The Benefits of CLW - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 36 Old 01-16-2007, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas
This topic was brought up in the "introduce yourself" thread so I thought it would be a good idea to start a new thread on it.

So, from your experience (and any research, etc.), what are some of the benefits of child-led weaning?

(I'll be back to post mine later)

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#2 of 36 Old 01-16-2007, 06:05 PM
 
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Great thread, Mother Sunshine!

all my nurslings are still nursling so i see benefits of breastmilk/nursing all the time.
just before Christmas my whole family had the flu (my 2 oldest nurslings are in public school and wrestle so they are exposed to lots of viruses). and it's nice knowing that you can nurse your child even when they feel so terrible (the one thing that makes them feel good) and provide nutrition and hydration when they don't want anything else. i notice the fevers are hottest just before breastfeeding whether it drops from the comfort of nursing or the breastmilk, not really sure, but either way it's good for me! It's only bad when i wind up sick too, and it seems to stay longer with me. But, i usually get sympathy from the older ones and they'll nurse me (not breastfeed just comfort hugs, back rubs, hairbrushing, or homemade cards).

a short while ago my 2nd nursling woke up for school in a crabby mood. he's 5 and in kindergarten. well, as soon as he got dressed (still very crabby), i nursed him. what a chipper little guy he was when he was done! night/day difference. i told dh and he said, "that's his morning coffee)

benefits are endless! but, the emotional is beyond compare.
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#3 of 36 Old 01-16-2007, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I'm back. There are TONS of benefits (physical and emotional) so I hope other mamas will add on to this thread. I used to have lots of links with more scientific/studied info but I let go of them long ago, so I'll just share what has stuck with me and what I have experienced.

If enough mamas respond, it'd be good to have this as a sticky for new and contemplating mamas to see.
Here's a starter...

physical:
--long-lasting immunity, even with small amounts of breastmilk, and the results last a lifetime

--brain development--only human breastmilk has the properties to make sure that the human brain develops to it's fullest human potential, and even though they say this is a general benefit of breastfeeding (ie: for the first year or two or whatever) I highly doubt the benefits abruptly end (or stop working) simply because a child is over x-years

--higher intelligence (related with meeting fullest human potential...or how we were biologically meant to be)

--for mother, a decreased risk of breast cancer

--proper jaw formation

--there are no physical hazards to breastfeeding beyond x-years, breastmilk is natural and golden regardless of age

emotional:
--a wonderful start in life by having a child's innate needs trusted, honored and fulfilled

--connection and empathy (something American society is lacking) as a result

--a close trusting bond with one's mother, more likely to last a lifetime

--emotional stability

--provides comfort and "centering/grounding" during times of stress or trauma

--provides ultimate peacefulness and good-feelings (especially important at bedtime)
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#4 of 36 Old 01-16-2007, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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kirstie
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#5 of 36 Old 01-17-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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Oooh, I have a good one!


According to Sally Kneidel in "Nursing Beyond One Year" (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):

"One study that dealt specifically with babies nursed longer than a year showed a significant link between the duration of nursing and mothers' and teachers' ratings of social adjustment in six- to eight-year-old children (Ferguson et al, 1987). In the words of the researchers, 'There are statistically significant tendencies for conduct disorder scores to decline with increasing duration of breastfeeding.'"



And my own observation... nursing into toddlerhood is the normal stress relieving mechanism meant to support the child as he/she learns to deal with the frustrations of everyday life. It take us into our adulthood to learn to manage stress well, so it is clearly unrealistic to expect toddlers to deal with it without support. By using nursing as a "reset" button, children learn to turn to human beings for help and support rather than material objects, and are able to take security from knowing they have soft place to fall. Since the world they know is a place where help and comfort can be found, the child remains confident about going back out there and facing more challenges.They can regroup, calm down and continue the learning that their frustration had previously interrupted.


