How do I begin the weaning process?

Chelese - posted on 11/02/2011 ( 51 moms have responded )

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Hi I just joined circle of moms and It really seems like a great place to meet new moms and get a lot of useful information. I am a mom of 2 boys my oldest is 8 years old. My youngest Caleb is 11 months and 2 weeks and I just decide to start the weaning process again. I started 2 months ago but I had to stop because he got an infection and had to get on amoxicillin and no longer wanted food. So here I go starting from scratch again.

What I really need to know is that if he breast feeds every 3-4 hours when I start to take a feeding away how long should I do that for? I was thinking maybe a week. Some people say 2-3 days but that does not seem like it's enough time to slow the supply down. I want this to be a gradual process so I do not become engorged. My supply is not as much as it use to be because he does not feed as long and as much as he use to.

My next question is do i cut back every other feeding so my breasts do not become really engorged? I was told that's best and when there are no more to do every other feeding and it gets down to being back to back my body will know.

And I guess my last question for now is if my breasts get really full should I just express enough to get the fullness relieved? I was told to just do it for a few minutes just to release the tension because the longer I do it the more milk I will make.

I appreciate any feedback I can get. :-) I think the best help I can get is from moms that have went through this and have the knowledge and experience. It's so difficult to get a clear understanding on the step by step guide on the internet.

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Celeste - posted on 11/03/2011

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Because EBM isn't really the majority of their nutrition anymore like it was before they were 1. Your supply adjusts to the needs of your toddler. Many mothers stop pumping at 1 and just nurse when they're together.

It doesn't slow down, but it will adjust. As your child gets older, their nursing slows down. I nursed my twin boys into toddlerhood and by that time, they were only nursing once or twice a day.

Celeste - posted on 11/03/2011

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I don't think you're "wrong" but it's OK to continue to nurse past 1. IMO, it's easier to nurse a toddler than a baby because you're not their sole source of nutrition. There's no wrong way to nurse a toddler-you can still nurse him on demand or, you can start putting limits. Plus, there's always nutrition and benefits to continue nursing.

It's OK to wean at 1, but many mothers just aren't aware that it's OK to nurse beyond 1

Celeste - posted on 11/07/2011

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When does he turn 1? He's going to need breastmilk until he's 1. You will still have milk when he turns one. It takes MONTHS to dry up completely.

Honestly, I'm not really sure about which feedings to take away since I never actively weaned them at a young age. I think your plan probably sounds fine.

Celeste - posted on 11/03/2011

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Exactly, your breasts have adjusted to your son's needs. Not getting engorged and not leaking is exactly what you want!

That's the nice thing about nursing toddler, there's no right or wrong way to do it!

Here's some great information about nursing past 1.
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/eb...

Celeste - posted on 11/03/2011

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Milk supply adjusts to your baby's needs. It sounds like he's an efficient eater. One of my twin boys would nurse for about 5-7 minutes and then be done. After awhile, you stop leaking and stop feeling engorged, which is *GOOD*.

If you wean slowly, you shouldn't need to express or anything.

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Chelese - posted on 12/01/2011

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It's been a while since i've posted but i've started Caleb weening now every since his birthday which was November 23rd. I took the 8:30pm nursing time away and have been supplementing with solids. But my question is that if his nursing schedule is 8 am, 12 noon, 4:30 pm, 8:30 pm and midnight I want to take the next nursing time away at noon. That will make it where its not back to back right now. Since he's not nursing but maybe just a few minutes at night time and my milk from those times until around noon are really filling up should I worry about engorgment? I'm wondering if it gets to be really uncomfortable maybe I should just hand express for a few minutes on both sides. This will be approaching me in about 5 days because each ween time i'm spreading it out for 2 weeks. Any help will be very appreciated. :-)

Chelese - posted on 11/23/2011

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Day 1 of 14...tonight went very well. He had his milk at 4:30 then had 5 tablespoons of vegies/fruit at 8:30 pm at 9:45 he was knocked out in his room on a big body pillow. He woke up at 10:45 to have his next milk feeding and now he is zonked out sleep again. This has been a long day I think i'll go crash myself.

