How young can they really Child Led Wean? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was having a conversation about this with someone and I know it comes up from time to time on different boards where mom's say their baby weaned at a year or 18 months or whatever.

Just wondering what you all think.
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#2 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 06:49 PM
 
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My DS weaned himself when I was pg....he was 16 months old. Now I will admit that in the first trimester nursing was *very* painful and I was *very* sore so I did limit the amout of time he was on the breast...but once it passed he had free range again and simply stopped nursing one night and never asked again....

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#3 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 08:16 PM
 
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I think that it depends on the child, but in my opinion I think even 2 is very young to self-wean (provided the mother is still making milk and is making breastfeeding readily available to the child).
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#4 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 08:57 PM
 
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I can't answer the question because my nursling is too little.

I do get a little irked when I hear moms say "DC weaned her/himself" at 18 months or less when it's obviously a nursing strike or another non-CLW scenario. I'm not trying to castigate women who need or want to wean, I just wish everyone would be more fastidious about the language and not misues the term. Calling a nursing strike "CLW" is a sign of either confusion or dishonesty and there's too much of both surrounding breastfeeding in our culture.

Uh, that was a little rant, wasn't it? Hope it was too derailing-ish, Crazyclothmom!
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#5 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 09:01 PM
 
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On a related note, I hear very few people make the distinction between CLW and CRW. There's nothing wrong with CRW -- it's very gentle and very AP -- and I hope that I hear the term used more frequently, because it seems to more accureately reflect what happens. Keep in mind, this is just my unfounded opinion, having never done any of it!
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#6 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 09:09 PM
 
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What is CRW?

The other day a mother told me her child stopped wanting to nurse at 9 mos. I found that more than a little hard to believe, but I don't know the situation so....

~ Robin
mama to Evan,8 Maya,5 and Gwen,16 mos.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bleu
On a related note, I hear very few people make the distinction between CLW and CRW. There's nothing wrong with CRW -- it's very gentle and very AP -- and I hope that I hear the term used more frequently, because it seems to more accureately reflect what happens. Keep in mind, this is just my unfounded opinion, having never done any of it!
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#7 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 09:14 PM
 
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I did not "need or want" to wean my 17 month old ds. He was not on a nursing strike, I tried and tried to keep him nursing. I pumped when he wouldn't nurse to keep up my supply, I offered the breast at every opportunity, I took warm baths with him several times a week for over a month, I did so many other things to keep our nursing relationship going.
Even after he stopped nursing completely, I pumped to keep up my milk suppy in case he wanted to nurse again. This went on for almost two months when finally I decided I was pushing it for myself and that he really was ready to wean HIMSELF.

I cannot believe how insensitive the above poster is being, I have been mourning the loss of my nursing relationship with my son for the past 5.5 months and to read how you think a mother who "claims CLW" is either lying or confused, well it just cuts me to the core.

I know I am sensitive about this issue and probably over reacting but I know from very sad experience that yes, they "really can wean that young". I wanted a child that would nurse until he was 3 or 4 and beyond
but instead I got a very independent little toddler who decided that he didn't need his mama's milk anymore and he decided it on his own.

I apologize if I am coming off harsh here, but I don't even know what the point of this thread is.

Jane

edited to add, I was taking issue with bleu's first post in this thread but it took me too long to type this response.
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#8 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 09:34 PM
 
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New to this forum and NAK

My daughter weaned at 18 months, but it was definitely not completely her decision- I was pg and taking progesterone to maintain the pregnancy. That said, however, she was always less "committed" to nursing than my first son, who nursed throughout another progesterone-supported pregnancy until age 3.

Annette

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#9 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 09:40 PM
 
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Can't us mama's give each other a break already? I mean if a baby nurses for 18 months that is a wonderful gift that mama gave that baby! We should all be proud of the mama and baby!
I don't think that anyone can ever say all babies do this or no baby has ever done that. All people are different and unless you know the specific situation at hand I think it's always a bad idea to generalize!
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#10 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 09:46 PM
 
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BTW, I didn't mean to imply that a child who nurses past 18 months is not independent. I certainly don't believe that.

mraven...
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#11 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 10:04 PM
 
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I still don't know what CRW is! I'd like to know about an alternative to CLW that is gentle and good....

