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How does weaning work?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
How does weaning work? I am letting DS set his own pace. We nurse on demand. He usually nurses as soon as I see him after daycare, then off and on all night. We bedshare and some nights he nurses all night, some nights hardly at all. During the weekends he is free to nurse as often as he likes. (He really doesn't take in any other fluids. The only thing he will drink consistantly is apple juice and I hate giving that b/c of the sugar - even when it is watered down.)

This saturday it seemed he was nursing less than usual (but we were at a party in a strange house with lots of new toys, so that could be part of it.)

What do you do though? I don't want mastitis or anything. I was planning on starting to eat all the things I haven't been like sage, mint, etc. when he weaned to help me dry up. But how do I know he has weaned or is weaning?

ETA - DS is 18 months and it seems so soon to even think about this! Wahh.
post #2 of 5
For us, weaning happened when DD started dropping feeds, dropping interest, and shortening the time it took to nurse each session. It happened over a period of months. It started very early, at around 13 months, and very gradually. She was finished at around 18 months and kept telling me "no, no nurse" whenever I offered. I was told by several people that it's just not possible at such a young age, but it's been a while now and she has never even tried to come back to it again. I offered for a couple of weeks and then gave up because she had no interest. Now when she sees them bare she will sometimes pat them and say "nurse" but only kiss them and then say "all done!" and scamper off. It was much less painful for her than it was for me! I wanted to nurse for much longer.

I would say that your son sounds plenty interested in nursing still, so continue to go at his pace and keep offering. It's not something that happens overnight, but rather over months. But, I guess all kids are different and there will be other advice coming your way. I would assume that if his interest was tapering for months that's different. Going to a party and being distracted from nursing doesn't sound like it's the end of a nursing relationship. I wouldn't take any herbs to dry me up - in fact, I was quite sad that I lost the milk I had when DD did wean.
post #3 of 5
My almost 4 year old has been shortening the time she nurses and the frequency. It's usually at least once a day, sometimes several. But she only nurses a couple of minutes at most, and sometimes less than 30 seconds. All of this started a couple of months ago, so at about 3.75 years old. Before that she was still nursing to sleep and having morning "breakfast in bed" nursing sessions. Most of the regular, several times a day nursing slacked off around 3.5. The multiple nursing during the night mostly stopped around 2.5 after all her teeth came in.

At 18 months it's common for LO to be so busy they forget to nurse or get distracted while nursing.
post #4 of 5
Your toddler sounds pretty typical. They're so distractable at that age, so a day here and there with little or no nursing doesn't really mean anything. If you feel uncomfortably full, then you might want to express enough milk to keep comfortable, otherwise I wouldn't worry. It also sounds like he's not nursing during the day on most days, so giving up those daytime weekend nursings might happen fairly "early" in the process. Sort of the opposite of what most of us hope will happen.

You also probably don't have to avoid things like sage and peppermint. Yes, then can be anti-galactogogues, but not at the amounts people typically consume. I used to drink a cup of peppermint tea every night and my twins nursed until 5 1/2 and 6+. Unless you go wild on the Altoids, it shouldn't be a concern!

Usually, CLW is so slow and gradual that your body doesn't need help to dry up - your milk supply will gradually decrease along with your child's nursing frequency. And you may be able to continue to express drops of milk for months or years after weaning! If weaning is so abrupt that you're engorged and painful, maybe it's not weaning but a nursing strike.
post #5 of 5
La Leche League has a book "How weaning happens" you might want to look at.
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