What is the yougest a baby would self-wean? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 10-17-2010, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We were visiting some friends of my husband's today. They have an 11 month old DS, and the mama was saying she'd stopped BFing completely. She said the baby had stopped expressing any interest about a month ago, so when he was 10 m.o. So she said he had self weaned from 10-11 months. Is this possible? I don't know this woman all that well but she seems pretty up-front and DH said she'd have no reason to lie about it, which seems correct to me. I just find it hard to imagine a 10 month old self-weaning completely, mainly because he would still need breastmilk for nutrition ~she gives him a bottle of formula now every day to make up for that.

Don't know if this would make a difference, but the mama went back to work PT when he was 3 months, at which time he would get bottles from his babysitter (not sure but I think she pumped). For the last couple months he's been in daycare almost full-time (4 days/week). So he has not been at her breast all day every day for a long time now. And he eats solids mostly the same food his parents eat.

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#2 of 22 Old 10-20-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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a baby "should" be getting most of their nutrition from mom's milk for the first 12 months, but if they were really pushing the solids he may have not had enough room for much milk, and her definition of not interested may be different than yours, so babies go through phases where they don't ask, or have short nursing strikes. personally I wouldn't let my child "self-wean" before 24 months, unless she was consistently refusing to nurse for at least a few weeks straight.

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#3 of 22 Old 10-21-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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Did she continue to offer? If not, not offering is a weaning technique. Also, having bottles is also a contributer to weaning in some cases. A child that isn't ever given a bottle would very rarely self wean at that age because they wouldn't know of an alternate source of milk besides mom, kwim? What was happening was most likely a nursing strike that ended into weaning.

I read in the LLL mag. a few years back of a self weaning happening at 18 months. The mom ( a LLL leader) tried to get the child back to the breast by using all of the nursing strike techniques. After trying for a month to woo him back to the breast, she finally did accept that he weaned. BUT...this was shown as an EXTREME case of early weaning.

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#4 of 22 Old 10-21-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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Probably a nursing strike.

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#5 of 22 Old 10-24-2010, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aha! Thanks for the insight. Yeah, I was pretty sure a 10 m.o. wouldn't self wean like that. Sounds like a combination of lots of solids (which I know they do), bottles, and maybe a strike. Plus I'm not sure but I'd bet after a few days of that she just stopped offering.

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#6 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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My DS weaned at 18 months. He wanted a cup, we tried EVERYTHING for over a month before I gave up. He would just put his hand on my breast and say "Cup." He drank breast milk in a cup for a few months while I tried to woo him back, but he just wanted his cup.

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#7 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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The fact that she worked and he got bottles everyday started the "weaning" from the breast process. I am sure he "weaned" on his own from the breast to the bottle like your friend says because bottles are easier to get milk from.

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#8 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Unless they co-sleep, or the mom mentions waking a bunch of times a night, I'm automatically suspicious of any "self-weaning" in the 9-12 month range. Just because that's a time when my own dd was so busy during the day that she didn't want to take the time to nurse.

Add in bottles, that are going to be faster and let a LO get filled up and back to playing ASAP, and I'd be more surprised at the kid who kept nursing than the one who quit.

{However, I also don't consider weaning to a bottle to be a matter of the child being fully weaned. I'd even be a bit iffy about a kid being weaned if they needed a pacifier or sucked their thumb every night. A continued suckling need says to me that they're still in the weaning process. It is, of course, convenient to discuss the age a child weaned from the breast, but I feel that doing so without recognizing continued nursing related psychological and physiological needs can feed into early weaning attitudes.}
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#9 of 22 Old 11-03-2010, 07:22 PM
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I just talked to a mother this week who claims that her daughter self-weaned at abour 13-14 months. She was hoping and planning to go longer, but her daughter had been refusing to nurse in public for a couple months, and then her supply dropped because of the reduced frequency. It seems to early to me to self-wean. Her older child weaned around the same time when there was a drop in supply due to the second pregnancy.

If that was a true "self-weaning," it's a very rare occurrence. I don't know if there were other factors. I think that a lot of moms employ weaning techniques even without realizing it. For example, schedules, CIO, pushing solids, introducing bottles, overusing pacifiers, and "don't offer, don't refuse" are weaning techniques that are commonly practiced as parenting methods and not often thought of as weaning.

I'm highly skeptical of anyone who claims to CLW before about 2 or 2.5 years. I'm not saying that it couldn't happen. I'm just saying that it doesn't likely happen much. Many children who wean from the breast early wean to a bottle, which is arguably not complete weaning.

