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Can child lead weaning happen at 12 months?

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
I always have considered my oldest daughter to have self weaned at 12 months old but now I am wondering if I am wrong. My daughter never asked to nurse EVER. She did always accepted it if I offered but at a year I just stopped offering and she never asked. Is this child lead weaning since she never asked to nurse even after I stopped offering or am I fooling myself?
post #2 of 69
I have been wondering the same thing with my children. I nursed both boys until 12months, but they just slowed down and stopped. Now I am thinking that maybe they didn't self wean, but it was just a phase. I am curious to see what the other mamas say
post #3 of 69
I think true self weaning more often happens after 2 years of age.
I think not offering is also a weaning technique, so although its not what I'd consider a forced weaning but not entirely child led either.
My feeling about our child led weaning journey is that when my child tells me she no longer wants it when I offer then I'll know she's truly ready to stop.
post #4 of 69
This is a nursing strike that turned into weaning as you stopped offering. Babies do not self wean at 12 months. But it IS prime striking age.
post #5 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
This is a nursing strike that turned into weaning as you stopped offering. Babies do not self wean at 12 months. But it IS prime striking age.
This makes sense. I guess at that time in my life I didnt have enough information or guidance to understand what she needed...I just had another daughter (11/3/07) and I want to do better this time and go at least for two years.
post #6 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambersrose View Post
This makes sense. I guess at that time in my life I didnt have enough information or guidance to understand what she needed...I just had another daughter (11/3/07) and I want to do better this time and go at least for two years.
You will...good luck! And remember...12 months is quite an accomplishment in this society.
post #7 of 69
I don't think that "self-weaning" at 12 months is always a strike, unless the child abruptly stops. More often, I think, parents (often gradually) introduce substitutes for the breast in terms of comfort and nutrition. I saw this with a friend of mine, who never offered the breast for comfort when her son was upset...she walked him, patted him and otherwise comforted him. I think if you don't regularly go to the breast for comfort and frequent food (which I think so many of us do automatically) that you can inadvertently encourage premature weaning even though you may not ever be actively witholding the breast. Does that make any sense?
post #8 of 69
It can absolutely happen. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I've nursed for 7.25 years straight, through nursing strikes and every other obstacle, so I know what I'm talking about.

It was my nephew who self-weaned at 11 months. He actually had a nursing strike at about 10 months and my SIL, with my help, tried every trick in the book to bring him back to the boob. Incidentally, it started the same day he had vaccinations. He just wouldn't nurse after. But after a few days, he started nursing again, but just wouldn't nurse as much. He was an excellent eater, but only had water and EBM in a cup, and SIL even tried cutting that back to see if he'd want to nurse more for thirst. He didn't. Finally after about a month of tapering off, he just stopped for good. He was just over 11 months. SIL kept trying for a few weeks, and finally broke into the EBM stash in the freezer so that he could get breastmilk.

Yes, she tried all the tricks. She tried to sneak nurse him in is sleep. She tried withholding food/drink. She tried setting a relaxing mood, nursing in the bath, etc... He wouldn't nurse. Now, a few months later, he still needs to hold her breast when going to sleep. Or anybody's breast, if they happen to be there while he's going to sleep. He's not getting nourishment from the breast, but he's getting comfort from it, and that's something.
post #9 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roxswood View Post
I think true self weaning more often happens after 2 years of age.
I think not offering is also a weaning technique, so although its not what I'd consider a forced weaning but not entirely child led either.
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
This is a nursing strike that turned into weaning as you stopped offering. Babies do not self wean at 12 months. But it IS prime striking age.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
You will...good luck! And remember...12 months is quite an accomplishment in this society.


I don't believe that babies can truly self-wean at 12 months.

-Angela
post #10 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I don't believe that babies can truly self-wean at 12 months.

