I have a million thoughts racing through my head...let's see if I can get a few of them down coherently! :LOL
I do believe that the definition for CLW has different definitions for different people and that there isn't one set definition. My definition includes no active interference in the nursing relationship by the mother, but also includes things like teaching nursing manners and includes setting a few limits (like no nursing while Mama is driving
). Nursing is a relationship between nursling and mama. It's important that both be committed to the relationship and that it is a working, comfortable relationship for both. I don't expect all mothers to be comfortable with clw, just as I don't expect all mothers to be comfortable with having a homebirth or with homeschooling or with eating brussel sprouts. Every mama is different (and I don't care how good brussel sprouts may be for me, I just won't eat 'em! :LOL ). I also understand mothers who agree with the concept of CLW but find it difficult in practice. Although I think CLW is ideal, it's not always best because if Mama isn't happy with the nursing relationship, then it will affect the nursling negatively (although not intentionally).
I do believe I'm practicing child-led weaning. I have nursed one through one pregnancy, tandem nursed, tandem nursed through pregnancy, triandem nursed for over 18 months, my oldest ds self-weaning on his fifth birthday as he planned for 6 months ... and one year after his weaning I'm now tandem nursing during pregnancy again.
Pregnancy doesn't interfere with CLW in my case because my supply is still there (I have oversupply issues when not pg...my LLL Leader/lactation consultant and I joke that the only way to fix my oversupply is for me to get pg!), if I experience nipple pain or a bout of extreme nausea while nursing, I just practice relaxation techniques and get through it (because it's not that bad that I can't do that), and I happen to very much enjoy pregnant nursing.
I do work 9 hours a week (3 hours, 3 days a week) away from home, but am able to bring my nurslings with me as long as they have a need to nurse during that time. When they're old enough that they don't require nursing during that time, they stay with Daddy or up the hill from my work with my parents (who upon occasion will bring a nursling to my office to nurse if they're tired, need mama comfort, etc.). I don't believe that this interferes with nursing, as they get to nurse whenever they want and it's natural for a mother to be unavailable to nurse occasionally. (I could go into detail about my kids and why it has worked especially well in our experience, but I won't bore you with details!)
My oldest ds ... my "natural weaner" ... planned his weaning for 6 months. That's just the way he is. He decided that he really didn't need to nurse anymore and was ready to wean, but wanted to ease himself into it. He's a planner. He nursed sporadically for those 6 months...really slowing down toward the end. A week before his fifth birthday, he changed his mind. He nursed every day. The day before his birthday he said he was really ready. I told him it was up to him and that I'd nurse him as long as he needed. He nursed for the last time in our bed ... just the two of us ... he asked me to tell him "his story" (his birth, nursing him as a baby, nursing through Zachary's pregnancy, tandem nursing, nursing through Haley's pregnancy, triandem nursing) and I did - for 20 minutes as he nursed for the last time. That was it. He woke up the next morning "weaned". He's asked to try a few times since then, I've let him, and he's laughed when his mouth gets near my breast. There was no pressure for him to wean. I left it totally up to him. He even said he'd un-wean on his sixth birthday ... I reminded him of that fact a few days before his 6th birthday and he thought it was funny.
Zachary is 4.5 and continues to nurse. Haley is 2.5 and continues to nurse. I'm pregnant again and haven't seen the slightest dip in my supply ... as a matter of fact, my right breast (Zachary's breast
) got a big engorged last night because he didn't nurse before bed. I once asked Zachary if he was going to wean (we were talking about Alex's weaning and a friend of his who weaned ... it was in the context of the conversation) and he said, "Yeah...probably when I'm 10 or maybe 16 like Rachel (his babysitter!)...it has to be two numbers old though, not 6 or 7 or 8 or 9." So I guess we have a ways to go!