questions about defining child-led weaning - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 04-20-2009, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just reading a current thread about defining CLW and what to expect as a young mother and it left me with more questions than answers.

Some brief info on me:
I am a SAHM to one 16mo dd who is already weaned because of circumstances that I feel were out of my control, I also did not have any support, was dealing with PPD and I have accepted it for what it is. I bottle nurse her on demand several times a day and really enjoy the closeness that continues through this. She shows no signs of wanting to stop these cuddly lovey sessions and I would never try and wean her from the bottle if she still wanted it.

So I have been trying to learn as much as I can about what went wrong with us and how I would/could deal with these issues and others if I get pregnant again.

I do like the idea of child-led parenting, to a point.

I guess what I am struggling with is defining CLW as opposed to how other child-led activities are defined.

I am planning on unschooling and I consider that to be child-led learning. I would define that as following my dd's interests and providing information/materials/advice/opportunities according to her interests.

With CLW I feel confused as to how continuing to offer the breast constantly through times (be it weeks or days) of apparent lack of interest is actually helping the child with what they are wanting/needing? If they are not reminded and they would not remember on their own/have the instinctual desire to nurse, then why continue to push it?


I have a genuine interest in this and would appreciate all respectful answers!
TIA!
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#2 of 17 Old 04-21-2009, 05:48 AM
 
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I define Child-led weaning as the child asking to nurse when they would like to and the mother not offering at all, therefore it is completely the child's choice when they would like to nurse. I am also careful to consider that the child nursing is actually a child - between 2/3 years old (and older) and not younger such as a baby or toddler, if a baby or toddler stops nursing I would consider it a nursing strike rather than CLW - does that help you any? Please ask away if needs be.

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#3 of 17 Old 04-21-2009, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, that definately does help some.

I was reading on a current thread about how some moms feel like their LO lost interest around 18mo gie or take and they would have had to remind their LO all day to nurse. Would you consider that to be a true nursing strike?

I experienced two nursing strikes with my baby daughter, we're talking like 3mo and around 4mo and they each lasted about a week. I guess in mind I associate bad things with nursing strike as opposed to a seemingly benign situation with a toddler who is just not interested in nursing because they are so much more interested in all the new things they are discovering.
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#4 of 17 Old 04-21-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewe+lamb View Post
I define Child-led weaning as the child asking to nurse when they would like to and the mother not offering at all, therefore it is completely the child's choice when they would like to nurse. I am also careful to consider that the child nursing is actually a child - between 2/3 years old (and older) and not younger such as a baby or toddler, if a baby or toddler stops nursing I would consider it a nursing strike rather than CLW - does that help you any? Please ask away if needs be.
:
Also, I don't considered CLW when the mom's trying all day to no create a nursing opportunity,ex. don't seat, because the child is going to ask for nursing.

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#5 of 17 Old 04-21-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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Yes absolutely - we all need to stop and take time, if that means stopping for a cup of tea and my child asking to nurse then they get to nurse.

Two nursing strikes at such a young age must have been SO hard, I really do feel for you.

When little ones start to toddle that's when we must be vigilant to give them quiet times during the day, not just for going to have a nap, and if the toddler is very busy and not nursing much at all during the day I would strongly urge the mother to continue night nursing for as long as possible so that the child is fulfilling it's nursing requirements. I guess it's like ECing or anything else we just have to learn to read our child's cues and work from there - interesting to expand on this sort of thing. Have you been on the 5x birthweight weaning thread - it certainly makes you think!?

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#6 of 17 Old 04-21-2009, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by isabchi View Post
:
Also, I don't considered CLW when the mom's trying all day to no create a nursing opportunity,ex. don't seat, because the child is going to ask for nursing.
Yeah, I'm not talking about the mom wanting the child to be done. I'm talking about a genuine case of the toddler just not asking. THe toddler just not even remembering to come and ask at all....all day. I have known moms who didn't even realize the whole day had gone by and their kid didn't ask. They didn't even realize until that night, or even the next day in one case of a friend who had night weaned earlier that month.

I'm just asking why it wouldn't be CL if the child just doesn't ask and you just don't put it out there, that is the part that doesnt make sense.

To me the definition I have read on here that includes continuing to offer the breast repeatedly throughout the day as a reminder to the child who is not asking that actually seems like mother led nursing, not CLW. I don't get that.

Is the point to prolong nursing past the childs possible disinterest into childhood for a certain benefit?

I have truely known several people whose children refused the breast as toddlers and yes they get milk or snacks or what have you, but it was because the children showed active interest in those kinds of foods. So it would seem to me to be child-led to allow access to those kinds of foods. In one case I heard of a family that raises dairy cows for a raw dairy share program and their son weaned as a toddler because he preferred the raw milk. That was his preferrence. They could not convince him to stay at the breast. Would it have been more Child-led to not engage him in trying the foods he showed interest in?

This is why it is all confusing to me and I don't want to start down a path I don't understand.

