Think my LO is weaning before I am ready--perspectives please???? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my LO is not a toddler--he's 11-months--but I thought you all might have more experience with this.  Sorry for intruding.  :-(

 

My DS hasn't nursed since last Tuesday (6 days).  He has a double ear infection, and is teething.  He will eat some food, he will drink water (enthusiastically I might add--in other words there doesn't seem to be a "sucking" issue) from a sippy.  I am pumping every 2 hours, taking supplements, etc. to keep my milk supply up but it's dwindling.  I am gently offering the breast every 4 hours or so, only to be met with crying and arching his back as soon as I even attempt.  I am offering expressed milk--warm and cool--in a sippy, bottle, etc. and he pushes it away.  I've called IBCLC's, La Leche League, etc. and they all say "you're doing great, keep it up!".  So I feel pretty confident I'm doing what I need to try and keep him breastfeeding.

 

My intuition says he's probably done though.  I am going to push through, I've promised myself that I will push through for AT LEAST 2 weeks after he's recovered.  But this boy LOVES to eat what we eat; and since about 5-6 mos. I've had to nurse him in a dark, quiet room with white noise otherwise he wants to be busy and not nurse.  I just have a feeling.

 

And I feel DEVASTATED.  This feels like such a loss.  I never even saw it coming, I never had a chance to treasure those last few nursings because I thought we'd be doing this for a long time. 

 

I always hear from the AP community "babies almost NEVER self-wean before age 2"...but what if they do?  Any thoughts, suggestions?  Either for getting him back to the breast, or how you dealt with it when it happened before you were ready?

 

Thanks so much.  :-)

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#2 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 01:03 PM
 
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Sounds like a nursing strike to me. You might get a good response to this in the Breastfeeding forum. I have an acquaintance whose son "self-weaned" at 10 months and I was in utter disbelief so I made a thread there to ask others' opinions. From the responses I got, and consequent research online, it seems that indeed the youngest known self-weaners are more like 18 months, and very rare at that. If you feel determined to keep BFing, I would say look into nursing strikes and ways to get the babe back on the breast. From what I understand it usually has to do with other issues that need to be addressed, but I'm no expert and I would just look further into nursing strikes if I were you.

 

OTOH, I have to say as a mama of a 22 month old going through our own nursing / weaning / cutting back woes....I don;t necessarily believe it's wrong to go with it when an 11 month old seems to be done with nursing. I would be concerned about *why* he's rejecting the breast at an unnaturally early age....aka why he's "on strike".....but otherwise it really is the right time for some mamas and nursing a child to 11 months is a commendable achievement so there's no shame if you feel  it's right to end it there. It sounds like that's not you though so I wish you much luck in getting him back to the breast!


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#3 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input, I will also post in the breastfeeding forum!

 

And yes it is commendable to nurse until this point but...I am not ready to be done.  And I don't think he would've been ready to be done if he hadn't gotten sick.  So, I'm still going to plug (pump?) along!

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#4 of 11 Old 03-28-2012, 07:03 AM
 
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I don't think if they are sick that they are actually weaning. Think about what you do when your sick -- do you eat less? Does it sometimes hurt to drink certain liquids from certain vessels? I think it's the same for babies. I do believe that very few (if any) babies self-wean this young, and I would not consider it self-weaning if it was preceded by illness. I'd just keep pumping to keep your supply up, keep offering, and hope he comes back to it once he is feeling 100% better. I think if you are convinced he's done, he will be done, but if you can try to convince yourself that he'll nurse again once he's feeling better, chances are he will. I know that sounds weird, and I don't really think it's as simple as 'he'll do whatever you think he'll do' but I do think your attitude towards this will affect him kind of subliminally -- so if you treat it as a strike, not weaning, I think you'll have better success with getting him back on the breast. Does that make sense? I do know several babies IRL (and many online!) that went on nursing strikes of days or weeks (one even went about 2 months!) but all 5 of them are still nursing at 1.5-2.5 years old. The 9-11mo range seems to be a common age for nursing strikes, even in the absence of illness.

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#5 of 11 Old 03-29-2012, 12:01 PM
 
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Is he still sick? I might hold off on offering again until his ears feel better, probably the pressure created when BFing (much greater than sucking on a bottle or sippy for his water) was causing more pain in his ears and that may be the association. I hope you can coax him back on, try catching him (once he feels better) when drowsy or distracted, might be your best bet. If you were ready to wean, you could "take advantage" of the nursing strike, but it sounds like it is way too early for you and understandably so.

