I'm still breastfeeding my almost three-and-a-half year old son - much to my husband's chagrin. I've tried the LLL method of "don't offer, don't refuse," but my son's breastfeeding hasn't decreased in frequency. My husband is upset that my son hasn't been weaned yet, and every day asks me what I'm doing to wean our son. What should I do? The truth is, much of the time, I also feel as though it's time to wean our son, but from my son's behavior, he's not quite ready. The reason we're still nursing is that I truly believed I was doing the best thing for my son by extended breastfeeding, and I really want him to wean gently - not by forcing him before he's ready. How do I proceed? I've received all sorts of well-intentioned advice; unfortunately, most of it has come from mothers who never nursed babies beyond age one. My son was a colicky baby, and from the beginning, nursing has been a tremendous source of comfort for him. Any advice as to how best to gently wean him? The tension in our household is high, because of my husband's strong belief that our son should have weaned long ago. (He's not an ogre; he just comes from a family where no child was breastfed past fourteen months or so, and identifies with that.)
Have been trying child-led weaning, but...
Yes and I hear what you are saying about the advice people give. A one year old isnt going to say how they feel about no more nursings but an older toddler will. Mine still tells people about moms boo boos. And of course there is the advice from people who never nursed and don't understand the closeness and say oh it's for the best (what do they know).
I wish you and your toddler all the luck!
Another gentle weaning technique I heard good things about is to designate one place where nursing happens and not nurse anywhere else. Basically it means that sometimes you may have to say no but usually it just requires extra effort from kiddo (ie leave the living room and go into the bedroom). This can help cut down on low priority nursing sessions.
Good luck and congrats on providing such a great start for your DS
Child led weaning is following the childs cues. Otherwise is mother led weaning.(or husband led weaning in your case) Maybe everyone feels its time to wean, but your child isnt ready. Whats the rush? Both my 4yo and 7yo were weaned at their schedule, ie child led. My 7yo was nursing quite a bit at your sons age, by 4, he was nursing maybe 2-3 times a day, during that year, this went down to 1-2 a day, then once a day, then a couple of times a week, then a couple of times a month, then he nursed for the last time just before his 5th birthday.
Ds2 did something similar but 18months earlier. He nursed for the last time at about 3 1/2 while i was pregnant with dd.
Give it 6months, and there is a good chance your child will reduce his nursing, to the point where weaning is close. I found the nursing 1-2 time a week or month easy to do, and a sign that weaning was imminent. It was.
Mine weaned right around her 3rd birthday. I encouraged it. She responded well to "little bit". A couple of sucks was enough to satisfy. Also, my supply was very low at that point, and she didn't see a point in sucking if she didn't get anything. The biggest thing was dropping her nap (the last main nursing session). Obviously you can't drop bedtime, but maybe there are other things you could change. It may be possible for you to all be more or less content with a reduced schedule instead of totally stopping all at once. I don't mean to be deceptive, but if you can get your DS down to a couple of minutes a day, would your DH even notice?
Have you tried having a heart to heart talk with your husband about WHY you haven't weaned your son yet? I'm sure you both want the best for your son, you're probably just looking at it from different viewpoints. If you don't think your son is ready to wean and you're most comfortable letting him wean on his own, I think the best thing you can do is to try to explain this to your husband. My son, who is now almost 8, was still nursing pretty often at 3 1/2, but he tapered off more and more as he neared 4, and nursed for the last time a couple weeks after he turned four. My husband did think it was kind of weird that I nursed him for so long (his mother only breastfed one of her three kids (not DH), and that one for only 9 months). However, he was open to letting the two people actually in the nursing relationship work out when it ended. He did put his foot down about mother led weaning if DS didn't stop on his own by kindergarten, but I agreed with that, and it didn't end up being an issue anyway.
I weaned my daughter shortly before she turned three. My husband also thought I was crazy for nursing her past about 18 months, so I can understand the pressure that comes from having a spouse who doesn't quite understand what you're doing. However, I'd wanted to wean her since she was about 2 1/2 because she was so demanding and I started to just hate how it felt to have her nursing, and hate the terrible tantrums she had when I refused to nurse her during the day.
This is what I did. I decided on a few times when we could nurse during the day, I think they were once during the morning and at bedtime and always in the same chair in her room. I didn't want to wean her, but I knew she needed some rules because we were all unhappy. So I decided to stick to those times. She complained a lot at first, but very quickly understood that we would nurse at certain times, and stopped crying when I refused. It made everyone a lot happier! After a few weeks I think we dropped the morning nursing time, and I nursed her only at bedtime for a few months. Then I let her nurse for progressively shorter times at night, until she was only nursing for a few seconds. And eventually she stopped asking at bedtime too and was weaned. I stopped having milk after a while. She occasionally still asks to nurse when she isn't feeling well, and sometimes I let her, but she's decided that my 'nummies are broken' and won't suck for more than a few seconds. I was happy with how I weaned her, and surprisingly happy to have her weaned! I know a lot of people really like the child to decide, but doing that was making me crazy, and I really wanted her to stop! I don't miss nursing, but I am happy that I nursed her for as long as I did. Good luck!