To be fair, I'm not convinced that CLW is often completely "child-led." Breastfeeding is a relationship, and there's always some give and take. Even CLW mothers may get babysitters from time to time, or some mothers have to go back to work but still want to CLW. Mothers of older nurslings may ask their children to wait for a short time while she finishes something, may try letting Dad put the child to bed for a night, may get wrapped up in an activity and not think of offering to nurse for longer than normal, or may offer her loving arms to comfort her crying child without offering her breasts. Most of these are not generally considered to be weaning techniques, even by many CLWers, but they are part of the breastfeeding relationship that has an effect on how children wean.
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#10 of 22 Old 11-03-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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I've never once met someone who said their baby weaned around that age that seemed to truly have outgrown a need to nurse. Always when talking to mom (not being pushy, I'm an LLL Leader so they're asking me!) there was something going on- pushing solids, mom working/giving bottles, an illness, etc. My SIL, for example, says all her kids weaned at 11 months- but she was a very heavy solids pusher and didn't offer the breast. i don't consider the baby to have weaned themselves in a situation like that.

Really I would say 18 months is probably the bare minimum of where I think a child would truly self wean.
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#11 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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what about weaning due to pregnancy?

I've been really keen to CLW but my 17mth daughter has been refusing the breast, or just sucking for a few seconds...I am 13weeks pregnant.

17mths does seem early to be weaning (to me) but I'm not sure how to get her to continue - we already co-sleep, and I offer it a lot during the day.
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#12 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 02:28 AM
 
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My son weaned himself at 13 months. I was devastated. It was bottle-related... I had had a glass of wine and my husband wasn't comfortable with me nursing, so he went to comfort DS himself. Well, he ended up giving DS two bottles in a row without talking to me about it!

My son never nursed again. I tried everything my LLL recommended. I would offer the breast and he would scream and push me away and run to the kitchen. It was probably my worst experience of rejection ever. This went on for a long time, a few months at least.

The worst part was, I had been nursing him down for naps and at bedtime, and had never really experimented with other methods of getting him to sleep. BF was just what we did, and I planned on doing it a lot longer. My husband worked four nights a week, so I was alone with DS to put him to bed. He had no other way of being comforted by me, and so, needless to say, it didn't go well... for a long time.

I refused to give him a bottle, and tried to nurse him instead. I tried everything. There were screaming fits that lasted for HOURS. And DS has never really been a screamer. He was obviously demanding the bottle. Eventually I was so emotionally drained and exhausted that I gave him a bottle and he went right down without a peep. I think the whole effort to keep him nursing lasted about 2 months, until 15 months old.

Even now, DS is 3.5, and I still feel like crying now that I think about it. I had really bad issues with feeling like a failure as a mother, especially after having a horrible C-Section birth.

Can I just say, try to be sensitive and not judge your friend. It's so easy to jump on the board and talk about all the things she may have done wrong to cause it, or even intentionally wean her kid. But why spend so much time picking apart whether or not she did something wrong?

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#13 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 02:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kiwiontheloose View Post
what about weaning due to pregnancy?

I've been really keen to CLW but my 17mth daughter has been refusing the breast, or just sucking for a few seconds...I am 13weeks pregnant.

17mths does seem early to be weaning (to me) but I'm not sure how to get her to continue - we already co-sleep, and I offer it a lot during the day.
I wouldn't really classify weaning due to pregnancy either child-lead or mother-lead. but the child does sometime give up when the milk either doesn't taste good or isn't really there. I'm lucky in that DD doesn't mind the taste, and I produced a lot of colostrum in my first pregnancy, so I don't think I'll ever have nothing to give her, but I understand how tough it would be. DD is 17 months, and I can't even begin to imagine her weaning, she's still such a baby.

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#14 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 03:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post
I wouldn't really classify weaning due to pregnancy either child-lead or mother-lead. but the child does sometime give up when the milk either doesn't taste good or isn't really there. I'm lucky in that DD doesn't mind the taste, and I produced a lot of colostrum in my first pregnancy, so I don't think I'll ever have nothing to give her, but I understand how tough it would be. DD is 17 months, and I can't even begin to imagine her weaning, she's still such a baby.
fwiw - both my first two stopped nursing on their own (refusing consistently when I offered) when I was about 15 weeks pregnant with the next child. For the oldest, she was 18 months at that time, for the second, he was 22 months at that time. Now my third is 18 months, I am not pregnant, and he is still going strong.
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#15 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 03:50 AM
 
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DD went on a serious nursing strike at around 10-11 months. It was very hard to get her to settle down to nurse at all. I had to remove her from the room, take her into a dark and quiet room to even get her to nurse for a few minutes. I don't know if she would have completely self weaned at that time, but with encouragement I am sure she would have. I kept on nursing and here we are, tandem nursing and she is almost 2.5.

My mom said I self weaned at 9 months, but I don't know if I believe it was all my doing.

