My son weaned before I was ready - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-18-2012, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a breastfeeding concern that is the complete opposite of most of the people I know. My son (now 14 months) self weaned when he turned one. He nursed for the last time on his birthday and then flatly refused after that. My plan was to allow him to nurse on demand for at least two years, so I was completely unprepared for being done with nursing so soon. I don't know if that's just what he wanted or if it is my fault in some way. (I definitely have some lingering guilt about it). I'm also TTC again, and would love some suggestions about anything I could do differently in the future to make nursing more enjoyable for future babies.

Here are some more details:
-I nursed on demand from birth, and had no significant difficulties with nursing.
-After the first couple weeks, he was a very fast eater- a 10 minute nursing session was long for him and he would often only want to nurse on one side.
-Based in the few times I pumped I suspect that my milk let down quickly, but not a whole lot came out when I wasn't letting down.
-He never seemed to love the act of nursing itself, and never liked to comfort nurse. He would nurse to eat, but would want to stop right away after the heavy milk flow was over.
-He started eating solids around six months. We didn't give him much baby food and loosely followed the BLW method and allowed him to feed himself and direct how much he ate.
-His weight gain was very slow and I wasn't confident that he was getting enough from breast milk anymore given how short a time he would nurse. (so I felt that introducing calorie rich solids was an important thing to do)
-I always offered nursing before eating solids, but he pretty quickly started refusing to nurse right before meal time.
-By 8 or 9 months he had completely stopped asking to nurse. I would offer before and after naps and bedtime, but he would't always want to.
-Between 8 and 10 months he independently went down from 2 to 0 feedings at night. (we stopped sharing a bed at 8 months because he wasn't sleeping well next to me any more and we discovered that he slept much better in a crib in another room).
-He gradually stopped nursing before his naps and bedtime (I tried to offer and encourage in a low stimulus environment, but he would flat out refuse to nurse and got VERY upset if I tried to push it).
-The last feeding to go was the first thing in the morning feeding, which he gave decided he was finished with the day after his birthday.
-I didn't purposely try to restrict, or limit, or cut back on his nursing at all the entire 12 months. All of the weaning was either caused by baby, something about my breasts/milk production/milk flow, or something I did unintentionally.

So I guess I'm wondering if there is something that I could have done to make nursing more appealing to him? Or is it possible that that my little guy was just naturally self-weaned early? Also, if this has happened to anyone else, any suggestions on overcoming guilt would also be appreciated.

Laura ~ crafty, hiker, knitter, teacher, SAHM. Wife to DH, Mother to DS#1 (12/2010) and DS#2 (11/2011). Expecting DS #3 April 2nd 2014. Praying for an uncomplicated pregnancy and healthy baby!
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#2 of 14 Old 02-25-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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I wonder if you had an overactive let down...perhaps read up on that to see if it sounds familiar. From what I understand, there's not much you can do about it and its just something that happens to some women. Babies often act similar to your little guy regarding nursing with an overactive let down.


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#3 of 14 Old 02-25-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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At the time I suspected that I might have an over active let down, but I wasn't able to find any way via online research to change it or help my son like nursing better.

I just found out I'm pregnant again yesterday! I'm really hoping for any advice other mamas have to offer so breastfeeding baby #2 will be as positive an experience as possible.

Laura ~ crafty, hiker, knitter, teacher, SAHM. Wife to DH, Mother to DS#1 (12/2010) and DS#2 (11/2011). Expecting DS #3 April 2nd 2014. Praying for an uncomplicated pregnancy and healthy baby!
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#4 of 14 Old 02-25-2012, 07:35 PM
 
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i think that you get a chance to be proud that you gave your boy just what HE wanted, and HE picked the timeline for his weening, how wonderful!

we are sometimes so focused on nursing for "as long as they want" we forget that, that does not necessarily mean a long time. i know a few babies that weened in the 10-14 time. .i know a mom that introduced solids(at 7months) and her son weened 3 weeks later despite all attempts on her part to keep going. her other son never wanted to stop and happily went for 2 years. It sounds like your boy did it slowly and it worked for him. it certainly was not a nursing trike gone on too long or a reaction to something, so you can be happy in that i hope.

