Wednesday, March 25, 2009

some thoughts on weaning

Weaning is definitely an interesting and ongoing process. It doesn't happen overnight, and probably isn't a "carved in stone" black and white agreement,.
A nursing / breastfeeding relationship can ebb and flow and go thru all sorts of changes. (like any close relationship really!)

I think it helps to have a toolbox of ideas. Sometimes children will wean naturally on thier own. Other times, if you're not happy with how much or how often they are nursing - then they might need a little encouragement. One of the most often used is "don't offer, don't refuse". Because kids get so busy during the day, its easier for them to forget all about breastfeeding. Chances are the nightime/ nap nurse will continue, or the one when they hurt themselves or are getting frustrated.- and really- isn't it a blessing to be able to have this magic potion at tantrum times?

Unless you have an absolute deadline for weaning ( for medical reasons??) I found it useful to just start the conversation - talk about how when they are older they won't nurse, and friends that don't nurse, and some other ways they could feel better with out breasfeeding....

you don't want to make them feel bad for still nursing tho.

Anytime they go without nursing - congratulate them. Really its about getting them use to the idea of not nursing, and showing them other ways of comfort.

there's a few really good books out there on weaning.
Mothering your Nursing Toddler and How Weaning Happens.

either can be ordered through La Leche League.
What has your weaning experience been?


mumbala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I also read mothering your NT and it really puts it all in perspective. weaning is more about guiding them in that direction, if your too ridgid it'll be harder for both of you.
BTW I like that your blog is only about weaning

Busybee1 said...

i'm trying to find a way to wean. mmy daughter is 22 months and always nurses at naptime and bedtime.i wish that world didn't have such a sexual connotation to breasts.Breast feeding wouldn't be so critcized then.the reason we have breasts is for feeding our young.All you mom's out there who have breast fed their child to any age(i'd say even a child past the age of 2,3 or 4) CONGRATULATIONS!give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

Sunshine Girl said...

Greetings Everyone!

It is so nice to be here. I went through so much to nurse my baby in the beginning because she was a Preemie and they had me using a nipple shield in the hospital which created many problems. However, she eventually caught on with perserverence. Now, to this day she has told me that she loves nursing and loves Mommy's milk. Thus, it has been a challenge to wean.

I had planned to nurse 'til she was 2 as recommended by the WHO. I was very fortunate. When the time came she and I were not ready, so we continued and planned to begin weaning when she turned 3. However, right before she turned 3 she was in the hospital for 3 days with pneumonia which was so scary. I was so grateful that she was still nursing because it helped me to comfort her. We decided to start weaning at a later date. During the summer when she was 3 1/2 we had weaned to only night time nursing, but she was becoming very aggitated and upset easlily and I eventually attributed it to weaning too quickly, so after a month of this I decided to allow her to wean after we arrived home from our day, if she requested it, but only for a short time period. She seemed more content then.

I planned to try again in October and go down to nursing every other night and not at all during the day. My goal was to have her weaned by the holdiays, and definitely before her fourth birthday in Jan. She was having a hard time of it. The first night she cried for an hour. My husband begged me to nurse her. So my heart breaking for my little girl I gave in and decided she just wasn't ready. I told her we could wait until another day.

Instead we kept talking about weaning and coping skills and other kids I know who have weaned and what they did. I also ordered the book Learning to Wean. We read it once then she wanted nothing to do with it, because she wasn't ready to wean. (She loves books otherwise.) We continued to talk about it when one day I came up with the idea of a Nursing Fairy who would leave her something under her pillow if she was able to wean for the night. This helped tremedously. With time and tears (hers and mine) we eventually have gotten down to every other night. She doesn't put up much of a "fight" now on the weaning nights, as before she would try and tell me she changed her decision and wanted to wait until tomorrow. Such a smart one! She said I have a pattern: nurse, not nurse, nurse. Although sometimes she would try and say it was a nursing day when it was actually a weaning day.

My new goal was for her to be weaned by her fourth birthday, but I could tell she wasn't going to be ready. So I told her as long as she was weaning every other night that I would not force her to wean the day after her birthday. So we shall see how it goes. Right now there are some stressful things going on so we will take it day by day as we move toward weaning completely. In addition, she has a motivation that once she has weaned completely we will go to Chuck E. Cheese's. She taped a picture up for encouragement.

I never in a million years thought I'd be nursing a 4 year old, but I am soothed by another mother out there who posted her little one self-weaned at 4 1/2. It helps to know I'm not alone and that this is still okay for my dear "baby" to still be nursing.

Thanks for reading! Good luck with weaning and just remember as many have said before that weaning will happen. Talk about it with your little one and let them know you will still cuddle and that you still love them. I tell my daughter I will always remember our nursing days.


Sunshine Girl