Are you going to wean or let your child wean on their own?

Briana - posted on 09/19/2010 ( 220 moms have responded )

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This is not a debate! I am just interested in each individual's opinion and why you feel that way for YOURSELF. I have always planned on weaning my son at exactly 12 months, and am having second thoughts. I struggled so much with being ok with him EBFing, and now I really enjoy the time I have with him and BFing. So I am just interested to hear what other's are doing and why. Also how you deal with the judgment of extended BFing and how you convinced your husband's (mine says ONE YEAR at most). If someone posts something you don't agree with, I would appreciate no arguments. But of course I can't make anyone do anything :)

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Siobhan - posted on 09/28/2010

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i would have loved to allow my DD to self wean but other issues pushed my decision like shift working (i'm a nurse), teeth (nips and bites were upsetting both of us), my sex life (dear partner just felt weird if i leaked a bit), and my comfort (feeding bras gave little to no support when moving/handling patients). I guess if finances allowed me to be a stay at home mum i prob would have continued BFing her past 12 months, but i don't regret what i did because it was what was best for both me, her and my family. go with your gut instinct, as a mum its usually right. x

Larissa - posted on 09/28/2010

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This is something I am totally struggling with now!! My son just turned one and i just started working again. I was going to just continue to BF until he sel-weaned but I am gone for four hours at night and don't feel the need to pump him a botle while I am gone. SO now I will be giving one bottle of milk and nurse throughout the day. I have a feeling though that cutting a feeding and giving a bottle will start the weaning process. He is my last baby so I had hopes of BF him for a while but now am not sure. I feel guilty for weaning him this early. Any suggestions or thoughts?

Amber - posted on 09/28/2010

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I am still BFing my 1 year old, turned one on sept 18. I have never made it this far before, have 6 kids. I am enjoying the time we have but it is only about 1-2 times a day now. She wants food and her cup. I will continue for a bit longer, especially since it is more about bedtime than getting a real meal. I am enjoying our time together and know that it is fleeting. Just enjoy it while you have it. If you cut it back to bedtime or just a few times a day your husband can't complain so much about that. he might be feeling a little jealous about the time without him. Give him a little more attention and he might have less issue with it. Good luck! Prayers!

Anne - posted on 09/28/2010

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I think the decision is totally up to yourself, Briana. Whatever is comfortable with you and your baby is fine. I breastfeed my three children and they all finished at different times. You will both know yourselves when to ween it's a very natural thing. Enjoy this time as it only comes but once in each childs life. All my love to you both, Anne:)

Lauren - posted on 09/28/2010

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I nursed my first until she self-weaned at 2.5. I loved it!! It was incredibly mellow and gradual, no tears or fusses. :) My second is 11 months and nurses on demand; she can stop when she's ready. I don't care a bit if my husband is against it (but he's all for it thankfully!), as I feel it's up to the baby to nurse as long as she needs it. No one I know judges me for it openly; a few people have expressed surprise but are all smiles once they hear about the incredible benefits of full-term nursing. :)

Kandee - posted on 09/28/2010

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This is always a great question and I enjoy the varied responses. I've gone with child-led-weaning for my last three children. My first two, I most definitely encouraged weaning by not offering or by putting them off or offering other choices. My 3rd weaned herself at 2.75 years, my 4th at nearly 4 years and my 5th is currently going strong at 2.25 years and I'm expecting my 6th.

Melissa - posted on 09/28/2010

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Its all personal choice and what suits you. If hubby is adament he must have reasons of his own. I will stop feeding if I end up being bitten too much or lose too much weight.

Kylie - posted on 09/27/2010

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my first weaned herself at 12months much to my disapointment :( mysecond i lost my milk at around 4months after the sudden lose of my mum :( :( :( now with my third we're up to 6months and i don't really have a time frame of when i want to stop i'll just judge it by him

Yvonne - posted on 09/27/2010

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My grandmother will tell you she still leaks milk and she is in her seventies and never breastfed.

