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How young can they really Child Led Wean? - Page 5

post #81 of 107
Back to the original topic for a minute...

It's interesting to me that my friends who have many children who child-led weaned never seem to end up with one of thoese "weaned at 15 months" kids. I really think that many women do things that short circuit the nursing relationship without realizing it, which is easy to do when living in a culture where most of us haven't been exposed to many natural-weaning breastfeeding relationships until we have our own babies. I do think it's important to offer the breats to toddlers and older children, it was part of my parenting toolbox throughout Rain's nursing years.

Here's an article Kathy Dettwyler wrote years ago about "The Natural Age of Weaning" (it corrects that old 4.2 years average worldwide weaning age misconception, too).

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

I really think child-led weaning before 2 is quite unusual. When you think about it, throughout most of human history this would be a really high-risk behavior for a baby, and would greatly increase the child's chances of mortality. The availability of nutritious, easily-digested food that needs little or no chewing is not the way things have generally been. I don't think this is about making women "feel bad", but about gaining knowledge and understanding about how breastfeeding and weaning work.

Here's another link, about my friend Tane' and her son's 40-day nursing strike. He's just turned 10 now, just by the way.

http://tachyonlabs.com/40strike.html

Of the people I know personally, the youngest child-led weaning was at 26 months, an the oldest child was 8 (I know two kids who weaned at 8).

Dar
post #82 of 107
My son is will be 23 months in 8 minutes.....LOL So he is a month shy of 2 years. He hasnt nursed since Sunday. Right now I am not offering or refusing but I still feel like he is weaning on his own. He has told me "no mama, no booba" after like 30 seconds of nursing a few times....

I dont think I have to go up to him and put my boob in his face and say "Jevin, do you want a booba right now?" and have him refuse in order to be considered "letting him wean when he was ready."

I guess it just doesnt make sense to me...its like saying "des, do you want a twinkie?" and if I say yes or no, then it was my decision but if I just didnt eat the twinkie on my own, without someone asking me, then it wasnt my decision?

Knowing that he is bf until 2 makes me happy. I know he is ready......and I am ready too. Maybe he can sense that I am ready to be done, who knows......maybe it does have something to do with me, but I am 100% proud of making it this far, CLW title or not!

If a mom says her child self weaned at 18 months, let her have that, yk? She gave her baby a great start in life.
post #83 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesireeH
I dont think I have to go up to him and put my boob in his face and say "Jevin, do you want a booba right now?" and have him refuse in order to be considered "letting him wean when he was ready."
Well, not out of the blue... but when Rain was 2 1/2 and she fell and bonked her head and was crying, I would scoop her up, snuggle her, and offer a boob. When she was tired and resisting sleep, I would snuggle her up and offer a boob. This was the general pattern I saw with women whose children weaned at 3 and 4 or older - nursing was part of the day, it wasn't ritualized into specific feedings at specific times and places, and it was a used not only when the child was hungry, but when she was sleepy, or hurting, or cranky... it was a way to reconnect. This is what I see as part of the natural progression of many nursing relationships. Women who saw nursing only as food missed this, as did women who weren't comfortable nursing outside of their homes.

Dar

Dar
post #84 of 107
He still hasnt nursed since Sunday and that WAS in public. When he is sleepy he doesnt want to nurse.....he says "no booba!" if I try to nurse him. I just think he is ready. No he is not 3-4 but if he doesnt want to, then he doesnt want to, even though he is only 23 months. He hasnt used nursing only for hunger either. During his whole life so far, it was comfort as well as food.

I am sure he doesnt get much these days from nursing foodwise, when he is hungry he says "baby shimps" (shrimp) or "brocki" (his fav foods) and nothing about nursing. LOL
post #85 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Well, not out of the blue... but when Rain was 2 1/2 and she fell and bonked her head and was crying, I would scoop her up, snuggle her, and offer a boob. When she was tired and resisting sleep, I would snuggle her up and offer a boob. This was the general pattern I saw with women whose children weaned at 3 and 4 or older - nursing was part of the day, it wasn't ritualized into specific feedings at specific times and places, and it was a used not only when the child was hungry, but when she was sleepy, or hurting, or cranky... it was a way to reconnect. This is what I see as part of the natural progression of many nursing relationships. Women who saw nursing only as food missed this, as did women who weren't comfortable nursing outside of their homes.

Dar



Dar
Very good point Dar.
post #86 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
This was the general pattern I saw with women whose children weaned at 3 and 4 or older - nursing was part of the day, it wasn't ritualized into specific feedings at specific times and places, and it was a used not only when the child was hungry, but when she was sleepy, or hurting, or cranky... it was a way to reconnect.
Definitely a good point. I think, though, that not offering the breast to an older toddler/child does not equate to viewing nursing only as a food source or as something to be done at certain times and places. (I apologize if I've missed the point, but it seemed to me that the two were being equated).

