Devastated! My 16 mo quit nursing! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was certain we'd nurse for a L O N G time and we'd definitely nurse until HE was done ... I just never thought he'd quit at 16 months!

For many months now, he only would nurse before his nap, before bed and first thing when he woke up. Too, he would only nurse laying down with me - NEVER in my lap since he was about 8 mo. So I don't know if he associates nursing only with bedtime? He LOVES going to bed and sleeping so that wouldn't be a bad association either.

Anyway, I'm having a really, really hard time with this. It's been a whole week now and I still offer the breast every morning and every nap and every night at bedtime. He just turns away and rolls over - trying very hard to get away from me. The one up side is that now he loves to go sleep while I cradle him in my arms (against my bare breasts - I keep trying to woo him!) and I sing him to sleep. My husband says that it's a pretty good trade off. I'm sure it is but I just feel so empty and even "disconnected" from my baby - like our bond has been severed. Is that normal?? And to make it seem so much more final, the last time he latched on was for about 3 seconds then he pulled off and said "Aw done" :-(

I'd love to have some empathy and if anyone has some experiences of hope to share! I'm still holding on to a thread of hope that he may nurse again. This is so, so hard.
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#2 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 12:10 PM
 
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this sounds like a nursing strike. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...st.html#strike

good luck, i hope you can get him nursing again!
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#3 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 12:16 PM
 
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Sounds like a nursing strike to me too.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#4 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 12:18 PM
 
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Sounds like a nursing strike to me too. Make sure he's getting NO other sucking (bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups) and NO other milk. Keep offering. Try taking baths together and offering then.

good luck!

-Angela
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#5 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 05:49 PM
 
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I don't know...If his interest has been dwindling for several months, maybe it really is his own weaning. I know you are having a hard time with this since your expectations were for a much longer period of nursing. But if he's doing this, maybe he's just "ready."

Perhaps it is just a nursing strike, but perhaps he is leading the weaning. Some babies choose not to nurse past 6 months or a year. Some babies go longer. I'd keep offering, but also acknowledge that maybe HE is ready to wean. That is what CLW is about, right? Allowing the child to wean when he/she is ready?

I know it's hard. In different but similar enough way of understanding... Our children are almost 8 years apart, not by our choice. We always said we'd have "as many as God gives us," but never for a minute thought that would mean anything different than lots of kiddos spaced 2-3 years apart. It was a tough thing to work through. It's simply that "not always what we have planned" thing that is in common with the two situations.

Hang in there and I hope whatever is meant to be with this, is.

JET

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#6 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 05:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jet1295mamajenn
I don't know...If his interest has been dwindling for several months, maybe it really is his own weaning. I know you are having a hard time with this since your expectations were for a much longer period of nursing. But if he's doing this, maybe he's just "ready."

Perhaps it is just a nursing strike, but perhaps he is leading the weaning. Some babies choose not to nurse past 6 months or a year. Some babies go longer. I'd keep offering, but also acknowledge that maybe HE is ready to wean. That is what CLW is about, right? Allowing the child to wean when he/she is ready?

I know it's hard. In different but similar enough way of understanding... Our children are almost 8 years apart, not by our choice. We always said we'd have "as many as God gives us," but never for a minute thought that would mean anything different than lots of kiddos spaced 2-3 years apart. It was a tough thing to work through. It's simply that "not always what we have planned" thing that is in common with the two situations.

Hang in there and I hope whatever is meant to be with this, is.

JET

I have to respectfully disagree with this post, for the benefit of any lurkers. It is extremely rare for babies under 18-24 months to self wean. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/babyselfwean.html There can be a natural lull in nursing from around 10 months to around 15 months, and some mamas think this is self weaning, but it's rarely the case. If you hang in there, nursing will usually pick back up.

And a six month old "choosing not to nurse?" I would definitely treat that as a nursing strike. At that age, a baby can't take full responsibility for the nursing relationship, and still needs breastmilk as the majority of his/her nutrition.
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#7 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 06:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jet1295mamajenn


Perhaps it is just a nursing strike, but perhaps he is leading the weaning. Some babies choose not to nurse past 6 months or a year. Some babies go longer. I'd keep offering, but also acknowledge that maybe HE is ready to wean. That is what CLW is about, right? Allowing the child to wean when he/she is ready?
I'm sorry, but you're clearly misinformed. Humans need to nurse for at least two years. How would they survive if they self weaned at 6 months? Cave-moms didn't have formula or cows.

