Is this normal toddler BFing behavior?

A - posted on 02/27/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My son is 21 months old and I'm letting him self-wean from the breast. I let him nurse whenever he wants. I rarely have to offer because he almost always tells me when he needs to. He is also growing a big vocabulary and can also use words to tell me when he wants to eat and is hungry, and what he wants to eat, like cheerios or milk (cows milk), etc.

What I'm concerned about is lately during the day, he still nurses but it seems to only be for comfort only- as my milk usually does not let down. However, if he goes down for a nap, or nurses at/through the night, my milk DOES let down. I am also pregnant which brings in my concern because I can't tell if he's not getting milk during most of the day because my supply has gone down, or just because he's self weaning during the day and eating more solids, and therefore only nursing for comfort and intentionally not letting my milk down during the day.

I'm just having a hard time understanding if this is normal for his age or if its pregnancy related. If I weren't pregnant I wouldn't think twice about it. ANd since he is getting milk at night it makes me just think its because he's self weaning but I'm not sure.

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My daughter doesn't nurse very frequently, but I have lost my letdown reflex (or at least I don't feel it anymore). I just listen for swallowing to see if she's getting any milk and it sounds like she is. I can still squeeze milk out too, but only immediately after nursing. I'm 20 weeks tomorrow and I know my supply has dipped, but we're just seeing where it goes. Babies/toddlers do know how to comfort nurse so that they don't get much milk, but get that comforting suck. When they're hungry they know how to make the milk come :). I don't think it's unusual at all.

Sandie - posted on 02/27/2011

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hiya my son is the same age as yours, he's quite similar also. he tends to comfort nurse a lot, somtimes it seems like he's doing it for fun too lol, and then when hes sleepy or really relaxed he will have a good nurse and i can hear him swallowing (its the only way i know hes getting milk, i never felt the "let down") i think they know how hard they need to suck to get milk and sometimes they just want maybe the equivilent of our sip of water or something, then just want to stay attached for cuddles :)
i wouldnt worry, as long as he doesnt seem to be getting annoyed or frustrated when theres no milk im sure hes just doing what he wants, all sounds ok to me :)

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Amanda - posted on 02/27/2011

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Congrats on your pregnancy! I just went through the same thing. My son will be 3 in May and I had my 3rd child in December. My son really upped the number of times he nursed throughout the day when I got pregnant and yes generally it was all comfort nursing. At night he would still make me let down and that usually put him to sleep or back to sleep! My supply was almost nothing when I was just 6-8 weeks pregnant so I understand your concern for not getting enough, but he is almost 2 so he can eat more solids during the day. I thought my son would wean during the pregnancy because my daughter did. She was so frustrated with the lack of milk that she nursing became very irritating for her. I think the lack of let down during the day just goes hand in hand with the pregnancy as well as his age. I went with the idea of letting him nurse whenever he asked while I was pregnant and didn't offer like I had been doing. (It was painful to nurse while pregnant for me). Good luck and I hope you have the joy of tandem nursing after you baby arrives. There is something about having your toddler rub the newborns head while everyone is comfy in mommy's lap! Get some rest and enjoy!

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