To Wean or Not to Wean 13-Month Old

Updated on August 30, 2012
L.G. asks from Andover, MN
10 answers

This is my third baby, so you'd think I would know what to do, but I'm just not sure and go back and forth! First, a little background. I exclusively breastfed until about nine months when I had to supplement with formula because my supply was low. When she turned one, I was nursing just during the night, with formula during the day.. She does not really like cow's milk yet, so we are gradually mixing her bottles of formula with that. This past weekend I was able to get away with my SIL for a scrap booking retreat. I planned on just weaning totally over this weekend. Of course, I am quite engorged...but now, I'm having second thoughts on weaning!! I nursed my first until 18 months and second until 12 months. This third little one is our last, so maybe that's part of my reasoning for continuing on. I also realize there are health benefits to nursing in the second year.

Would love to hear some thoughts on this...nothing negative about either choice, just stories or ideas! I would love to sleep all night again, but at the same time I love our little nighttime moments :)

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So What Happened?

I've decided to keep nursing my little girl on demand, including at night. I am okay with her waking up to nurse, as she is a little peanut. My doctor said that babies should be sleeping through the night when they are 17 pounds. She is just over that weight right now. I think the American culture emphasizes weaning at one and sleeping through the night at a certain age. I'm going to do what feels best for us. Thanks for all your opinions!!! I'm going to enjoy my baby while she is still a baby!!! Oh, she does drink from a cup during the day, so not worried about that! She loves cups and drinking from a straw and little open cups like a big girl :)

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answers from Charlotte on

I was grateful to have weaned - really and truly. That's all I can give you. I do hope that if you still breastfeed at night, that you will wean from the bottle to a cup and get the baby really used to cow's milk from a cup. That's really important.


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answers from Los Angeles on

If you and your baby still like nursing, there is no reason to stop! It would be good for both of you though to get a full, uninterrupted night's sleep. Can you nurse her at bedtime and then not again in the middle of the night?

If you aren't ready to wean, don't do it just because most people do. I nursed my first for 14 months and my second for 16. The second still (at 22 months) hates cow's milk, but I put a little bit of chocolate syrup in there and she'll drink it. She never had formula so I couldn't mix it with that.

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answers from New York on

Don't have an answer to you re: the weaning, however, our ped told us that as of 3 months or 12 lbs babies can go through the night without feeding. Whatever you decide, whether its to continue bf or to wean, you can have your sleep, should you choose to.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.



answers from Miami on

If your daughter still wants to nurse and you are willing than I am not sure why you are asking the question. My baby turned 2 on Sunday and he self-weaned at 15 months. I think it is because he is in daycare (I work) and he didn't want to be a "baby" anymore. He is the youngest and only wanted a cup... If he hadn't self-weaned, I would still be nursing him. There are health benefits for you and for your daughter.

Oh, and weaning doesn't mean that you will sleep all night - it just means you will be getting bottles at night. Sorry, at least that was my experience up to 20 months.



answers from Minneapolis on

I weaned when DD was 14 months. We were down to just 2 nursings a day--first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. It is a nice moment of connection. Even though it was never physically comfortable for me, I missed it when it was gone. We did it differently, though. We had weaned her off of nightly nursing when she was younger. Is that an option? To do it once before bed and then be done for the night? That way you get the best of both worlds--you continue nursing a bit for awhile, and you get to sleep!


answers from Houston on

I also nursed my first two past 16 months. If it were me, I would continue the night nursings. I weaned day feedings around 14 months or so, but continued the bedtime nursing for a few more months. Neither of us were ready to give it up. A 13 month old is still a baby :)

Your baby is old enough to sleep through the night, so if you are nursing during the night, Dr Sears has some expert advice on how to help stop that. You can still do your bedtime nursing, but use the alternatives for during the night.

To help with engorgement if you do decide to stop, is cold compresses, hand expressing small amounts at a time so as to not produce milk, but to relive a bit of discomfort, snug fitting bra, and cold cabbage leaves in the bra. Ibuprofen for discomfort.



answers from Des Moines on

For *ME* nursing past a year was like a license not to worry!!!!

NO WORRYING about hauling a [email protected] pump to work, or about supply, because they're eating at the table and drinking from a cup. NO WORRYING on the days he didn't eat-- he'd just nurse more that night.

Since he was a comfort nurser when he was sick there was NO WORRYING about dehydration or about how to make pedialyte palatable.

And on the days that involved a drive through I balanced my guilt with the knowledge I was ALSO still providing him with nature's perfect health food!



answers from Syracuse on

I was about where you are when my son was 13-months old. I nursed him and was grateful that he would also take a bottle. You've done a great job so far of nursing him through his first year. Now, I would say you can't really go wrong. If you want to keep nursing him occasionally, then do that, your body will continue to produce milk, just less and less. Your body will basically work itself out.



answers from Washington DC on

If you are having second thoughts, then maybe it's not time to totally wean, but change the schedule. Work on weaning her off of a session in the middle of the night or first thing in the AM, for example. Going cold turkey is often harder on you and your child, so start to nudge her away from some of the sessions and distract her and make it a different experience. Once you are no longer nursing some of the time, you may find that it works for you, or that it works for you both to continue the gentle slide into not nursing anymore. My DD nursed only at bedtime for most of a year and then slowly that was gone, too. So I'm suggesting that since you are torn, find a medium that works for you right now.

FYI, I nursed DD til 2.5 and she still isn't a big milk drinker, but neither am I. We get calcium from other sources. If she's not a fan of milk, train her to use a cup with other liquids and give her other sources of dairy.



answers from Duluth on

Sounds like you've cmoe to your answer, but I was going to say that anyway--unless you're really sick of nursing, really tired during the day to the point that you aren't parenting well or partnering well or working well, or unless you're really resentful of your nursing relationship and the toll it's taking on you, I'd suggesting continuing. I'm in a similar boat with our #3, and not quite ready to give up that part of her babyhood yet. :) Enjoy it while you can, both the good and the not-so-great.

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