Christy - posted on 09/27/2010

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well, I breastfed my son for 19 months... I had thought I would stop at 12 months but that was not that easy. I started shortening the time for each breast until we were only breastfeeding in the morning and at night. Then we dropped to every other day etc. until the end of July when we finally stopped... However, while my breasts don't feel engorged they are still leaking... Does anyone know how long this will last? It's almost OCTOBER lol : )

Jessica - posted on 09/27/2010

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My goal is to let her decide. When she got to 1 year I just couldn't imagine how some mums wean their babies at that age - she was (and is, at 14 months) so into BFing. I love feeding her and snuggling with her, it helps calm her down if she's upset or too excited for bed - it's just so USEFUL!
I don't think of past one as 'extended' BFing at all. If I'm still feeding her at 3, that will be extended! Feeding a 1 or even 2 year old, that's just normal. It's only the Western world that has very recently developed the idea that babies should be weaned before they're ready to do it themselves.

Jill - posted on 09/27/2010

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My son is 18 months and BFing strong yet! I'm planning on letting him self wean. I still feed him out in public, even though I get comments from some people, especially at a dinner table. I just say "You're hungry so you're eating, he's hungry so he's eating". My husband is ok with it since extendedbreastfeeding still offers all of the awesome benefits! The longer you BF, the better off your toddler is!

Carmen - posted on 09/27/2010

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i wanna go to atleast a year. at my la leche meeting they said babies shouls actually breastfeed until 5. which i think is too long for me. i couldnt handle that many teeth!.

Kim - posted on 09/27/2010

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I let both of my oldest 2 kids self-wean completely. The first was 2.5 yrs and the second was 2.75 years. My third is 9 months and still going strong. I will let her self-wean as well. Nursing a toddler is one of the best things because it's such a tough age and you have instant soothing. It's really fabulous!

Sarah - posted on 09/27/2010

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I have a 14mth old that I am still nursing - though I think he feeds more for comfort then food. I am also 2mths pregnant with number 2. I would like to have number 1weaned by the time number 2 comes out just cos I think it will be very demanding tandem feeding, but my. little man is a boob addict and doesn't look like giving it up any time soon, so we'll see what happens.

Pamela - posted on 09/27/2010

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I said the same thing -- 12 months -- but as it got closer, it was clear he wasn't ready. That, and we were going into flu season with the whole H1N1 thing going around (my son's birthday is aug. 28) so I told my husband "do you really want to do this and then have him get sick? let's wait until after flu season and talk about it". He's seen how healthy Ike has been and agreed. We just went past 2 years and don't show signs of stopping yet. : P I have work trips that take me away for several days and he doesn't nurse just fine but as soon as I come back, he's asking for it.

Honestly, I don't want to fight and it seems like such an important thing to him that I don't push it. If I was really uncomfortable with it, I'd stop, but we pretty much only ever do it at home nowadays and it's no one else's business.

Heather - posted on 09/27/2010

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I plan on child led weaning. Honestly, I didn't know people weaned their children before two years until I had my first--that was a surprise to me. I had always planned to nurse for 2 years and then I thought I'd have to wean, but I learned differently later and decided to go with child led weaning or mutual weaning (if we hit 5 years). It's no big deal for me--I don't particularly like nursing, but I don't do it for me. I do love how happy it makes my girls and since the biological norm is as long as the milk teeth are present, it doesn't make sense to me to force the issue. But I've never let society dictate my choices in general, lol.

It's interesting that this is the featured topic right now since I just wrote a blog post on different kinds of weaning. http://tinyurl.com/2852mtt

Yvonne - posted on 09/27/2010

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My daughter is two and I have no plans of weaning her. I honestly thing nature intended children to nurse for three to five years, and that is the kind of milk that their body needs, not cow's milk like everyone tells you to give them. The reason they tell you kids need to drink whole milk at that time, is because they really need the nutrients from the breast milk.

So I'm allowing my daughter to chose when she's done, I think it's the best choice for her physical and emotional development. ;3

That said, I think that breastfeeding for one year is a huge accomplishment in itself!

