when will my child lead us to weaning?? (she's 5) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 01-08-2010, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Argh! I never, never, never thought I would be in a position to post this question. I was going to breastfeed for, oh, six weeks or so ... which became two years ... which became 4 years ... .

DD is now 5 1/3. She shows no signs of deciding she's ready to stop nursing, which she does every night before bed, and sometimes when she is really tired or upset during the day, for comfort.

I've been ready to stop for ... 2 1/2 years at least.

By what mechanism will my child decide she doesn't want to do this any more??? Can't really see that happening. You know that nursing college student everyone says will not exist, because sometime, they will want to stop & they will stop? I think am I going to break that barrier

Seriously -- at this point, I am ok with a little while longer, since what difference would it make; but I do not want to go on nursing much longer. Will she really stop on her own??

Loving Lucy Amelia
"light makes it better"
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#2 of 19 Old 01-08-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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I have no advise as Ive never been in that position but wanted to commend you on doing a wonderful thing for your DD. Hopefull someone will have helpful advise.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#3 of 19 Old 01-08-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I know that some will disagree with me, but have you ever brought up the idea of weaning with DD? I am not encouraging you to wean her, but bring it up as a concept. I don't think it encourages early weaning but some would say it does

 

 

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#4 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've brought it up with her occasionally for the past 2 years or so. We've discussed remote deadlines like "when I turn 4" or "when I turn 5," but when we get there, she doesn't want to stop, and it feels mean & pointless to make her. Leading to my initial post, where I can't quite see how this dynamic will change

We've made enough changes over the years (stopped NIP at 4, for example) that she has picked up that it is very unusual to still nurse. She had a friend over yesterday & commented "I can't believe I still nurse -- it's sort of a baby thing." So maybe she will get self-conscious about it just from increased awareness that it's unusual.

But ... she is also a non-conformist and knows I am, so the idea that we have to stop because other people think it's weird just doesn't fly.

Probably needless to say, the issue for me is not what other people think -- it's what I think. And we are nearing the point where even I feel like it is sort of weird.

Words of wisdom from other extremely extended nursing moms?

Loving Lucy Amelia
"light makes it better"
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#5 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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Good for you for following her lead! My oldest weaned himself at a little over five years old. He had been nursing every few weeks for the last year before that, though. I know a kid who was nursing daily at that age, and she gradually weaned by the time she was seven. I don't know if that helps!

I would guess that peer pressure and distraction would eventually lead your DD to wean, but I don't know. How does she do with being told, "Not right now?"

Nealy
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#6 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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I'm with you, Lucy! My son will be 5 next month and just isn't ready to stop. I have him down to before bed and first thing in the morning, and occasionally if something happens during the day I will let him, but usually I remind him that his side opens at bedtime (I'm tandem nursing so he sees his 18mo sister nurse during the day, which I imagine is hard but he seems to handle well)

We have also done the remote deadline thing, and it always sounds ok to him until it gets there and he's not ready. He said 5th bday for a while, but now that it's close he says 6th

We're just getting to the point where I'm ready for him to wean, and I don't really know what to do either.

I keep hearing that 5 is this magic age where kids suddenly get more comfortable separating from mama, and I'm holding on to that for now. I do trust him to be ready at some point, I just kind of wish I knew when it would be

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#7 of 19 Old 01-12-2010, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, Lianne, even though neither of us knows what to do ... your post still made me feel better!!

Loving Lucy Amelia
"light makes it better"
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#8 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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I'll join the club as I am still nursing my big boy who just turned 5! and my younger son 3.5.

I can't even remember what my life was like before nursing, it has sort of taken over everything. My little guy is a milky monster (that's what we call him) and I can't even sit down without him wanting to nurse, my big boy nurses in the morning and before bed, occasionally in the day time if he is not feeling well or has a boo boo or something.

Keep up the good work and loving relationships with your nurslings!

