23 answers

When to Ween During Pregnancy?

I am already 7 months pregnant and my son turned 3 2 weeks ago. He has never wanted to ween and I never pushed for it because he does not eat a lot of diary (mainly just cheese) and he doesn't like milk (even chocolate or strawberry). He doesn't even nurse every day - maybe 5-6 times a week. I do wish for him to be weened when the baby gets here though. My doctors office just reccommends that I ween him "sometime" during my pregnancy so that he is not taking nutrition from the baby or I. I have also heard from someone who had a hard time getting her new milk supply in when her 2nd was born due to nursing her 1st right up until the birth. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this and what problems you encountered? Also, has anyone had the older child be jealous because the new baby is nursing and he can't anymore? I am thinking of weening sooner rather than later because of this possibility. Thanks!

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try going to the library and getting a book called The breastfeeding book By Dr william sears and Martha sears. I read this book and it really helped me. she is a lactation consultant so she really knows her stuff

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Yes, you should ween. Make sure he is getting enough calcium and protein and most importantly-fat from milk EVERY DAY for brain development, it doesn't sound like he's getting enough. Have him drink more organic cow or goat's milk (enforce it, don't let him "not like it") and stop nursing. If he really won't drink milk, then find something equally high in those nutrients (I don't know what, maybe check some vegan nutrition manuals for how to replace the calcium and protein and fats that milk provides-I think it's too risky, but vegans disagree). Congrats on nursing so long-you did great, now save some energy for the new baby. Don't worry about jealousy, just handle your son like he's a new important big boy, and do special new things with him, give him some responsibilities "helping" with the baby and praise him, and don't neglect him (I'm sure you wouldn't). At three you should not let him identify with being a baby-whether he's nursing or not. Discipline him if he acts badly with the baby, but you can prevent this by keeping him involved and important from the start. Good luck!

P. good question. I weaned my first son at 14 months and had my second son 4 months later. So I was 5 months pregnant when I weaned him. I think there are important reasons to wean your son as soon as possible. If you continue to nurse right up to the point of birth and then just feed the new baby you are creating a jealousy problem. At 3 years old your son should be able to get all of his nutrional needs met through his daily solid diet and a multivitamin supplement. I think its important for your oldest boy to know he is just fine without nursing and its ok to be a "big" boy and drink out of cup exclusively. If you wean him now, he will not have it so fresh in his mind that he was nursing right before the new baby is born. It's time to make that transition because there will be plenty of other trnsitions to make once the new baby arrive. I have 3 kids and my first 2 were only 18 months apart. I breast fed all of them. There was still a degree of jealousy even tho my son had been weaned 4 months prior to the arrival of the new baby. And there was a degree of jealousy when my youngest was born even tho the boys were 4 and 5 years older than she is. I think the jealousy thing is normal but can be eased quite a bit if you don't put him in situations to be jealous. He is old enough to understand that he cannot nurse anymore. Explain that he is a "big" boy and you are so proud of him because he is going to be the best big brother and he has to show the new baby how big boys drink out of a cup so the baby can learn etc. I would wean him as soon as possible to avoid conflicts down the road. Good luck.

I think you already waited to long. He should have been weened when you found out you were pregnant to avoid jealousy issues. Yes I think your son is going to be jealous. The new baby took his food.. I hope you don't have jealousy issues. Ween asap..

my sil had a similar situation .. her milk's taste changed during the pregnancy and her daughter weaned herself then .. if he's only nursing a couple of times a week he probably isn't pulling a lot of nutrients from you .. make yourself as inaccessible as possible during the times he would normally want to nurse. Be busy and say something along the lines of "I'll be there in a moment or two"

try going to the library and getting a book called The breastfeeding book By Dr william sears and Martha sears. I read this book and it really helped me. she is a lactation consultant so she really knows her stuff

Hi P.,
I nursed my 2-year-old son all the way through my pregnancy with my daughter. I reminded my doctor at every visit that I was doing this to make sure it was still OK. When my daughter was born, they told me in the hospital to feed her first (of course). When she was done on one side, then my 2-year-old son could nurse on that side while my newborn nursed on the second side. The birth of my daughter made him want to nurse more since he saw me feeding her every 2 hours but eventually he weaned himself off. Dr. and Martha Sears write about this in one of their books - they call it "tandem nursing" which means nursing a newborn and a toddler. I didn't have any trouble getting the new milk supply in. The colostrum came in and then changed to milk after a few days, just as with my first pregnancy. Anyway, if your doctor says to ween, then I agree with you that sooner is better than later to allow your son to forget about nursing. Best of Luck to you !!!

i think you are doing a wonderful thing for your son. i know plenty of women that never had supply problems when they had their second child. i think when your newborn arrives, definitely get him to your breast ASAP. if you are still nursing your 3 year old, i would definitely make sure that your newborn always nurses first and however long as he wants. maybe once you get into the swing of things, you may be able to nurse both at the same time!! there is no such thing as taking away nutrients from nursing while pregnant. you are NOT taking anything vital from your son or yourself. like others said, this is a very common thing in other countries.
for the jealousy issues, maybe someone can make a specific toy box for your 3 year old and when you are nursing your newborn, he can play with that "special" toy box. i'm not really sure if that would work, but you can give it a shot!

good luck :)

I want to echo what the mom before me said, if you are gaining enough weight, are healthy and are not experiencing any problems with this pregnancy there is no medical reason you must wean. Many women do this with no problem. I did this with no problem. My son turned 3 a month after my daughter was born. He self weaned about a month before she was born and nursed once after she was born. He'd really hit his head and was in serious need of comfort and we both just nursed. Afterwards he told me the milk tasted funny and that was that.

As far as the milk being difficult to get started the second time around most women find the opposite is actually true. When breast feeding is well established, your body will naturally make enough milk to meet the demands placed on it. It is important during pregnancy that you make sure you are eating well and getting all the nutrition you need since you body will give the unborn baby what he/ she needs first, your nursling second and you last.

Nursing during pregnancy does have its own unique challenges and I would suggest you seek our other women who have done this. Many women find that their feelings about nursing the older child change during the pregnancy. La Leche League is a great resource and there are lots of moms locally who have been exactly where you are right now. The International group also has a great web sit, here is a link to their breastfeeding during pregnancy page: http://www.llli.org/NB/NBpregnancy.html

Whatever you do you will not be alone in having made that decision. Relax and enjoy your babies, they aren't babies for long!

Congratulations and good luck,

K. L.

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