September 29, 2010,
J.R. asks from Geneva, IL on September 25, 2010
To Wean or Not to Wean from the Breast?
I have a one year old daughter who has been exclusively breasted since she was born. She is doing great on solids and still loves to nurse. She finds it very comforting. She usually nurses really well in the morning and right before bed, and then has what I would describe as a few comfort snacks during the day. Or if she needs comfort she will let me know she wants to nurse.
I always thought I'd wean at one year, but now I'm not so sure. I am debating between weaning now and just letting her self-wean when she's ready.
What age did you wean, and were you happy with your decision? And if you did wean, how did you do it?
M.W. answers from Kalamazoo on September 26, 2010
Self weaning is GREAT. As long as it doesn't take YEARS right? :) Breastfeeding has to be mutually enjoyable for both Mama and Baby. So if you're both enjoying it, better for her. Sounds like she's starting the process already. I wish mine was, she still eats 6-7 full meals of breastmilk per day and she's 1. Plus three large meals of solids. However she's in the 5th percentile for weight, down from 15th, so I don't think pushing weaning is a good thing for us right now. I'm ready to be done, but she is not, so we'll just see how it goes in the next few months.
K.A. answers from San Diego on September 25, 2010
I have 3 children that I have extended nursed. My first nursed until he was 3, through my pregnancy with #2 and 2 months after #2 was born. My second nursed until 2 months before he turned 5. I found out I was pregnant with #3 within a week of the last time he nursed. My third is 15months old, going on 16months, and I have no plans to make her stop any time soon.
World Health Organization recommends breast feeding until at least the age of 2, if not longer as mutually desired.
Breastmilk does not become any less nutritious for your child just because they are older. It changes to meet your child's nutritional needs at whatever age they are at.
I am beyond glad that I have nursed all my children for as long as they needed.
When I had my first I originally thought I would be one of those nurse until a year, stop, wait a year then try to get pregnant. Funny how things change!
Please consider continuing to breast feed. It is the best thing you can do for your baby and for you.
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M.S. answers from San Francisco on September 25, 2010
I would let her self-wean. As long as you are comfortable nursing her, keep it up. It is a wonderful, amazing bond that is really priceless. Both my kids loved nursing--I let them self-wean at their own pace.
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N.R. answers from Fort Collins on September 25, 2010
Well.You don't really have to stop if you are not ready.Self weaning kind be very easy on both the mom and the child.My first daughter weaned herself one month before her third birthday.Her little brother was 11 months old at the time and nursing too.I had no problem nursing her throughtout my pregnancy and for almost a year afterward.At the time she wean she was nursing once before nap and before bed.And she went from nursing twice a day to none in just one day.We were in Vacation for Christmas at grandma's and i was putting the baby down to sleep nursing him.She came next to me as she always used too and i thought she wanted to nurse too as usual when i was nursing a brother.So i asked if she wanted to nurse and take a nap too.She looked at her brother nursing and tell me No that she is a big girl now and informed me that the nanas were for the baby only from now on.Ever since that day,she's been wean,no cry, no tear .She was just done with it just like that in one day.My second one weaned himself at two and a half when i became pregnant with my third.My milk changed taste and it did bother him enough to wean.He was somewhat hard as it did not quiet understand what was going on and still wanted to nurse and kept telling me that my milk was bad and to put good milk in there:-).My third is still nursing twice a day at 24 months and i am 12 weeks away from giving birth to my four and last chid.And i decided to let my third self wean so if he is still nursing by the time baby comes around ,so be it.If he decided to wean suddenly like my daughter so be it too.So, i really never weaned any of my children .They just decided to wean when the time was right for them.And the two last one will just do the same ,wean in their on time when they are ready....Hope this help.And yes i am very proud and happy about my decision to let my children self wean although it can be unsettling for some people to know that i have been nursing non stop since my first daughter was born seven years ago.I do not hide that fact as i am very proud confident and happy in my nursing relationship with my children.To me this a magical quiet bonding time that goes away too fast....but as you can probably tell i do love nursing.
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S.B. answers from Dallas on September 25, 2010
If you are both happy and comfortable, I see no reason for you to wean. With my son I was a ready to have my "body back" and he was ready to move on to a sippy cup. So we slowly weaned. I started at about 10 months and just gradually took away a feeding. I didn't take away the next feeding until I no longer had engorgement issues, I always produced a lot of milk. I saved the a.m. and bedtimes for last. He was weaned completely two days before he turned one.
With my daughter, she was having issues with milk, or so we thought (come to find out it was grapes...but that's another story :) ). I was encouraged by my pedi to continue nursing. And my daughter seemed to enjoy and need it more than my son. So she nursed until she was almost 17 months old.
With both of my children I was very happy with my decision. I don't think there is any set time line for nursing. There is nothing wrong with you continuing to breastfeed. And there is no need to feel guilty if you are ready to stop. It's a very personal issue and just like the choice to breastfeed, you have to do what is best for you and your family. If you are enjoying it and she's enjoying it, there is no reason to stop.
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D.C. answers from Dallas on September 25, 2010
I thought I would wean my son at one year, but once he reached his birthday we were both still very happily nursing. We finally weaned a few weeks ago at 22 months. But we only did because I'm pregnant and was having terrible pain, and not producing milk anymore. I do miss it and he still asks for it every couple days, but doesn't cry for it. Baby-led weaning is so much easier and less stressful for both of you. If you are still happy with nursing then stick with it!! As far as how we weaned, I started trying to distract him with snacks or toys before he asked to nurse. I knew when his "popular" times were and would offer a banana or yogurt or even a cookie before he could think about nursing. the first few days I would let him nurse first thing in the morning and maybe one other time. Then I cut out that one other time and eventually cut out his morning nursing. It was actually pretty easy because we took it slowly and I didn't force it on him. Good luck with whatever you decide!!
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E.S. answers from Houston on September 26, 2010
I loved nursing and due to medical reasons was forced to wean at 15 months. I miss it terribly and regret having to stop. If your happy with it and so is she, I would keep going. Good luck.
E.M. answers from Denver on September 25, 2010
I wouldn't say I weaned my first daughter. She discovered the bottle at a little after one and took both bottle and breast for about 4 more months and then slowly went to all bottle. The bottle and breast were both comfort --only one meant being face first into Mommy's chest and one meant watching a show, reading a book or walking around-she liked the freedom of the bottle. Second daughter just weaned 2 mos. ago at 27 mos. I am pregnant with number 3 and my boobs are sore! But I feel like we both miss it and if my milk hadn't dried up, I would still nurse her. I think my boobs got harder from being pregnant and maybe the milk changed so she seemed confused--like "why did things change here?" But like I said, we still miss it. It's been a few months and she wanted to nurse the other day. :(
I don't think stopping cold turkey would have worked for us in either case. I never turned my children down. I let them nurse until they showed no interest. Good luck!
L.J. answers from Detroit on September 26, 2010
My first daughter I weaned at 14 months because she would lift my shirt when she wanted to nurse ans I wasn't comfortable with it. My second daughter I nursed till 16 months. She was just nursed in the morning so it was easy to do. It was still very painfull but we were both ready. Good luck with your choice!