Ellen - posted on 11/23/2011

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Well good luck! It's so hard, I mean I haven't stopped yet, but it's doable. Haha you will be fine. :)

Chelese - posted on 11/23/2011

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Well my son Caleb turned 1 year old today! So I will begin the weening pricess. His first one will be his 8 or 9 pm feeding. I wll replace that with gerber. I have no clue on how much I should give him. I am thinking a mixture of vegies and fruit? Maybe the amount of half a jar. I guess I can let him take the lead and when he looks like he's had enough I will stop. I don't think i want to stuff him where he sleeps through the night. Maybe I could give him just a few sips of milk before he goes to sleep. But who knows once I lay him down he may just fall out and not wake up until 3 am. I don't think I should leak if I do i'll just run and express enough to take the engorment and discomfort away. Please wish me luck i'm going to need it!

Ellen - posted on 11/16/2011

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By all means, breastfeed as long as you'd like. It's great for you and your child. I wanted to quit at one year and, for me, I wish I started weaning at about 9months simply to get her used to it and ready to eat solids. My daughter is 22 months and I vow to quit by 2 years old! Haha I don't have a huge problem with it, especially cause it is only at night at bedtime and in the morning when she wakes up. I just think it can be a hassle after doing it so long. I'm not really ashamed but it's a little embarrassing when I'm 23 and a lot of people my age don't breastfeed at all an Fynlee is almost 2 and still doing it! I need help weaning. So do what you need to but with my next child, I'm going to start early because I'm not good at the weaning. Good luck! :)

Chelese - posted on 11/14/2011

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It's going to be interesting to see how long Caleb will want to hold on to the morning, before bed and in the night feedings. Most of the time since my husband works nights I'll just let him lay next to me and nurse cause he's getting so long in length and alot of the time we both will fall asleep and when i wake up an hour later I'll put him in his crib. He doesn't seem to care where he sleeps as long as he has his milk. It can be the bed or the crib. Although I have to say I think it's comforting for both of us to be in the bed because of the bond. I know I must be nuts but I just get so exhausted. My oldest Kaden would not go in his crib at all. Boy was that a challenge but I know every child is different. Like Julie I'm not sure when either one of us will be ready to completely stop.

Julie - posted on 11/14/2011

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I'm taking my time to wean. I've cut down slowly and I'm down to twice a day. I figure by eighteen months we'll stop. With my first I weaned quickly over two weeks but I wanted to get pregnant. This time is my last and neither of us are quite ready!

Shruti - posted on 11/14/2011

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My daughter's 19 months old. She was exclusively bf for 6 mths - that's when I started solids as well coz I went back to work full time.i stil nurse her before her bedtime and sometimes during the night as well. On weekends and holidays she feeds whenever she wants sometimes as many as 6 times in a day. My body seems to be producing enough milk durin these days - AND on working days I don't leak or feel engorged. She does not show any signs of weaning yet inspire of basically nursing only once on weekdays so I'm just planning to continue till she wants

Aimee - posted on 11/14/2011

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For me I just dropped the during the day feedings. So I feed him in the morning and at night and after a little bit I dropped the morning feeds and then finally ended the night feeding. I did not have a problem with the engorgement .... goodluck! i breast feed both children fo a full year :)

Celeste - posted on 11/14/2011

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Chelese, I promise I'm not trying to push you and it's totally find to wean at a year, but I wanted to address a few concerns.



It's totally fine to place limits. For example, in your case, you could keep the feedings during the times you're free and then give cow's milk when you're not. Nursing a toddler is a lot easier than nursing an infant! Some moms still nurse on demand, and other moms nurse at certain times of the day.



Either way, you've done fantastic nursing for a year :)

Chelese - posted on 11/13/2011

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I think if I could get away with letting him do it until that age I would. But sometimes work makes it impossible. When he has his first feed in the morning around 7:30 or so he will go back to sleep and then get back up a little before noon. I guess I just give him milk because I figure going on five hours that its time. I think maybe tomorrow i'm going to feed on demand and see what his schedule calls for. It's kinda difficult though doing customer service and trying to stop in the middle of helping a customer to do it. Soon I'll be able to give regular cows milk though if that happens.