Katie, DW to Megin, Mamma to Quinn (7y.o.) and Wylie, born 07-04-10
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#12 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 10:59 PM
 
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[QUOTE=kaimama] I cannot believe how insensitive the above poster is being, I have been mourning the loss of my nursing relationship with my son for the past 5.5 months and to read how you think a mother who "claims CLW" is either lying or confused, well it just cuts me to the core.
QUOTE]

ITA- that's a very painful comment to make towards any mother. but I've also heard people say this about the 3 or 4 year old who weans her/himself also.....kind of sounds like a "last one standing" philosopohy to me- a contest to one-up the next mama (i am NOT referring to pps specifically- hope it doesn't sound that way, reference is to other clw/crw comments).....if we know our own children the *best* and our instincts are to be *trusted* and *nurtured*- and i believe in my heart these are all true- then who is someone else to judge?? my son will wean when HE is ready- not when someone else (be they mainstream or ap) thinks he is. if someone else deems that "too early" frankly i'd put them in the same category as the people who already deem me "nursing too long"- disrespectful to the uniqueness, individuality and beauty in each nursing relationship.

i also agree that many people don't understand clw versus crw (child-respectful weaning which i use in cojunction with gentle-weaning but this may not be totally accurate so anyone feel free to correct me!!) versus nursing strike, etc. but when someone says "hey yes, i do know these terms and THIS is my situation" my only response is compassion and respect.
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#13 of 107 Old 08-26-2004, 11:51 PM
 
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Most 18 month old that I have know don't really go on nursing strikes.....they simply decided they don't want to nurse anymore (if that is the case) why is that so hard to believe????? Why if they obviously don't care about nursing should a mom feel like they need to somehow 'make' the child want to nurse? Why should they continue to offer or freak out about it? I mean we are not talking about a little baby that truly is on a *nursing strike* we are talking about a toddler that has decided for themselves (like they often do ) that they don't need to nurse any more......I just don't understand why this is so difficult for some people to believe and understand.

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#14 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 12:16 AM
 
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I do believe that the vast majority of children who wean before about two had decisions made for them that encouraged that weaning (for example, earlier solids introduction, use of bottles or sippies, etc...). That said, I don't really care either.

People on this board have allowed me to say that my DD "self-weaned" though IN REALITY, she did decide when her last nursing would be, but the limits I put on her *before* that completley changed her nursing timeline (IMO).

I have a good friend who's children have nursed 13, 16 and 15 months. She considers them to have weaned themselves down to one nursing daily and then she pushed that last one. Now, if she wanted to nurse longer, I would have MANY, MANY suggestions to make to change that but she doesn't want to change it, so I don't. KWIM? So, if she wanted to change that for a future child, that would be easy (IMO) but to say that her children didn't cut down *on their own* is pretty meaningless. And especially after the fact saying, "well, if you didn't start bottles at nine months maybe he wouldn't have weaned at 18 months" doesn't even make senseto do, imo.

That said, I don't really even think about CLW until after at least two, probably more like three (not think about doing it, but putting it in that context) because I figure children that age really can't make a *real* long term decision anyway.

Honestly, probably some of my opinions come down to good ole jealousy though. I would LOVE my children to self-wean right at 2.5-3. I get so jealous hearing these wonderful loving stories of self-weanings at 2-2.5 when I think about how HARD it was to nurse through a pg, tandem nurse, deal w/thrush and a two year old, etc... So, chalk up any negative feelings I exhibit to a bad attitude

 

 

