Baby/toddler led weaning?

Cara - posted on 12/29/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My baby is now 1yo and I plan to continue b/fing for as long as she wants it, coz we both love it! I just wondered of those of you who allowed your baby to wean themselves, how old was baby at the last feed?

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Danielle - posted on 01/06/2010

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I'm still nursing my 3 year old and yes, to answer the question posed above- he does nurse mostly at certain times of the day. Usually he nurses to sleep and when he first wakes up and that's it :D Unless of course he falls down and bumps his head or something- then he wants his "boobie" for comfort.

[deleted account]

I just wanted to say that the term "baby-led weaning" doesn't refer to letting a baby decided when to give up the breast. It's actually an approach to starting solids. Here's a link if you want to know more...



http://www.baby-led.com/



On another note, I've read on a few separate occasions that most babies self wean between 2 and 4 years. But the world average is somewhere between 2 and 8 years. This is just what I read. So if anyone wants to correct me, feel free.

Talia - posted on 01/06/2010

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my mom did this with us 4 girls--I weaned at 5 (tho I wasn't even nursing every day or every 2nd day at that point), the next two at around 4, and the last at 3 yrs old. I'm doing the same with my lil' girl! (she's now almost 2)

Ashley - posted on 01/02/2010

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My twins have nursed on demand from day one. They still nurse several times throughout the day and night. I wouldn't know what to think if they weaned themselves to just once or twice a day. I know it will happen eventually, but I am amazed when other moms say their toddler just nurses at bedtime and in the morning. It's a good thing that I decided to and am comfortable nursing my kiddos so long as I don't think they would be very happy with me if I just told them one day "no more boob for you" =)

Angela - posted on 01/01/2010

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My son is almost 17 months and only nurses at night now. I'm 5 weeks pregnant and haven't decided if I'm going to tandum nurse. So this may be a situation I need to worry about soon too...My son is too busy during the day to care, but is adamant about nursing at night...

Sherry - posted on 01/01/2010

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Ok, I weaned my children by 2yrs. My first was very angry and upset about it, I don't think he has gotten over it until this day, he is 9. My second took it very well and is very independent, the first to initiate socialization, 7yrs. My third, well she never wanted to stop, I believe she would nurse today if I let her, 5yrs. Now the twin boys as everyone else free to nurse when every, has no idea of etiquette, want to fight at night if I say "no I'm tired". I don't know how I am going to get out of this one, I'm out numbered. In fact HHHHEEEEELLLPPPPP!

Ashley - posted on 01/01/2010

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17 months and going strong. My 2 boys have showed no signs of slowing down or weaning anytime soon. I have no intentions of forcing and leading them in that direction either. I think that if a toddler is allowed to wean when they are ready they will be better adjusted in the long run.
Although, I think that moms have to do what they are comfortable with. I personally am comfortable nursing my boys for as long as they want too.
Good luck.

[deleted account]

Yeah, I've had the opposite in my experience.... ;)

My twins were nursed on a schedule from birth, in their own room at 3 months, and we weaned totally at 15 months. They experienced 'seperation anxiety' MAYBE a handful of times around 18 months and that's been it in 8 years.

I've co-slept (same room, if not same bed) w/ my son since birth, nursed totally on demand past a year, still 'mostly' nurse on demand at 21 months and he started massive seperation anxiety around 6 months and still hasn't stopped.... Nursing is still his #1 source of comfort about 80% of the time. :)

Kimrose - posted on 01/01/2010

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I just felt the need to say (Teresa), that while it's a good point and you certainly want to steer them towards other comfort sources, nursing is still what my son chose for every hurt, every sadness - and in my mind it's such a short window that you can do that for them - easily and instantly soothe them. And - just for informations sake - I had done my research and it shows that children allowed to nurse when/how long they choose/need and self wean - if anything - tend to be exceptionally independent and secure - rather than the alternative people might fear. I know personally our nursing has gone on MUCH longer than I ever thought - and my son undoubtedly - while very closely bonded to me - is the first to venture out to make friends, loves new experiences and is incredibly independent. He has also been sick much less and less frequently than any child we know. I know it's easy to make generalizations, but that really is our personal experience. My wish for everyone is that they at least do enough of their OWN research to realize HOW important breastfeeding is and to completely trust their gut re: weaning. If it doesn't feel right to you - chances are you'll regret your choice - even if it's what "so and so" thinks is best (including Grandparents and spouses.) There are very few completely great for your child things that you are in total control of and have the ability to offer - let the "ending" be your from-the-gut choice as well. Happy Nursing & invaluable bonding with your little ones! :)

