57 thoughts on “Please, Take This Pacifier As A Substitute For My Breast, Toddler”

  1. I love your app, and that I just got a notification about your new post — as I’m laying here on the couch, trying desperately to get my 25 month old to nap without nursing. Over the last week I’ve begun trying to only nurse in the morning and at bed time. So now she randomly tells me in the middle of the day that it’s time for bed so that she can nurse, and she has no intention of actually closing her eyes. I’m struggling right there with you. Good luck!

    1. Hey there if you have any suggestions let me know ..my daughter turned 2 in December and still breastfeeding. People dont understand what its like to say no to a child that’s just not ready to stop nursing. She freaks the fk out no joke. I was at the dentist a few weeks ago having a conversation with one of the technicians and she told me about het friend who has a 4yr who is still breastfeeding and wants to stop but her husband was against it and I had to turn away for a second because I cried a little tear..oh I could feel her pain, 4 years. ..

  2. I have no suggestions just sympathy. Mine will be 2 on Thursday and he has been a “only at night time” nurser since 18 months. I co sleep and he nurses all.night.long. I’m so over it. He IS getting cut off on his birthday. Hugs Momma ????

  3. OMG! This is my life!! My 2 year and 8 month old nurses more now than she did when she was younger. I have friends tell me “oh, she just does it for comfort”. Duh! I know that. It’s my job to comfort her. But I also just want my nipples back. She does love her paci, that helps a little but in her mind it is never a substitute for my breasts. Some day. Some day. Some day.

  4. I had to cut my first son off at three years old because I was pregnant with our twins. He would have happily nursed until kindergarten. I took the bribery road. Every time he asked to nurse, I gave him a shiny new matchbox car to distract him. It took a few weeks, but it worked, and the kid has a hell of a matchbox car collection now! He’s 5 now and says he doesn’t remember nursing at all. I have a feeling I’m going to have to do something similar with my twins, who are now 16 months old, and nurse more than newborns. Maybe in another year.

  5. I don’t have a suggestion, but just want to say that you and all these other mamas commenting here are rock stars. I’m so impressed and inspired and proud of all of you for breastfeeding for so long! The longest I made it was 20 months and I thought that was amazing!

  6. my Marin must be a similar age, born 7/2/13 and for her whats worked is when she asks to nurse I ask her if she wants to go to bed, I made it very simple and very to the point for a few days that nursing is just for night night….so its just before bed now and we had to unfortunately let her cry a few nights in the middle of the night or my husband went in but one week of this and it worked. she only asks now when she is actually tired or hurt. I am done now and would like to even stop the last session before bed but letting it go a little longer. My first quit on his own at 1 and it was so much easier! So sorry and I totally get where you are coming from!

  7. My 2yr (+8mth) old is like this. I had to just be horrible for a few days, where if distraction wasn’t working I said “sorry, milk only at bedtime, but you can have a cuddle?” We had a few tantrums, even in the middle of the night (thank goodness my 4yr old sleeps the sleep of the dead), but I always stayed calm, offered cuddles and stayed consistent.
    She’s gone from waking at 1am and feeding all morning to only having milk when she wakes up (6am) and before bed (and occasional emergencies…). Didn’t realise how much it was affecting my mood until she cut back!
    Good luck – it will pass x

  8. If he is rejecting the pacifier I wonder if something like this oral stimulation necklace would appeal to him: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IIEK68Q?colid=3T7SN8832FZ0K&coliid=I2MXKKWU51KAT3&psc=1&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl

    I hear you about the middle of the night thing! We are dealing with the same thing right now. My two year old was perfectly happy sleeping through the night without nursing. Until he learned to climb out of his crib. Then he realized that he could just come in to our room and I would be too tired to refuse him. It’s getting old now, though. And I feel so badly sending my poor tired husband to deal with my screaming toddler because I don’t want to nurse him at night.

    I hope you find something that works!!

  9. I had to bribe my toddler with gummy snacks and juice (two of his other favorite things besides nursing). Good luck.

    Those habits are slowly dying now as well so it’s not like he’s still on gummies 😉

  10. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t, but I would tell Evie sometimes, “they’re empty” or “it’s all gone until ________” (pick something like a tv show or an activity) and she would forget she wanted it because I would place a drink and snack in front of her while she was doing said activity. Hope it helps and if it doesn’t silently screaming into my pillows helped a little.

