4yr old- whats "normal" weaning progression? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-17-2012, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Im nursing dd1 who is 4 and dd2 who is 5 months. 


DD1 doesnt seem to understand that someday she wont nurse as much, or might not nurse at all. when i try and gently talk about that, she says matter of fact "i will nurse until i have my babies!"


She still nurses quit a bit, some of which is probably becuase of the new baby- however, it does seem like a very strong continued attachment to nursing. 


Should I try and gently teach her about the idea of weaning? Or let it go for a while. DO children need to know that weaning happens in order for it to happen or do they just do it anyway? 


Im ok with her still nursing- I just want to make sure i am doing it right? Do i need to start prepping her for the day, or will she find it on her own? I dont want her to feel pushed at all right now (she is having a little bit of a hard time- we recently moved and had a baby, and she has been sick)


do you talk to your kids about this stuff or not?

homescholing traveling mama of two ('08 and '12) expecting May 2015!
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#2 of 5 Old 09-17-2012, 05:02 PM
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I'm not there yet but if you're ok with her nursing frequency I wouldn't raise the issue right now. I would wait until she settles in with the new baby/new home, etc. Otherwise I think kids just naturally cut back and eventually wean. However if her nursing frequency keeps up, I don't see any harm in having a conversation about it - just make sure she knows that she can keep nursing so she doesn't get anxious about it. I'm sure more experienced moms will chime in soon
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#3 of 5 Old 09-18-2012, 05:53 AM
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I'm so glad you brought this up. My son who is 3.5 still nurses like a newborn! He is my only one and shows no signs of child lead weaning. I have gently encouraged him to wait and try to hold off until naps and bedtime. He will cry and becomes very upset if I try to explain he is a big boy and that someday this will go away. I do not want to cold turkey or have it become something that hurts his feelings when I try to encourage him to try and go without. my original plan was child lead but at this point I may showing up to kindergarten for "snack time" :-) I'd also like to know does this "child lead" work if there are no signs or desire to quite?

Sorry I don't have an answer to help, but at least you're not alone :-)
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#4 of 5 Old 09-25-2012, 11:13 PM
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It will end!  My daughter (who is almost 6 now and *I think* just took the final steps towards weaning!!!) nursed a ton at 3.5 years old too.  When asked "do you think you'll still be nursing when you're 6?"she responded "yes"  When asked "do you think you will still be nursing when you are our 17 year old neighbor's age?" she responded "yes."  "Do you think you'll still be nursing when you go to college?" "yes"  "Do you think you'll still be nursing when YOU have babies?"  "yes."  Then we'd both laugh.  I'd ask her "can you imagine if I was still nursing with Nana?" and laugh.  I think those conversations help set the expectation that, yeah, probably someday you won't nurse anymore, but no pressure about when.  Sounds like a great way to "start" by planting the seed that someday things will change.


With a new-ish baby in the house, I wouldn't push it any farther than that if you don't have a need to.  By the time my daughter was 4.5 the frequency was totally different than it was at 3.5.  And by 5.5 it was pretty much down to just morning and evening.  At 5.5 I started "pushing" the idea a bit more by talking about things that her friends do with their mommies to help them feel close even though they don't nurse anymore (reading a book, having a massage, playing a game).  I let her know that when she was ready to wean, that I was still committed to making sure that we had some special time together each day *just her and me* even if we weren't nursing.  I also mentioned that I thought such a big transition deserved some kind of celebration and that I'd like to take her out for a special dinner and treat once she was really done. 


I think the celebration aspect really piqued her interest (okay, I guess it was a bit of bribery), and at this point, she was just nursing evening and morning as part of our normal routine.  Almost like she didn't know how else to get that connected or relax during those times.  Which was fine, but if there's another way of doing that (one that felt nicer to me than nursing, which was not my favorite thing with her at this point), I was more than happy to help her switch over.  She had one 'false start' where she said, I'm ready to be done nursing now, can we have the party now?!  But then wanted to nurse the next day--which I assured her was fine.  I was clear that I wanted the celebration to be once she really was done. 