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#15 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 12:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Most 18 month old that I have know don't really go on nursing strikes.....they simply decided they don't want to nurse anymore (if that is the case) why is that so hard to believe????? Why if they obviously don't care about nursing should a mom feel like they need to somehow 'make' the child want to nurse? Why should they continue to offer or freak out about it? I mean we are not talking about a little baby that truly is on a *nursing strike* we are talking about a toddler that has decided for themselves (like they often do ) that they don't need to nurse any more......I just don't understand why this is so difficult for some people to believe and understand.
I cannot answer why it is important for others, but I can for me. I believe that the chance that a child who was ecologically bfed from birth to wean before two would be rare enough to be statistically absent (not to say it doesn't happen, just that you can gamble on it not). I feel very strongly that every child deserves to be nursed for two years minimum. Since I believe that, I would have a lot of problems "allowing" my child to wean before that time frame. If there was nothing else I could do, I would pump, pump, pump as much as I could until at least two. I can't imagine my children doing that (for one thing, they would have no milk source, lol, and hardly any food intake!) but that is the decision I have made for my family. It is something important to me--- is that difficult for you to understand?

 

 

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#16 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 01:33 AM
 
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My post was insensitive to you, Kaimama; I'm sorry you felt bad over it. I'm also sorry that your son weaned before you wanted him to. I would be very upset if my son weaned before I was ready, too. Actually, I think I might be upset, or at least wistful and missing it when he weans no matter what.

Honestly, I wasn't really trying to be sensitive to various breastfeeding mothers and their histories; I was writing about how nitpicky I am about language use. We were talking about breastfeeding (mis)information in the abstract, not dissecting a particular nursing relationship (e.g., yours). You weren't in this thread yet when I posted, so it really wasn't as if I criticized you; you presented your account after I posted.

I also specifically said that I was NOT intending to bash anyone, including anyone in this thread or forum. My personal pique (which I think is a lot less judgmental than a lot of what I've read on this forum) doesn't mean I go around correcting other mothers and denigrating the validity of their experiences!

TiredX2 said "I do believe that the vast majority of children who wean before about two had decisions made for them that encouraged that weaning (for example, earlier solids introduction, use of bottles or sippies, etc...)." That is what I was referring to when I said people are misstating it when they say a very young toddler has CLWed.

Mamatoo3, CRW is "child-respectful weaning."
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#17 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 01:58 AM
 
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what TiredX2 said - I would have said essentially the same thing but she posted first!
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#18 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 11:50 AM
 
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Kellymom has good info about selfweaning Here's the page:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/babyselfwean.html


Based on a biological perspective it seems logical that only a small number of babies would choose to stop nursing before they are nearing two years. As we all know so well, they are all individuals and follow their own path. I saw a post yesterday from a mom whose 12 month old seems to be meeting all the natural criteria for self weaning. I do believe a few babies do this, and it doesn't reflect on the mama in terms of quality of mothering.

That said, I am one mom who inadvertantly encouraged weaning with my first child and had no idea that I was doing it. So I accidentally weaned ds1 and then misidentified the process as 'selfweaning' when it really wasn't. I've since learned more about it and ds2 will either be CLW or CRW after the age of two, I really don't know til I get there.

I hope that when a mom asks about selfweaning we can give out the accurate info she needs, not so that she will choose what we think is right but so she can understand what she is doing when she does make a decision. I feel this way because a) you can't force a child to continue nursing if they don't want to, and b) true selfweaning at a year or 18 months is not going to have dire consequences. I think it's as unrealistic to expect 100% of children to nurse past the age of two as it is to expect 100% of children to follow a set growth pattern. Most probably will, in general, but some won't. In nature, normal is variable.
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#19 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 01:23 PM
 
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i GUESS IT DEPENDS. i WAS 7 MONTHS PREGNANT WHN YANA WEANED. (SORRY CAPS) I know it was because my milk was drying up but she stopped asking, I never limited her she stoppd on her own. I think if I had more milk though she would not have. she was 16months.
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#20 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 02:50 PM
 
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I have a friend whose middle sone self-weaned at 15 months, however she was pregnant at the time. Now the mom is still nursing his older (5year old) brother and his little ( 1 year old) brother. It was certainly child-led on the part of this child.