Karla - posted on 11/13/2011

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my opininion is that if he is still nursing every 3 to 4 hours, he is nowhere near being ready to wean. I allowed my lo to lead the weaning and one day @ 2 1/2 she stopped asking, which when I had researched it that is when they say is average because it is something like when they are 5 times their birth size that they will naturally stop on their own. Not that I am saying you have to nurse that long, but the APA does suggest at least 1 full year and the WHO says at least two years.

That said, somewhere around 1 year we cut out any nursing times that were not associated with sleeping which meant once first in the morning before breakfast (breast milk is better for them than any food you can give them, and has the appropriate calories) and then you keep intentionally busy until the first naptime and use distraction, make sure you give in before it becomes a battle, then waiting again until the second nap time and then waiting again until bedtime. You have to make sure though that they do not see your breasts (including low cut shirts) until they are used to the new schedule because all it will do is frustrate them because they know you are denying them their favorite snack :)....after a few weeks if you want to you can begin to remove the other nursing times one at a time with a few weeks between each.

Chelese - posted on 11/08/2011

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Whats crazy? To nurse past the age of 1? Or being able to squeeze drops out every now and then even when you don't have any more milk? Wow I thought it was just me or maybe I was just going nuts but after I finished breast feeding Kaden my oldest son I swear many MANY months after I stopped cold turkey I would be curious. So I would take my finger and be like "Hmmm I wonder if there still is something there to come out?" And sure enough when I did it out came something. LOL I don't know if it was milk or what. It's hard to remember 8 years back but it may have even been a year afterwards. I have read about a lot of women who breast feed their babies until they are 2 years old. In fact I have done so much research that the pediatric dr's say it is recommend to do it until 11/2 or so? I don't remember and certainly don't want to go digging for it now. But it defiantly doesn't hurt. And if it means babies being less susceptible to getting sick and having those god awful ear infections and building up the immune system even more then I say do it as long as you can. My reasons I think are related to work. I need the freedom to work late nights and not have to worry about stopping what i'm doing to breast feed. It's good to have the option to either give cows milk or breast feed. I defiantly think there are much more pros than con's. And when it comes to my little one I'm defiantly all for whatever works best. Even if that means choosing him over my work.

Celeste - posted on 11/08/2011

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Shauna, sometimes the reason why we ask is because many times, mothers are unaware that it's OK to continue to nurse. If it's your choice, that's totally OK. Just want to make sure that moms are informed.

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Just to let you know.... it can take a REALLY long time to dry up completely. I don't have milk anymore and my son's last time nursing was July 1, but I can still instantly get a drop out when I squeeze it. ;)

Celeste - posted on 11/07/2011

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Chelese, the lack of leaking doesn't mean you're producing less. It just means that you've regulated which is what you want!

As far as the sippy cup, I'd try again and just keep at it. It took a little bit for my boys to get the hang of it. But, they eventually got the hang of it.

Chelese - posted on 11/07/2011

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I"m not sure if I asked this question but if I did I apologize. When I start to wean is it okay to take the back to back feedings away? Or should I do every other feeding. I was thinking about giving his early morning milk at 5 then again at 8 then his 12pm milk feeding I would take that one away and give food then give him milk around 5 or so then at 9 give dinner and replace that with food then for his comfort and falling asleep give him some milk around 11 or 12. Although after he has dinner he may just wanna go to sleep an hour after that. Sooner or later since he's only having a few feedings now as it is i'm going to have to cut the one that's before or after his table food. I know it shouldn't be a problem anyway since my milk supply is going to slow down and almost stop when he's one. It's just creeping up really soon and don't like asking stuff at the last minute.