Krystal - posted on 09/27/2010

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My husband is the one who got me to breastfeed my first. She self-weaned at one, she sure loved her cow's milk just like her daddy. It was very upsetting and it caused us a lot of issues (constipation, high calcium = low iron = anemia) so this time around I am going to EBF until 6 months, and then NO cow's milk until 2. It will be hard and long but it will be so worth it! My husband does not agree with nursing from the breast after one year, but he will get over it and I am sure I will probably only do morning, nap and bedtime nursing sessions and then BM from a cup during the day. My two year old will occasionally drink BM and she doesn't mind it. (I have a lot to go around and I usually mix it in her cow's milk.)

Rebekah - posted on 09/27/2010

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I weaned. She was losing weight, and was pretty anemic at her 12 month appointment so it was recommended that I quit nursing her to get her to eat real foods. I weaned her completely by 14 months... my decision in combination with my doctors recommendation.

Melissa - posted on 09/27/2010

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nursing my 2.5 year old. pregnant with #2 right now (28weeks)
so self weaning here. will let you all know how tandem nursing goes.
:)

Surita - posted on 09/27/2010

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I think breastfeeding is so special.. Once baby is weaned it is gone and you will mis it!!!! Luckely I can redo it with my second baby, but when the day comes that he weans himself or if I choose to wean him, I will be very sad and emotional. Keep doing what feels right for yourself and dont listen to other people, (even you husband...HAHA! ) our babies grow up so fast and this is truely a special time in mother hood. Other people can change a diaper or bathe them, but breastfeeding is the only thing that only you can do.....

Brittany - posted on 09/26/2010

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Some people are asking how to wean...What I intend to do is pump right before she's supposed to eat and let her drink it warm from a cup. Do that once a day for a while, then twice, then three times, then give the baby water in a sippy cup at bedtime. Slowly start to chill the breastmilk before giving the baby cow's milk. This may or may not work, but that's what I was planning on trying.

Brittany - posted on 09/26/2010

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I actually can't decide..When I got pregnant, I decided one year was fine. Then I was convinced that an extra six months should be added. Then I read more info on it saying that they actually have an easier time weaning off at more like two years and have less separation anxiety and more trust to the mother when older. Then I got back with my ex and he wants me to quit sooner. He thinks that two years will socially traumatize her or something. I don't know about you, but I can't remember anything from when I was two years old. But I definitely think that farther than two years is way too long (like on the movie Grown-Ups..yuck!). So I'm thinkin that if my daughter weans herself before two years, that's fine, but if not, she WILL NOT breastfeed a day after she turns two!

Dori - posted on 09/25/2010

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I will plan to breast feed until my baby is ready to stop or like last time I BF'ed until I was 3 months pregnant and it was too painful to keep going. My son was 15 months at the time and it made him very sad. But he did start sleeping all night so that made me very happy.

Sarah - posted on 09/25/2010

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I plan to breastfeed my 9 month old as long as she wants. I'm happy and proud to be able to breastfeed her and I don't see the point in stopping because *I* feel it is time - she will let me know when she's had enough. I enjoy the bonding and closeness and I think it will be a sad day when she finally is weaned. My husband is completely supportive and always has been. Personally, anyone who feels uncomfortable with ME breastfeeding MY baby can go jump in a lake! You're doing a great job, keep it up as long as you (& baby) like!

Heather - posted on 09/25/2010

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I had planned to let my son wean himself. I figured he would eventually get busy and just naturally slow down nursing and wean. But at 26 months I finally weaned him as I became pregnant again and it was too uncomfortable to nurse anymore. I loved our nursing time together. As far as others I mostly just did it in the privacy of our home and didn't tell anyone we were still nursing unless they asked. Many lactation consultants as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend nursing until 2 when possible as it is still beneficial for "baby" especially for their immunity (which will be helpful with cold/flu season coming again). Good news is when we did finally wean I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would although my son obviously does as he still asks for "mama milk" every now and then (we weaned about 3 months ago). Good luck with whatever you decide!