I believe in true Child-led practices, but this has some hang ups for me right now.
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#7 of 17 Old 04-21-2009, 06:57 PM
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I don't ask my 3.5 year old if she wants milk during the day, unless she is ill or very upset. She does ask during the day sometimes. I do just physically offer her milk when she wakes up or is sleepy instead of ask. She nurses in her sleep while she's waking up sometimes. She always wants to nurse to sleep and also when she's waking.

I have read that not offering is a weaning technique. But I think it's normal not to ask during the day with a child that mostly nurses at night.
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#8 of 17 Old 04-21-2009, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't been ovo it, but I will check it out. My dd is 16 mo and she is almost 5x her birth weight of 6.2lbs, she weighs 29-31lbs depending and she is very tall, people think she is 2 1/2
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#9 of 17 Old 04-22-2009, 04:30 AM
 
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Sorry I cant work out the multi-quote thing on this so my responses will be in blue!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
I'm just asking why it wouldn't be CL if the child just doesn't ask and you just don't put it out there, that is the part that doesnt make sense.
To me this is CLW.

To me the definition I have read on here that includes continuing to offer the breast repeatedly throughout the day as a reminder to the child who is not asking that actually seems like mother led nursing, not CLW. I don't get that.
I agree this wouldn't be CLW to me

Is the point to prolong nursing past the childs possible disinterest into childhood for a certain benefit?
No definitely not, follow the child's lead; forcing a child to take the breast when it no longer wants is not going to do the child any good at all, in fact quite the reverse, although I could imagine some folk wanting their child to nurse till 5/6 because of a child's immune system is not fully developed until around 6 years old.

I have truely known several people whose children refused the breast as toddlers and yes they get milk or snacks or what have you, but it was because the children showed active interest in those kinds of foods. So it would seem to me to be child-led to allow access to those kinds of foods. In one case I heard of a family that raises dairy cows for a raw dairy share program and their son weaned as a toddler because he preferred the raw milk. That was his preferrence. They could not convince him to stay at the breast. Would it have been more Child-led to not engage him in trying the foods he showed interest in?
There are always going to be exceptions to the rule, if he showed interest in this food from the beginning then to refuse the child would not be CL - no?


This is why it is all confusing to me and I don't want to start down a path I don't understand.
Yes, this definition is complicated, but maybe something that may help you is to define CLW for yourself and your child, find out what works for you both - this thread is a perfect start!!

I believe in true Child-led practices, but this has some hang ups for me right now.

Hope that you're finding some answers!!

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#10 of 17 Old 04-22-2009, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank youI found your answer to be very helpful, I guess like you said it will come down to defining it for myself and my child, not what other people define it to be. Thanks again!:
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#11 of 17 Old 04-22-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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i think it varies with age of child, and from nursing pair to nursing pair. some kids are perfectly capable of consistently recognizing and expressing their need to nurse at a young age...others might need to nurse, but not be able to let you know in an obvious way.

for example, sometimes DD (almost 2 now) is melting down, and i know nursing will help, but she's not asking for nursing. if i offer, she takes it gladly, though. i feel like if i did not offer in those situations, i would not be practicing CLW in our case--because she doesn't always ask when she needs it.

once she always asks when she needs it, i probably won't be offering.

FWIW, she is the same way about other needs...she might he hungry, and i can tell by her crankiness, but she won't tell me she's hungry--i have to offer food. i might know she's tired, but she is insisting she's not (NO NAP! NO NAP!), so i have to create a sleeping situation for her (go lie down with her, snuggle, nurse, read books, etc.).

to me nursing is like any other need. if, as the parent, you think your child might be hungry/thirsty/tired/in need of nursing, you offer--because part of your job is to recognize their needs for them when they don't have the experience or verbal skills to let you know.

just my .02

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#12 of 17 Old 04-22-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I believe in child respected weaning. With my 3 year old, that is turning out to be CLW since she's always nursed a managable amount. But CLW wouldn't have worked for my first - who literally would have been bf 24/7 even at 3 years old if I hadn't put limits on him. He weaned a month shy of 5 years old.

To me, CLW means nursing if they ask. And offering if they don't and you think they might need or want it. While Child Respected means still offering if you think they need it, but also refusing if they ask and you think they don't really need to nurse then - for either emotional or physical reasons.
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#13 of 17 Old 05-27-2009, 01:34 AM
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Were I live breastfeeding is sort of the norm (in the sense, breast is best, as long as it comes easily to you, you have lots of milk, baby is gaining really well etc).However,most mums I know stopped breastfeeding around 6-8months, and frankly, usually the mums claim the baby self-weaned. And what it sounds like is this: Baby started crawling, got to busy to ask for feeds and mum never offered, instead making a point of offering snacks (because the well baby nurses get rather pushy about solids around that age). And so, parents worry about dehydration, gives more water or juice, which of course takes the place of more breastmilk. By then parents often get concerned about baby's nutritional intake, and start giving a bottle of formula. And, all in all, within a couple of weeks, max a month, baby has "self-weaned".