Evergreen- Loving my girls Dylan dust.gifage8, Ava energy.gifage 4 and baby Georgia baby.gif (6/3/11).

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#21 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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Thanks to all of the posters for some great information and for being able to talk about this so respectfully. This is such a tough, personal issue. I found myself getting really defensive but worked through all the responses and figured out that I wanted to believe it was CLW with my first two when it was mostly my decisions. (Not always well educated or supported ones, but mine none the less.) Now with my last I will be more aware. I don't think I am dedicated to two years. I greatly respect that decision for others but just not for me. I do want to be more honest with myself about my motives this time. I will aim for child respectful (which the other two certainly were) weaning sometime after 18 months or so.

Maureen
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#22 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 04:10 PM
 
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My daughter weaned herself very suddently at 15 months, going from about 8 feeds every 24 hours to nothing overnight. She was in the middle of a nasty cold and every time she nursed she was sick. Nothing would entice her to nurse again. It definitely wasn't my decision. So yes, this can happen.
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#23 of 107 Old 08-27-2004, 04:54 PM
 
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I just wanted to pop in again and say that being accused of insensitivity has really made me feel bad -- for the poster who said it and, to be honest, for myself. I wanted to reiterate that I have no first-hand information on weaning at all, in that we haven't weaned (and I'm taking affirmative steps to keep from weaning). I respect other posters' experiences and value reading their stories -- that's why I'm here!

And I really hate that somehow these overtones of judgment seem to creep in no matter how hard posters seek to impersonally, neutrally discuss various nursing terms, e.g., extending nursing, exclusive breastfeeding, child-lead weaning, child-respectful weaning, ecological breastfeeding, etc. I think (hope) that if you knew me you would realize I am not into (and am very much against) that whole more-AP-than-thou trip. Obviously my original post failed because it sure didn't convey that.

CLW as compared to CRW -- true, there is a difference (and I think a number of posters have explained or offered posts to explain that difference better than I could), but stating that they are distinct from one another is NOT a value statement, at least not coming from me. I give my son a sippy cup, for example, and started him on solid foods at under seven months. Both are weaning techniques. Both are very gentle, respectful, (at least arguably) age-appropriate mothering choices -- *and* both are weaning techniques (especially if you offer them when your nursling asks to bf). I am comfortable with my choices here and I try hard to be thoroughly familiar with their impact on our breastfeeding relationship.

By participating here at MDC (and by reading a lot more than I post), I hope to learn from other, more experienced moms. Before this thread, for example, I had not heard stories before of children exhibiting CLW signs at such young ages without some encouragement (whether conscious or intentional or not) form the mom.

Please do not ascribe hurtful or snarky motivations to my posts; none was intended.
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#24 of 107 Old 08-30-2004, 01:59 AM
 
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This has been an interesting thread. I'm the mom someone referred to whose child is self-weaning at 12 months. I do not want him to wean, just as I didn't want my older ds to wean at 20 months. But they both met (or is meeting) all the "criteria" for self-weaning as opposed to a nursing strike, so what more can you do? I continue to offer nursing to my 12 month old, on a daily basis at various times of the day, but obviously I'm not going to force my child to nurse

Anyway, I'm a pretty experienced breastfeeding mom and neither confused nor dishonest. But everyone's experience is different. Child-led weaning is child-led weaning...

Thanks for the interesting discussion!

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#25 of 107 Old 08-30-2004, 02:13 AM
 
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i have always wanted to do clw but have never made it there.

my oldest was crw at 4 years due to a convenient opportunity (i had to be away for surgery). looking back i realize he was not ready .
my next was crw at 3 1/2 years due to a health issue with a pregnancy but was very near clw. with her i am sure she was close because i only told her once or twice we needed to not nurse anymore because of the new baby.
the next is still nursing with no interest in stopping at 3 1/2 years.
the next two are a year old. one eats a lot of solids, the other does not.
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#26 of 107 Old 08-30-2004, 02:27 AM
 
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Since I believe that, I would have a lot of problems "allowing" my child to wean before that time frame.
nak-

if you don't allow your child to wean when they are trying to, how is that clw?

also, if overall weaning age is 4.2 yrs, wouldn't it make sense that some kids wean before 2 just as some wean after 6?

also, if a child 'self weans' b/c of pg, why wouldn't that be self weaning?

