Question about "no offer, don't refuse" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What is meant by "no offer, don't refuse"?
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#2 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 11:50 AM
 
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Its considered a "weaning technique", and it means mom doesn't initiate the breastfeeding session, but mom does allow the little one to nurse when he/she asks.
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#3 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 03:29 PM
 
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I think this is what clw is all about--If the child wants to nurse, he nurses and you trust that he'll ask if he wants it.

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#4 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 04:37 PM
 
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IMO, don't offer don't refuse is more a weaning strategy in a younger nursling that is not vocal about their needs. Up until about 16 mo, my dd wouldn't ask to nurse, just get majorly whiny. Now she says nurse please so I rely on her cues and know she will ask when she wants to nurse.

So i'm not really offering now, but in no way is it a weaning strategy for us.
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#5 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 05:00 PM
 
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La Leche League considers it a weaning strategy. Toddlers around a year old will be so busy that often they forget to nurse...and if you don't offer, they don't ask. However, if you want to nurse past that age, you really need to sit down and offer the breast in order to "remind" the toddler to take time to nurse.

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#6 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 05:15 PM
 
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I've just started noticing that my guy will get whiny and even hit or bite when he really wants to nurse. It's weird to me that he does this, as he finally has started to use a word to tell me he wants to nurse. He also never had trouble knowing that he wanted to nurse before. It feels strange to me that I'm offering him the breast at 23 months! Up until now I never doubted that he would ask me when he wanted to nurse.

I also wasn't planning to do CLW and thought we would be tapering off more about now! I feel like I'm offering the breast to calm him down and that feels like cheating or something. Hope I'm not hijacking here if I crave responses.

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#7 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae
La Leche League considers it a weaning strategy.
Thanks for the clarification. I didn't realize this was a LLL thing. I also was not thinking in terms of just "asking" verbally--even an infant "asks" to nurse if you pay attention to their signals, yk? Anyway, I didn't realize it was an actual *method.*

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#8 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So am I weaning and not realizing it? Dd is 11 months old. If she is happy and content I let her be, I don't pick her up and nurse her. When I see her getting tired, hungry, etc I nurse her or when she comes to me or makes a little noise that signals she wants to nurse I do.
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#9 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 07:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisas
So am I weaning and not realizing it? Dd is 11 months old. If she is happy and content I let her be, I don't pick her up and nurse her. When I see her getting tired, hungry, etc I nurse her or when she comes to me or makes a little noise that signals she wants to nurse I do.
My layperson's opinion: no-- I don't think you're weaning. It's more like if they start to skip feedings because they are busy and you don't go out of your way to feed them at that time. Your daughter is at that age where she might start to do so and if you're not supplementing and still nursing her several times a day I wouldn't describe it as weaning at all-- just a normal shift in the amount of feedings.
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#10 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 07:28 PM
 
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IMO, "don't ask, don't refuse" is a definite weaning method. I know so many moms who testified that their babes weaned before 2 years of age who practiced just this. Many times, babes of this age don't even realize that asking is an option, kwim? Mom only nurses at certain times of the day - morning, naptime, dinner, bedtime for example and baby doesn't understand that they can ask to nurse more. So, then mom stops inititating any nursing sessions and viola, baby is weaned.

Sooooo, to make a long story short, if you want your child to nurse past one year or two years you definitely need to offer to nurse your child more than they ask. Some babes don't need to be asked for sure and are very vocal and obvious about their need to nurse, while others are not so loud about their needs. Jmho.

Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10

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#11 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 07:30 PM
 
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I find this very confusing. I offer to nurse dd (21 months), because I'm pregnant with no milk, and I don't want her to wean. I'm not ready. But that's really mama-led nursing, in a way, isn't it, rather than child-led weaning? I'm not really just letting her lead the way (child-led). So I'm not sure about it. I think she would definitely be more likely to wean if I weren't offering, so I am thinking maybe "don't offer, don't refuse" is the only real child-led weaning technique.
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#12 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 08:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ubertulip
... so I am thinking maybe "don't offer, don't refuse" is the only real child-led weaning technique.
Well, this is my opinion too, but it's just my opinion. It may be an issue of semantics though--"Don't offer, don't refuse" may have been co-opted by LLL as a weaning technique but it may indeed have a different meaning to different people.

I consider myself in the don't offer/don't refuse camp, yet I've got 12+ years of nursing under my belt--my kids definately were not weaned by my lead. If you and your child are happy with what you're doing, I'd say, just keep on doing it--whatever it's called.

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#13 of 27 Old 01-10-2005, 08:39 PM
 
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I think it's just one strategy, but it's the comibnation of variables that will determine whether the child weans. I have definitely seen the scenario that Parkersmommy describes. But don't offer/don't refuse is obviously only part of the reason those kids weaned. Because if they were on a nursing "schedule", mom was already controlling their nursing... they like she says didn't KNOW they could ask...

the reason this method doesn't always lead to weaning, imo, is the second half: don't refuse. If you have a persistent child, destined to be a long-term nurser, don't offer/don't refuse may just be a short-term sanity saver for mom, but won't cause the child to wean sooner. (My experience!)