The problem with this is that the baby is much to young to do well without breastmilk. To me this is a health/safety issue. It is similar to having a three year old who wants to play in the street - that would be child led too - but you as an adult know that cars drive at 50 km an hour there, and your child is much to young to cope with that. Or another example, my 15 month old likes to climb, and often tries to climb up on our washing rack. It would collapse under her weight, and not only send her crashing onto wooden floors with concrete right under, but also come apart in lots of poking parts which could poke out her eye or puncture her spleen or lung etc. While I want to leave her free to explore as much as possible, I won't let her climb on the washing rack. There are many other places she can climb, like the sofa, the shelves (bolted to the wall), kitchen table (sturdy) etc.

If the weaning child instead is 2 yo, the situation is very different. I guess you have to decide the cut-off age: is it 1 yo, 18 months, 2yo?

Edited to add: As a nanny I have known several children in the past who needed to be reminded to sit down and have something to eat - they just got too wrapped up in playing and forgot (my sister is still like that at 28! Although she has to remind herself, of course...). Until they crashed, usually, on a blood sugar low. I'm all for leaving a snack tray out, but it just doesn't work for all children. Some really need the break.
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#14 of 17 Old 06-04-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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to me, the key word is "child" in CLW. i personally don't consider an 18 month a child, an 18 mo is still a baby. none of my babies at that age have eaten nearly enough solid food for me to feel comfortable with them weaning at that age. not till at least 2 yo. i'm sure all babies are different, but i can't think of one i've met at that age who was getting enough nutrition from solids that they wouldn't need either bm or formula just to meet their basic nutritional needs. so at that age i would feel compelled to encourage nursing just as i might encourage sleeping or meal times in a busy toddler who doesn't want to slow down and stop exploring to do much of anything. things their bodies truly need, like sustenance and sleep, sometimes have to be gently encouraged.

fwiw, i've never actually achieved the ideal of CLW'ing, i've gently MLW'd my older 2 kids at 3 yo and 3.5 yo. i'll see where our nursing relationship takes me with #3 - i always hold CLW'ing as an ideal, and have always tried to MLW very gradually and striving to be as respectful of my childrens' needs as possible during the process.
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#15 of 17 Old 06-06-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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i think, as a mama who's interested in unschooling (something you already do understand and jive with), it might help you to think about it like this: suppose your little one decided that she wanted to go to school what would your reaction be?
i'm guessing it would depend on her age, her persistence, and her reasons. you might try to convince her to keep unschooling if you were convinced it was best for her - for that particular child. you probably wouldn't send her off on the school bus blowing kisses, though, after three days or one week of her saying, "mama, i'd like to go to public school."
(which they do sometimes say, i can attest to that!)
i agree with readytobedone - sometimes you know they need food and you offer them food because they are melting into a pile on the floor, insisting they are not hungry. i don't think i offered to nurse my daughter more than, maybe, five times in the five and a half years she nursed. but i used to walk around gently placing little morsels of food into her mouth so she'd eat a few tablespoons of solid food when she was two or three years. and now i am, unabashedly, offering to nurse my son a few times a day. i try to never coerce my children in any way, but, if i realize that he is exhausted but would prefer to read a book than to have a luxurious, sleep-inducing nursing session, i have been known to take the boo out after the title page but before i start reading, and he's often asleep before the third page. maybe that is coercion. but it feels to me a little more like the difference between when you're at a bbq and the host says, "do you want me to make you a campari soda with fresh muddled mint and agave syrup?" even though she was mid-conversation with someone else, and you want to say "no, no, i'm fine" or the host giving you a big welcome smile and continuing on with her conversation and handing you said campari soda with a wink.

at least that's what i tell myself.

all this nonsense is really just to say:
in my experience, generally, people, both in real life and on this forum, who strive for/attain CLWing, are doing CLW because their children let them know they need it; not the other way around.
all the best to you,
a.
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#16 of 17 Old 06-07-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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For my son's optimal health I wanted to bf him until at least the age of 2.5 that was the mimimum time I wanted to BF him for. There were times where he was more interested in playing and I would encourage him to have a break and nurse. But now that he is past that age I am going with his flow. Some days that means nursing twice in 24 hours other times it's closer to 10 times. So I guess it's a bit mother led and child led. I don't see anything wrong in either approach.

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#17 of 17 Old 06-08-2009, 12:08 AM
 
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To me, a big part of child led weaning means that the child not only doesn't want to nurse any more but doesn't *need* to. Since children need a full fat milk until at least 2 years of age, I think they need to be encouraged to nurse at least that long.

While I never thought of it in those terms, I think that the PPs who mentioned that the child in question must be a *child* have a good point. There ARE infants who would literally starve to death if you didn't wake them and make them eat. They just don't have enough experience to know that you NEED to eat. There are lots of older infants/toddlers who get so engrossed in things that they would skip sleeping, eating, drinking, etc to keep playing (heck, there are kids & adults who are that way). Reminding them (offering) them something to eat or drink in that situation it helping them to remember what their *needs* are. They do actually need to take the break, even if it isn't what they want to do right then. When my nurslings had become children I didn't offer regularily, but if they were starting to meltdown and I could see that they would really be happier if they nursed, I would offer. Usually, their reaction was like, "Oh yes"--- they were so caught up in the moment they forgot it was even an option, but once reminded they wanted to.

 

 

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