  11. Been there.
    We set other limits too. Time (while i sing the ABCs) and most effective place (only in this one chair).
    We also worked on making it very very clear that mummy can choose to say yes or no. And you get what you get. But cuteness works. And whining does not.

  12. when we were going through this at the same age i just always said that it was all gone, and let my daughter cuddle up for awhile. eventually she stopped asking and forgot about it.

  13. Oh, that’s hard. No advice; just sympathy. We got to the same point with my 21-month old. He wanted it, but I was getting dry and sore. We talked it up ahead of time, let him pick out a special new stuffed animal for a “cuddle buddy,” and then stopped. It did not go extremely well. We survived, and all’s well now (he’s 26 months), but it was a rough go for all of us.

  14. Oh haiiiiiii (Living my life—except I never got to tell thousands of assholes to fuck off all at once. Amazing.) I’m here to offer hope. Boobie-Loving Boy #1 weaned at 19 months with some prodding from me. It wasn’t totally traumatizing, but he would certainly have chosen to go longer and I always sort of felt bad about that. Once I heard about all these almost/just past 2 year olds who simply walked away from the boob with no fuss (your Leyna, for one!), I was content, even happy, to continue nursing Boobie-Loving Boy #2 past his second birthday. Creeping towards 2.5, though, requests got annoyingly MORE frequent (wtf, little dudes).

    My contentedness with continuing to bf gradually turned into feeling, by the time he was about 28-29 months, like my skin was crawling a lot of the time–definitely NOT the relationship/memory I wanted for us! I tried a few things that were all marginally successfully and that, cumulatively, helped reduce the frequency and the duration. It was mostly about making him feel like I was telling him “yes” when I was really giving him a lot of “no.”

    Ice water. Just in case he was thirsty I would always offer that first, especially at night. It worked like 2% of the time. But it was something.
    Chocolate milk. Besides the fact that I of course brushed his teeth a normal amount of times per day, I did not give two shits about cavities during this time. If he asked to nurse and was having a fit and I could persuade him to take a sippy of chocolate milk instead (even at 2am) I totally gave it to him. I knew it was temporary.
    Exciting rocket “blastoff!” countdown. When he asked to nurse and I reeeeeeally didn’t want to, I gave him a “YES, for 10 (or whatever) seconds.” Depending on my mood, I counted down more slowly or more quickly, but always ended with a positive sounding “3, 2, 1—yay all done!” He was definitely confused the first few times but always unlatched and (shockingly, if you know my kid) never threw a huge fit. We always had to do both sides or all hell would break loose, but the two countdowns worked. Eventually he got to where he’d stop even before I finished the countdown, particularly during the middle of the night when the boob was obviously more for “Okay, Mom, I’m sleepy but I’m just making sure you’re still there for me.”
    I talked to him before bed about not nursing again until the sun came up, but eased into that idea. *Just* for the very last wake up (like 5am or something), I did the whole “Ok, almost time! The sun’s not up just yet!” I didn’t say it so much as a “No” because that would have totally set him off. I just tried to sound cheerful (damn hard at 5am, obvs) and sympathetic and reassure him the sun would be up soon and he could nurse. And if he went back to sleep I stuck to my word as soon as he woke up at sunrise. It got easier and—woo—that’s when he started sleeping longer stretches without crying to nurse.
    If he was obviously sleepy I started encouraging him to lay on my back with me laying on my stomach instead of us sitting in a chair in the nursing position. He couldn’t reach the goods that way, but (just a guess) he still got the familiar heartbeat sounds and closeness and comfort of Mom’s warm squishy backfat.

    It’s been about two months now, so he was around 32-33 months the last time he nursed. It wasn’t ceremonious at all, and I wasn’t sure then that it would be the last time. He continued to ask (still does sometimes) but each time after that day I was able to distract him or convince him to take an alternative without a major freak out (I probably would have given in if he was just heartbroken). And now he actually lets me cuddle him when he’s upset/hurt instead of sticking a nip in his mouth, and he (mostly) SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT. Hallelujah. There’s hope, mama.

  15. All I can say is, hang in there. My 4 year old still(!) asks to nurse every once in a while. He no longer has meltdowns over being told no, but it’s been 2 years since he was on the boob and he still hasn’t let the idea go. It’s kind of a compliment to what you’re serving up, right?