In years of talking about weaning issues at LLL meetings, It's clear that most moms have more than one tool at their disposal when they are planning to actively wean. Some actually have expressed frustration because they think one technique will be the magic solution...
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#14 of 27 Old 01-11-2005, 12:34 AM
 
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I personally don't see it as a weaning technique...at least in our situation. My daughter is at the age where she WILL ask to nurse when she wants it, just as she will ask for a cup of water if she wants that. She's certainly not shy about letting us know what she wants (as a side note, she's not very patient either, so she's pretty loud when she wants something...there's no mistaking it. ).

We're doing "don't ask, don't refuse" more out of necessity. If I pick my daughter up and force nursing onto her, she gets angry at me. But she still comes to me to nurse 2-3 times a day when SHE wants it. It's certainly not her primary food anymore, and mostly a comfort thing. She usually only wants to nurse in the morning, in the evening, and if she's gotten upset about something.

I can see how it can lead to weaning. I see it as her gentle way of weaning herself over time. I'm not in a rush for it to stop, and she's not keen on nursing 10 times a day. If she weans at this point, I won't force her to continue. I'm letting her decide when she wants to stop.

I only see this "method" as a weaning technique if it's done before a child is capable of asking or refusing.
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#15 of 27 Old 01-11-2005, 11:15 AM
 
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I think we all learn to read our children's cues. Just as we know that a rooting baby needs to nurse, a frustrated/tired/grumpy toddler does too. I don't offer with my 5yo, but he is most definitely capable of recognizing and verbalizing his needs, unlike <some> toddlers!
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#16 of 27 Old 01-11-2005, 11:41 AM
 
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I've always felt a little conflicted about this issue too. I think that if the child is capable of letting their needs be known, then there is no need to continually offer nursing. It just seems more mother-led to me.

My older son weaned when he was 27 months. I was 4-5 months pregnant and I remember the first time 24 hours passed that he didn't ask to nurse. For the next few weeks he would ask here and there and I didn't refuse when he asked. But when a week went by, I didn't remind him or anything. I suppose I could have, but I didn't. We still snuggled at night and I didn't keep my breasts hidden or anything either. I consider him to have weaned of his own accord and at his own rate. It was what I consider child-led. My son was a thumb sucker and a twiddler as well and he quit doing that at his own rate a few short months later (again with no pressure).

Even with my now 17 month old, he asks to nurse many times a day and night and he has known the sign for milk since he was at least 9 months old maybe younger. He nurses so much that I have very few opportunities to offer.

With a younger baby, I can understand how "don't offer, don't refuse" would be a weaning technique. I've seen it happen many times as well.
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#17 of 27 Old 01-11-2005, 10:01 PM
 
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I think, too, that when used as a weaning technique, you don't refuse when that's the only thing that will settle the baby, but you might try several other things first as a substitute to see if you can hold off nursing.
I actually weaned my first with this technique, due to lack of knowledge and lots of pressure from folks who really should have had no input into my breastfeeding relationship. When my ds acted like he wanted to nurse, I tried snacks, drinks, books, active play, etc. If he was distractable, fine, if not I let him nurse. He was 15 mos when he nursed the last time. In his case, it was definitely a weaning technique.
On the other hand, I don't offer to nurse my current dd much, except at bedtime, because she happily asks all the time and can clearly let me know what she wants. I'm not at all wanting her to wean, though, and if she quit asking often, I'd offer more. (She must know I'm talking about this because she just ran over here saying "I want nursie!")
I think this is one of those things where there's a large variation in personalities, styles and experiences, so "don't ask, don't refuse" will mean different things in different situations to different folks!
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#18 of 27 Old 01-12-2005, 06:21 PM
 
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I'm a little bit confused. I haven't nursed yet, still expecting, lots of questions.

If they are old enough to ask then what is the problem with waiting till they do? I don't understand this concept at the moment.

Stay at home wife to Jason for 7 years Mama to Larissa Mae 2 years old :, Gavin Clay 7 months :, and Neveah Ann April 24, 2005 to July 13, 2007 ED for my food allergic babe. :::
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#19 of 27 Old 01-12-2005, 08:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sarajane
I'm a little bit confused. I haven't nursed yet, still expecting, lots of questions.

If they are old enough to ask then what is the problem with waiting till they do? I don't understand this concept at the moment.
Because if you don't offer and they don't ask....well, they might wean. If you don't mind them weaning.....no problem. But I was very adamant that I would nurse until at least 2 years so I would always offer if my ds was too busy to ask during that time. I didn't want him being too busy to be a reason for him to wean. I offered past 2 years too. I offered when he was too busy that day and I knew he needed it, when he fell and was hurt, I offered it, when he was emotionally upset, I offered it too. I also offered.....just because.

Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10

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#20 of 27 Old 01-12-2005, 09:34 PM
 
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Thanks for the response. Another question for ya...

How can one tell the difference between them really needing it and forgetting it and them just not wanting it?

Stay at home wife to Jason for 7 years Mama to Larissa Mae 2 years old :, Gavin Clay 7 months :, and Neveah Ann April 24, 2005 to July 13, 2007 ED for my food allergic babe. :::
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#21 of 27 Old 01-12-2005, 09:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajane
How can one tell the difference between them really needing it and forgetting it and them just not wanting it?
If they don't want to, they just won't. My dd just turned 1, and there are times when she seems a bit fussy, so I assume she needs to nurse, but then when offered she turns away (and sometimes gets a little irritated with me :LOL). You really can't force a baby/toddler/child to nurse.
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#22 of 27 Old 01-12-2005, 11:40 PM
 
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Interesting. Thanks for the info. For some reason I was thinking that maybe they would take it whenever offered.

Stay at home wife to Jason for 7 years Mama to Larissa Mae 2 years old :, Gavin Clay 7 months :, and Neveah Ann April 24, 2005 to July 13, 2007 ED for my food allergic babe. :::
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#23 of 27 Old 01-13-2005, 05:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajane
Thanks for the response. Another question for ya...

How can one tell the difference between them really needing it and forgetting it and them just not wanting it?
Like the previous poster said - You can not force a child to nurse. You just can't. If they don't want to nurse, they won't. I can't imagine how and the logistics of forcing a child to suckle. Impossible. SO, if you offer and the CHILD refuses....they don't WANT to nurse ( at least for that momment..lol)

Sometimes a very active toddler will forget to nurse and when you offer they are SO relieved that you reminded them and come running to nurse! You see just relief in their eyes!

The word "need" is so, well, I can't think of what I want to say but I also want to say that every nursing child "needs" to nurse. I hate when I hear people say, " Your child is X years old and no longer NEEDS to nurse" grrrrrrrrrrrrrr If said child is nursing, the need is there. If the need wasn't there, they would refuse to nurse. But the child refusing to nurse and mom not offering are two different things entirely.

I see it this way, I wouldn't stop offering to nurse my 1 month old, even if they didn't cry or root or whatever to nurse, so I wouldn't NOT offer to nurse my toddler or preschooler or whatever unless I wanted them to wean.

Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10

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#24 of 27 Old 01-13-2005, 01:12 PM
 
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I've never thought of "don't offer, don't refuse" as a weaning technique, but my oldest is the kind of kid who would still nurse all day long every day if I let her. I don't have to offer to nurse, she will ask me if she wants to, or if she's bored, or if she's hungry, or tired, or upset, or... you get the point.
My baby, though, is the total opposite! I do find myself offering to nurse her when my breasts start feeling real full. If I wait until she starts getting fussy (which, with my oldest, has always been my sign that she needs to nurse) it's been too long! She's perfectly ok on the floor playing with her sister all day long, and would probably be just fine if I let her go six or eight hours without nursing. So now I'm wondering, if she doesn't ask for it, does that mean she doesn't need it? If I'm following my baby's lead, which is my approach to everything, how is "don't offer, don't refuse" a weaning technique? It seems to me that's the ultimate in child-led weaning. If baby needs to nurse, won't she ask for it herself, in one way or another? Or not? Or is the "don't offer, don't refuse" method a weaning strategy only for moms who might not be as clued in to their children's signs, who aren't as attached, who follow baby-training methods and strict schedules, and who don't follow their children's lead???
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#25 of 27 Old 01-13-2005, 02:27 PM
 
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[QUOTE=stafl] If I'm following my baby's lead, which is my approach to everything, how is "don't offer, don't refuse" a weaning technique? It seems to me that's the ultimate in child-led weaning. If baby needs to nurse, won't she ask for it herself, in one way or another? [QUOTE]

Exactly!

I think the terminology is misleading, and whether it is a weaning technique does depend on the nursing pair.
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#26 of 27 Old 01-14-2005, 01:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajane
Thanks for the response. Another question for ya...

How can one tell the difference between them really needing it and forgetting it and them just not wanting it?
As you will soon discover- you cannot make a child nurse. You just can't. Kinda like the whole *you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink*. A child will nurse when he wants to nurse, he might need to be reminded or offered it. But if you offer and he doesn't want to nurse he will definately let you know (shutting his mouth, turning his head away, or- unfortunately- biting a nipple).

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#27 of 27 Old 01-15-2005, 12:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by StephandOwen
(shutting his mouth, turning his head away, or- unfortunately- biting a nipple).
LOL...Bran came up with a system... He takes his finger and presses the nipple back as far as it will go...sort of like pressing the button to turn it off or something... :LOL

~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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