Talieeya - posted on 11/07/2011

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When my son turned 1 I started the weaning process and I did it very slowly. I would substitute one feeding during the day, usually in the morning with baby food/cereals and I did that for maybe a couple of weeks so my breast and my baby can get use to it. all the other feedings during the day and night remained the same. Plus its good to distract them away from your breast after that one feeding. Give them a toy to put in their mouth instead of a boob. :) . Once the baby/breast got use to that one feeding being gone , then I did it with the next feedings until he was completely weaned, which was at 14 months. I think the most important thing is to start slow. It can be a emotional strain on your baby and body. Good luck !!!

Chelese - posted on 11/07/2011

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Thats exactly how I was doing it before he got sick. I took a feeding away and did it that way for 2 weeks. Then I moved to the night time feeding. But now I'm starting over. I didn't get really really engorged there was a little discomfort but if it got to bad I just did barely enough expressing to release the tension. Now since I dont have a job outside of the house I know at least a week and a half should do. I'm not as worried as I was in the beginning because of all of the feedback has been so helpful. :)

Chelese - posted on 11/07/2011

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That sounds like a good idea also. I think I would just hand express for five mins on each side. Getting that madela going and getting them simulated and then the start of the let down seems like too much just for five mins. And with the hand express it just comes right on out. I think i'm starting to produce less because when I have those large gaps I don't leak. It's amazing when I think about his feedings being about 4 to 5 hours spread apart and not become really engorged. I guess the body really does know that it's been a year and time to slow down now.

Ana - posted on 11/07/2011

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I weaned one feeding a week starting with the middle of the day feed. On Monday (day1), I pumped for 5 minutes, then for 3 minutes on Tuesday and then as needed like for a couple minutes to get rid of the fullness around the middle of the day. By Friday though, I still felt full but didn't have to pump. Then on the following Monday, I would eliminate another feeding and so forth with the last one being the one before bed time. Thi method worked well for both my kids. I was lucky that they were sleeping through the night so only had to worry about the day time feeds. I am sure you will figure out what works for you once you start. Good luck!

Chelese - posted on 11/06/2011

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I tried him on a sippy cup like 3 months ago and he really didn't like it too much. I"m going to try it again. I believe it's the gerber brand that is the spill proof and he actually has to suck it to get the juice or milk to flow out. Any ideas on how to help him do that? Maybe put some flavor of the juice on the mouth part to get him to sucking. I think it was kinda hard for him to do but maybe since he's older now it wont be that frustrating for him.

Sarah - posted on 11/06/2011

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My suggestion is to start solids and let a meal at a time replace breastfeeding. Also, you don't have to go to a bottle at all. My son went straight to a sippy cup. One less thing to wean him from. By the way, you can start milk now and that can replace a breastfeeding as well. Weaning for us was a very long, natural process. The last feedings to go were nighttime, and then finally morning. I agree with an earlier post, you do not have to pump after a year. Your body definately adjusts. I pumped for the first year, then didn't pump or nurse during the day (I was working) after that. However, I continued to nurse until my son was 21 months. It was wonderful for both of us. Try not to stress about it or plan too much. One natural way to wean is "don't offer, don't refuse". Stop offering the breast, but if he asks to nurse, don't refuse. Good luck.

Chelese - posted on 11/05/2011

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Oh goodness something too funny just happened about an hour ago. Here I am talking about how I want to wean caleb and it's true that the older babies get and transition into toddlers their personality changes with that. So whatever method that is when you are laying next to your baby on the bed and you have him next to you laying down giving him milk was the way we started out. And just when I thought I had seen every way to feed him he comes up with a new way. He rolls over on his tummy and pushes up with his arms and just as i'm about to put his milk away he looks at me smiles and takes his mouth and latches on again push up style LOL! I never laughed so hard in my life. I looked at him and said "baby I don't even hardly think this is going to work! How are you going to get milk out this way?" He kept sucking and sucking and I bet he thought "HUH I'll show you just how i'm going to get my milkies out mommy!"

Chelese - posted on 11/05/2011

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That's how i'm going to do it just drop it completely and wait a week or 2 before moving to the next one. I wish i could say he liked pacifiers. He likes sucking his thumb more. I know the night time feedings will be toughest to drop he is very clingy to those. So that will be very interesting. But I learned a secret to help him get to sleep before midnight is just taking very VERY short naps in the day. I"m sure he hates it but it works really well. That way when that night time feeding is weaned he can have a bottle and just go back to sleep.

