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Introduce Yourself (please don't be afraid to join us)

post #1 of 417
Thread Starter 
I've noticed that it has been slow here lately, so I started thinking about why. It may just be because CLW is such a new concept to most people (and a concept without a clear definition at that). Or maybe it is because we don't tend to ask a lot of questions even though it is so important for us to know that one another exist (just "being here" is enough). But what I fear most is that mamas are scared off by the lack of definition and are afraid that they are not "extreme" enough (or too extreme) to join us. So I felt the need to start this thread.

Discussions are always more meaningful when you know who you are talking to, so please tell us who you are (real name not necessary) and anything else about your Child-Led journey that you would like to share. We all come from different walks of life, so it's nice to learn from one another. Please don't be afraid to join us. CLW may be new and intimidating to you, and that is okay. You may be afraid that you will not complete a fully "child-led" journey and that is okay. As long as your heart is in it and you agree with the basic philosophy of trusting your child's needs.

New and old, all are welcome.

Addendum (because I feel this is very important in order to maintain the integrity of the forum)....

I just wanted to point out that we did not start the child-led weaning forum as a forum with a strict one-size-fits-all definition. There are clearly different views on what exactly is child-led weaning and that's to be expected since we are all individuals following our own individual paths. The term "child-led weaning" has subjective meaning. There are clearly different categories under the title "child-led weaning" but, first and foremost, we need to respect our differences and not consider one way as being right and the other as wrong. Just as in any forum here at MDC, there are differences. Like in the homeschooling forum there are unschoolers and there are traditional homeschoolers (and tons in between), but all belong.

I think some threads (such as no limits vs. limits) may make some mamas feel like they don't belong here BUT I think we all need to realize that there is really nowhere else to discuss these topics and receive mutual support. They need support just as much as anyone here. I just ask that we all be careful in our terms and opinions that may shun others away and thus lose much-needed support. The thought of mamas feeling like they don't belong here just because they place/placed limits (or, alternatively, not place any limits) even though they are letting their child decide when to wean from the breast...makes me incredibly sad because I fought hard, really hard, alongside other mamas (of differing ideals) to have this forum put up so other mothers like us would receive whole-hearted support without constant disagreement and criticism (as we were receiving in other forums at the time).

Even though we all carry our own definition, if we are letting (or even intend to, or hope to let) our children ultimately decide when it is time to wean, regardless of age, then we all belong in the child-led weaning forum.

post #2 of 417
Thread Starter 
I'll go first.

I am Michelle. My dd is 8yrs and self-weaned last summer. When we started out I had no idea that this would be a "journey". I had the mainstream ideal that breastfeeding was just part of general baby care (like changing diapers), and that we would naturally go 1 year. But when 1 year came it was clear that dd still needed to nurse and it felt more right to continue than it did to stop. So we continued, planning "1 more year" each year, until I finally "got it" that the ideal of our baby naturally stopping at 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4...) was unrealistic for us. I hit some roadblocks (due to bad advice), made mistakes and learned along the way, but luckily dd always knew what she needed and didn't give up on me. We continued until she was ready, and the complete journey was worth it. Although I didn't find MDC until dd was a little older, the support here has been wonderful and played a huge factor in allowing me to trust myself and my dd. I hope others will find the same heartwarming and encouraging support that I did. I like to hang around, just to offer my BTDT 2 cents and let mamas know that I am here for support when needed.

post #3 of 417
I'll join in!

I'm Becky and I have a 17 month old daughter, Ella. When I was pregnant I planned to nurse for a year although plenty of people told me how unrealistic that was. I did no research into breastfeeding I just knew I wanted to do it and that it was better than formula. My plan to breastfeed for a year had more to do with avoiding formula than anything else.

Then DD was born and took to nursing straight away. Then at 2 months old she had a nursing strike which was very scary. Finding LLL helped us through the strike and through them I learnt all about how wonderful breast milk and breastfeeding is. I met mothers nursing toddlers and I was surprised to find myself thinking how cool it was and how I wanted to do it too!

Now I feel committed to letting Ella wean herself. She is a huge nursing fan and likes to nurse at least once an hour. I love nursing her but it is tough and sometimes when she approaches me for the 3rd time in an hour to nurse I really want to say no but I never do.

I also worry about getting pg again and the effect that might have on our nursing relationship.

I feel as if we are still at the beginning of our journey and we have a long way to go. I'm sure I will be calling on you all for support many times in the next few years.
post #4 of 417
I'm here!

I mostly lurk, because we're in the middle of moving to another state and I don't have much time to post!

My name is Kelly and I'm nursing my youngest, who turned 3 last month. She shows no signs of stopping and I'm completely committed to child led weaning. (She's probably my last baby, since I'm almost 43, so I'm enjoying the fact that she's still nursing!)

