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Experiences with early child-led weaning?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ironically, I wanted to keep nursing for a good long time. I assumed it would be at least 3 y.o. or so before DD was ready to wean. She's not even two yet, but for many months now she has had little interest in nursing. For the past month or two I can get her to nurse for maybe 5-10 seconds a couple of times a day. She used to nurse constantly and around the clock until she was around 13 months, and then it just dropped off significantly. Not a nursing strike - she just doesn't want to nurse anymore.

(Her older brother who never breastfed pseudo-nurses a lot more than she does; he doesn't actually take the nipple in his mouth but he snuggles up and says he's nursing and does it for comfort.)

Since DD is 99% sure our last baby, I'm mourning the loss of mourning and none of the tricks have gotten her to continue, and I want permission to stop. It's her business, really, and if she doesn't want to nurse after I've tried to encourage it (sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly) I guess it's time to stop beating the dead horse and let her wean already. But it still makes me .

ETA: I think at this point my milk is next to nil anyway, and it's starting to get painful to nurse. Makes me think the milk is gone, but I can't really tell because I've never been able to express any to begin with.
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wow, 62 views and 0 responses? Did I say the wrong thing??
post #3 of 14
I have no experience with early CLW, my ds weaned at 4.
Does your baby have a soother? Does she drink cow's milk?
Have you tried taking baths with her? My ds would always nurse in the tub.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
She does drink cow's milk but out of a cup with meals. She never had a bottle. She doesn't have a pacifier and never took one. Tonight she nursed for all of two minutes before she went to sleep, and she looked sweet and happy but then told me she wanted to go to bed and she did. She just didn't want to nurse any longer than that.

She nursed round the clock (and I mean literally every 20 minutes or so) until she turned one, right about. Then she just lost interest in initiating it but still nursed to sleep for about six months and comfort nursed during the day, about 4 times at first and then that dropped to twice a day, and now it's all I can do to get her to snuggle and nurse for a few minutes at night. I try being shirtless and she'll sometimes come over and pet them but whenever I offer she says "no nursies mommy" and shakes her head. Then she goes off and plays.

About twice a week when she has a bigger ouchie she will comfort nurse for about thirty seconds but usually she just wants a hug and tells me no if I try to comfort nurse her. I wear her every day too so she always has access to them.

But since this has been going on for months now, it's not like it's a nursing strike, right? We do take baths together sometimes and she loves it, but she has zero interest in nursing, she just wants to splash and play.

Now, this is the girl who loved her milks so much that she would talk to them and pet them and coo at them. She's still a complete mama's girl, won't let anyone but me pick her up and shrieks like mad if I'm out of eyesight. But she just doesn't care to nurse. It's .

She's only 19 months.
post #5 of 14
I have no advice and am far from an expert on any of this...but I feel bad for you. I can't imagine the day my DD gives up nursing and how that will feel. Who knows, maybe some day she'll decide she wants to start up again. But if not, just know you are doing what's best for her in letting her take the lead in the issue.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
I do appreciate your sympathy!
post #7 of 14
I don't have experience with it either; just wanted to send you a hug.

I think for me it will be a bitter sweet event; no more around the clock nursing aka more sleep with the feeling of having lost a baby but it will be for a more independent toddler. I hope he'll still want to snuggle though.

post #8 of 14
HUGS. It must be hard. It sounds like you've really been making an effort to support and enable her, and she is choosing to taper off on nursing. You MIGHT be surprised how much milk she is actually getting if you do end up totally weaning (you may get engorged). Two minutes and a toddler can get quite a bit out.

post #9 of 14
I've always planned on nursing until at least two years and so far, I haven't made it.

My oldest self-weaned at 15 months. It was gradual, starting around 12 months, then he just stopped. For two weeks I tried everything to encourage him to nurse again thinking it was just a strike. When he started biting me when I offered, I gave up. He never asked for it again and I was never engorged.

My family (mostly the in-laws) thought it was wonderful that he was growing up and that it was good that "I knew when to stop." The xbfers that I knew told me that 15-month olds just don't self wean and either I didn't try hard enough to work through the strike or that I weaned him intentionally and I was lying.

My DD weaned around 16 months when I was 4 months pregnant. I kept offering now and then during the pregnancy and after my milk came back, but she was done.

I'm really hoping that DS#2 (my last) will nurse until college.
post #10 of 14

I would personally drop the other milk- that's a big factor to push weaning for some kids. Other than that it sounds like he is still nursing, just not as much.

post #11 of 14
There's a reason it's called child-lead. Our children do always agree with what we would want for them. DH and I are both readers, for example. DS, almost 19 now, is not. Never was, no matter what books we introduced him to.

Some kids just don't need the same as others. Such is life.
Be proud that you provided nursing for your child for as long as your child wished. That mindset is not particularly common in this culture.
post #12 of 14
My dd weaned at 15months and I was devestated. I was 3 months pg at the time and the volume and consistency of my milk had changed. She was completely unfazed and despite my best efforts she showed no interest in nursing. Although I felt sad (and guilty) I took solace in the fact that weaning was not traumatic for her. I'm so sorry for the loss of your nursing relationship, but you've done a great job. It sounds like she's ready.
post #13 of 14
Our children do always agree with what we would want for them.
That should say "our children do not always agree....."

One little word, whole new meaning.
post #14 of 14
It sounds like your daughter is confident, communicates well, and is being wonderfully supported by you. I'm sorry you feel sad you aren't getting to nurse with her much anymore, but it sounds like you are doing a really great job of meeting her needs.
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