 

most likely your next child will be different, they all seem to be and naturally nursing longer is certainly the norm. If not, please feel great about giving your babies just what they want, that is the heart of great mothering after all. Congratulations on the new pregnancy.


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#5 of 14 Old 02-25-2012, 07:41 PM
 
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Mostly, I wonder where he was (and is) getting his liquid intake.  Does he have another milk source?  If so, in the future you could consider not introducing other liquids to compete with breastmilk.  Though, as other posters said, there is a good chance your second child will be totally different!

 

Good luck with your pregnancy and CONGRATS!!!


 

 

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#6 of 14 Old 02-25-2012, 08:53 PM
 
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I agree with PP - it sounds like your son was just ready to be independent early on. Congrats on listening to him, remaining open to offering, and respecting his decision to self-wean. You can't ask for any more than that, mama. =)

Just a homegrown heretic hopelessly in love with her amazing DH, 2.5 year old Eli, and now expecting a new arrival April 2015.
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#7 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 02:10 AM
 
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I had to wean my DD when she was 7 months because my thryoid was killing my supply and the way she nursed just let it tank.  She sucked her thumb more or less from birth for comfort, so she wouldn't comfort-nurse.  She discovered at 5 months that the bottles she got (of my milk) when with XP were quicker than my tanking supply let down.  Unfortunately this coincided with my let-down for the pump vanishing...  She discovered at 6 months that she could feed herself a bottle.

 

I think if i'd had a normal supply i MIGHT have been able to keep her going for 12 months, as it was by 7 months i was down to one feed a day and on poor advice i just stopped offering it and she never cared (and by then she could undo my nursing bra, so i could tell if she wanted to nurse).  She just didn't care too much about the boobies.  She liked solids, she liked being active, she liked rolling about with her bottle, not having to lay still with mama for the breast.

 

Her little sister could NOT BE more different.  She nurses for food, comfort, boredom, to get to sleep and to tackle pain.  I just nursed her 20hrs/day for the last 3 days through a bad ear infection.  She's nearly 21 months and the idea of having to try and wean her makes my head spin!  We tried to night wean her at 19months and currently she still has at least 1 feed in the night (which i plan to work on more once i tackle the ear infection recovery!).  They're all different.  MOST babies will wean between age 2 and age 4 if allowed to wean themselves.  But just as some will want to nurse until they're 8yo's, some will wean when they're only a year old.  Don't beat yourself up, you did a great job, and by giving him breastmilk for 12 months you gave him it for about 11.75month longer than many of his peers will have received it.  It's HARD to BF in this culture, and you did it!  Well done!

 

ETA - i also wanted to mention that i have been able to give DD1 more breastmilk since her sister's birth.  I often pump it and make her mamamilk hot chocolates or smoothies when she's ill.  So though his nursing times are over you may find in the future you are still able to provide this for him if you want to.

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#8 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the kind words everybody. I'm realizing that I gave my son exactly what he wanted and needed. I think I feel regret for personal and possibly selfish reasons. It definitely helps to hear your words of encouragement.

TiredX2- I didn't give him other liquids besides breast milk until he cut back on nursing, and I worried he would get dehydrated. Then I started offering water. I never gave him juice or other calorie rich beverages, so I don't think he was filling him up with other liquids. I started offering cow's milk when he turned 1.

Laura ~ crafty, hiker, knitter, teacher, SAHM. Wife to DH, Mother to DS#1 (12/2010) and DS#2 (11/2011). Expecting DS #3 April 2nd 2014. Praying for an uncomplicated pregnancy and healthy baby!
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#9 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaydove View Post

I wonder if you had an overactive let down...perhaps read up on that to see if it sounds familiar. From what I understand, there's not much you can do about it and its just something that happens to some women. Babies often act similar to your little guy regarding nursing with an overactive let down.



I'd keep this in mind for your next one. I had overactive letdown and it was a bear to get under control. My DS used his thumb for non-nutritive sucking until he was about 3 months old (when I finally got my supply under control!) I wonder if he would have weaned early if nursing had been such a sprint for him all the time as it had been in those early days.