I have three other children: one who will be 14 in April, one who will be 11 in May, and one who is 5 1/2.

We've been homeschooling for 9 years.

That's about it!
post #5 of 417
I'll go next.

I am Joan, mom of 2 great loving and independent children. I have been surrounded by breastfeeding since my early teens when my older sisters started having children. The idea of child- led weaning was just a small part of the natural birth, early bonding, nursing on demand and cosleeping spectrum. I even attended two of my sisters births

When Ellie was born, she nursed right away. I can still remember her newborn eyes peering up to me the first time she nursed. She nursed often and for long periods of time. I nursed for comfort, for feeding and it all blended together. Thank goodness I didn't listen to a couple of the nurses telling me about "10 minutes on each side". It was apparent that Ellie was leading the way and not going to stop at 2, 4, 6...:LOL Like Michelle, I have learned a lot along the way and done more reading and research re: fertility and such. Ellie says she will stop when she's 20 She admits to not getting milk for some time, but still likes to nuzzle and be part of the nursing circle. She calls nursing, "pleasnt and warm".

I don't think about Ben's nursing much..he nurses to sleep and upon waking, sometimes through the day for comfort. He is very energetic, let's say and as dh used to say when he was a baby, "Thank God he nurses!" That still cracks me up, because of what different babies they were. Ben has a short fenulum, he is not tongue tied, but is a bit tight. He has nursed great, but I worked with his latch a bit. He falls asleep occassionally with Ron, without nursing and often prefers Ron, so sometimes I wonder if he will wean earlier (or before) :LOL Ellie. We are currently ttcing as well.
post #6 of 417
I'm me When I was pregnant with my first, I just decided I'd nurse. I was completely ignorant about the whole process, knew no one who had nursed, but also realized that if it was nature's way, it must be good/right. So, just assuming 100% that I'd be successful, I declared I'd nurse.

So, ds1 nursed, and at 6 months of age, the ped said I could switch him to formula. "Hmmm" thought I, "I have the perfect food, right here, in the perfect amount, at the perfect temperature, at all times, and it's free. WHY would I go out and buy something that needed to be prepared, carried around, cleaned up after and was INFERIOR to boot?"

So, I ignored the ped. I figured, ds would wean by the time he walked. Then he didn't. So we just kept going on. By the time he got to be 2, I'd had 1 1/2 years of "Are you STILL doing that?" and I was secretly starting to get a little worried. He weaned at 2 1/2.

No worries with dd, my experience with ds had given me confidence, and she nursed until almost 4.

Ds2 is going to be 5 next month and he has skipped a few bedtime nursing sessions in the last few weeks, although he's holding fast to the a.m. nursing.

I never set out to nurse ANY of them as long as I did--one day just led into the next and I could never find any compelling reason to initiate weaning. I just sort of blindly trusted that they knew what they needed and that they wouldn't nurse forever.
post #7 of 417
well, I've been lurking in this forum mostly. I'm nataly, with 3.5 year old bean and one-next-saturday cubby(sniffle.) they are both nursing like crazy, and while it is overwhelming at times, i am definitely so glad i am still nursing them.

post #8 of 417
I'm Kathryn. My dd is only 8 months, but I plan to let her nurse as long as she wants (and she loves it so I think it'll be a while ). This is my first child and she's a wonderful learning experience to me. I knew though even before I was pregnant that I would nurse far beyond a year of age. It's just what I thought was most natural. Same with not birthing in a hospital and AP'ing. Just my natural mindset.
post #9 of 417

I'm laura, dd is 2 and still nurses like a champ! When we first heard of child-led weaning, it was like a litebulb went off! And we've now applied "child-led thinking" to many other areas of parenting. Our ds (4) just self weaned from his bottle and next weekend is his party.

I think this is a great forum and even though I dont use it often, its nice to know we're not the only ones. (especially when IRL I'm the only one I know that bf past 1 month, let alone child led....)

post #10 of 417
And I'm that silly mama that keeps posting that her ds has/might have weaned! He's 5 years 3 months and most recently skipped 3 weeks before nursing again 2 nights ago! The people on this forum (and previously the CLW thread) have been soooo encouraging and informative! I'm so grateful!