Now, 5 months later she wanted to try again.  We made a poster (with drawings because she can't read yet) showing all the things we could do to relax and feel close together--massage, reading, games, snuggline, drawing, music, and building a fort is what ended up on there (this is saved in a safe place!  What a keepsake).  I asked her what she wanted me to do if she asked to nurse---did she want me to support her in finding something else, or did she just want me to nurse.  She said she wanted support, and so for the past 2 weeks we've been doing massage at bedtime instead of nursing.  It's WONDERFUL!  I feel more connected giving her a massage than I did nursing her (at this point).  And she seems happy too.


Anyway, I don't think you're weird, or abnormal or anything.  I think you're doing fine and don't need to do anything more at this point to introduce the idea of weaning.  I love everything skycheettraffic said.  Tawnymullikin if you're still fine nursing and your kiddo is having trouble with limiting the number of nursing sessions, there's no reason to limit them (in my opinion).  Peer pressure can be intense here, but it's nobody else's business.  By the time he gets to kindergarten, he isn't likely to be nursing so often that it will be obvious to others that he does nurse (I have experience here...I did have to tell my daughter that older kids didn't nurse at kindergarten since I was still nursing my younger one last year, and there were a couple of times my older daughter asked.  But she seemed to get it, and to notice that none of the other kids were having nursing breaks!  For the most part, she was down to morning and evening by kindergarten). 


If you DO want to limit his nursing (totally valid also), then maybe you could try limiting the *duration* of the nursing sessions rather than the number.  I had to do this when I was pregnant with my second.  I couldn't nurse for long because it hurt.  So I would nurse her as often as she wanted, but only "until I count to 10" on each side or "until I sing one verse of old mac donald" or whatever.  For us, that worked much better than having to say "no," which made my daughter much more resistant.  Also, I think you'd be fine to put him off a nursing session if you're busy "sorry I can't right now because I have to cook dinner, but I will nurse you as soon as it's in the oven."  But if your son is like my daughter, he may be more likely to taper off sooner with less "pressure" (not that you are pressuring, but my daughter picks up on stuff mighty quick, and would have been really incensed at the idea that "you're a big kid and someday it will go away."  I think it would have made it harder for her to let go--she likes resisting...to my chagrin!).  But talking about "can you imagine if so and so still nursed?" and "do you think you'll still be nursing when...?" puts the idea in their head that it will end, while still letting them know that they're in control (if you want them to be).  That worked better for my spunky kid anyway....

Anyway, good luck to you both!  It's wild to think that we're close to being done, but here we are! 

Mama to Nell (11/15/06) and Maggie (10/9/10) . AFTER 2.5 YEARS, I AM AN AUNTIE!!! joy.gifHOORAY TEAR78 and welcome Anika and Brand New Baby Boy!!!!  Circumcision: the more you know, the worse it is; please leave the decision up to your son!

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#5 of 5 Old 09-25-2012, 11:15 PM
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Also, there's a forum on here for moms who are interested in letting their kids be more of a participant in deciding when and how to wean.  It's here: http://www.mothering.com/community/f/305/child-led-weaning



AND, I wanted to add that by 4.5 my daughter (who nursed like yours at 3.5) was able to happily go visit family for a week with my husband, but without me (and picked right back up with nursing when she got back to me).  So she was very independent and ABLE to go without nursing...just preferred to nurse if I was available.  This summer at 5.5 she made the same week long trip across the country without either of us parents (just her Nana)...so don't worry that you are making your kids too dependent!

Mama to Nell (11/15/06) and Maggie (10/9/10) . AFTER 2.5 YEARS, I AM AN AUNTIE!!! joy.gifHOORAY TEAR78 and welcome Anika and Brand New Baby Boy!!!!  Circumcision: the more you know, the worse it is; please leave the decision up to your son!

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