17 answers

8 Month Old Weaning Himself?

I have noticed that my 8 month old son is not breastfeeding very often. I know he is teething a little, but when he does nurse, he doesn't seem to have a problem. Yesterday he nursed only twice once first thing in the morning(like always) and once shortly before bedtime (like always). If I try to feed him any other time during the day, he is disinterested and acts like he is not hungry and has better things to do. I am feeding solids three times a day. Mornings he has cereal and a fruit, Lunch time he has cereal and a veggie/meat combo, and dinner is generally the same a lunch (different entree). I don't give him any juice or water between meals and I make his cereal with formula (1-2 oz per bowl) rather than water. He seems to be content between meals. Also, he wets diapers regularly. I just worry that he may not be getting the nutrition he needs. I read somwhere that babies at this age should still be nursing 4-6 times a day. Is it possible that he is weaning himself? Is there anyone else who has has a similar experience?

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My doctor called me today regarding a birth control issue I am having, and I mentioned this to her. She said he is likely weaning himself and that I should go with it since most children are not as easy. She said I should keep doing what I am doing and keep practicing with a sippy cup, breastfeeding whenever possible and supplementing with formula until he is old enough for cow's milk. He just doesn't seem to understand that sippy cups are for drinking from and not for throwing, chewing on, and banging...

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You are correct to be concerned-- babies should get the bulk of their nutrition from breastmilk/formula for the first year. My baby really likes solids, and would probably do the same if I let him. I called a lactation consultant. She said always breastfeed right before giving solids. In the morning, I don't feed solids until he has had a good breastfeeding. Same at lunch and dinner. This seems to help a lot. Also, for a few days, I pumped for about 8 min., 4 times per day to get my milk supply up. This seemed to increase my flow and his interest in breastfeeding.
I've found the lactation consultants at United Hospital (St. Paul) incredibly helful! You can reach them at ###-###-####.
Best of luck!
:) M.

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Babies don't wean themselves, they have nursing strikes. This sounds like a mini-nursing strike. HE is content with the twice a day because right now he is busy, learning all kinds of new tricks. Try nursing him before his naps, like you do before bed. When my boys hit the nursing strikes I would nurse them before naps and bedtime when they were sleepy, and in a day or two they were back to their usual 'schedule'.

Just keep offering and you'll find he will be nursing like normal. Again babies don't wean themselves, they have strikes. Go with it nad he'll be good to go in a few days!

***I just am editing my response to say that I really really disagree with your doctor. He did not give you good advice at all, and it would be silly to supplement with formula at this age, or go to formula. If he is nursing twice a day, thats fine, let him practice with water in a sippy during the day, but keep offering the breast before meals, before naptimes, and before bedtime, and first thing in the morning. Giving a bottle or sippy in place of a nursing will only encourage him to wean, and it will not help your situation any. This is a phase and it will pass. Babies this age are very distractable, try a nursing necklace or nursing in a very quiet dimly lit room. He is not weaning, just keep offering and don't stress. I dont' know what your birth control issue is but your doctor didn't give good advice about the breastfeeding at all.

1 mom found this helpful

Unfortunately I'm with Amy D on this one. My daughter weaned herself around the same age. I worked with lactation consultants, worked with la leche league, I tried everything these other moms suggested. I was devastated and hell bent on breastfeeding for the first year. For us it just did not work. I encourage you to try everything to increase nursing but I spent so much time feeling like a failure when I know now that it wasn't my fault. Don't give up but don't beat yourself up either. I even continued to pump for months afterward and looking back it was too much stress on my self. You should be so proud of yourself for the amazing milk and nourishment you have already given him. Good luck, keep your spirits up and listen to your heart, not what everyone else says :)

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 7 months old and he is VERY easily distracted when he's nursing. I have to say, I wouldn't wean at 8 months if you can avoid it. Keep trying to nurse him. This might just be a phase, or it might be teething. It's really too bad your doctor isn't more encouraging of breastfeeding. As far as nutrition is concerned, I wouldn't worry just yet about it... give him some time to see if he starts nursing again. Also, what is your bc issue? Some birth control can really affect what's going on with your breastfeeding. You might want to do some research on that. Good luck to you! I know it's difficult nursing a "bigger" kid but please keep trying.