[deleted account]

We are going strong at 21 months. I have set some limits and we are working on night weaning.... not going so well on that one usually. ;) Breasts are a great source of comfort for toddlers, but I don't believe they should be the ONLY source of comfort. IMO children (over 6-12 months) benefit a lot more by gently being guided to other sources of comfort rather than popping a boob in their mouths every time they make a peep. I suppose that wouldn't quite qualify as child led weaning though, but it's what is working for us.... :)

Arleesha - posted on 12/31/2009

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From personal experience, my son weaned himself from day time feedings at 16 months. By this time, he was too busy running thru the house, exploring the world to be concerned with trying to nurse. By about 18months, give or take a few weeks, he was weaned off of night time nursing. To this day, at 23 months, he is STILL attached to my breasts...he always wants to lay his head on my bosom. Breast feeding creates a bond that is irreplaceable. I say continue as long as your baby wants. I wish I continued because the moment we stopped, my baby has been having recurring ear infections! :-( Keep going as long as it works for you and your little one. Dont let outside pressures sway you to wean! Happy Breastfeeding!

Kimrose - posted on 12/30/2009

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Hi there - first, my support and applause for your choice and dedication to nursing. I'm on the "other end" right now, so just wanted to share. I felt much the same as you - breastfeeding was the only choice for me and would continue as long as possible - and hoped for eventual child-led weaning. I really couldn't even imagine weaning in any pushed-by-me way - it honestly seemed mean to me - like I'd be trying to take away the biggest source of comfort my son had - let alone the extra nourishment/benefits. That said, my son is four - no, I never thought out or planned on that long of a nursing experience - but that is the way it went - there were literally no signs of weaning on his end - though things changed as he grew/became more social, etc., he never waivered from the comfort and love of nursing. Just recently he let me know that the milk had stopped. Since then, we've talked about how that usually means that a boy or girl is "getting bigger" and doesn't really "need to" anymore. That said, he's smart enough to explain that he still likes to sometimes because it "relaxes me" or "calms me down." They truly have so much wisdom if our ears are open. Wishing you whatever length nursing time you and your little one are meant to have.

Cara - posted on 12/30/2009

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I like the idea of nursing manners, I hadn't thought of that! Many thanks :-)

Chelseaszidik - posted on 12/30/2009

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There are different ways that mothers and children choose to go about the act of nursing. It is recommended that babies are allowed to feed on demand but for some families that just doesn't work and some babies do eat on a schedule. That is not to say that the length of the feed is monitored because that can have grave health consequences but rather that the baby is allowed to eat within a relexible time frame. This is thrown out the window during times of stress, hurt, sickness, teething etc. As these babies get older they tend to keep a schedule.

On the other side you have the babies who have always feed on demand. A lot of times these babies grow into toddlers and children who still feed on demand. Sometimes though mothers and babies who have fed on demand all along get into a routine of sorts and the child is feeding at certain times.

Regradless of how your infant was fed your toddler needs to learn nursing manners and mothers can set guidelines for when a toddler can nurse. As children get older (above age 2) many mothers choose to nurse only at home or at home and at grandmas. Some choose to only nurse at bed times (get the picture). No matter what the "rules" are it is usually best to have guidlines such as my shirt has to stay down or no jumping around etc. These guidelines keep you comfortable in the relationship as well as pain free and they teach children to be respectful and kind.

It is all about what works for you and your child. If what you and your child are doing is right it will feel right to you both. If keeping your toddler on a breastfeeding schedule is a struggle than it most likely isn't something that is working for you and your toddler.

Sarah - posted on 12/30/2009

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When you let your baby self-wean, do the nursings usually get to where it's just at certain times of the day (like before bed), or when baby needs soothing?

Minnie - posted on 12/29/2009

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I weaned my first at 12 months. I am allowing my second to self-wean, so we are not there- no personal experience.



I just wanted to mention an interesting bit I read in LLLI's Mothering your Nursing Toddler- that when children are mothered at the breast day and night and allowed to satisfy their comfort needs at the breast and weaning isn't pushed at all by mother- most children tend to wean somewhere between 3-5 years. When children wean younger than three it tends to have been mother unwittingly pushing the weaning.

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