How we got here: I was a 40yo career-woman when I gave birth to ds, my first child. I had heard that the AAP recommended nursing for a year (don't you hate it that everyone misses the "minimum" of one year? ), so I was committed to a year. I even bought a breast pump because of course I would go back to work in 12 weeks. Well, I was totally unprepared for MATERNAL INSTINCT! I quit my job without ever going back! We started with a crib, then a few weeks into it, brought baby to bed. This mainstream career woman morphed into a near-crunchy mama! We attended our first LLL meeting at 8 months, met some cool people, learned some things (began cloth diapering), and now we're committed to homeschooling too. Through it all, dh has been very supportive of meeting ds's needs through breastfeeding. Ds has taught me so much; I trust he will know when he's done breastfeeding (but be prepared for a couple more "announcements" from me before he officially wraps things up!:LOL).
post #11 of 417
Hi - I'm Elizabeth. My ds is 3 1/2, and my dd is 8 months. I had a rough start nursing ds. I had an induced labor due to preeclampsia, and an archaic ped who forbade nursing while I was on the mag sulfate IV. Ds nursed right after he was born, again 4 hours later, then it was 20 hours until he nursed again. It took us many months to recover from this bad beginning.

But we did! He is still nursing some at 3 1/2. Although I think he's close to letting go. He only nurses about once a week now.

My family thinks I'm nuts. I got some raised eyebrows when ds was 18 months old and we nursed in the ladies' lounge at my brother's wedding reception. (Not an easy task in a formal bridesmaids gown!) Then I got frowns when he nursed at his second birthday party. Then I got outright hostility when he asked to nurse at dd's baptism.

He nursed all through my pregnancy, even though his nursie milk dried up halfway through. Then he nursed MORE than my newborn after my milk came back! Finding a balance between their nursing was a challenge! I heard a lot of "No! Don't nurse Lila! Nurse BOTH kids!"

nak now

People have stopped asking when he'll stop nursing. I've also stopped telling them anything about our nursing relationship. I'm tired of their judgements.

I don't know if dd will nurse as long as ds has, but that's up to her! I certainly hope she goes until two at least.
post #12 of 417
before I do my intro, callmemama, your story sooo much sounds like mine. I finally got embarrassed after about the thousandth annoucnement, and just stopped making them...so much so that I'll hear people telling others, "oh, and Delia nursed til she was, what, 4 1/2, wasn't it?" or "Yeah, you can do it. Delia nursed til she was 6!" I just smile and shrug and let the number stand, because I decided that it isn't the AGE at which the child weans on her own that's important, it's that she does it. And if my friends think any age past 1 was cool, it flies for me.

I'm Mary, with one dd, who's 8. When I started the breastfeeding journey, I knew one child who had nursed to 4, lots of kids who were still in their parents' bed at school age, and I was intrigued. I aimed for nursing into toddlerhood, generally told people that first year that we were going for 2. Some people told me that if it went past 18 months, I'd have a hard time weaning her...but by the time she was that age, it was pretty clear that ANYTHING that wasn't at least partly her idea wasn't going to fly with my spirited little one.

DD weaned at about 7 1/2; I'm pretty confident this time that she really is done. Last night the poor dear got 8 stitches in her eyebrow, and although she clung tight to my hands and stared deep into my eyes as the stitching happened, she never once thought of asking to nurse.

It was a truly one day at a time journey, and I defnitely was NOT some absolute purist; I preserved her right to nurse and to define the duration of her nursing, but we did some "geographical" weaning and commonsense times when I asked her to please stop so we could get out the door LOL...

I feel content that her weaning was a sign that she finally was satisfied, and that she has a well of love and good memories to draw upon. She was so brave and funny last night. I'm glad she got here on her own terms.
post #13 of 417
Hey Kathryn--I don't know if you remember me or not--from the "other" board. How are you?

I'm Kristy by the way--mommy to Payton Emery. He turned 11 months today Getting so big on me. I visit here often but I don't usually post. I just ordered my first batch of cloth diapers and I'm really excited. Any tips? Suggestions? Oh, and one other question......I breastfeed Payton (yay 11 months strong) however because of some tragedy and 2 10 day long hospital stays, my milk supply probably never got to where it should have been. I nurse him often and as much as he wants they just seem "empty" to me. Is it too late to try to get my supply back up. I thought I did (he was only getting 1 formula bottle for the longest time) but it seems like he's having a growth spurt and is always hungry. He pulls off crying so I don't think he's getting what he wants from the breast? Any suggestions?
post #14 of 417
post #15 of 417
Hi, I'm Ruth.

My Mom nursed all 3 of us (which was very unusual in 1969-1973) and I always knew I would nurse my babies. I "self-weaned" at 11mo, the day I took my first steps (apparently not much was known about nursing strikes in 1973 ) and I used to put stuffed animals under my shirt, "give birth" to them, and then "nurse" them. It never occured to me that anybody would NOT want to nurse their baby, or initiate weaning for anything other than medical reasons. (My mother didn't initate weaning with any of us: Jeffrey nursed the whole 6.5 months he lived, and David nursed until my Mom was told to wean him because she was pg with me.)

