On CLW, definitely. I would personally never wean before my child wanted to. Well, unless God forbid there were a legitimate medical reason (which are very few, but we've had moms come to LLL for help with forced weaning if they have to go on chemo or something drastic like that, so sad
) My DD1 weaned during this last pregnancy; she was not quite 3 1/2, and I would have been fine with continuing (I actually thought it would be neat to be "triandem nursing"
) DD2 shows no signs of weaning, in fact she's going through a milkies-obsessed stage where she wants to nurse almost as much as DS does!
For those who said they weren't quite comfortable with the thought of total CLW, just take it one day at a time! I was actually one of those people who said, when I was pg with my first, "Oh I will only nurse for 1 year, I would never be one of those 'extremists' who nurse forever and go to LLL meetings' and now here I am, one of the biggest lactivists I know
The thing is, it's hard to imagine until you get there, but they get "big" so quickly, all of a sudden they are turning one or two or three and to other people they look big but to you they still totally feel like your baby when you hold them and nurse them.
Anyway I think it's interesting, Katherine Dettwyler, a scientist who is pretty much the world's leading authority on anthropology and breastfeeding, has done years and years of research on normal breastfeeding patterns (i.e., what happens in traditional cultures where the natural course of bfing is not interrupted by artificial feeding products, marketing, societal roadblocks, weird cultural hangups, etc.) and based on those studies as well as analysis of our anatomy (when our final teeth come in, when our immune systems are fully developed) she concluded that the natural age of weaning for humans is anywhere between 2 1/2 and 7 years, and a good average duration for nursing would be around 4-5 years. She says anything under 2 1/2 should be considered premature weaning and discouraged (and usually, up to that point, what sometimes appears to be self-weaning is really a nursing strike or some other temporary situation and the child will go back to the breast with some time and encouragement.)
Anyway even on MDC I'm sure some of you will find that kind of weird, but I thought I'd share anyhow