  16. I went through the same. We had to just wean completely, I used toothpaste on my nipples so he wouldn’t want it. It sounds terrible but it is less cruel than hours and hours of screaming.

  17. i played the super powers game with my oldest. like i had to have the super powers at the time for my boobs to work… because i’m super mommy. and then one night i told her that the super powers were gone. i couldnt’ get them to come back. it took a while and slowly eased her into the idea that the boob time was special and wouldn’t last forever. at 18 months it worked. i also was puking non stop because i was preggers with her younger brother so my supply was dwindling and i think she realized something was up… but they understand a whole lot more than what we think….

  18. I was in the same position with my now almost 4 year old. He seemed to develop more passion for nursing as he got older instead of less. I did the don’t offer don’t refuse thing and that was laughable because he never ever “forgot” about nursing. I tried all the other suggestions out there. Nothing deterred him and I didn’t have the heart or patience to suffer through cold turkey with drawls. I dealt with the middle of the night stuff, the judgement (one of the many reasons my in-laws have given me up as a hopeless hippie) all of it. I don’t have any good advice. I dealt with it until he finally got to a point where he could give it up, when he was 3. And anybody who is not living in your house, dealing with your children can fuck right the hell off.

  19. Does he still love the bunny? Can you try and switch cuddlying with bunny while sitting next to you instead of feeding? I know it’s not the oral stimulation he gets from breast feeding, but since the pacy’s aren’t working, maybe teach him to find comfort in hugs instead of your poor breasts. Good luck!

  20. He’s the same age as my daughter….the tantrums are real, but try telling him that he can have the boobs “later”. we always use later as a way to get out of tricky situations…it’s an indefinite amount of time, but she understands the concept that she will get exactly what she wants when the time is right. In the middle of the night, when he’s crying and looking for comfort, tell him he’ll get it later and that the boobs are asleep right now (being “asleep” works well for us, too…Curious George sleeps all the damn time). “I can give you a hug and pat your back so you fall asleep, but the boobs won’t be awake until later…” Good luck!!

  21. I nursed my youngest until she was about 3.5 years old. For the last year I only did it at sleeping times, before nap and before bedtime. I told her she could have more in the morning if she woke up during the night. “Milk in the morning”. “Milk is sleeping”. Then in the morning I made sure I was out of bed walking around, not sitting down and busy. Eventually she stopped asking in the morning. When she stopped napping no more nursing during the day. The bedtime one was the hardest. She was old enough to talk about it and we decided no more milk. The first night she cried and cried – eventually she asked to lay on my skin (tummy). She sucked her thumb and laid on my tummy. The skin contact helped a lot and seemed to fill that need for closeness and thank goodness she was/ is a thumb sucker. Good luck. It’s hard stuff this parenting!

  22. Hey have you tried different brands and types of binkies? All 3 of mine would and will only take the MAM pacifiers.

  23. I went through this with my younger son and I totally feel your pain…and you just made me pee my pants (I’m pregnant so don’t judge me). I would repeat to him that “we only do nursies when the sun is out because they were sleeping” and then I let him come cuddle in bed for a while. He is back to sleeping all night in his bed and I got some sleep instead of feeling like I had coffee grounds in my eyes the next morning.

  24. Just realized I put a super long comment on Facebook instead of directly on here where you’d be more likely to read it – oops (not that I have some amazing wisdom, just lived what sounds like the exact same thing with my son 🙂

  25. I weaned my almost 2-year old off the paci in November and I am strongly considering slicing open her Build-A-Bear and giving my husband’s and my ears a break. I’m with you.

  26. Same boat, except I did slow/gentle weaning at 21 months when I was about 12 weeks pregnant and sick. (He’s now 25 months) A few weeks ago he found a pacifier in a box and loved chewing on it. Now I leave it in his bed and he can have it after I put him down. So crazy bc my daughter also LOVED her pacifier until she was 4!

  27. My first was an all night nurser, but we coslept until we finally weaned and THEN moved her into her own bed, at 2.5 years.
    We probably would still be nursing if I didn’t have to set boundaries because I got pregnant with her little brother. First we had to establish that nursing was only for sleep, otherwise, kisses, hugs and snuggles would have to do. Once we got into that routine it became an all night, omfg I’m dying because I’m pregnant and sleep deprived, this shit has to end now kind of thing. So we were done. Husband became the primary overnight comforter, and she did great after just a couple of days of no nursing. I was kind of bummed that she was over it so quickly, but also relieved.
    We never had any success with any attempts to ‘night wean’, so this is really no help at all, huh. Fortitude, mama.