-Angela

You don't have to believe that it can happen for it to happen. I never believed it when people said it. Frankly, I thought it was an excuse to not nurse. I still think that most of the time it's an excuse, or the mother simply is uneducated about nursing strikes. My SIL, who this happened to, thought the same thing. She came to me in tears several times, telling me that she never wanted to be "one of those women" who said that her baby weaned himself early, because she herself had never believed them. She did everything right. She nursed within 20 minutes of his birth, co-slept (and still does), didn't start solids early, didn't overdo the sippy cup, etc... He had one bottle of EBM, three times a week, because she was finishing up RN school. He'd stopped the bottle by the time he weaned, though.

I think that 99.99999% of the time there are preventable circumstances that may or may not have made a difference to whether a child continues nursing or not. Maybe deep down the mother is ready to be done (or society has made her feel uncomfortable for nursing over a year) and a child picks up on that. Or maybe the baby liked eating enough that solids took precedence over breastfeeding. Perhaps there were supply issues following an illness or surgery or nursing strike that couldn't be overcome at such a late stage, even with pumping and frequent nursing.

Things happen. We can do nothing but make the situation as favorable to nursing as possible. It's ultimately up to the baby, because we can't force a latch.
post #11 of 69
Thread Starter 
My DD1 didn't stop latching on, she just never seemed into the whole BF thing. Once table food and the sippy cup were introduced (at 10 months) she seemed even less into it. I got to the point where I felt like I was doing it only for me and not her.
I now feel that babies NEED momma's milk for at least two years, if not into preschool age because of how hard it is to get the under five set to eat enough of the right food (this has just been my own personal experience and opinon). So now I dont think that if I had continued BF my DD1 it would have only been for me. She would have benifited greatly from it and I wont make the same mistake with DD2.
It is good to know that 12 months is common for BF strikes, I will have to remember that when DD2 hits the year mark! Thanks ladies
post #12 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
Babies do not self wean at 12 months.

"in the wild" they wouldn't survive at this age without breastmilk. there are always external influences why one year old babies seem to self wean. it's not their "free choice", they don't "decide" to wean, there are always other reasons that influence their behaviour. of course sometimes the mother doesn't see or know these factors. but i never would call it child led weaning or self weaning at this age.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/babyselfwean.html
post #13 of 69

What about at 17 months

So, is it a nursing strike or self-weaning when the 17-18 month refuses to nurse?
post #14 of 69
I know several babies in real life who were no longer interested in nursing at around 12 mos or so. Moms followed baby's cues and went with foods baby wanted and that led to weaning. Since these moms had no problem with that it was no big deal and they do call it self weaning. In one case, baby just was not interested in sitting still so mom switched to milk in a cup and finger foods and baby was happy to be able to move around and eat wherever. It happens. Since attachment parenting is about listening to baby's cues and meeting needs, it is possible, I believe, for a baby to self wean at 12 mos.
post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by KWare View Post
So, is it a nursing strike or self-weaning when the 17-18 month refuses to nurse?
Depends. Could be, or not. If it's all of a sudden or after illness or with teeth or the like, I'd call it a strike. If it's gradual it may be self weaning.

-Angela
post #16 of 69
I think that it is very hard for people with babies who like to nurse to understand than some babies don't.

I've been posting here about my 13 month old who's down to 2 or 3 times each 24 hours (and that's all at night). She's never liked to nurse. I have great examples around me of people who nursed thier babies until well after 2 (and until 5 in one sister's case). My DD never wanted to nurse for comfort. I had too much milk at the beginning. There was no way she could flutter suck and get nothing. She would try and still get enough milk to make her cough. So she prefered to be comforted in other ways.

She isn't doing a nursing strike. What she's doing looks nothing like a nursing strike. She isn't all that interested in other solid foods either. There have been plenty of days where she has eaten NOTHING in the 12 or 13 hours she's been awake. (We try our best to limit days that are that exciting - but sometimes, like today, that happens).

