At what age do most kids self ween?

Amy - posted on 02/16/2012 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I'm just wondering for moms who let their kids self ween how old they were when it happened? My daughter is almost two and doesn't seem interested in nursing very often anymore even though I still offer it at nap and night time she says no and wants her father. Does this seem normal? Could it be a nursing strike? I thought I would be ready for her to ween but I miss putting her to bed at night.

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Sandra - posted on 03/06/2012

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I wanted to let my older three self wean, but ended up putting limitations on them and gradually cutting them off. #1 was 4y9m, #2 and #3 were about 5y6m. When #4 slowed down her pace, the milk dried up and she self weaned about 3.

Merry - posted on 03/04/2012

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I understand it must have felt like she was ready to stop and your dr saying that is unfortunate but it's still a nursing strike.

Bottle feeds can help cause nursing strikes.

And giving too much solids can cause nursing strikes.

That's why the rule of thumb is breastfeed before any solids before a year.

And if a nursing strike happens you can usually fix it with removing the bottle as an option for her. But it's not always possible especially with a dr saying she weaned herßrlf!

Unfortunately drs don't know much of anything about lactation and many times they give bad advise.

So just for future reference, self weaning is not until later, your baby weaned peacefully which is fine! But it wasn't her self weaning, certain conditions facilitated her refusing the breast. Which isn't your fault, but could have been prevented under ideal circumstances.

Thanks for sharing! Have a great day :)

Merry - posted on 02/17/2012

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A strike would be sudden, and she would be upset or acting off.

Self weaning would be gradual and she would be simply uninterested.

Could be either I think

My son is almost three and no end in sight.

He'd willingly nurse a lot more then the twice a day I let him.

Brittney - posted on 02/16/2012

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According to Katherine Dettwyler, PhD, weening can occur at 2 years 8 months old and others at 4 years 2 months..."It is true that there are still many societies in the world where children are routinely breastfed until the age of four or five years or older, and even in the United States, some children are nursed for this long and longer. In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma, between 3 and 4 years of age."

Merry - posted on 03/04/2012

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Sherrelle, no, actually babies between 1 and 2 do not self wean.

Absolutely never under a year!

If your 8 month old refused the breast it's called a nursing strike and not self weaning.

Babies are supposed to nurse a minimum of two years and beyond then, they can wean when they are ready.

Biting is no reason a baby would self wean. If she bit and you scared her she could refuse the breast because she felt hurt from being yelled at. And her diet IS breastmilk before a year.

Solids should never replace a breastmilk meal. Solids are just for fun before a year old.

So I'm sorry, but no, self weaning is not possible at 8 months. And really, before 2-3 years it's not likely for a baby to self wean without mom pushing it along.

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Sherrelle - posted on 03/04/2012

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Laura,

Everytime I tried to breastfeed her she would turn away or bite and I kept trying for a long time. But she was also bottle fed due to jaundice when she was born. When we went to her nine month check up the doctor said not to worry everything was fine and that every child stops breastfeeding when they are ready especially to when their diet is different because she was also eating jar baby food.

Sherrelle - posted on 03/04/2012

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Laura,

My daughter was also bottle fed due to jaundice but she did ween herself off. I kept trying and everytime she would bite or turn away. So I do not know what happend and when we went to the doctor they said it was fine that every child is different.

Sherrelle - posted on 02/28/2012

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No it is perfectly normal to self wee at this age. Most children self ween between the age of one and two. My daughter self weened at eight months and that was because of her diet and having teeth. It depends on the child but don't worry and I understand about not wanting them to ween yet because you enjoy putting them to sleep that way I was the same way too. But now I am happy that she has weened I just look at it as new milestone in her life that she went through and just think of the positive memories that it created for you and her during the bonding time.

Heather - posted on 02/28/2012

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My son was just almost two when he self weaned, he gradually got down to where he only nursed at night then i realized he hadn't nursed in a few nights then he never nursed again, kinda sad, i loved nursing him but he was ready! so i am very pleased and happy that we made it thru it all

Kristen - posted on 02/26/2012

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This is a normal time, and while it is hard to not have that special time with her, it is important for her to develop some special routines with dad, too. Come up with some new big-kid things to do with her, and enjoy her growing up.

Valerie - posted on 02/21/2012

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I nursed all three of mine ages 13, 9 and 3 on demand and they all self-weaned at different ages so it really does depend on the child. They weaned at 27 months, 22 months and 35 months respectively. I was sad all three times once I knew we were done. So I would let her know that it's there if she wants it, like you are doing already and just follow her lead. Good luck!