Another interesting fact is that the level of violence in a society has a correlation with how long they nurse their children. Societies who wean earlier have the highest rates of violence. There used to be a site called milkofhumankindness.org where you could read about the research on this topic, if anyone knows what happened to it or where to access this information now, I'd love an update!
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#6 of 36 Old 01-18-2007, 10:45 AM
 
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and it's nice to have the breastmilk so easily avaibable for first aid!
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#7 of 36 Old 01-18-2007, 10:55 AM
 
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What a good thread! Hi Michelle :


I wholeheartedly agree with all of the benefits mentioned above. Nursing during an illness or stressful period is so important. The health benefits to mom are also so important when there are so many environmental risks that we can't control.

For me, child led weaning has been beneficial because it makes me listen to my children and myself over 'society' or external forces. It makes me in touch with my children on the most basic and physical level. I allow them to be children and express their needs with the assurance they will be listened to. I think (and I hope) it makes them more secure and whole feeling.... does that make sense?

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#8 of 36 Old 01-18-2007, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom4tot View Post
does that make sense?
Makes perfect sense. Hi Joan


Quote:
Originally Posted by kirstie
and it's nice to have the breastmilk so easily avaibable for first aid!

I didn't (consciously) know about the external benefits until I was no longer making milk. I've heard that breastmilk can cure all kinds of things from pink eye to open sores, etc.
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#9 of 36 Old 01-18-2007, 11:08 PM
 
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I've really been smacked in the face with the amazing health benefits (to DS) lately. My milk supply decreased when I got pregnant and then completely went away 2 months ago. DS still nurses, but isn't getting any milk.

Anyway, he has had FOUR ear infections since I've become pregnant (I'm only 24 weeks along). He had never had a single ear infection until then. Since I lost my milk (unfortunately, right at the beginning of cold/flu season) he has had the flu and just one cold after another...which usually lead to the aforementioned ear infections. He has had a few colds before, but this one illness after another after another is just driving me insane. I can't wait for my milk to come back in!
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#10 of 36 Old 01-19-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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Good reasons. This one is pure selfishness. I get to sleep in for a few minutes.
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#11 of 36 Old 01-19-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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Well here is my totally lame and unresearched answer: It is just easier this way.
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#12 of 36 Old 01-19-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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I agree with "it's just easier this way." I was trying to wean my son when he turned two but he decided for us that weaning just wasn't a good idea. He is so much happier when he gets his booby. Plus, I know he is getting a good snack/meal. We also get more sleep by breastfeeding and co-sleeping.
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#13 of 36 Old 01-22-2007, 01:49 AM
 
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WOW! I'm learning alot here!! Kira is almost 4 and she has had 2 colds and fever twice since birth. She's never had an ear infection or been on antibiotics. She is extremely bright.confident and happy all the time.

In reading "What's Going On In There?" How the brain and mind develop in the first five years of life, there is constant mention of the contribution of bm to brain development.

Aside from the physical benefits IMO CLW has added a dimension to our lives that most people don't even know that they're missing. The trust and bond that has developed between us (and dh too) is immeasurable. It's amazing!!!
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#14 of 36 Old 01-22-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momuveight2B View Post
Well here is my totally lame and unresearched answer: It is just easier this way.


Another mom benefit for me was keeping AF away till each of them was over 15 months old...no complaining about that!

I find that on days where my kids are totally driving me insane (like I got no sleep the night before and it is raining so we can't go outside), that sometimes just having a nursing session helps us all just chill and reconnect and calm down. So another benefit would be helping mom and kid reconnect after driving each other nuts!

Jill stillheart.gif Chris (7/96), mommy to 3 sweet redheads: jumpers.gif Matthew autismribbon.gif (12/02), Michelle (8/05) and Marissa (1/10). Nursing since 2002.
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#15 of 36 Old 01-22-2007, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A few articles that helped me along the way...though I think the best info and sound advice comes from one another's personal experience here at MDC ....