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Yeah, I just dropped the feed completely that they were the least interested in. The afternoon nursing wasn't putting them to sleep anymore, so that was the first to go. They had a bottle once or twice when I first dropped the morning nap nursing cuz they were pretty attached to that one. I would rock and nurse them and then put the pacifier in their mouth, so the transition was fairly simple.


You just have to figure out what works best for both of you. My girls liked breastfeeding, but were pretty attached to their pacifiers so the transition was easy. My son was SUPER attached to me, so the only way we could wean was by a 'force wean' due to court ordered visitation. He STILL asked almost every day for the first 6 weeks after coming home. Thankfully he was old enough to understand that I HAD no more milk. It was pretty hard on him though.

Chelese - posted on 11/05/2011

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Hi Teresa so you dropped them completely? Some are saying drop gradually and give less and less minutes. And others just say drop one feeding completely and dont drop the next feeding for another week or two. Any thoughts on that?

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I started weaning my schedule fed twins at 13 months. They were nursing before each nap (2), at bedtime, and once or twice during the night. I dropped the afternoon nap one first. Then the morning nap one. When I did that... they automatically started sleeping through the night. At 14 months they were only nursing at bedtime. We did that for about a month and then stopped completely.

My son was nursed on demand and wasn't even going over 4 hours (except on rare night time occasions) between feeds til a year and a half. At 2.75 years he went to his dad's for a week. Came home and started back up nursing again. Went to his dad's for 4 weeks at 3.25 and that was it. Before he left he was nursing anywhere from one to five times a day. Stopped cold turkey. I hand expressed a bit in the shower for the first 3-5ish days, but was totally fine otherwise. :)

Chelese - posted on 11/04/2011

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Thank you Melissa I will defiantly contact you. If I could wean him in 2 weeks as much as I may not like it I know it would be best. I am transitioning him still to 4 breast-feedings a day and the min or 2 here or there a night for comfort.

Melissa - posted on 11/04/2011

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I heard of women weaning over a week period. I did it over a two week period since I didn't work and I didn't want to be uncomfortable. Plus, weaning drastically can lead to major baby blues. This happened with me for my first child. I cried for two weeks but it was due to my milk drying up overnight after 3 months.

For my second child I started with one bottle a day during the day time and then moved on to two. After the first week I started night feeding only. Your body will make milk based on demand so I found going gradually did not lead to any discomfort or engorgement. Hope this helps! Feel free to message me directly if you have any other questions.

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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I'll try not to feel bad. I think I beat myself up quite a bit sometimes. It's like i'm my own worst critic. Who knows if I have baby number three I can take all this wonderful information you have shared with me and know what to do with him or her. I do hope I could have a little girl but I think i'm destined to have boys...

Celeste - posted on 11/03/2011

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Kellymom is a GREAT resource for breastfeeding information. It's all evidence based, and it's run by an IBCLC. That site is my go to for breastfeeding questions.

Don't feel so bad! I have 3 kids, and even though I nursed my first daughter til 17 months, I still learned quite a bit after my twins were born. And, I'm still learning!

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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Oh awesome I'm going to check that out. About up until like 3 months or so ago when i would breast feed him I always thought if he didnt empty them I would have to go and hand express them until they were pretty empty. Wow did I figure out how wrong I was doing that. Geez am I a rookie or what. You wouldn't think that having two kids. And trying to find info on the net is pretty hard to get a straight answer.

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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oh cool and I would not have to worry about my breasts getting over filled because he wont be having it that much. I guess thats why they are not engorged now and leaking like they use to. He would love his night times to stay on maybe first morning and last evenings feeding. I feel like i'm so new to all of this especially missing out on it with my first son.

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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Really? Wowie now thats a good thing to know! :-) Why don't I have to pump? Now i'm really curious. Does the production slow down drastically ?