Anna - posted on 02/21/2012

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Generally, in Western cultures, between 2 and 4 but self weaning really varies from child to child and on the situation, i.e. how early solids were introduced, how much the mother encourages the baby to eat solids vs nurse, how much time the mother and baby spend together, etc. I always followed free style nursing - the restaurant was open 24/7, all you can eat type of scenario, and nursing always came before solids the first yr., so my son is very attached to the breast at 21 months. On the other hand, my friend had a very scheduled nursing style, every 3 hrs, and she went back to work and law school when her son was 5 mo. so she only started nursing him at night at that point. He self-weaned at 15 months. Therefore, it's really hard to predict when each child will self wean.

Andrea - posted on 02/20/2012

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My daughter is nearly 3 1/2 now and would nurse all day every day if I let her! My nephew is 14 mos old, and officially self-weaned now. Every child is different. Of course, my daughter wanted to nurse all the time when she was young, and I let her nurse on demand. My sister (nephew's mom) had a specific schedule for nursing her son, and he never seemed as interested in nursing as my daughter. Even as an infant, he was easily distracted and she had to encourage him to nurse. I, on the other hand, began setting limits, such as only nursing when going to bed or nap, or only having each side, then being done (or she would go back and forth forever!). So I don't think there is any set time. Maybe finding a special bedtime routine, reading a story, snuggling, etc will be a fun bedtime activity if she is no longer interested in nursing. There are plenty of things you can do, and children are highly aware of things they do that get a reaction (ie saying they want dada...and your emotional response to that). Good luck!

Amy - posted on 02/19/2012

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Thanks ladies I don't think she was upset about going with grammie she had a choice to stay home, but she wants to do everything her brother does! Looking back the week before she left she never asked and my mom put her to bed most nights after I fed her because that's what she wanted. I have stopped offering because then it becomes a game I'll offer and she'll ask for her father. This morning though she was in bed with us and she asked to nurse so I let her. I guess I'll just see how things go, if she asks I won't refuse, she is still cuddly and affectionate with me she just doesn't want to nurse.

Lise - posted on 02/18/2012

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I've read that children under 18 months won't self-wean; that when they stop nursing, it's a nursing strike. Nursing strikes are sudden - babies just stop. Weaning is typically very slow - 4 times a day, then 3, then 2, then 1. Most children I've known who've self-weaned even would stop nursing for a day or two, then nurse for a day or two, then stop. Or nurse once a week. If what's happened occurred slowly, it's probably self-weaning. Young for it, but it definitely happens.

Heather - posted on 02/18/2012

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It depends on the baby. My daughter would have weaned happily at 7 months if I let her. I pushed until 10 months when I really just had nothing left. Other people who let their kids go eventually have to wean them anyway. Children do not lose their sucking reflex until between 7 and 9, and there are many cultures that go until then.

Andrea - posted on 02/17/2012

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I am doing self weaning but both still nursing (2&1/2and7months). I know of a few women whose babies have not nursed in awhile (weeks to even a few months) and get sick or hurt and ask to nurse (for comfort or security) and started nursing again and to their surprise they still had milk. All three moms were shocked. Their babies were 2 and 3 yo. My Sisinlaw has not nursed in 2&1/2 years and can squeeze her breast and milk comes out. One thing I rarely do is offer. I just always nursed on demand from day one until now. I normally only offer if I'm ready for him to take his nap or bed time lol.

I agree with the grudge thing since she is seeming to have an attitude about it vs no interest. I say def still offer and let her know it's available.

Merry - posted on 02/17/2012

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Aww I'd be sad too.

Maybe shes feeling angry or hurt that she wasn't with you the weekend. I guess as she gets older she's more aware of time spent away and maybe shes holding a grudge.

But I'm sure she will be back to normal soon, with or without nursing that is. If I were you I'd just keep offering until you're absolutely certain she doesn't wish to resume. Though your milk may dry up :-(

Give her extra attention and snuggles and she will be fine either way!

Amy - posted on 02/17/2012

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Thanks ladies! Laura she went away for the weekend and came home not wanting to nurse anymore. It's not the first time she's gone away and we've never had a problem before. I've been offering all week and she just asks for her dada to put her to bed. I'd ask her but she's still not talking so she just shakes her head no if she wants me to feed her. Guess I'm a little sad that it was so sudden :(

Merry - posted on 02/17/2012

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If its a strike just keep offering every day and she will resume.

If she's really done then offering does no harm but you will be confident that she simply has grown out of it!

You can try asking her why but at two I bet the answer might not help much anyways :)

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