-Angela
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#8 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 06:51 PM
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You might have better luck trying to get him to take the breast while he's very drowsy... even half-asleep, like just as he's waking or nodding off.

Did he have any sort of trauma to his mouth? Teething pain? Is he getting bottles or a pacifier?

Here's my friend Tane''s page about her son's 40 day nursing strike... I think he's 10 now? Something like that...

http://www.tachyonlabs.com/40strike.html

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#9 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 08:13 PM
 
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Well, my dd weaned at 15 months old. I was about 4 months pregnant, there wasn't a drop of milk to be had and she had never been a comfort nurser. So when the food was gone, she was done. It was very sudden and very sad. I kept offering, but by the time there was milk again she had totally forgotten how to latch.

I'm sorry if it really is the end for you guys, I hope he will come back!
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#10 of 85 Old 07-25-2006, 08:18 PM
 
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I agree it sounds like a nursing strike. 16 month old seems a little young for Child led weaning. I mean if he's drinking a ton of liquid from another source like a sippy or bottle then I could see it easily replacing nursing even if you didn't want that to happen.

I would do what Angela suggested, only offer the breast and food of course. And I think personally I would consider pumping so that my supply stayed up until he resumed nursing again. And if he never did for some reason you could offer the expressed milk in a glass.

Good luck! Hope he starts up again soon.

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#11 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 04:20 AM
 
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DS1 weaned at the same time and I wasn't ready either. In retrospect, his feeds had been decreasing for months but nothing prepared me for the day he flatly refused. I did try to coax him back several times but to no avail.

I've now accepted that this was his choice and he seems happy with it but sometimes it still hurts.

Just wanted to say that you've done a great job and I hope your little one either has a change of heart or you at least find a way to come to terms with the weaning.
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#12 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 06:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by turtlemama77
I have to respectfully disagree with this post, for the benefit of any lurkers. It is extremely rare for babies under 18-24 months to self wean. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/babyselfwean.html There can be a natural lull in nursing from around 10 months to around 15 months, and some mamas think this is self weaning, but it's rarely the case. If you hang in there, nursing will usually pick back up.

And a six month old "choosing not to nurse?" I would definitely treat that as a nursing strike. At that age, a baby can't take full responsibility for the nursing relationship, and still needs breastmilk as the majority of his/her nutrition.
While I'm sure it is rare, there are babies who just lose interest. Sometimes babies DO lose interest if the mom is pregnant again and her milk flavor has changed. I've known of many moms whose young toddlers were done, despite their efforts.

I imagine in many cases if the mom will hang in there, interest will resume. But how long does a mom have to fight with her uninterested toddler to keep things up, especially if it causes her to be more frustrated and emotional that her child really is fighting her on it?

I have NOTHING against EB. My son BF until he was between 2-1/2 and 3. My dd is now 29 months and is still nursing full-force.

I do think despite the norms, there are those children who really stop having the emotional need anyway, by sooner than 18-24 mos. The stories I've heard are strictly anecdotal, but not impossible.

JET
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#13 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by minta
DS1 weaned at the same time and I wasn't ready either. In retrospect, his feeds had been decreasing for months but nothing prepared me for the day he flatly refused. I did try to coax him back several times but to no avail.

I've now accepted that this was his choice and he seems happy with it but sometimes it still hurts.

Just wanted to say that you've done a great job and I hope your little one either has a change of heart or you at least find a way to come to terms with the weaning.
And you did what you could to try to coax him back. He just had different ideas.

JET
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#14 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 06:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna
I'm sorry, but you're clearly misinformed. Humans need to nurse for at least two years. How would they survive if they self weaned at 6 months? Cave-moms didn't have formula or cows.

-Angela
Look, I'm just going on anecdotal experiences of friends and family. Not trying to start a controversy, just trying to be a support to the concerned mom. If her child isn't just striking, if she tries to coax him back to no avail, but he is ready to wean, she shouldn't feel badly for not pushing it to between 18 and 24 mos. While not within the average, every child is unique.

I have known people whose babies never took to nursing, I have known moms whose babies weaned early, and I have known moms, like myself, who have gone a bit longer. Dh's sister's son self-weaned at about 37 mos. My ds weaned between 2-1/2 and 3, and my dd is almost 2-1/2 and is going strong.