Celeste - posted on 11/03/2011

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I understand. You have to do what you feel is right for your family.

Just FYI, you don't have to pump after 1!

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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Ya I know it's okay to do that but for many reasons I think it's best for both Caleb and I. Me, I will be able to focus on other things with him and moving onto solids and cows milk will allow his dad to play a larger role with him just in case I need to be freed up to work or do other things. Also because i'm going to put him in daycare I think around 1 1/2 or 2 years old and I don't want to worry about expressing milk. That really takes up A lot of time. My first son i weaned him cold turkey at 4 months and oh goodness that was a HUGE mistake. But cant go back and redo it all over just learn from my mistakes.

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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because he is going to be a year old on the 23rd of this month. Its time for the transition to begin and move to solids and reg milk. That's in my opinion. Anyone out there think i'm wrong?

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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Well that is the plan :-) to do it slowly because I really do not want to express. I'm hoping when I do start it eliminating 1 feeding a week should work. I think every 3 days is too fast. I'll even do it every week and a half if i can avoid expressing.

Chelese - posted on 11/03/2011

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Yeah I can imagine I would feel some sadness when Caleb is totally weaned. I know now that he isn't nursing for as long as he use to. It use to be like 12 mins per side. But now it's like anywhere from 6-7 per side. And he sleeps longer in the day usually wakes up anywhere between 10 and 11 am. And he's also not feeding every three hours. I'm basically doing it on demand so it can be every 41/2 hours. My milk supply is not producing as much. When you had your daughter breast feeding 3 x's a day did you leak at all? Did you ever need to express any? I was wondering if i'm not in pain or not having any heated breasts then I should not need to express because that would send a signal of not to produce any milk. And if they do become engorged which I doubt then I would just do barely enough to get the discomfort taken care of.

Brooke - posted on 11/03/2011

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I agree with the other poster, that you should wait until your son is one and then start the process. I just weaned my 15-month-old. She started the weaning process on her own, which I believe is so much easier. At the time when we started weaning, my daughter was nursing 3 times a day: upon wakeup in the morning, after her nap (she was down to one nap a day at 12 months--when she took 2 naps, she nursed after each nap), and then before bedtime. When she started to wean, she was eating solids well--three full meals a day plus two snacks. What I did, was chose a feeding that would be eliminated first, which for us was the feeding after her nap. For a few days before totally eliminating the feeding, I limited her time nursing. The first day just by a minute or two, then by the last days only allowing her to nurse for a minute or so. She had no problem with this, if she had I would have allowed her to keep nursing for a while longer. I was in no rush to wean, however she seemed to be nursing less and less on her own. I continued to nurse her in the am and pm as normal until her nap session was phased out. The next nursing session to go was the AM one, which I did the same way, allowed less time on the breast each day for a few days. Just a couple weeks ago I eliminated the pm feeding, this one was harder for her to let go of, and she still wants to, but I had no milk left and I was not experiencing any let down or fullness, so I didn't believe she was actually nursing any longer--just suckling for the comfort of it, so I just stopped altogether. Through this process I really didn't have any engorgement. After eliminating the nap time feed, I did have a little fullness, but it wasn't anything that was painful or too uncomfortable and it was alleviated by the bedtime feed. I am so sad to be done nursing, especially becuase she is my second and last, but I knew it was time and the time was right. Still sad though, and still miss it a couple of weeks later! Good luck!

Chelese - posted on 11/02/2011

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That's what I was thinking and since I work from home it wont be an issue. If he has a breast feeding schedule like 6am 9 am 12 pm and so on ever three hours do you think it would be best to do the ones that are in the mid day like every other feeding instead of weening back to back and keep the first morning and last night for breast feeding? It sees like starting off and taking a feeding off that are back to back would cause bad engorgement in the beginning.

Celeste - posted on 11/02/2011

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Breastfeeding really needs to continue to at least 1 years old. Since you only have one month, I'd wait until AFTER he turns 1. And, you CAN continue past 1 if you wish.

If you're still adamant about weaning, then I'd drop 1 feeding a week.

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