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#6 of 11 Old 03-29-2012, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I totally agree that my perception of this can affect what happens with this!  I am definitely not giving up, but I keep feeling like every day I wake up saying "I wonder if he'll nurse today?" only to be met by him crying and/or turning away when offered the breast. 

He is still working on the teeth--man these are slow ones.  As of 2 days ago he still had an ear infection, but Dr said it didn't look too awful.

I am wondering if he associates breastmilk = pain...?  I just can't imagine why he'd be spitting out breastmilk in a sippy or in a bottle.  My diet hasn't changed at all.  He's never been a bottle kind of guy (only took it from my mom when she'd babysit), so I had thought maybe he's just rejecting it because he only wants it from the tap, but that hurts.  I actually had my mom come over yesterday to try to give him a bottle but he refused that too.

Anyway, thanks for all your suggestions.  I don't want to quit, and your encouragement has been really helpful!  Thanks again!

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#7 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 03:26 PM
 
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I hope your little one started nursing again. I also think 11 mo is too young to wean. They need some kind of milk (human, formula or cow milk).

 

My kids also hated my milk in a sippy cup or a cup.  Ds was away for a while when he was three and I pumped and kept the milk in the freezer. I had to mix it with cow milk, otherwise he wouldn't drink it.

 

 

Do you co-sleep? I would try nursing at night. You could also try taking baths with him, and as much skin-to-skin contact as possible, even if her doesn't want to nurse.

 

I hope he'll nurse again soon.


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#8 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 04:10 PM
 
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What scientific data people have to say that children do not self wean before age 2?  It is such strong and to me a ridiculous statements.

 

My kid did at 8 months and nothing would make him nurse again. Nothing. He did not want pumped milk either.

 

I know many kids who self weaned before age  2.

 

Some kids have their minds and their own very strong ideas very early in life.

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#9 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It seems as though everything I read in the Natural Parenting community says "they don't self-wean before 18 mos to 2 years", and I haven't seen any specific scientific data, but I'm inclined to believe that it's true in many cases.  It's what I WANT to be true in my case! 

On Tuesday it'll be 2 weeks since he's nursed.  I do skin-to-skin a few times during the day, and while that seems comforting to him, he will push away the breast when offered.  He seems to be his normal, happy self, but he's still sticking his fingers in his mouth so I think it doesn't seem quite normal in there. 

I'm starting to accept that this might be it.  The week prior to getting sick, he had started to decrease the amount of milk he was taking--he wasn't emptying the breast and was nursing less frequently.  I don't know if the weaning process would've been more gradual if he hadn't gotten sick, or maybe it would've taken a lot longer, but I think the sickness/teething might have just majorly sped up what was already happening.

One huge challenge we're dealing with now is that he's always hungry.  We were doing Baby Led Weaning with him, so he never ate that much at meals, and even now he'll still start throwing food around the room if we let him self-feed.  (Which was usually our cue that he was done.)  Now, if we use that as a cue, he's crying and pointing to the kitchen every 15 min.  So now we're spoon feeding him, otherwise he'll be hungry all day.  Sigh.  I'm at a loss, really...this goes against everything I felt to be true about breastfeeding and child-led feeding!!!!

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#10 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 06:46 PM
 
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If they would have to move to a breastmilk substitute, then I wouldn't call it self-weaning but a nursing strike gone bad. And my feeling is that babies/toddlers don't self-wean before about 2 as well.

It's probably related to being sick. I'd pump to keep your supply up and keep offering. But even if it's a nursing strike gone bad, that sometimes happens and not all mom/baby pairs are able to get past a nursing strike. It's just an unfornanate part of life sometimes. Hopefully he'll get back on the breast, but I wish you luck regardless of what happens!
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#11 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 07:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

What scientific data people have to say that children do not self wean before age 2?  It is such strong and to me a ridiculous statements.

 

My kid did at 8 months and nothing would make him nurse again. Nothing. He did not want pumped milk either.

 

I know many kids who self weaned before age  2.

 

Some kids have their minds and their own very strong ideas very early in life.



...and that is just your opinion.

 

I really don't care about searching the web for "scientific data" right now. I also know someone who scolded me for nursing ds, as her kid self-weaned at 2 months, and everything went so smoothly and his weaning was so "natural" (her choice of words).

 

OP, I commend you for making it to 11 months. You gave your child the best start in life. And if you and your child are ok with weaning, that's all it matters. I only posted because you asked for advice on how to get him back to the breast.

 

GL


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