I rarely offer the breast to my son. I would say that our nursing relationship, on most days, looks like a "don't offer, don't refuse" relationship. I don't purposely not offer, I'm just used to our dynamic. He's quick to ask whenever he needs it (or not even ask verbally, just move into position to let me know what he needs). He seems to need to nurse pretty frequently these days, and quite sporadically. When he first turned 3, he was at a point where he very rarely wanted to nurse in public. Now, at almost 4, he's more likely to ask. So, our nursing relationship is anything but ritualized.

I agree that "don't offer, don't refuse" can be part of weaning - or perhaps lead directly to weaning for some children who are not so focused on nursing. But I think mother-led weaning for many children has to be more purposeful than just "don't offer, don't refuse."

Just my two cents, anyway.
post #87 of 107
Dar---

Thanks for posting the 40 days nursing strike story. Wow!

This cracked me up, though:

Quote:
On the more kinky end of things (I already told ****** about this), I've also been using a very lifelike poodle puppet to give him "lessons." I lay on my back with my shirt up and say "doggie open mouth wide" and open the poodle's mouth. Then I say "Arthur open mouth wide and he opens his mouth. Then I latch the poodle on and say "drink go in doggie's mouth." Then I have the poodle "nurse" and say "doggie go drink, drink, drink" until Arthur pushes the poodle off and puts his own mouth on.
:LOL
post #88 of 107
I don't know why I don't just keep away from this thread. It's weird, like I have to prove that I wasn't doing anything detrimental to our nursing relationship. We nursed in public all the time, it was the only way he'd fall asleep until he was 14 months old, he nursed for comfort. I always offered the breast before solid food. But I guess I won't be able to convince anyone that he weaned himself at almost 18 months old, and I'm not even sure why I feel the need to.
post #89 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaimama
But I guess I won't be able to convince anyone that he weaned himself at almost 18 months old, and I'm not even sure why I feel the need to.
i believe you .
post #90 of 107
kaimama- I believe you, too. I do believe that a chld can wean "early". I think it has alot to do with how much they are "into" solid foods. My dd is 4 and still nurses 2-3x/day. I did all the non CLW stuff such as "don't offer/ don't refuse"-for the most part, though I did push night weaning at 15m- only nursing 1x/night, stopped NIP at 3yr. dd just likes to suck on boobs. She mildly got into paci from 6-15m and never really liked sippy cups. dd was never into nursing when upset or hurt, she usually got angry, not sad, and was to concerned with getting back to the activity so this was never a "nursing time for us". But I know there has to be babies that as they grow they really loose their desire for sucking especially when they see their parents eating and when they have access to food they physically can eat. My dd also has this trait, in that all I have to do to get her to try something is to eat it myself. It's just that she also has an intense need to suck that I believe has kept her going.
post #91 of 107
Ack, busy at work and no time to read the whole thread (only got to page 2), but clothcrazymom, do I know you from another board?

I unfortunately got a little emotional on another board last week on much the same subject (in a nutshell, a woman was concerned her 9 month old was self-weaning (it was clearly reverse cycling) but that led to a clamor of posts about babies who had self-weaned before the age of 1 year)

Like others, I believe based on what I have read that the child who truly self-weans (as opposed to CRW as defined previously in the thread) before the age of 18 months or so is extremely rare. Nearly every time there are predisposing factors. I argued this on the other board, as I feel the semantics are very important when one talks about them with other people, as it perpetuates the notion that self-weaning at an early age is common and discourages moms whose babies are going through a nursing strike from aggressively pursuing ways to reverse the strike.

I'll come back and read this whole thread over the weekend hopefully.
post #92 of 107
Kaimama, I believe you- but more importantly I believe in your instincts as a mom, your little one's instincts and your ability to foster the best nursing relationship for both of you I don't know about the rest of ya, but I live in a very not-breastfeeding friendly environment and thus i REALLY value support, info and love from other bfing moms- ALL bfing moms. The community where I am in daily life is so small I can't imagine making further divisions.....definitely not the message I want to send to ds either.