My first baby was born at home with a midwife- of course I was going to nurse her!! In fact, it was thoughts of "what will I do with her when she's a toddler if I can't nurse her?" that got me through a particularly rough spot in the beginning. Nor did it occur to me to wean when I got pg again.

When Hannah was 13mo and Leah was 28mo, I listened to a "friend"'s advice and introduced a bottle to Hannah. Leah wanted nothing to do with it!! It was a very stressful time in my life- my marraige was falling apart, and I leaned heavily on this particular friend for support. By the time Hannah was 14mo, she was completely weaned to a bottle, though that had NOT been my intention. I'm pretty sure that if I'd had internet access at that time, I wouldn't have let her wean. (Hannah STILL shows signs of extra clinginess, likes to snuggle up to my breast and pretend to nurse, etc, while Leah is much more self-confident.)

About a month after that, Leah weaned. I'm not sure how much was child-led and how much was mother-led, I usually think of it as a mutual weaning. It's quite possible Leah would have continued to nurse occasionally for months or years after that if I'd known that was an option. I had pretty much lost contact with all my LLL friends when Hannah weaned.

After Leah weaned, I spiralled down into a very deep depression. I wasn't sure if it was the hormonal changes, a delayed reaction to Hannah's premature weaning, or truly feeling a sense of loss for Leah's weaning. What I do know is that I went on Prozac (mistakingly beleiving it was unsafe to take while nursing) and it was painful for me to think about breastfeeding for several years afterwards. It wasn't until I was pg again that I could read a book about breastfeeding without feeling a huge sense of guilt and regret.

From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I knew that this child was going to nurse as long as he needs to, and NOBODY is going to take that away from me!!!!
post #16 of 417

Welcome, mommy to Payton

I'm Adrianne, mama of one spirited ds who will be three next month.

My ds defined our nursing relationship, which has been blossoming since day one. When he was born, I had the "bud" of an idea of what breastfeeding was about and would be for us. Since then a new petal unfolds day by day, month after month, year after year. I still don't know how this journey will end.
post #17 of 417
Hi mams!!!

I'm Amanda...Mama to two angles, Alexander (self-weaned on his fifth birthday), tandem nurslings Zachary (4.5 years) and Haley (2.5 years) and I'm pregnant and due in September (and heard the baby's heartbeat today! Yay! ). I believe in CLW, natural weaning, whatever you want to call it (see senior title!). Alex and I have a joke about how he proclaimed himself a "weaner" ... not knowing the other connotations of the other spelling of that word! :LOL

I've been nursing for over six years straight. Of that six years, I spent 9 months of it pregnant and nursing, 11 months (so far) tandem nursing and pregnant, over 3 years tandem nursing and over 18 months triandem nursing.

My breastfeeding journey started when my husband, son of a La Leche League Leader, asked if I was going to breastfeed our first child. I, not knowing what else to say, said yes and thought I'd nurse for 3 months, maybe 6. The rest is history! :LOL My MIL jokes that she always hoped for a daughter-in-law who would nurse, but I've gone waaaay beyond her wildest dreams.

I continue to nurse my children in public and will do so until they wean. My children will choose when they wean, how they wean, and how they celebrate their weaning. My 2.5 year old daughter, who isn't planning on weaning until she's "at least 16 like Rachel (our friend/babysitter)" says she'll either get her ears pierced, her tongue pierced, or get a tattoo when she weans! :LOL (She's also planning on nursing our baby when it's born!)

If you happen to own a copy of "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" by Hilary Flower, mine is the first mother's story (although it's not my picture....there's a tiny picture of me nursing my oldest and youngest in the "perch" position in the positioning portion of the book).
post #18 of 417
Can I provisionally join? Dd is only a year, but I plan to CLW. However I might start working on #2 before dd is weaned, and I will probably start to set limits at some point (haven't yet) both of which I know are controversial topics around here : . But as it is now, I can't imagine ever refusing her . Apart from water, BM (from the tap) is her only fluid (well, VERY rarely very dilute juice) she gets lots of water tho.
I also reserve the right to rethink the decision when she's 5 (tho really what the difference between 4yrs 11 months, and 5 will be I have no idea :LOL )
post #19 of 417
I am here but not sure exactly how I feel about the CLW these days.
My girls are 4.4 and they show no signs of slowing down. I think my body is not dealing with this well.

time will tell.
post #20 of 417
Hi I am Karen my DS is 10mo. I plan to CLW with him my Mother bf'd my sister and I I was 1 1/2 when I weaned myself. I compleatly changed my way of thinking when I got pregnant even more when I had my son. I thought I would never nurse. (Now I wish everyone would nurse their children.) I co sleep (I never ever thought I would do that until I had him) and just my way of thinking. I don't normally post because most of the time the questions I would ask someone else already did and my answer is already there
Karen and Baby Joe
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