Breastfeeding 11mths old.. how & when to wean??

Rosa - posted on 03/19/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I breast feed my 11 months old baby. She dont know how to drink from anything else... she does eat solid food. HOW do I wean her? WHEN should I wean her? I mean when as in at what age should I start weaning? I was hoping to get her weaned by 13 months old.

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Allison - posted on 03/19/2010

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I just did child-led weaning, the "don't offer, don't refuse" technique - but didn't really start that til age 2 when he wasn't nursing a lot anymore, anyway. By about 2.5 he only nursed before bed, and then I asked him a few times if we could skip it, and one day he just said "OK" :) It was a very natural and pleasant growing experience for both of us, I would highly recommend that method :) To cut out daytime nursing, the "don't offer, don't refuse" meant I would just skip it unless he asked and really seemed to need it. To keep his mind off of it, we did other fun things at normal nursing times, like play outside or go visit a neighbor friend, and he would forget it was time to nurse. Also, after he was accustomed to no daytime nursing (after a couple months of that), I did put back in some extra "cuddle time" so he would still get that bonus time with mom.



If you wait til after 1 year to introduce drinking cow or goat milk or water from a cup, you can skip bottles/formula all together. That's what we did with our son, using both sippy cups and regular cups.



In case you are interested in the official recommendations, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends BF for at least 1 year, and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 2 years, and after that as long as mom and child want to. I know a lot of people wean earlier these days, but I REALLY appreciated being able to nurse my toddler when he was cranky, upset, in stressful or sad times, to get him to sleep when he was fighting it, and a lot of other times! I also work full-time, so I enjoyed having that down time with him at the end of the day. Also, weaning for us was a memorable and happy experience, while for friends/family it was sad and stressful - so if it works for you, I highly recommend child-led weaning!

Katie - posted on 03/22/2010

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The Dr. Brown sippy cups are nice, that's what I used for my son than moved on to other kinds of sippy cups once he mastered that one, since they like a variety to choose from.

Suzi - posted on 03/21/2010

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I LOVE this conversation! My little girl is 8 months and there are already people asking me when I will wean her. My sisters daughters all self weaned at 17/18 months and I was hoping for a similar experience. I would be quite happy to go on longer and since K never nurses in public anyway (she's too nosy!) it's not a problem for me to continue.
I could never get her to take a bottle (my milk) EVER, and she struggled to use sippy cups until my sister in law gave me one with a silicone spout that they just have to bite and water comes out so they learn to suck that way. I think those are the best ones to start with till they get the hang of it. "Nuby" do them, some with handles some without.

Anna - posted on 03/21/2010

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It's really a personal decision for you. Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift to your child but only you can know how long you can keep giving it. There is nothing at all wrong with nursing her beyond the first year if you are happy doing it. My son is almost 16 months and still breastfeeding about 6 times a day. I hope to let him wean himself when he's ready, even if it takes a long time. It is just such a good way to comfort him when he's hurt or tired or unwell - I wouldn't want to give it up too soon. Also, when he goes through a bad time of teething, he won't eat anything solid so I'm glad I can give him milk instead.
I think slowly and gently would be the way to go, if you decide you want to wean her. She will probably be able to drink from a cup soon. You can offer her more food and water so she will be less hungry for milk.

Katie - posted on 03/20/2010

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Well weaning is a process, usually you try n' wean within a month or two otherwise it gets confusing to the child. If she hasn't started using a sippy cup by now you need to start working on that first with her. Than after she has master a sippy cup than you can work on weaning. What I find to work out nicer is to offer them plenty of milk in their sippy cups daily and juice on the side. Start out small, first cut out the snacking nurse times, than work on removing breakfast, than naptime, and finally bedtime. You gradually do it step til eventually your not nursing anymore. My son is 18 months and I went as long as I could for him to decide when he wanted to wean but than I became pregnant with our second child now and have my son down to bedtime feeding only which is once before bed, which in no time he will be completely weaned. So take it easy you and your daughter will know when its a good time to wean.

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Rosa - posted on 03/21/2010

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Wonderful! I didn't think to ask what kind of sippy cup I should give to my breastfed baby. Thank you for the helpful info. :-D

Rosa - posted on 03/21/2010

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Wow thank you all for your replies. They were all helpful. I have to agree that child-led weaning is best and that offering cup first before weaning off completely is appropriate. My baby who I'm breastfeeding is my first and last. All the other 4 kids I have I breastfed them less than 2 months. I wasn't ready which I wish I was because I realize how sweet & precious it is to breastfeed. I suggest breastfeeding and do not feed with formula!!

Jen - posted on 03/21/2010

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i agree with what everyone has said. start with introducing a cup and then see how that goes. its best to wean when you and the child feel it should be done, not by a schedule.

i nursed my daughter till she 27 months, through my entire pregnancy with my son and then nursed them both till he was 8 months. she was mostly just night nursing at this point and would want to nurse before bed and she knew her turn was after her brother fell asleep, but she would fall asleep before so weaning was really easy. she just started to go to sleep on her own. my son is now 15 months old and i am 5 months pregnant and he really has no interest in nursing much anymore. he will prob wean himself in the next month or so.

i feel child led weaning is the best way to go.

Allison - posted on 03/19/2010

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I love the book "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" by Norma Jane Bumgarner. She talks about how nursing is different for toddlers than it was as an infant, how to set boundaries/limits so both mom and child are happy and confident in their nursing relationship, and how to go about weaning gently, with love.

Allison and I are in total agreement, so I'm not going to repeat what she said on the benefits of nursing a toddler. My son is still nursing at 3 and I'm also nursing a 10 month old. The 3 year old nurses for about a minute 3-5 times a day, though I find he's forgetting sometimes now. I also think child-led weaning is the way to go.

Allison - posted on 03/19/2010

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Sure thing! Glad that was helpful. I didn't have a plan going in about when to wean, but everyone kept asking me when I would, for sure! That's why I looked up all those official recommendations, so I could tell them it was totally OK to nurse longer :) For most kids the "self weaning" doesn't happen until age 2-4. I know lots of people who did it sooner, like between 6 months and 2 years old, but it did usually involved some tears and a little separation anxiety for 1-2 weeks, so I decided against that. Besides, my son and I both enjoyed nursing, and it was helpful, so I thought, why stop? Even at age 2 or 3, I know some kids still aren't ready - my aunt's sons still had a tough time weaning at 24 months because she tried to do it in a week. It seems to go much more smoothly with some very gradual encouragement :) Good luck!

Rosa - posted on 03/19/2010

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Wow I didn't plan to go on after one year. I might have to if it is the only way to have a smooth weaning. Thank you for your suggestions. Appreciate it.

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