No more boobie??

Sara - posted on 02/22/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I find that the more I tried to plan or rather...the more I had my mind made up on before having my son - the more I have learned that sometimes you have to let go of what you think you know and let your baby lead the way. I used to say I would never nurse a child with teeth and didn't understand how any woman could...my son has five teeth - has for a while - and we're going strong with no problems at all! I said I would never nurse longer than 12 months but my son is now 13 months and I see nothing wrong with it. I planned to stop around 12 but when I first started to introduce whole millk my son got the runs. Under doctors advice we stopped the whole milk and gave only breast milk (besides his regular food) for a few weeks to "reset" his digestive system. When I was ready to introduce milk again everyone in my house got a really bad flu and my son was sick for over a week so I decided that the breast milk would be better for him. Once I started thinking about it I realized that the only pressure to stop at 12 months comes from society - and that certainly doesn't make it right. So guess I'm hoping my baby will tell me when it's time to get off the boob. I'm just wondering what everyone thinks about child lead weaning and what everyones plans are (not to say they'll actually be carried out LOL) about how and when they'll stop nursing.

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Nancy - posted on 02/23/2009

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The recommendations from WHO is at least 2 years.  The "12 month" thought comes from our bottle feeding society, because most of the time formula fed babies change from formula to cows milk at around 12 months.  12 months is also usually when peds recommend getting rid of bottles and changing to cups.  Since both of these things change at 12 months many people figure that breastfeeding moms should also switch at 12 months.  What they don't understand is that while formula is made only for babies 12 months and younger, breastmilk changes to be the perfect food for your child whether he/she is a newborn, older baby, toddler or even preschooler.  Breastmilk changes constantly to be the perfect food for your nursling for as long as he/she nurses.



Nursing should continue for as long and mother and baby both desire/allow it to continue.  Many children stop nursing for one reason or another prior to the 2 year mark and many mothers decide that they are done prior to that time also.   If both the child and mother want/are willing to continue, many children continue to nurse until they are 3, 4 even 5 years old and occasionally some are even older.  As long as the nursing relationship works for the mother and the nursling than it is fine to continue and when it is no longer fine for one or both then it may be time to wean.



Any woman who at least tries to nurse had given their baby a gift.  The longer she continues to nurse the longer she gives the gift of the perfect food created just for her baby.



I am a firm believer in child led weaning, but realize that it does not work for every baby/mommy pair. 



My expectations changed from planning to try to nurse for at least a year with each baby to nursing through two pregnancies, tandem nursing for more than 4 years and nursing for almost 8 years so far...  As the OP stated, expectations change along the way...

Allison - posted on 02/23/2009

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I completely believe in child-led weaning! My daughter nursed until she was 3 and I was 5 months pregnant - unfortunately, she wasn't ready to wean but I was experiencing a lot of pain when she nursed and had to make her stop. I wish I hadn't as she asked to nurse every day for over a year. My son is almost 2 and still nursing, even though I'm 6 months pregnant now. I plan on tandem nursing once the baby arrives and letting both my toddler and the baby decide when they are done.

There is just so much positive that happens with breastfeeding. I can say that many tantrums are soothed or prevented by a quick nursing session!

One of my favorite books is Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner - I've found it both helpful and inspirational. Nursing a toddler certainly comes with it challenges and frustrations, but the book always re-inspires me when I start to doubt what I'm doing.

Enjoy your time with you little one!

Itsamystery - posted on 02/22/2009

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I really believe in the value of baby led weaning although I'm struggling with it. After nearly 2 years of feeding I'm finding that I just want some personal space back. My toddler is unusual though in that he still feeds 8 + times a day, plus I'm now pregnant again and exhausted all the time so sometimes I wish he would get off me. If it was just a morning/evening thing I don't think I'd have any hesitation feeding for as long as he wants. And yeah, I was one of those people who thought 'if he's old enough to ask for it, it's time to stop!'. Funny how little we knew huh?

Chelsea - posted on 02/22/2009

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I think that you should wait until he is ready to stop or slow down.  One good judge is when he's getting all of his vitamins and nutrients from food.  If he can't handle milk you should introduce soy milk and try out different foods such as eggs, yogurt, cheese ect. so that you can see if he tolerates any milk products.  If he doesn't you need to buy foods that are similar such as soy cheese and yogurt.  When you're done figuring all of this out and you can guarantee that he will eat lots of fruits, veggies, protein, calcium, whole grains etc. then you should revisit the subject of weaning.  A lot of women wean their child for the daytime and continue to nurse them at night.  It is actually recommended that you nurse you child for two years.  Doing his raises your babies IQ and immunity.  