JET

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#15 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 07:44 PM
 
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These days the mentality in mainstream culture is to wean to formula. Of course humans are not designed to do that. If a child still needs some form of formula or milk for nutrition they are not ready to wean. Period.

-Angela
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#16 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jet1295mamajenn

I do think despite the norms, there are those children who really stop having the emotional need anyway, by sooner than 18-24 mos. The stories I've heard are strictly anecdotal, but not impossible.
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The stories you've heard are impossible, or heavily influenced by factors not disclosed to you. For children 18-24 mos, and certainly for children 6-12 months, breastfeeding is not only an emotional need, but a physical/nutritive need too.

A 6 month old who decides to self wean is committing suicide, as far as they know. If you start feeding formula that is one thing. But if you are just plain old nursing your babe the natural way, babies and young toddlers do not self wean.
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#17 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama
The stories you've heard are impossible, or heavily influenced by factors not disclosed to you. For children 18-24 mos, and certainly for children 6-12 months, breastfeeding is not only an emotional need, but a physical/nutritive need too.

A 6 month old who decides to self wean is committing suicide, as far as they know. If you start feeding formula that is one thing. But if you are just plain old nursing your babe the natural way, babies and young toddlers do not self wean.
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#18 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 09:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna
I'm sorry, but you're clearly misinformed. Humans need to nurse for at least two years. How would they survive if they self weaned at 6 months? Cave-moms didn't have formula or cows.

-Angela
: Humans do not need to nurse for at least two years. You say that the way many people say that infants only need breastmilk for a year. :

I admit that six moth thing strikes me really freakin' odd too. HOWEVER yes some children do CLW before that magical two year mark.

To the origional poster: BTDT with my second son. But do not feel to sad yet. He could always come back, I've read of that happening more often than you think. In one story the toddler had been "weaned" for more than four months when she crawled up onto her mommy's lap and started fishing for boob! Good luck. Your always offering is excellent, deffinetly don't stop!
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#19 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 10:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Maranwë Calafalas
: Humans do not need to nurse for at least two years. You say that the way many people say that infants only need breastmilk for a year. :
Well yeah, except they're wrong and Alegna is right.
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#20 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 11:24 PM
 
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Well yeah, except they're wrong and Alegna is right.
Thanks. But yeah. 18 months here and there I buy. 6 months? As mentioned- that's suicide. A year? No way.

-Angela
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#21 of 85 Old 07-26-2006, 11:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Maranwë Calafalas
: Humans do not need to nurse for at least two years.
Actually, yeah, they do. They need the fats from breastmilk for proper brain development. That's why if a child is weaned before they are two, they're encouraged to drink formula and/or whole fat cow's milk until age 2. They need the fats, and common sense would suggest that we would rely on mother's milk for that and not cows.
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#22 of 85 Old 07-27-2006, 03:05 PM
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It could certainly be a nursing strike, considering that he went from 3 to 0 so soon. However he could also be weaning. Yes it happens under age two. I think I get what Maranwe was saying, we do not know how long a child "needs" breastmilk. We know that they obviously should have it until they can eat and drink a healthful amount elswhere on their own. We can assert that undoubtedly, if you could keep them at the breast for near ten years, that would surely be optimum. But the point is CLW, is CLW, whether it happens before two or after ten. It sounds like you're doing great though! Just keep doing that. I wouldn't be suprised if he latched back on, and yeah, stikes can litterally take weeks in children this age. Good luck mama!

BTW, hi everybody!
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#23 of 85 Old 07-27-2006, 03:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama
The stories you've heard are impossible, or heavily influenced by factors not disclosed to you. For children 18-24 mos, and certainly for children 6-12 months, breastfeeding is not only an emotional need, but a physical/nutritive need too.