1 mom found this helpful

A baby would not wean himself at 8 months old. 3 meals a day is quite a lot, probably too much for an 8 month old's belly. Remember, his stomach is only about the size of his fist. You might try nursing before meals, feeding less solids at mealtimes, and set up some other quiet cuddle times and offer to nurse him. Does he have a regular nap? Maybe nurse before naptime.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

It absolutely sounds like a strike. Three other things to consider:

1) I don't know what your BC issue is, but some forms can supress your milk supply, you may already know that or it may not be applicable...
2) That sounds like a lot of food for an 8 month old. You should always nurse first, food second. In fact, La Leche League doesn't advocate solids really at all for the first year. I would contact your local chapter and call the leader. You will definitely get some answers there, whether you continue to offer solids or not.
3.) DS, 20 months now and still nursing, went through a permanent shift around that age where he was incredibly distractable. I had to set up totally new nursing routines: no TV or music on, we would have certain spots to sit, no toys, etc. The sound of a plastic bag crinkling would cause him to lose interest, yk? We just had to create a really calm setting first. Do you have a nursing necklace? That might help hold his attention... Google image search "nursing necklace" to see lots of examples. Little things for him to fiddle with while nursing.

Good luck. Don't give up. It would be nice if they'd hold still and shut off their brains to nurse, but nursing an older baby is a totally different deal. Call La Leche League!

*edit to add* Also, here are 2 book recommendations:

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner.

How Weaning Happens by Diane Bengson

1 mom found this helpful

I would think that as long as his diapers are wet and he seems happy I would not be too worried. I would maybe try offering water, thoughout the day too! I too am a 25 year old mom with a baby boy born on Aug. 16th! He may be tryint to wean himself or maybe just going through a stage. My 8 mo old is still very interested in nursing, sometimes I wish he wanted less to do with it, but oh well! Hope this helps!

My son went through similar phases with nursing. The timing, I sensed, had something to do with his increasing mobility and broadening sense of the world. He was just to fidgety and excited to nurse. I mostly let him call the shots, but about once a day I sorta manhandled him into position in a quiet, darkened space. I'd hold him tight for a few seconds, he'd latch on and usually relax right into it. DON'T wean if you don't want to. Just keep offering and counting the wet diapers. This phase will pass in a few weeks, I'd bet. My son, now 16 months old, is very happily nursing these days.

Becky is right. Here is an article on nursing strikes.
Good luck!

Hello N.,
I have a son born in Sept(my first child) so he is just a few weeks younger then your son and the same thing happen to me twice since I introduced food and ONCE when he was 4 months old and not getting any solids at all. I don't don't why he didn't want to eat when he was 4 months but once he had a mini nursing stike, he got a tooth a couple days later. I learned that this is common for kids to not want to nurse at times because of teething. The second mini nursing srike lasted almost 2 weeks! I kept trying to nurse in the morning, afternoon and night, sometimes he would nurse other times he wouldn't. There was no rhyme or reason to when and if he would wanted to nurse. He was eating solids for about a month and still nursing 5 times a day before that, but I decided to decrease the amonut of food and Volia! He is nursing 4-5 times again. I think I introduced solids around a growth spurt so he needed lots of milk and food.
I know many moms gave me advice to nurse first and food second but I do not want a battle when I chose to wean him at a year old so I don't exactly do that. I BF in the morning around 5:30am then food at 8:00. BF at 10am then lunch at about 12noon then BF at 2:00pm and then dinner at 5:00pm. Sometimes he'll BF at 7 or 8 before bed, either way I still usually BF him at 10pm(Dreamfeed-- he is still sleeping and I pick him up and feed him, very easy to do. You could get a couple extra feeds in by doing this!)
PLease keeping trying to nurse before formula, I am saying this knowing that many many many times I have considered switching to formula but I always stuck it out and have been happy I have. I have had many BF challenges and overcame them all you can too!
Hope this helps,

I may catch some greif for this but both my children weaned themselves. My daughter at about 10 months and my son at at 8 months. They never had formula in any form. I began substituting milk in a sippy cup when they missed normal nursings. They were content and I could get things done while they played. I began table foods at 6 months for both of them. My doctor said they were healthy and we have no alergies to anything. I think they know what they like and when they were ready for some real food they leaned more and more to that, instead of me every hour because they needed more. I don't believe everything I read. Kids don't come with insruction manuals. You have to read them to know what they are trying to tell you.

Yes! That sounds completely normal to me. I breastfed 2 of my 3 kids for 10 and 11 months and one of them did exactly that around the same age. I managed to hang on partially for another month or two before stopping completely.