Arifah A - posted on 09/25/2010

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I weaned my first baby at 15 months, i didnt realize until recently that its looked down upon to go longer than 12 months, my mother ( a mother of 9) breastfed all of us until the age of two! in fact she started weaning my little brother at 2 it took her a little while cause he wouldn't let go! lol my baby is now 6 months and its only because he's got two teeth already am i thinking of starting the weaning process at 12 months i'm sure it'll take a few months but if it takes longer then so be it! Breastfeeding is one of the BEST things we can do for our babies! and if daddy's giving you the deadline simply explain the benefits and say just like in the beginning when this was a learning process the same applies now for baby AND MOMMY!

Debi - posted on 09/24/2010

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Thank you for posting this topic. My last child is 2.5 and is still nursing. I have recently had some anxiety about him still nursing (probably because of some comments from my dad). I had decided to start the weaning process this week but ended up not feeling right about it. Reading many of the comments here I have now decided to just let him continue until the time feels right for both of us.

Christina - posted on 09/24/2010

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I had planned on quitting at 12 months. I've tried weaning now for the sake of weight loss, but I think I'm going to give that battle up. I will most likely continue to breastfeed until my daughter is done. I may supplement at meal times since I don't pump.

Dianna - posted on 09/24/2010

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Not sure if you are still looking for answers or not - I am doing a bit of both. I am letting him do it himself, but at 29 months he loves to nurse all day still, but he is doing it just for the oral fix and comfort. So I have had to say no more for those reasons, when he asks I tell him we have to turn off his favorite tv show (PBS kids),. He jumps down and runs to play. I still nurse to sleep and will ask him if he wants nummies if I can't settle him any other way too. Other than that I don't offer. Hope that helps.

[deleted account]

I let my oldest son wean himself. He did so at 2.5 yrs. I'll do the same with my daughter. It's SOOOO much easier than trying to get them to stop before they're ready. I've always been told that babies know what their bodies need and will stop when they've gotten the most benefit. I had some people say things about my son being too old to nurse still, but he was horribly allergic to every other kind of milk, so I had no choice but to BF til he was done. My daughter is only 14 months and still nurses at 6-10 times per day. Just for little snacks here and there and then a couple of full meals. I pretty much don't listen to criticism anymore. You know what's best for your baby. That close connection is still there. I followed that connection with my kids and two very healthy children. Plus the World Health Organizations says you should nurse at least to two years. Most non-westernized cultures accept nursing until the child gets an adult tooth. You do what's best for you and baby. You're the mommy, YOU know best! Let yourself have that power :-)

Liz - posted on 09/24/2010

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hi i have breast feed 3 kids.my first was 12 months,then i got preg with the second,he was 9 months old and he stopped,he is a big boy.ahh and my 3rd is now just 2 and still feeding,i am really over it,but she is not.im not sure how to stop her,she has a quick feed in the mornings and at night before bed,i got asked when she was 6 months when i was going to stop.she is starting to stop at night now,but hopfully soon she will.what is right or wrong? who knows i just think each to their own.

Melissa - posted on 09/24/2010

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My original plan was to start weaning at 1 year but I only made it to just over 8 months. Most of that decision was based on the fact that my supply was terrible. I saw multiple specialists and lactation consultants, tried herbal remedies, folk remedies and even prescriptions but nothing increased my supply. On a REALLY good day, I might be able to pump 3 ounces (total, not per side). I know babies are more efficient but not enough for him to be able to get 6 - 8 ounces.

He was a preemie so I started out being able to pump only because he was too small and weak to breastfeed. He was just barely clinging to the 3% in height and weight for the entire 8 months I nursed him. As soon as I switched him to formula, he shot up to the 50% and stayed there.

Truthfully, I really did not enjoy breastfeeding and, if I did not know how healthy it was for my son, I would have given it up right away. I don't know if that is because I had to do so much pumping while he was in the NICU instead of nursing and because my supply was so bad (he would sometimes cry and cry because he wanted to nurse and there was nothing there for him) or if I would have felt that way no matter what.

I am jealous of women who loved nursing and want to nurse the full year or longer. My personal opinion is that you have to do what is right for you and your little one and that no one should judge another mother for her choice. You never know all the details of her decision so you have to respect her right to do what she feels is best.