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/dettoddler.html
http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html
http://www.kathydettwyler.org/dettwyler.html
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-links.html
http://www.aceks.com/mikboy/extbfg.htm

After browsing through these articles I also wanted to mention that I will be thrilled if one day articles/experts/doctors/freelancers/researchers/etc. stop using the words "extended" and "toddler" (or even "baby") when it comes to child-led or self-weaning. Yes there are children that naturally wean on their own during the toddler years but I'm finding (in learning about other's experiences over the past 5 years or so) that, more often than not, when allowed to fully wean on their own, they are well beyond toddlerhood. (that's my rant for the day, forgive me )
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#16 of 36 Old 01-23-2007, 07:08 AM
 
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i agree Mother_sunshine, the term "toddler" in breastfeeding is very limiting.


my dad sent me an article from the Detroit Free Press in fall 2000. (i've misplaced it about 5 yrs ago). And the article talked about nursing 5 yr olds in a positive light. the part i remember most was a public school kindergarten teacher who had two students still nursing. She said they were the most well adjusted of all her students! I wish i still had that article to share, i've tried to find it online, but no luck.
It was an important article for me to read at that time because it really made me aware that nursing didn't have to end at a certain age.
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#17 of 36 Old 01-23-2007, 10:51 AM
 
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And my own observation... nursing into toddlerhood is the normal stress relieving mechanism meant to support the child as he/she learns to deal with the frustrations of everyday life. It take us into our adulthood to learn to manage stress well, so it is clearly unrealistic to expect toddlers to deal with it without support. By using nursing as a "reset" button, children learn to turn to human beings for help and support rather than material objects, and are able to take security from knowing they have soft place to fall. Since the world they know is a place where help and comfort can be found, the child remains confident about going back out there and facing more challenges.They can regroup, calm down and continue the learning that their frustration had previously interrupted.
Beautifully said, thank you for posting. I like this better than your researched info!

***
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#18 of 36 Old 01-23-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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Mother Sunshine- Thanks for posting all of those links. I hadn't read them before. I'm sitting here realizing all of my co-nursing pals have since stopped! Their children,for the most part self weaned between 2.5 and 3.3 yrs. We are still going but it's only for a few min at night and i sometimes have to remind her! Occasionally in the morning she'll ask.Anyways I loved reading the links and will forward them to a mommy I know that's just hitting the 1 yr mark. xoxoxoxoxo Hali
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#19 of 36 Old 01-23-2007, 03:09 PM
 
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: I just had a long "debate" (though it can't really be called that) with my Aunt's husband while nursing at the family christmas. He's a well respected physicist and science is his god. He has no respect for non-scientific minds (we are literally ALL artists in the biological family...we kind of drive him bonkers). Anyway, he really put me on the spot while nursing ds (14 mo at the time as though that were old! LOL!!) and I had nothing to give to him at the time. I'll go look at some of these articles and maybe forward them onward. Or maybe I'll just file them away and not waste the time or energy on him!

thanks for the resources!

me, wife to dh, the movie geek (7/01), mama to ds1, budding Star Wars geek (10/05), dd, budding princess of the dirt (03/08) and ds2, budding extrovert. watch out! (8/10).
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#20 of 36 Old 01-23-2007, 04:38 PM
 
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Well here is my totally lame and unresearched answer: It is just easier this way.
LMAO. I always told people "I'm too lazy to wean."
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#21 of 36 Old 02-23-2007, 07:39 PM
 
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I made a couple of pathetic attempts at sorta nudging Prenna tward weaning; she was ambivalent, miffed here and there, but not TOO stormy. Then it was like this feeling of guilt started settling into my gut. I'd kind of discourage it and say, "Really? Do you need it? Can you wait? Num is for night night." And she would just give this look like, "Are you nuts, Mom?? I wouldn't ask if I didn't need it! Duh!" And then we had a crazy few months (wedding, moving... all in the same week, after months of planning and prepping) and during, she had to have it... all the time. As a matter of fact the day of the wedding, she INSISTED (22 mo) on my disrobing, right before I was to meet my dad for the walk down the aisle, dress half off, etc, and having a 'moment', which the photographer lady caught on film, and tho I was a little weirded out by it she said "Some day u will want to look back on this memory." Already I look at the picture, and it's amazing to me.