I like mother_sunshine's idea of "child-led breastfeeding" for me, this emcompasses my relationship with my son. from what some ppl are saying, it appears that others belive CLW to be defined mostly, if not entirely, by the last nursing session- i.e. was it the child's choice to stop or not, did they inititate it, etc. OTOH, i'd like to think of nursing ds as a dynamic, creative, relationship that is more about (constant, hehe) bfing- not about weaning.

it's also not parent-led either though- i offer when he uses nurses, when he's hurt, etc. but if he doesn't want to bf that's fine. i'd never "cut back" on his food to try to get him to nurse more. he will make the choice that is right for his body. i know breastmilk is better than broccoli but i also know that even as a toddler he deserves to have his opinions and desires taken seriously. the times he has refused- when he's playing intensely or sees a food he wants- he just "makes up" for it by nursing more later.....

peace
h*mama

Edited to add: please forgive the grammar mistakes!! In re-reading I realized that some may consider me, as the parent, "leading" since I do offer the breast but I tend to envision our bfing relationship as somewhat intuitive, so perhaps I too need a new term to describe everything

Reverse cycling?? My son still does this at 20 months.....all the time.....even when we are together the entire day/night. Maybe some are just night-eaters
post #93 of 107
kaimama, finally read more of the thread and didn't want you to think i was directing my comments at you. personally, i think 18 months (while less common) is perfectly within a range for CLW. the moms (and dad) i was talking with were talking about babies as young as 4-6 months in cases where they were nightweaning, using CIO, supplementing with formula, etc.
post #94 of 107
Chiming in a bit late, but I wanted to address
Quote:
I shudder at such absolutes on these forums and hope that moms who are reading and aspire to CLW realize they can set an occassional limit or make adjustments if they need to, and it doesn't spell the word "wean". I am not talking about solids at 4 mos., pacifiers or dad walking a crying baby at night.
What is the point in having terms if they don't have meaning? If a term like "child-led weaning" exists, it's b/c there are certain things that fall under the category and certain things that don't. Perhaps different people have different perspectives, but that doesn't mean all perspectives are correct. "Child-led" means "child-led". If parents want to guide their kids, that's fine, but that doesn't mean the child is actually leading. Just like "choice" is not always "choice" amongst parents. Someone above mentioned offering a twinkie and if the child takes it, was that not a decision, even if the child didn't instigate the twinkie issue. Sure, it's a decision, but it's not a child-led decision. Child-led means the child instigated it. I don't think having that as an absolute is such a big deal. Actually, it seems critical in understanding terms such as this.

It's standard at our LLL meetings to point out that anytime anything other than the breast is put to the child's mouth for feeding times, weaning has been introduced. That's usually pointed out during discussions of "what to tell people when they ask when the child will wean". Perhaps if that's not truly what LLL Leaders mean, they should rephrase.

If one's baby wants to nurse, the mom knows the baby wants to nurse, but offers something other than the breast, what is that if not instigating weaning? Offering limits is not "wrong", but shouldn't we be completely open about what can trigger a child to wean and what encourages weaning?

CLW can occur on a huge spectrum. But, there has to be a solid definiton of CLW if there is to be such a term in existance and it be something to discuss and aim for in our relationships with our children.
post #95 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaka Falls
It's standard at our LLL meetings to point out that anytime anything other than the breast is put to the child's mouth for feeding times, weaning has been introduced.
If that's the case, then child-led weaning doesn't really exist, does it, if a child is ingesting food before he/she can seek it out, obtain it, and fix it up for him/herself? (In which case, probably not at all in our society).

[quote]Offering limits is not "wrong", but shouldn't we be completely open about what can trigger a child to wean and what encourages weaning? [.quote]

The operative word there, though, is "can." Perhaps setting limits will encourage one child to wean while another's nursing rhythm won't be at all impacted by limits.

Quote:
CLW can occur on a huge spectrum. But, there has to be a solid definiton of CLW if there is to be such a term in existance and it be something to discuss and aim for in our relationships with our children.
Absolutely - it's a huge spectrum, as we see from the experiences of the mothers on this board. What I'm seeing here, though, is no acknowledgement of that spectrum. I see the desire to employ absolutes and give CLW a very narrow definition. that would exclude many people who seem to me to still be practicing CLW.