A 6 month old who decides to self wean is committing suicide, as far as they know. If you start feeding formula that is one thing. But if you are just plain old nursing your babe the natural way, babies and young toddlers do not self wean.
One of my sisters was breastfeeding her first daughter (now 5 years old). She went back to work, but she worked at at daycare and her dd was able to be in one of the other classrooms. She pumped on her breaks, she nursed on her breaks. She nursed at night. She nursed when they were all still awake at home. Then when her dd was 8 months old, my sis got pg again. Suddenly, despite what she tried to do, her dd did not like her milk anymore and quit nursing. Perhaps my idea of child-led weaning is different or something. To me, it's the child easing off of nursing on his/her own for whatever reason rather than a very proactive weaning by Mom. Be it that Mom's milk changed due to a pregnancy or be it that Mom had to supplement with bottles or formula due to having to go back to work. This happened with same sister's second daughter. She was breastfeeding, but this time she had the children at a different child care provider than at her own work, so had to pump and use bottles more with #2 (will be 4 in October). #2 just liked bottles more so quit nursing. Due to sis's inability to quit due to financial need, she followed #2's lead here as well. Same sister is now still breastfeeding her 10-1/2 month-old son, who shows no signs of being anything but interested in nursing.

Two of dh's cousins were unsuccessful at nursing. One tried for a month or two and her son kept losing weight. I'm not sure if she tried getting help from a LC or not. She said she was sure it was because at the hospital nursery, the nurses gave him sugar water at times when she wasn't with him. But if she really tried at home, and he didn't "get it," there may have been other issues at hand, but the fact is that he didn't nurse well. Another cousin had successfully breastfed 3 out of her 4 children. When #4 came along, she was never able to get her to nurse. Not because she didn't want to or didn't try. It just didn't work out.

So, perhaps I'm just misunderstanding the concept of child-led weaning as everyone here sees it. Why is it impossible that a 16 month-old, who is very likely getting solids and drinking water and possibly an alternative "milk," might just lose interest in nursing anymore? Even if he/she still receives breastmilk in a cup, it's not coming directly from Mom's breast to child's mouth anymore (breast-feeding), even if the nutritional benefits of Mom's milk are still there. Is CLW only when the child has been getting nothing but breastmilk for two years or more and then is ready to move on? Or is it truly when for whatever reason, the child refuses to nurse, and refuses to nurse, and refuses to nurse. Not just a strike. I HAVE heard of plenty moms whose babes just lost all interest, period, around a year or so. It's not impossible. And when I talk about 6 month olds who have weaned from the breast, their moms HAVE continued on with either expressed breastmilk (if they had any...some moms have been on meds or have had other issues that cause problems with their milk production) or with formula. I'm not talking about a 6 month old not taking any form of liquid nutrition at all.

Anyway. Again, I'm just trying to be a support to moms whose children are seeming to want to quit nursing sooner than 2 years. It does happen, for whatever reason, believe it or not.

I am VERY much a breastfeeding advocate! I'm happy to say that I helped one of dh's sisters continue breastfeeding and cosleeping beyond a year. She went to about 37 mos with breastfeeding and is still cosleeping her 38 month-old son. Another one of their sisters breastfeeds, but chooses to wean around a year old, and was trying to encourage the other sister to wean her son. She was having a hard time thinking of doing that, so I told her to go as long as was right for she and her son and not to listen to anyone else. I'm thrilled when people are breastfeeding! Got all excited when I learned a friend of mine is breastfeeding...not sure what she was doing until she mentioned it. I just don't like moms feeling guilty or being made to feel like they're not doing enough if the child loses interest, despite their best attempts, sooner than they planned.

As I mentioned before, I breastfed my son until 2-1/2 - 3. Still breastfeeding my 29 month old daughter and she's still quite interested most of the time. BIG night nurser.


JET

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#24 of 85 Old 07-27-2006, 04:02 PM
 
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It could certainly be a nursing strike, considering that he went from 3 to 0 so soon. However he could also be weaning. Yes it happens under age two. I think I get what Maranwe was saying, we do not know how long a child "needs" breastmilk. We know that they obviously should have it until they can eat and drink a healthful amount elswhere on their own. We can assert that undoubtedly, if you could keep them at the breast for near ten years, that would surely be optimum. But the point is CLW, is CLW, whether it happens before two or after ten. It sounds like you're doing great though! Just keep doing that. I wouldn't be suprised if he latched back on, and yeah, stikes can litterally take weeks in children this age. Good luck mama!

BTW, hi everybody!
Thanks. I'm afraid that what I'm trying to say is being misunderstood/misconstrued. My point is that "CLW is CLW" and to force and battle with a child who really seems to be done with it despite Mom's best efforts is no longer really CLW anymore. It's Mom really hoping for EB, and that is understandable.