After reading other comments... How important is it TO YOU to continue breastfeeding? I agree with others on not starting formula and breastfeeding before solids, but really all it comes down to is YOUR beliefs in breastfeeding. To me it just wasn't as important. I continued for as long as it was practical for us, up until 1 year. That was my plan.

I would have to agree that this sounds like a nursing strike. You should definitely breastfeed him before feeding him solids. Babies this age are easily distractable, but 8 months is way too young to be weaning!

You are correct to be concerned-- babies should get the bulk of their nutrition from breastmilk/formula for the first year. My baby really likes solids, and would probably do the same if I let him. I called a lactation consultant. She said always breastfeed right before giving solids. In the morning, I don't feed solids until he has had a good breastfeeding. Same at lunch and dinner. This seems to help a lot. Also, for a few days, I pumped for about 8 min., 4 times per day to get my milk supply up. This seemed to increase my flow and his interest in breastfeeding.
I've found the lactation consultants at United Hospital (St. Paul) incredibly helful! You can reach them at ###-###-####.
Best of luck!
:) M.

My son will be 3 this weekend, and at about that same age, he did the same thing. He just lost interest. It was not a nursing strike like other people have said, at least not with him. He just lost interest, and I was sad because I had planned on nursing for a long time. I kept trying, hoping he would start up again, and finally when he was 13 months I accepted that I had the rare baby that was ready to wean early... most people have a hard time weaning, so in a way it was lucky, but I was not ready for him to wean yet. I am still sad that we lost that connection so early. I am not a SAHM, but his daycare is where I work, and they have a nursing room, so I was even going down during my breaks to feed him. He just wanted to play, had no interest in eating, and my milk was pretty much dried up by the time I gave up on it. I was really devoted to nursing... so it took me about 5 months to accept that we were done... but with a 13 month old... its just not worth fighting it if he wants to be done. I hope your son will start up again like the other people have said, but if he doesn't, your not alone. He will be fine either way, but nursing is such a great experience, and when that time is over, you can't get it back. I miss it, but I am just happy that I had the great experience I did have for the first 8 months. Good luck! Don't give up yet, your son will eat if he wants it, but not if it isn't offered!

My son was doing a similar kind of thing around that time. His pediatrician said he was maybe trying to wean. But I didn't want to give him formula so I just kept attempting to nurse and he's back to eating as usual now. I find that a lot of doctors aren't totally supportive of breastfeeding and I wasn't going to let my son wean :-) I'm glad I kept at it and didn't let myself get too frustrated!

Our babies are only 11 days apart, and I just went through this same thing. The only difference is that I am not nursing, she just wouldn't take her bottles. What worked for me is cutting back her solid intake. My mom thought that I should increase how much fruits/veggies she is eating, so I did. Then I noticed the major fighting with the bottle. So I cut back to what I was feeding her before, and she does MUCH better. I only feed her solids twice a day (lunch and supper). Each feeding is 2 oz of formula with about 1/4 cup of cereal mixed with 2 oz of baby food (fruits lunch, veggies supper). This seems to be the right amount for my baby, but I would definitely suggest cutting back on the solids to help.

Hi N.,
My name is K.. I am a mother of three boys. This is my first time on Mamasource, responding to a question. My first son nursed until shortly after his first birthday. My second nursed until around eight months. He was a very healthy (and still is) baby, loved his food and doing things for himself. As sad as it was to let go of that special "nursing" bond we had and of course you want them to get the proper nutritional benefits, he just was not interested. He is a very healthy 5 year old (even more so than my first) and is an independent child. Is this why he stopped nursing at 8 months? I don't know, all I know is that it was difficult for me, but, it was what he wanted. I fed him good nutritional food and vitamin supplements and he has never had any serious health issues (knock on wood) or has been sick very often. I did what was natural for him. I guess every child has there own wants, even as a baby. Try as you might, when they want to stop nursing, it is their choice. I don't know, but around that time I found out I was pregnant with my third. I have no idea if this had anything to do with it...changing hormones, chemicals, whatever. My third nursed a little longer, but when he became uninterested, that was it. Luckily he is healthy too. I wish you much luck and happiness with your little miracle. We need to support each other because moms know what is in another mom's heart. It is difficult to let go of that special bond. Find other ways to keep that bond strong. Best wishes, K. (mother of 3 boys and part time teacher)

I just read the other responses, and have never heard of a "nursing strike". I will have to look into that. I like what one mom said, "keep trying, but don't beat yourself up." Maybe it is just a "strike". But you know your own child. Other moms are not in your shoes. Some moms have been successful for a few years. That's great for them. What works for you and your babe?

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