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#27 of 107 Old 08-30-2004, 02:32 AM
 
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quote: I feel very strongly that every child deserves to be nursed for two years minimum. Since I believe that, I would have a lot of problems "allowing" my child to wean before that time frame. If there was nothing else I could do, I would pump, pump, pump as much as I could until at least two.

this disturbs me a little my daughter is only a year, so I cant say too much on this discussion, she is on a strike, but I see it as a strike and it will pass, however this comment really urks me, if my daughter decided to wean herself tomorrow, I wouldnt feel like I was a bad mom for not giving her what she "deserves" as said, and I dont think it should be a matter of allowing a child to wean, a child will wean when he or she wants to, so you saying allowing, is like you are making them want to nurse, and why would you keep pumping till 2 if your child didnt want it, what would you then do with it, what benefits would you get from continually pumping to see if your daughter or son would nurse, that just seems unlogical to me in the sense that you can't control the age your child wants to wean, unless it is made the only option for the child, which in my eyes, what 2 year old only wants to drink breast milk? and watch everyone else in the house eat table food, that just doesnt seem fair to me to try to push the issue if your child has lost interest..Jmo..
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#28 of 107 Old 08-30-2004, 12:20 PM
 
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I have a few things to add, but since my dd hasn't weaned yet (she's just over 2 y.o.) I am speaking from other's experiences and what I've read in books (mostly LLL books) and on webforums like this one.

I've heard of children weaning before or at a year or so, but I think a few things were true about these situations which makes it less like CLW and more like mommy lead weaning:
* they were using a bottle and developed nipple preference (different from nipple confusion in that they prefered the bottle, were not confused by it) between 6-9 months. This mom considers her children self-weaned.
* BF was used as a food source only and not a comfort source. I know 3 brothers who weaned at 12, 13 & 14 months respectively. I know their mother used CIO when they were in the 6 month neighborhood and the first one was only nursing in the morning when he was 12 months so not much comfort nursing there. She considers them to have weaned themselves.
* "self-weaned" at 12 months by drinking yogurt drink instead.
* "mother-weaned" at 12 months because she wanted to wear a regular bra and sleep late on Saturdays while daddy attented to dd. Also wanted to get pregnant and didn't think could while nrusing.

For most of these children, in spite of how young they were when they weaned, I think most of them were luckier than many children in that they had been BF for as long as they had. I think that it would have been best for them if they hadn't weaned so young, but in most cases the mother's needs outweighed the child's (as often happens in our society ).

I believe in CLW & CRW. I do not want my daughter to wean but I don't always want to nurse her in the middle of grocery shopping either, so I offer her water or a snack. I'm very nervous about night weaning because it seems like some children wean completely when night weaned. However, I would like to have another child and since I get no help at night from dh, I don't know how I could do both.

I do not think we should criticize any mother whose child self-weans at a young age when the above things I mentioned aren't happening. It probably happened that these children were ready & mommy wasn't. It hurts twice to have someone criticize you for something you didn't want happen and probably tried to prevent. Every child is different and so every child's weaning will be different.

I think in cases where the motehr is not commited to BF for the long haul, it's more likely that the child will wean early, but I also know a mom in my LLL group who is only having 1 and he weaned shortly before age 2 and I don't know for sure, but I doubt it was CRW. He was ready. IT happens.

Susanne

Baby the babies while they're babies so they don't need babying for a lifetime.
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#29 of 107 Old 08-30-2004, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very interesting to read all the different thoughts on this!

It's a topic that I still try to get my brain around even after 16+ years of parenting. I read threads about night weaning and how some still feel that they are practicing CLW if they night wean, or at different ages CLW is valid and at others it is not. I find it all interesting.