  28. We did “ABC” milk- He could nurse for as long as it took me to sing the ABC’s. Let me tell you, it sped up my singing considerably! Sort of an out- saying yes, but for less than 30 seconds of nursing. I got worried about him relying on food for comfort, on top of being annoyed and sore. I sarted teaching him to breathe, and count to five when he was upset, kind of rushing in with- “Oh! I see you are mad, or sad, or hurt… Let’s do your breathing. Good, now can you count? Wow! Look at you, you are such a big boy, doing it by yourself! Now tell me how you feel.” kind of thing, and he would be distracted by all that and forget to ask. I also would match his intensity- so if he was screaming angry, I would say loudly- “you are mad! REALLY MAD! Can you tell me why you are so mad?” and I think helping him talk about it helped him get what he needed- and the understanding was better than being soothed by the boob, and silenced. I think it’s freaking hard to figure out. Looking back, it did intensify in waves, so when it’s almost intolerable, even if you change nothing, they usually change anyway. May the force be with you.

  29. Following…. I’m in the same EXACT boat right now and would love to hear from someone who’s lived through it!

  30. {{HUGS}} My son nursed until he was 2 weeks shy of 5 years old. At the end, it was only at night for like one minute, but still. I feel ya. We definitely went through the demanding, trying to rip my shirt off phase around 2-3 years old too. I have no advice, just lighting my breastfeeding candle for you. Hang in there, mama.

  31. Breaking the nursing habit is a tough battle. I went through it with my 2.5 year old son (he is now 7). I ended up weaning him onto a bottle filled with Pediasure vanilla milk. It was the only thing that worked. Yes, he ended up with a cavity but, I got rest, my husband got rest and my daughter slept well. It all works out in the end. Anyone that tells you your gross for still nursing him is a butthole. If you haven’t lived it – you have no idea. Good luck and remember this too is just a moment in time.

  32. I feel you. I extend breastfed my first two. (2 years, 4 month and 2 years, 8 months). I am currently on number 3 at 14 months old. My third is the only child that will not take a pacifier! There are some nights when he wakes me to nurse 6x! I am so tired. He will nurse me raw! But he doesn’t nurse much during the day.

    All I can say is when I was ready for my daughter to ween, I had grandma stay with us for the weekend and she left me alone. lol

    I have seen other women offer a favorite snack in place of nursing.

    When I night weened my oldest, he slept with me still, so I had him hold my hands which translated to him rubbing my arm. Cue him needing to rub my arm multiple times a night, but it worked!

    Good luck!

  33. I love it! I stopped nursing my youngest when she was a little over 3 and I wish I had nursed her longer. I stopped partly because I wanted to but I wanted to be cause I was sick of people cricizing me for still breastfeeding. I miss that closeness with her 🙁

  34. Anyway you look at it its a hard adjustment and being a mom is so much work at times. I pumped for about 3 mon and then started formula so I never went through weening him off my breast but he started with a paci from birth and had that thing in his mouth till about 3. He was a late talker because of it and gave him what I call paci teeth where it ruins the baby teeth. I made him go cold turkey and Im not going to lie it was really rough for about a mon. He would wake up screaming and want his paci. Not a lot of sleep because it.. But this too shall pass so my advice to you is do what’s in your heart. If you don’t want to go against the grain don’t! And remember to just breath!! Good luck lady!

  35. I night weaned my son right around age 2.5, and he was in school during the day . I just told him that it was keeping us both up at night and from now on, we would only nurse on the couch during the day. He was fine with it after one night. Good luck! I’m sorry he wakes up wanting you so often. That must be hard for everyone.

  36. I gave my toddler time warnings, like one more minute of nursing and kept reducing it. It helped him to at least know he could nurse even for a few seconds until he understood he wasn’t going to get much from me in turned of nursing.

  37. I have been there! Although my son wasn’t *quite* as determined as yours. IIRC, we started by designating one specific spot for nursing, which was the rocking chair in his room. If he asked for milk, I said we had to go to the chair. Often this made him change his mind because he would have rather stayed in the current location. Since it was impossible to offer the chair if we were away from home, this also made him less likely to ask if we were out of the house. Actually, now that I write that, I think we may have started with limiting nursing to only at home and then transitioned into only in the chair.