Sarah - posted on 09/24/2010

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I had the same issues that you had. I was planned on weaning him at 12 months to. But I started to get second thought because he would never take a bottle and didn't want anything to do with the sippy. I continued to give him a sippy everyday and around 13 months he weaned himself. As soon as he realized he could get so much more out of a sippy he didn't want anything to do with his mommy. :( It was sad but relieving at the same time.

Verity - posted on 09/23/2010

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I let my first son wean himself and continued on until 17 months. He didn't like formula or cow's milk and as I decided not to return to work, it wasn't a big deal. We stopped because he was only having a small amount in the morning and hardly anything at night. He didn't miss it and I tried to increase his calcium level with yoghurts, cheese etc. I am hoping to breastfeed my 2nd son until he is 12 months old, and then look at weaning. But again, will depend on whether he takes to cow's milk or formula. I enjoyed breastfeeding both sons and it certainly is convenient and free. The downside is that it is difficult to go away by yourself for a few days/hours at a time, unless you express. I didn't find the expressing thing all that enjoyable and it was time consuming for me. People are a bit judgmental about breastfeeding >12 months. Probably because it's not a common practice in Western countries. But in many others, mothers are feeding their children until they are 2-3 and it's socially acceptable and highly recommended. I found some people were supportive, some are amazed and others raised their eyebrows. A friend of mine stopped telling people she was breastfeeding her daughter for exactly that reason. She went back to work and managed to feed her in the morning before work and once she got home. She breastfed her daughter until she was almost 22 months old. Do whatever you and your child are comfortable with.

Angela - posted on 09/23/2010

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I wanted to BF until my son was 2 years, then thought that he would hopefully start to wean himself. He is now 2 1/2 and has no intention of weaning himself , so if anyone has any suggestions? He has a feed around before having his afternoon sleep and then before bed.

Kelsi - posted on 09/23/2010

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my daughter self weaned at 6 months which was good for her and i as i am a solo mum.

[deleted account]

I was planning on BF'ing my son to at least 1 year, as long as he would have it. Turns out he weaned himself at only 10 months!! But my son has done that with everything so far. For instance, he slept in our bed with us from the time he was born (we tried a bassinet and one of those co-sleepers that go on the bed...which only lasted 3 days lol...he just wanted to sleep next to me and to nurse, and I loved it!) Anyways, around 6 months of age he didn't want to sleep with us anymore b/c he didn't have the room to roll around like he wanted. And he is now 16 months old and we still let him have a bottle of warm milk at nap time and bed time, other then that he takes a hard nipple sippy. My husband is really supportive of BF'ing over 1 year, because it is what breasts are intended for and it's the best food specially/antibiotics/probiotics etc made for each baby. I am supportive of it as long as the babies are not nursing more then eating solid foods over 1 year for all development and eating skills that they are learning at that age. I really don't like it when people "force" babies to stop the bottle etc before 1 year old, but I also understand that everyone does things differently and it works for each individual family :) I think it's such a wonderful thing to be able to BF, and I was sad when my little guys was done, I wasn't ready to stop nursing him, but I always had a hard time keeping up my supply for his demand (he's a pretty big boy, not fat just big, and always ate a lot). I still wish I could BF him sometimes because of all the benefits he got from BF'ing.

Melissa - posted on 09/23/2010

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The plan for me has been to let my child guide the weaning, however there seems to be no end in sight! He is almost 2.5 years old, and I get remarks from my MIL (used to get a lot more but now she realizes that it's up to me and my son, not her). My husband is on board for weaning sooner rather than later but I always feel like there is an underlying reason my son really wants to BF. Such as, what if he doesn't feel well?
I just found out I'm pregnant with my 2nd so I am hoping my son will self wean as my milk changes, but I've read a lot that some kids don't mind the change in taste. So we will take one day at a time, with no need to stop tomorrow, nor next week, nor any certain time. Perhaps before kindergarten though. I don't like him tugging on my shirt saying "I (want) Mommy's Milk!"