Someone asked what the point in threads like this is. It really is NOT about trying to be judgemental or hurt anyone's feelings (as I think most have been really respectful on here). It's more about working through our own thoughts and feelings on these things for ourselves. Sometimes it helps to discuss these things and look at things from a different perspective. I really don't think that we start these threads to try to upset people. It's not like there are lots of different places available to discuss such things.

I hadn't seen "CRW" before. So I learned something new (as I usually do!) on this thread. And I guess I would say that with my older children we practiced CRW. My 1st child was 14 months when weaned and I definitely have never thought of it as CLW even though it was a slow gentle process. My 2nd child was 2 when she weaned and I used to say she CLW but I was never totally comfortable with that category since there does seem to be those that feel that if a mom delays or ever does the (don't offer/don't refuse) that it's not CLW. The process with her was a slow process that I have described as a dance. There were times that I led (distraction, delay, DODR, etc) but most of the time it was completely up to her. My youngest is 16 months and still nursing...so who knows how things will go with him....although I do have somewhat of a plan or agenda this time around.

Anyway...I thought I would just chime in to let everyone know that there was not any negative intentions in starting this thread. I hope it continues as I know I find it very interesting!
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#30 of 107 Old 08-30-2004, 01:17 PM
 
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My 2nd child was 2 when she weaned and I used to say she CLW but I was never totally comfortable with that category since there does seem to be those that feel that if a mom delays or ever does the (don't offer/don't refuse) that it's not CLW.
Wow, that I have never heard. I, personally, don't think it is a mother's responsibility to encourage nursing past a certain age, but --- to each their own. Of course, most people who do "don't offer/don't refuse" do offer *on occasion* so maybe they were just talking about a 100% consistent application?

Quote:
if you don't allow your child to wean when they are trying to, how is that clw?

also, if overall weaning age is 4.2 yrs, wouldn't it make sense that some kids wean before 2 just as some wean after 6?

also, if a child 'self weans' b/c of pg, why wouldn't that be self weaning?
I do not know what I would do if confronted with a child who "wanted" to wean before 2. I avoid that situation with other choices I make as much as possible. If a child weans during pregnancy that, imo, is a choice forced on them not one they would choose given a fully lactating mother. I am NOT saying it is bad, or that you can stop it, but that it is not generally (esp at a young age) a real "choice."

Quote:
I dont think it should be a matter of allowing a child to wean, a child will wean when he or she wants to, so you saying allowing, is like you are making them want to nurse, and why would you keep pumping till 2 if your child didnt want it, what would you then do with it, what benefits would you get from continually pumping to see if your daughter or son would nurse, that just seems unlogical to me in the sense that you can't control the age your child wants to wean, unless it is made the only option for the child, which in my eyes, what 2 year old only wants to drink breast milk? and watch everyone else in the house eat table food, that just doesnt seem fair to me to try to push the issue if your child has lost interest..Jmo..
Once again, I need to point out I am talking about MY opinions, MY children and MY parenting. I am not suggesting any one else follow "My" rules.

If, indeed, my child had weaned (I'm guessing after a couple months effort) I would continue pumping so my child could have the MILK. Babies need milk for at least two years and I would want my child to have species specific milk.

Uhhh, what makes you think I would not allow my child access to table food? They both have gone straight to table food before a year. That has nothing to do with them nursing or what they are given to drink (human milk as their milk source, no bottles (so sucking has to come from mom)).

And what do you mean by "what 2 year old wants to drink only breast milk?" Uhhh, biologically probably *every* two year old. What other drink would you suggest? (I'd like to point out that my two year olds both consumed other drinks. I just think it's odd to assume that bmilk which can fill both hunger and thirst needs is somehow lacking ). Do you have an issue with only having healthy drinks available? Wouldn't a two year old rather eat candy and drink pop?

Edited to add: No, actually both of my two year olds would choose to nurse over candy/pop if they had to choose either/or.

 

 

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