....but I need some tips to help me avoid unintentional mama led weaning.
Here's the back story, with my first I knew I wanted to nurse to a year, which I did, despite some issues with low supply, mostly due to his weak suck due to IUGR. As we approached the year mark, it didn't make sense to me that I would abruptly stop at a year, so I didn't, but I did also do things that would ultimately lead to him weaning such as offering cows milk to drink, night weaning etc. I was also working part time, so didn't have much day time with him. I'm not sure how we lost the prebed nursing, but it ended up that we were only nursing first thing in the morning and it was a good long nursing. I got pregnant, and for me, one nursing per day combined with pregnancy meant bye bye milk and after a couple more weeks he didn't want to nurse.
So with #2 I was more aware of things that had encouraged weaning and when I found we were moving in the fall that she was 16mths I was determined to get her through the winter to protect her from the new germs she would likely be exposed to. So we decided not to offer cows milk (good plan as she turned out to be sensitive to it!), but she slept through the night of her own accord and right from birth she wasn't interested in comfort sucking, nursing was for food and she set her own routines. I was having a very hard time physically (dislocated my hip when she was born) and for a while was relying a lot on the help of others, so she had less opportunities to nurse and she settled on a 3 times a day routine a bit too young. In particular she refused the first thing in the morning nursing that had been so important for big brother, once she discovered cereal (and I don't mean rice cereal), that was what she wanted. Once we moved, from the UK to the US, there were a handful of times when I felt she wanted to nurse but I didn't feel comfortable doing so, but it wasn't a regular thing, then one night, aged about 18mths she refused her before bed nursing, then gave me the best christmas present ever by nursing on christmas day and then she was done, I thought she was my last baby and I was devastated, particularly as within days of stopping nursing she had a severe ear infection, having never been ill before.
#3 was unplanned, but very welcome, we had a rough beginning to nursing, tongue tie and other suck issues, I pumped and DH fed her with a tube and syringe for 2mths, but we did eventually get her to the breast, she's 7mths and has only ever had breastmilk, she's tasted other things in the last couple of weeks but isn't able to get them to the back of her mouth to swallow them. She loves to nurse and I feel very tuned in to her, she doesn't need to cry to tell me it's time to feed and although we didn't plan to cosleep she's recently moved into our bed.
It looks to me like with her love of nursing, plus me being available to her full time that we're all set for extended nursing and child led weaning, so I'm just wondering if I'm missing something. I'm not sure if with my other kids I was missing cues that they wanted to nurse or if I should have been offering more. Any tips to keep us going in the right direction? I'm aware of nursing strikes and am confident that I'd spot that and could respond to it, but is there anything else I should be watching out for?
Anne, Christian mummy to Nathanael 05/28/03, Ada 06/10/05, Grace 05/24/09