Sarah - posted on 09/23/2010

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I'm in the same boat! My DD is 13.5 mths and I always thought I would wean her at 12 mths. My husband wanted me to earlier but that is simply because he is a bit ignorant on the facts and the issues. I only nurse her at night and in the am and even that is starting to get less and less. We are going away to Mexico at the end of Oct, so I really would like to keep BF until we get back since it's my sleep crutch! Once we get back though, I think I'll be ready but nervous about the BF to Sleep association!

Heather - posted on 09/23/2010

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Oh may I add I didn't ask my husband...I gave him all sorts of literature to read that supported my decision and said that's we are doing..he never said anything out loud to me and supported me..later he addmitted that he was sure happy when we were done! So I know he's ready for us to be done this time too!lol but our daughter is the most important thing right now and she's not just ready yet. Again good luck!

Heather - posted on 09/23/2010

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Hi Briana,
With my first we struggled for months to learn to latch correctly,I just couldn't give up my dream of brestfeeding my son. Finally it worked and I thought then 12months we'd stop then that came around and he wasn't ready so I thought okay just a while longer then at 15mos. he just stopped on night and was done..I didn't have to do a thing he was just done! So easy!!! I am currently bfing my daughter who is 14 1/2 mos old we only nurse at night before bed he choice, she's so busy in the day she doesn't ask for it. I think it won't be long till she's done also....I think the key for me is to not offer the breast but let them ask you or signal in some why. You know when they are little you offer it every few hours and the take to it right, well when they become 1yr. they are old enough to know what they do need but you will need to listen for ques and signals or even teach the sign for "milk" so they can ask...then they have control and have the ability to control when they need to stop and you don't have go through weaning.... Some children need that "mommy time" more than others and may take longer to self wean...I just feel like if they have control when they want milk then they will have more control of when to stop..I like self weaning! Good Luck! Hope this makes sense.

Janelle - posted on 09/23/2010

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my stinkina is going to b 1 yr on sat she has 8 teeth and i have flipped back n forth. ultimately i think i will let her decide

Crystal - posted on 09/23/2010

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I am going to let Julia wean whenever she is ready to wean. She turns 12 months next week and I have no intention of stopping until she pushes me away and makes it clear that she no longer is interested. I need to give her solids in addition to whatever milk I make since it doesn't seem to be enough calories alone anymore. But I am still BFing at least 4-5 times a day. I live in a very liberal part of the country and they judge you for not BFing long enough. So, I have the opposite pressure to continue BFing as long as up to 3 years old if she want s to.

Joyce - posted on 09/23/2010

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Briana, I am just at the same point as you except. don't know my BH's opinion. I enjoy BFing and thought of giving it up at 12months but Na! Not anymore will take it oof him b4 he is 2years

[deleted account]

I weaned my son at 7 months, he had bottles before, I produced way to much at the begining, and froze alot of milk so when his feedings went up I used a bottle because my milk took a few days to catch up. He is now on bottles and sippy cups he is 9 months old with two and half teeth, he's had his two teeth since 6 and a half months and was biting so much
and causing me so much pain that my flow pretty much stopped I how ever am taking medicine from the doctor to help with my flow, because I want my son to have breast milk still, so I pump milk daily for him, I still plan on giving him breast milk along with the solid foods he eats, he will have breast milk until he is 18 months or more, denpends on how things go! :)

Malina - posted on 09/23/2010

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i tried to wean my son at 6 months. it didn't work, so i'm gonna let him choose. right now he's 8 months. he has 6 teeth and it hurts like hell when he bites, but i'll push through the pain and continue breastfeeding

Momof1 - posted on 09/23/2010

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Oh, and my husband kind of thinks I should stop at 1 year. I think it is his family that thinks it is weird that I am still breastfeeding now. But that doesn't matter to me.

Momof1 - posted on 09/23/2010

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I'm actually not too sure yet. I was going to stop at 12 months, but now I want to continue. It all depends if I start going back to work full time or not. (My son is 10 months now.) I know that I at least want to continue morning and bed time feedings for awhile, probably up to 2 years, but during the day, I'm not sure. If I am home with home, I will probably breastfeed, but if he is at daycare or with daddy, while I work, I probably let them give him whole milk.

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