I have gone on auto-pilot at night, she cries, I get up in my sleep, and sleep walk to her, take her up, set her in place and she nurses. Sometimes I fall asleep right there in our chair, sometimes it's just for a minute or 2 and then I lay her back down. Every morning, at 7-7:30, dh retrieves her from her bed, where she sits calling "DAD! DAD!" and delivers her to me, she always has like 3 paci's with her, and will hand them to me and ask me to put them on the table, and will "dial in radio-free-Japan" giving me the worst tittie twisters, and pressing her face in 'em and smelling and literally grooming the boobs for 10 minutes or longer before even getting down to nursing (is that normal?)... and we all have a nice long family cuddle and doze off together.

For me, it has been about releasing what I felt obligated to do and allowing that guilty feeling to just fade away. Now I have to work on the social guilt... does that make sense?
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#22 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 04:48 PM
 
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This is such a great thread! I want to CLW when our little one comes, but I've worried about the social pressures. Now at least I have some resources to back up my instinct about this! Thanks y'all!

We're officially TTC!!!
 
I blog about traditional foods, nurturing creativity, keeping a simple home, and the elements of crafting a meaningful life at www.maggiesnest.org.
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#23 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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This thread is AWESOME!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#24 of 36 Old 07-15-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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How about helps with tantrums of any kind of any age!!!

Gives busy moms time to relax!!!

Do not have to ever worry about dehydration in a child when he is still nursing.

helps reconnect busy playing children with their momma!!
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#25 of 36 Old 07-16-2007, 08:20 AM
 
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Hi all,
I just wanted to post and say how encouraging this thread is... my son has been extremely healthy no ear infections, etc so far, and he just turned one. There have been times (growth spurts anyone?) where I was sure I wasn't going to last this long, but now we're at a year, and I see him stretching his limits and I'm already sad about when he won't be nursing anymore. He doesn't seem interested in stopping now, and he's just getting the hang of solids, but I know he'll stop someday, so all that to say, thanks for the encouragement! Right now I'm just trying to follow his lead, and look for the cues that will let me know when he's ready.
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#26 of 36 Old 07-16-2007, 08:21 AM
 
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oh, and I forgot to mention (although I'm sure others already have) The main benefits outside of the irreplaceable intimacy of nursing, are that bf is his first line of medicine and nutrition. I can't see him being nearly as healthy on the limited diet of solids he has now.
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#27 of 36 Old 10-13-2007, 07:40 AM
 
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The biggest benefit for us has been on the few occasions when ds has been ill and been off his food he still nurses. Its reassuring to know that whilst he isnt eating food hes still getting something in him.

Ds also has a kean interest in Biology that I think stems from still being nursed. He wants to know which other animals give milk to their babies which leads onto other questions about how they look after them, what they eat etc. He also has a fascination with babies and other children who bf. I'm hoping that nursing him to an age where he has memory of it will enforce it in his mind as the norm so that when he has children he can support his partner to nurse their babies.
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#28 of 36 Old 10-13-2007, 11:56 AM
 
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I can't know this, but, I think a benefit of this child-led process that tends to lead to "extended" nursing (my daughter is 4.5) is how the nurslings will likely associate the experience with positive feelings. What I mean is that they'll probably nurse their own kids or support partners who do.

--Heather
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#29 of 36 Old 10-14-2007, 03:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#30 of 36 Old 11-28-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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I can't see him being nearly as healthy on the limited diet of solids he has now.
I don't really have to worry about my 27mo DD's nutrition - is she getting enough of such and such? We do feed her healthy things, but sometimes she doesn't eat as much.

As long as she is nursing, any gaps in nutrition are more than made up with my breastmilk.

Monica
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