I offer regularily and she isn't interested. If that's not self weaning - then what is? She will let me put her into the nursing position (any of them), watch me bare my breast - then put her mouth on it for a few seconds (maybe suck once or twice), pop off and want to go play. If I try to keep her there and keep offering she throws a fit.

So I think that in rare cases a baby could self wean at 1. She was down to 2 or 3 nurses a day before (like a month before) we offered cow milk. So that wasn't a cause. At the point where she really stoped day nursing she was only getting water in sippies and no 'baby' food - only table food when we ate.

I guess - the fact is that I wish with all my heart that she would keep nursing. I really think it would be the best for her. But, for the life of me, I can't figure out a respectful way to get to to do it. I could take away all other food - but isn't starvation a form of torture?
post #17 of 69
Absolutely. My first self-weaned at about 14 months (either that or 16, I'm pretty sure it was 14). He would nurse every day upon waking, again at night before bedtime, and if he was sick, in the middle of the day, but only very occasionally. Until he hit a year, he was a voracious nurser. One day, he just decided he was done. I offered for a week, at the normal times, at other times. I tried keeping the same routine, I tried changing it, I tried everything but physically holding him down to cram the boob in his mouth. Finally, I realized that he was just done, and to try to pressure him into returning to something he had obviously moved on from was about me, and not about him or his needs.

B is almost 14 months, and he is nursing 2x per day. If I try to nurse him any more often, he literally screams and bites the sh!t out of my nipple to show his displeasure. We'll see...I really want him to nurse to at least 18 months, but I care more about following his lead and meeting his needs.
post #18 of 69
Kessed - yes, it is my opinion that if you were to try to withhold other sustenence from her in order to force her to the breast, that would be abusive. Just because another person has never "seen" a baby self-wean at an earlier age than normal doesn't mean it can't or doesn't happen. You know your baby best, mama. Listen to your heart and what she's telling you.
post #19 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyxx View Post

"in the wild" they wouldn't survive at this age without breastmilk. there are always external influences why one year old babies seem to self wean. it's not their "free choice", they don't "decide" to wean, there are always other reasons that influence their behaviour. of course sometimes the mother doesn't see or know these factors. but i never would call it child led weaning or self weaning at this age.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/babyselfwean.html
This is an excellent post!

I agree!
post #20 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
I think that it is very hard for people with babies who like to nurse to understand than some babies don't.
Absolutely! My kids have all loved to nurse and have nursed until they were 3. My 1yo still nurses 8+ times a day, and if she's anything like her brothers, will nurse that often until she's 2-2.5 years old. I think it helps that usually we don't start solids very early (ds1 started at 9.5m, dd started at 11 months), and we go straight to table food and don't spoon-feed, so they only ingest what they can pick up with their hands or a spoon and get into their own mouths. So they are fully dependant on breastmilk for much longer than most other babies.

So yeah, it was hard to imagine a baby that didn't just *love* to nurse. I'm glad I was with SIL through her breastfeeding year...it helped me to be a lot more understanding about bf issues, since I saw how hard she worked and it *still* didn't turn out the way she'd hoped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
I guess - the fact is that I wish with all my heart that she would keep nursing. I really think it would be the best for her. But, for the life of me, I can't figure out a respectful way to get to to do it. I could take away all other food - but isn't starvation a form of torture?
I agree with what you've said here. The only way my SIL would have been able to get my nephew back on the breast would have been to starve him of all solid food. She actually considered it for a moment.

So, to the people who "don't believe in" child-led weaning at a young age...is that what you'd have the parents of those babies do? Restrict them of solids and/or liquids to try to force them to turn to nursing for nutrition/hydration? Everybody keeps asserting that CLW just doesn't happen at that age, but it obviously does, and if there's no clear cause (like a nursing strike, medication, teething, etc) other than the baby preferring solid foods, then what? If the mother tries to nurse before meals, and the baby holds out for solids instead, is the mother supposed to withhold meals?
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