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Bethany - posted on 02/23/2009

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I think child-led weaning is great! The pressure to wean by 12 months (or six by some people) is ridiculous. AAP says at *least* a year of breastmilk, and WHO says at *least* two years of breastmilk! It's what's best for the baby.

My daughter is nearly 11 months old, and still exclusively breastfed. The older generation definitely gives me weird looks when it comes up, but I'm content with it. I think, though, that I may draw the line if she's still going strong at two-and-a-half years. That is just pushing the line for me. Or if she decides to lift up my shirt and unsnap my bra in public! lol.

Magda - posted on 02/23/2009

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I have a 6 month old and was hoping to nurse him until he is 1 year old.  After reading some of  the comments I'm starting to wonder why not let him decide when to wean. Who said it's supposed to be over at 1? I'm going back to work in 3 weeks so I'll be mostly pumping during the day. I think this might  make things a little more challenging, but I definitely want to keep going for as long as I can.

Sekayi - posted on 02/23/2009

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My duaghter is only 3mths and I was wondering the same thing. I read some good advise and i'm going to let her tell me when she's ready to stop. I'm going to worry about what society thinks

Sara - posted on 02/22/2009

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I was actually very surprised to hear most sugget or at least support breast feeding for at least two years. That's not something I've heard much. Thank you all so much for the kind words and support.

Nicki - posted on 02/22/2009

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yo must have read my mind. i had the same question. my son is only 6 months old now tho. orginally i was going to wean at 6 months but here we are at 6 months and i dont want to do it. i dont really want to start solids but i am going to at the end of the month. then i was think i would wean when he started to drink cow's milk but i am not sure. i dont know and was curious when every else did/ or was going to.

Shannon - posted on 02/22/2009

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I am a true believer in child led weaning to a point... I let my first child wean on her own, and she did so at about 18 months, of course at that time she was only nursing at bed time... or if she didn't feel well anyway. My son, well, he is presently just under 6 months, has 2 teeth, and I thankfully he doesn't bite like my daughter did. I hope he will go till he is atleast a year, but he is really into his food. Needless to say, I will go as long as he wants to... up to 2, after that I am not comfortable myself. I have a hard time with children who can walk up to you and ask for it I guess...

Godo luck to you, it is a personal choice for each mom (and child) as to how long they go on. Just know that there is many womannout there who also believe in child weaning!

Carrie - posted on 02/22/2009

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I think that if child led weaning is right for you, then it is a beautiful gift to give to your child.  I wasn't quite up for nursing that long (I think biological age of weaning is around 2 1/2 to 3).  I do think that you will know when you are ready to be done.  For me, that feeling came around 19-20 months.  I did mother led weaning, starting with don't offer don't refuse, then distraction and offering snacks, and continued on this path until we fully weaned about two months later.  I think 12-13 months would have been WAAAY too early to wean my son, he was still getting most of his nutrition from breastmilk at that point.  And, as pp stated, every child is different.  The fact that you are listening to your child's needs and following her lead is wonderful! :) Kudos to you. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/in...

Angela - posted on 02/22/2009

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i have two daughters, Ava 2 yrs; and Lydia 8 1/2 months. with Ava, i totally had this vision of me deciding to breastfeed, and then, just doing it. she'd latch on beautifully at first, we'd go home and it would be a breeze. we'd nurse for a year, and then she'd make the switch to milk and all would be right with the world. well...the reality was this: she was born two weeks early, would not latch on, i had to use nipple shields which decreased my milk supply so i had to pump in between nursing sessions to increase milk, i got pregnant with Lydia when Ava was 7 months old which decreased my milk again so we were only able to nurse morning and nite (she had formula twice in a bottle), and then at 10 months turned away completely and went straight to whole milk-thankfully, without a problem. then when Lydia was born, i totally assumed everything would go the same, like i was defective or something, but it couldn't be more different! she latched on immediately, and to this day, still nurses strong 5-6 times during the day. she's also started solids recently, which i was sure would cut back on nursing, but nope.



so i think it's funny that we all have these preconceived notions of what breastfeeding will be like, and then it's rarely carried out that way. no one can predict it, so it is best to go with the flow and, like you say, let the baby take the lead. they will tell you what they want/need and we give it to them. that's what we're here for! who knows what Lydia will decide to do. i certainly can't imagine myself nursing a walking/running/talking toddler, but who knows?



hooray for you for sticking to the breastfeeding!! keep up the good work and good luck with everything!!

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