Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: central valley, California
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DD#1 nursed until 5 1/2, DS until 6+. I planned to follow their lead on nursing, but thought that would mean 2-3 years!
I have a hard time with the idea that child led weaning means mom never should have an affect on nursing frequency or length. It's a relationship, and if it's starting to feel uncomfortable to you, then it's time to re-evaluate that relationship and make changes as needed. Maybe that means simply talking it out with other moms, maybe it means setting some additional limits on nursing, maybe it means gently encouraging weaning sometime soon.
What did we do? We talked about weaning. We talked about how at some point they would no longer need to nurse. They realized that most of their friends no longer nursed and we talked about how some mommas and some children are ready to stop nursing sooner, but everyone is ready at some point. I remember once being torn between laughter and tears when I asked my son (probably about 4, but not really sure) when he thought he might wean. He started out by saying "5", then asked how long until his birthday. When that didn't seem very long, he asked how old our big boy across-the-street neighbor was (about 10 at the time), decided even THAT wasn't enough, and finally settled on "16". argh!
DD weaned very abruptly when we attended the LLL International Conference. I mentioned that it would be neat to wean at the conference, after all, where else could a 5 1/2 year old announce that she'd decided to wean and hear enthusiastic responses instead of shock. We'd been approaching that point, but my comment was definitely spur of the moment and not really with the expectation of anything happening. But she loved the idea, and it stuck, even w/ twin brother continuing to nurse for over 6 months longer.
DS also weaned abruptly. DD would ask him every night as he nursed at bedtime when he thought he'd be done (not mean, just curious). Finally, one night he said "tomorrow", and sure enough, that was that. It came so fast, after all those years! Sometimes he still asks about nursing and talks about missing it. I became pregnant w/ DD#2 very soon after he weaned (coincidence), and he spent the first half of my pregnancy saying how the right breast would be the baby's and the left breast his. I didn't really try to discourage or encourage those thoughts (although I wasn't sad when they faded before she was born). He and his twin sister both tried to nurse (once) after baby sister was born, but neither remembered how, and frankly I wasn't too interested in nursing 7 year olds!
It will happen. It may happen so quickly you can't believe it. Or it may take some negotiation and compromise between the two of you. If it feels like "time", then remember that your daughter has such a strong foundation and connection that she will be fine with some momma-guidance.