Pumpkin (who is now 21.5 months old) is still nursing. I stopped pumping when Pumpkin was 17 months old, but have still been nursing her pretty much whenever she wants it. For the last few months, I've been following the "don't offer, don't refuse" school of weaning. Using this method (and by staying pretty busy during the day on weekends for a few weeks), Pumpkin dropped down to three nursings: first thing in the morning, after work/day care, and in the middle of the night.
I've recently decided that I'd like to try to encourage weaning a bit more quickly. I read some advice in my favorite toddler book (The Mother of All Toddler Books, by Ann Douglas) to start offering alternatives. So now when Pumpkin announces "Boppy!" I offer her milk, or a favored snack, or to read a story. This has helped a little bit, but Pumpkin is often very hard to distract from her intention to nurse. She'll say "Boppy!" and I'll say "Do you want some milk?" and she'll say "Boppy!!" and run off to find the Boppy for me.
The advice I read also suggested that I try to remove the nursing she cared least about first. That seemed to be the after day care nursing, so I started trying to distract her with walks, DVDs, snacks- whatever. Things were going OK, but she still nursed at least 50% of the days. Then we went on vacation, and she completely dropped the nursing at about 5 p.m.- but she started wanting to nurse right before bed.
I decided that after we got back from our Christmas trip to Kauai I would try to get her to skip her morning nursing, since that now seemed to be the one that mattered least. Well, now she wakes up 30-60 minutes before she'll be up for the day and asks to nurse.
So I went from an OK schedule, where the only inconvenient nursing session was the one in the middle of the night, to a pretty annoying schedule, where all three nursing sessions are fairly inconvenient. I've definitely been outsmarted.
Mothers who remember what their toddler was like at ~21 months are probably shaking their heads at my timing- I decided to get serious about weaning smack in the middle of a big fussy/clingy period. Several sources mention the 18-22 month time frame as being a difficult one for toddlers, and we are definitely in the middle of a "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" phase here. So I think I'll put the active weaning plans on hold for another month.
Now I just need to figure out what my best strategy will be once I decide to try again. Given Pumpkin's tendency to just move her nursing sessions around, I am considering going cold turkey on these final three sessions. I'm not sure Hubby or I can take the extreme grumpiness that is likely to come with that, so I am also thinking about more limited options. I could limit nursing to nighttime, to try to get rid of the morning session, or attempt to fully nightwean again (we had mostly nightweaned at 10 months, but could never get rid of the last nursing, and eventually let that drift back to about 2 a.m).
Advice? Stories? Anything at all to help me figure out what my next move should be? It is embarrassing to be outsmarted by my toddler.