I guess I would ask what the point of that is. Yes, there needs to be a definition, but why adopt a definition that excludes those who actually do have the sort of nursing relationship that the term, taken literally, would describe? It seems that one group has decided that the term should be defined to include only one end of the spectrum and is using it as a faulty guage by which to evaluate everyone else.
post #96 of 107
Dragonfly and Mom4tot said it so well, but I'll add my 2-cents (again).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaka Falls
What is the point in having terms if they don't have meaning? If a term like "child-led weaning" exists, it's b/c there are certain things that fall under the category and certain things that don't. Perhaps different people have different perspectives, but that doesn't mean all perspectives are correct. "Child-led" means "child-led".
The point of having CLW discussions here at MDC is not to give mothers stringent guidelines to religiously follow (and if they don't then they don't "belong") but rather to invite support and understanding of one another's experiences for those who are choosing to let their children wean when they are ready. I think that is the only absolute you can place on CLW, the child stops breastfeeding when he/she is ready. Everyone has their own ideas and ideals for their breastfeeding relationship, we are all different and alike in some way. Placing such stringent expectations on a mother is not the point. I don't want to scare mothers away simply because a very few are placing a very narrow definition on CLW to the point that they are saying those who don't follow it are parent-led weaning their children regardless of when the child decides to fully wean. To me, that is ridiculous and I too shudder at that. If it were a true and absolute scientific definition, which it is not, then I don't think anyone could call themselves CLW (if you wait until each child has fully weaned). I have noticed those who vocalize the stringent definition tend to have children who are still in the very early stages of breastfeeding. I have nothing against that as long as it is clear that it is their own definition not the defintion of the word.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaka Falls
It's standard at our LLL meetings to point out that anytime anything other than the breast is put to the child's mouth for feeding times, weaning has been introduced. That's usually pointed out during discussions of "what to tell people when they ask when the child will wean". Perhaps if that's not truly what LLL Leaders mean, they should rephrase.
Yes, in the stretch of the word "wean", weaning does start when anything other than breastmilk is introduced. But in the absolute of the word, even in this case, "wean" is ultimately the complete cessation of breastfeeding. I don't think anyone could argue with that.

I have always seen the use of "we are weaning" as a means to either get people to stop asking "when will they wean?", or to soothe the mother's worries that her child "will never wean", or simply to open the mind of the mother to see that breastfeeding is a process and weaning does happen naturally not suddenly.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaka Falls
If one's baby wants to nurse, the mom knows the baby wants to nurse, but offers something other than the breast, what is that if not instigating weaning? Offering limits is not "wrong", but shouldn't we be completely open about what can trigger a child to wean and what encourages weaning?
I think the key word here is "baby". I think we all agree that babies should be nursed on demand without limits. When I think of childled weaning, I personally think of children beyond toddlerhood (or at least well into toddlerhood) only because that is when weaning will eventually happen, and that is when the mother (not all, but most, generally speaking) ultimately knows whether or not she will let her child decide when to wean or not. This is when limits, within reason, are a healthy part of life. Children need their parents to teach them what limits are.....learning how to wait, compromising, meeting and respecting one another's needs....to teach them what it is to be a part of a loving relationship. Childled weaning shouldn't mean letting your child completely dictate the breastfeeding relationship.

Quote:
CLW can occur on a huge spectrum. But, there has to be a solid definiton of CLW if there is to be such a term in existance and it be something to discuss and aim for in our relationships with our children.
In the past couple of years that we have had discussions on CLW, only recently have I heard such narrow definitions on the term. We need to be very careful here. Some mothers are already excluding themselves because of a very few who call it "all or nothing". I think if we place such stringent guidelines on CLW then it will become an obsolete term which will inevitably leave many mothers out who thrive (and will thrive) on one another's support.
post #97 of 107
mother_sunshine
post #98 of 107
T

Quote:
If that's the case, then child-led weaning doesn't really exist, does it, if a child is ingesting food before he/she can seek it out, obtain it, and fix it up for him/herself?
I don't agree with that. IMO, if there is food on someone else's plate and a child propels themselves to it and stuffs in in their own mouth, they made a choice.
post #99 of 107
Coming in late in the thread. I have only read the first couple pages but wanted to answer the OP's question.

The youngest I have witnessed a child self wean is about three. This is my experience with my close friends. Most of their kids weaned somewhere between three (or slightly before) and about 4- 5 years.

One of my friends thinks that she CLW by creating an end date and stopping cold turkey. She stopped directly after her son turned two. There was at least a month of defiance and anger coming from her normally gentle son, but she felt it was a step she needed to take. She still wants to call it CLW..I think to help her with her desision.

The others I know that allowed their children to subtley, intuitively wean did not go through that stage.

My DD is almost three and I see signs of her decline in bfing, more interest in cuddling. I stay present, try to see the subtle signs of weaning she offers and take cues from that.

Take care all
Colleen
post #100 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2
I don't agree with that. IMO, if there is food on someone else's plate and a child propels themselves to it and stuffs in in their own mouth, they made a choice.
I don't agree with it either, necessarily (I was just responding with a possible interpretation of Chaka's statement). I think some would agree, though. There is another view that even when a child grabs food, puts it in their mouth and swallows, they're not necessarily ready to eat and allowing it is a step toward weaning.

It's just another example of how many grey issues there are with respect to CLW.
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