JET
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#25 of 85 Old 07-27-2006, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna
These days the mentality in mainstream culture is to wean to formula. Of course humans are not designed to do that. If a child still needs some form of formula or milk for nutrition they are not ready to wean. Period.

-Angela
Yes. Formula or cow/soy/rice/goat/whatever-milk. When I've mentioned earlier weaning than 2 years, I'm speaking solely of earlier weaning from the breast. And sometimes this happens sooner than 2 years. Breastmilk is absolutely best. My 29 month old loves to climb up and say "I wanna nurse," then point to my boob and say "Mama milk good!"

JET
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#26 of 85 Old 07-27-2006, 04:18 PM
 
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It's not CLW if it's forced by a pregnancy IMO. Not saying that those moms should feel badly in any way, just that it is not CLW.

-Angela
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#27 of 85 Old 07-27-2006, 04:28 PM
 
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I agree that circumstances that cause weaning aren't necessarily CLW. A nursling of a pg mama may wean because of changes in taste or supply, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't have kept nursing if those hadn't happened. It's no one's "fault," just a different circumstance. As another example, I suffered from low supply from the beginning with DS. Without going into all the details, I ended up having to supplement from 6 weeks on. He nursed and had his formula for quite a while, but eventually he started to prefer the bottle since he was working so hard for so little from me. There came a point when he would.not.latch.on anymore, no matter what I tried. I kept trying for months, but he was adamantly refusing. I exclusively pumped what little milk I could until I dried up. (Of course perhaps if I'd used an SNS, this never would've happened, but that's a post for another forum!)

My point is, my DS would not nurse anymore, but it was definitely not CLW. It was forced by circumstances. He was getting milk from another source that was plentiful, and he just would not remain on the breast. I accept that for it was, but CLW it was not.

Nursing strikes and bottle preference are not CLW.
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#28 of 85 Old 07-27-2006, 04:30 PM
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Thanks. I'm afraid that what I'm trying to say is being misunderstood/misconstrued. My point is that "CLW is CLW" and to force and battle with a child who really seems to be done with it despite Mom's best efforts is no longer really CLW anymore. It's Mom really hoping for EB, and that is understandable.

JET
Sure! Absolutely, I agree. And that is why I think the OP is doing just the right things. Topless snuggles are the best way to just wait for him to decide either way. He knows it's there, but he knows it isn't expected of him if he doesn't want to. I know how she feels, because I also had an "early" CLW child, and you just don't understand how they could "not want" to have you/your milk! For months I hoped it was a strike, even though he had done the gradual drop-off right down to just one. I just couldn't accept it. Very painful.
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#29 of 85 Old 07-29-2006, 06:54 AM
 
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Weaning influenced by pregnancy, heavy supplementation (whether formula, bottles, pacies or food), problems in the BF relationship or extended absence of baby from mom is not CLW. Period. These things can cause a child to lose interest in the breast, but they are factors outside of the natural mom/child relationship, and therefore not truly child led.

To the OP - I understand your saddness and mourning about your relationship. It does sound like a strike, and I hope that you are able to keep int from turning into a weaning. You sound like you are trying to do a lot of good things to encourage your dc back to the breast, and you have received a lot of good suggestions from PP. Good luck, and keep us posted!

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#30 of 85 Old 08-01-2006, 01:30 AM
 
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Quote:
My point is that "CLW is CLW" and to force and battle with a child who really seems to be done with it despite Mom's best efforts is no longer really CLW anymore. It's Mom really hoping for EB, and that is understandable.
No, it's mom hoping for B, just like it would have been at 3 weeks or 6 months. The existence of formula/cow's milk/soy milk is nice, but it doesn't make the normal course of human lactation "extended". You are conflating nursing problems that end in early weaning with a normal process. Sure, if problems arise, mom should not be guilted or told that she must keep trying at all costs. But they are still problems, and therefore the appropriate response (both from the mom and from her supporters) is quite different from what the normal process would provoke. The reason why children from 6 months to under 2 years are commonly described as self-weaning is that we have a cultural expectation that these are normal ages for weaning. Meanwhile, you who are nursing a 2yo are comfortable with the adjective "extended", and nursing to 4+yo is considered by most people to border on abuse. That's why we have a CLW forum: it's supposed to be a little supportive bubble where we don't have to hear that we are "forcing" our kids to nurse along a biologically normal timeline.

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