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#16 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 04:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MovnMama View Post
Can I just say, try to be sensitive and not judge your friend. It's so easy to jump on the board and talk about all the things she may have done wrong to cause it, or even intentionally wean her kid. But why spend so much time picking apart whether or not she did something wrong?
My DS3 was never let to CIO and barely ate solids until he was a year, but he weaned from the breast around 11 mos. and it was also bottle related. My work schedule had always been such that he needed to take pumped milk sometimes, and with my eldest there had never been a problem "switch hitting", but DS3 just had a major issues with change. It was hell trying to get him to try pumped milk, and then once he did he would ONLY take bottles and went on boobie strike. Then I would take time off of work to try and work him back to the breast and he would refuse ALL bottles. After the second of these sessions we bought all sorts of different bottles to try (instead of using all of the Medela ones we had from my other kids) and it was the same thing. He HAD to have whatever he had and nothing else. 11 months is about when he started trying a sippy and he straight up refused anything else after that, though I did pump for as long as I could for that sippy.

This was one of many weird issues he had, and he was recently diagnosed with sensory issues and PDD-NOS as a toddler. Had I been able to EBF (instead of work sometimes) and never shown him a sippy cup he would probably been as happy as a clam to drink nothing but breastmilk for far longer just like his brothers, though his brothers were MUCH more easy going. I still carry some guilt to this day. Not everyone is just looking for an excuse to wean as quickly as possible
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#17 of 22 Old 11-07-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kiwiontheloose View Post
what about weaning due to pregnancy?

I've been really keen to CLW but my 17mth daughter has been refusing the breast, or just sucking for a few seconds...I am 13weeks pregnant.

17mths does seem early to be weaning (to me) but I'm not sure how to get her to continue - we already co-sleep, and I offer it a lot during the day.
Mine did that at 19 months when I was 8 weeks pregnant. She stopped asking for it and my morning sickness was bad enough that I didn't keep offering for long. I just found out I'm pregnant again and I'm nursing my 21 month old so I'm curious to see how it goes this time.

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#18 of 22 Old 11-11-2010, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I hadn't checked this thread in awhile. Lots of interesting perspectives and stories here. Thanks for sharing mamas!

 

I think in my friend's case, she really didn't know what CLW means, and didn't understand the situation so just assumed it was all her DS's doing when in fact it probably had more to do with bottles, no night feeding, daycare, lots of solids, and other factors perhaps. But if one doesn't consider all of that, it can be easy to see that he refused the breast and so he did it himself, end of story.

 

And whoever said not to judge, is right. It's actually none of any of our business who CLWs or not. This friend of mine BFed her baby for as long as was right for them and they both seem very happy so who am I to judge, kwim?


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#19 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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Babies do not self-wean from the breast to the bottle. Some babies do lose interest in nursing as they learn to walk around 1 year, but if truly weaning, they go to solid food, not bottles.

 

 

Edited to add: What I meant is, I think it is "nipple confusion" when a baby develops a preference for the bottle, rather than "weaning".

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#20 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 07:16 PM
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the soonest i heard of a child self-weaning (no bottles involved) was 14 months. a friend nursed her first until 6 years, so i know she was all for CLW. her subsequent babies weaned before 2.5, and the one who weaned at 14m really shocked her - she didn't think it was possible. she went to drinking from a cup, regular solid foods, etc. no formula/bottles.

 

i agree that if they're weaning from breast to bottle.. it's not true weaning.


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#21 of 22 Old 03-30-2011, 11:41 PM
 
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MovnMama: thank you so much for your post. I am in a similar situation as you. I also feel that many BFing mom's can be very judgmental and down-right hurtful in their comments and assumptions. It sounds like you are trying your hardest and doing the best you can be.

 

I also feel saddened my little one is not taking to the breast. I'm not sure if it is a nursing strike or CLW (most likely not), but in any case, he hasn't taken to the breast in almost a month even with offering. He prefers the bottle and formula, most likely b/c he is impatient and it is faster and easier for him to eat. I also had to go back to work a month ago, which has made BFing even more challenging.

 

I miss the bonding time, and I've struggled SO hard with producing enough milk from day one, have seen 5 lactation consultants, pumped, continue to take EVERY alternative herb for increased lactation, and I still have a very low supply. I try not to feel inadequate as a mother. It is difficult enough not to be hard on oneself, let alone having other mother's judging your life situation.

 

Know that you are doing the very best you can at this time for your child, and that you are not alone in this situation.

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#22 of 22 Old 03-31-2011, 09:08 PM
 
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I know most babies go through a period of disinterest around that age, but usually start nursing more often again within a few weeks. My oldest did. My youngest didn't. I went back to work at 10 months old, and by age 1, he was already used to bottles and didn't seem to mind giving up the breast much at all. I think most babies won't be ready until after 18 months old; some will be ready sooner, and some will want to really take their time. It all depends on their personality.


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