Katherine, SAHM to 2 little princes
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#9 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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When my son weaned he was 4. We discussed for a while before hand the idea of weaning, and how it would mean he was more grown up. We also decided on a present for him when he weaned, something really good. He decided he wanted guinea pigs. During this time I started limiting how long he nursed, and how often. The final help was that I let him fall asleep on the couch watching tv for a few nights, instead of going into the bedroom which would have triggered nursing. This might be best over a vacation or long weekend. I didn't tell him he couldn't nurse, just changed the circumstances. Then after a few days mentioned that he hadn't nursed to sleep in days, he must be so big he doesn't need to anymore. I told him to think about it, and if he was done we would celebrate his weaning and get his weaning present. Let me tell you, I ended up being allergic to those damn animals, and had chronic sinus infections from them, but I wouldn't get rid of him because they were his weaning present
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#10 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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My daughter just turned 3 (yesterday) and I have a feeling she will be nursing until she is 4? 5? 6? and at this point, I think I would be just fine with nursing in the evening before bed and once in a while during the day, but we aren't there yet, so I don't know how I will actually feel if we reach that point. Something I read that stuck out a lot to me was a study that related weaning to when a child's first permanent teeth (molars?) erupt. I can't remember the name of it but it's on this website under "breastfeeding beyond infancy" in the articles. It just made sense to me from a biological standpoint that once they get those first "adult" teeth, there are probably other changes occuring that eliminate the need for nursing.

I don't know if this helps, it's how I get through still some night nursing, is remembering how quickly the years have already gone by and how I will look back on this fondly when she is all grown up. I try to think "she will have sweet memories of being comforted and having her needs met" I've heard stories of adults who were nursed until 5, 6, or 7 and have really great memories of it, and extremely close relationships with their mothers.

Ruth-single mommy to Maya 01/12/07
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#11 of 19 Old 01-14-2010, 02:18 AM
 
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oh, i remember it so well reading your posts.
well enough to remember and go find this. my daughter was just five when i wrote it and weaned herself six months later. i thought for sure she'd go to seven. weaning was emotional. there were things that make me think it wasn't really child-led (like a pregnancy thrown in there and one two week break about five months before she was actually done) but even though she made the decision that she was done, she wasn't thrilled about it. she would write me little phonetically spelled notes about not wanting to nurse but still really wanting to BE a nursling. it was hard. we both grappled. i did everything except say "come here and nurse." i said "you can nurse if you want to..." i think she sort of needed that little (tiny) bit of head space - needed me to rely on her to make the decision. i think. i don't know. ugh.
sheesh! she's been weaned for over a year and i'm still saying i don't know! big help i am.
she did lose a tooth shortly after. although i know many mamas whose children nurse past that point.
i really did think my daughter was going to be the exception to the rule that they WILL wean eventually. i really did.
but.
there's just something big about five i think.

good luck to all you mamas of lucky children.
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#12 of 19 Old 01-14-2010, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aileen, what a great piece of writing about this. Thank you so much for finding it and sharing it with us.

Thanks to the other PPs sharing their stories of what it feels like to find yourself this far off the beaten path.

Going to go snuggle the girl now ...


Loving Lucy Amelia
"light makes it better"
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#13 of 19 Old 01-15-2010, 12:38 AM
 
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I think that biologically there comes a time when the urge to suckle just goes away. Every kid does it at a different age. I sucked my thumb until I was 9 years old and I remember realizing one day that it no longer felt comforting and I didn't even want to anymore.

Wife to Doug, mom to Hank and Logan !!!
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#14 of 19 Old 01-15-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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Glad it helped a little! Thanks for starting this thread It's helping me too

Ruth, you are definitely right about that! It is flying by.

WAHMama to Allen (2-10-05) and Alexa (6-27-08)
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#15 of 19 Old 01-15-2010, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In related news, DD announced tonight that she doesn't need to sleep with me anymore. Wow, after 5 + years, for the first time (other than when she has been with her dad), I will sleep by myself tonight. Intense mixed emotions, of course. On the up side: I can read in bed!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoo hoo! But on the other hand, wow, nothing beats snuggling with your kid.

I thought this would end later than nursing, so we shall see -- maybe she's ready to let go of those anchors.

Loving Lucy Amelia
"light makes it better"
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#16 of 19 Old 01-15-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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Lots of mixed emotions!

WAHMama to Allen (2-10-05) and Alexa (6-27-08)
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#17 of 19 Old 01-19-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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My dd weaned at just over 3 when we had a family friend come stay with us. I nursed my dd right before he came and that was it. He put her to bed at night while here and after he left she forgot all about it. I thought she would never wean. I did push her to it though by cutting out feedings and distractions.

GL
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#18 of 19 Old 01-19-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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If she still nurses, she still needs to nurse.

I've had lots of the same thoughts as you as we get closer to weaning, and now at 6y 2m, we're down to nursing about once a week. Last week he told me he doesn't nurse anymore, but he reneged

It really will happen. But sometimes it feels like it won't!

You're doing a great job meeting her needs. Nursing is normal- even at five and six!
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#19 of 19 Old 01-23-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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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.

Cheri
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