 

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

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#10 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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PatioGardner, do you have any tips for controlling overactive letdown? Or did your body just regulate it on its own? I tried some of the tips I got online about nursing on one side per feeding and encouraging him to drain all the hind milk. He was resistant to nursing once the fast flow was over and it seemed to make my supply go down, so it gave up after a while.

Also, I don't know if you have more than one child, but if so, did you have overactive letdown with every baby? I'm wondering if it's something that will for sure happen again.

Laura ~ crafty, hiker, knitter, teacher, SAHM. Wife to DH, Mother to DS#1 (12/2010) and DS#2 (11/2011). Expecting DS #3 April 2nd 2014. Praying for an uncomplicated pregnancy and healthy baby!
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#11 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 05:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadTown16 View Post

PatioGardner, do you have any tips for controlling overactive letdown? Or did your body just regulate it on its own? I tried some of the tips I got online about nursing on one side per feeding and encouraging him to drain all the hind milk. He was resistant to nursing once the fast flow was over and it seemed to make my supply go down, so it gave up after a while.
Also, I don't know if you have more than one child, but if so, did you have overactive letdown with every baby? I'm wondering if it's something that will for sure happen again.


I only have one child, so I can't tell you about OALD and #2.

 

I did NOT expect it with my DS and ended up having to do dramatic things to get the flow to slow. I also had over supply. I swear I could have nursed triplets. I could pump 15 oz in under 10 minutes. It was awful for both DS and me.

 

I did all of the following:

  • block feeding - nursed only on one side for 10 hours, then switched. I worked up to 10 hours from 2. I tried really hard not to pump that other side at all - sometimes I had to a little for comfort. Used ibuprofen for the pain.
  • nursed with my DS sitting upright, and me leaning back to slow the flow
  • Expressed a little before the first feed on the new breast to reduce the massive flow
  • cut out any milk-encouraging foods (like oatmeal!)
  • ate sage in quantities I never want to think about again (see kellymom.com for instructions)
  • completely drained my breasts to "re-set" supply. Did this 3 times before I saw a result. I can get you the article if you are interested.
  • I considered using sudafed (pseudoephedrine) but in the end didn't need to.

 

I think I got the quantity and flow under control by about week 7, but still needed to be careful and block-nurse until after 6 months. He was a year before he took more than 1 breast per feed. I feel really fortunate that he didn't get used to the fast flow. He did have a couple of nursing strikes but they were from mouth/throat pain not from flow preference, and with persistence and coaxing (and pain medication) I could get him back to the breast.

 

A couple of things about my situation: I leaked like crazy until about 6 months. My baby nursed about every 90 minutes for the first 3 months, but only for about 5 minutes at a time. His milk transfer was not bad, but I think that's because of my massive supply and let down. He had a lip-tie and tongue tie. The lip-tie was cut at 8 weeks and he became a much better nurser, and gained at a faster rate then. I wish I had the tongue-tie clipped at the same time, but it eventually stretched out enough for me to nurse comfortably.

 

I hope something in my story may help if you are ever in the same situation.

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#12 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 05:48 PM
 
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Nursing strikes are pretty common at that age. http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbnovdec92p173.html


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#13 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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I would also encourage you to have faith in yourself and your ability to nurse your child!  Dehydration is nothing to laugh at, but look for the signs of it and if your older infant is nursing rarely but growing and showing no signs of dehydration don't assume that they are getting dehydrated.  Some children can drink extremely rapidly and get more in just 5 minutes than others get in 30-40 minutes. 

 

Good luck and try not to "borrow trouble"---- no two children are the same :)


 

 

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#14 of 14 Old 02-28-2012, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the suggestions and support!  I'm definitely feeling more confident now.


Laura ~ crafty, hiker, knitter, teacher, SAHM. Wife to DH, Mother to DS#1 (12/2010) and DS#2 (11/2011). Expecting DS #3 April 2nd 2014. Praying for an uncomplicated pregnancy and healthy baby!
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