    I also would offer him cow’s milk or water when he asked for milk. He always just called it “milk” so when he asked for milk I would feign confusion and say, “ok, I will get you a glass of milk”. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t. He also really took to water bottles, especially the Camelbak ones that have the bite valve to drink out of. I don’t know if this was somehow satisfying in a similar way that sucking was. He still really uses water bottles as a pacifier of sorts–when he is upset, a drink of water can calm him down, even if it’s in a glass. It’s a great calming crutch because it’s almost always available!

    He began to drop “sessions” and we got to the point where he only asked to nurse right before bed. I still limited this to the chair (we used to nurse in bed) and I also set a timer and gradually decreased the times until we were down to no more than 5 minutes.

    Good luck! Mine was about 2 years and 8 months when he finally weaned, which wasn’t quite as gentle as I wanted considering it was triggered by me being out of town for 5 days. And then when I came back, it really hurt when he tried to nurse. I don’t know it it was because he forgot how to suck gently or my nipples just weren’t used to it, but I couldn’t take it for more than a minute. By that point we were down to one 5 minute session right before bed.

  38. I am still nursing my 3 yo most night (not all!) to bed. I cut back with him one session at a time, by just saying no and trying to distract him with something else (he loves marshmallows, apple sauce pouches, and dried fruit).

  39. All I can say is this too will pass….all to be replaced by some other behavior that makes you crazy…lol (spoken from a mother who breastfed one child to 2 1/2 and another until 3)

  40. I nursed my older until 27 months. At the end when he wanted to nurse ALL. THE. TIME. I got this brilliant idea from a friend. He could have the boob until I finished the ABC song if it was at a time inconvenient for me. That worked pretty well. Another trick we tried was when he asked to nurse I would give the choice of a few chocolate chips (or lets be honest sometimes an Oreo) or the boob and usually he chose the treat. I have no advice for the over nights.

  41. I have no suggestions. I am in the same spot- my almost 2 year old is so attached to me (and my wonderful milk makers) that I can barely walk out of the room without him panicking that his sucky toy has left. I am really so over it. Over. It. Like beyond words. I just really want a single night of sleep and a chance to shower. But it is how he finds comfort and relaxes. Taking that away just turns him into a cranky clingy jerk. So…
    Hope you find balance soon!

  42. BTDT. My older two nurses until 5 and 4 respectively. My baby is 14 months old. All.night.long some nights. We night weaned using Dr Jay Gordon’s method with the other kids. Haven’t night weaned the baby yet. We might in the summer but I need my husband home for more than a few nights. He travels for work.

  43. We went through the same thing. My youngest would never use a paci either. We ended up giving her bottles is milk. I know I know. Horrible for her teeth etc, but it was worth my sanity and sleep. Breaking her “baba” habit was rough too, she depended on it for sleep each night, that and actually holding my breast. Not my favorite either but better than the alligator death rolls she would do while nursing. I cut her off from the bottle cold turkey the week after her fourth birthday. She is now a happy adjusted 4.5 yr old, who still likes to hold a boob when falling asleep 😛

  44. I don’t have any suggestions, only solidarity. I went through this with my daughter, she wanted to nurse more and more, and for everything as she neared 2 and a half. I was 7 months pregnant woth my third around this time, and eventually despite her best efforts my milk dried up and she gave up nursing, but she was not happy about it. I’m noting all suggestions in case my littlest is the same way.

  45. No suggestions, just commiseration. I feel like my 21 month old has been nursing a lot more than she used to, AND she has a paci. Whatevs, maybe she’ll stop when her high school friends start making fun of her for it;)

  46. Hoping to get a reply from the original poster on what worked for you last year? My son will be 2 this month and wants to nurse all day and wakes up every 45 minutes of the night to nurse (we co sleep). Neither one of us are getting sleep, he is so attached I don’t know what to do! I try to distract him or offer other things instead or to soothe him but it all just makes him even more upset. His dad and I live separately so it’s not like I can have him put him to bed for me either. On top of it all he barely eats any food, 2-3 bites of food at each meal if I’m lucky because all he wants to do is nurse. I haven’t had one good night of sleep in almost 2 years I’m desperate! Please help.

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