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#1 of 36 Old 04-07-2005, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone know what the average age of CLW is? I know some nurse til 6 or older (my BIL did ), and some self wean at or below a year (tho those are usually bottle supplemented). But whats the average, for those of you who don't introduce other milks (or do it well after a year) and don't try to put too many conditions/limitations on nursing (night-weaning, etc).
I'm just curious actually, dd is only 14 months, so I expct a good deal more nursing from her.
thanks

nothing more to say I guess :
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#2 of 36 Old 04-07-2005, 08:17 PM
 
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Great question! I've read that the worldwide average age of weaning (mother-led included) is 4 years, so I would assume that the CLW average would have to be higher! My little nursling has cut way back since he turned 5...
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#3 of 36 Old 04-07-2005, 08:18 PM
 
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#4 of 36 Old 04-07-2005, 08:18 PM
 
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a small but interesting survey

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detsurvey.htm

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#5 of 36 Old 04-07-2005, 08:55 PM
 
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most mammals and other primates usually wean when they start losing their milk teeth. I suspect, all things being equal, that would stand for humans as well.


from the link MomTwice posted above:
Quote:
In brief, I surveyed 1,280 children in the US who breastfed for a minimum of three years. The mean age of weaning for these children was 4.24. years, with a median of 4.00 years, a mode of 3.5 years, a standard deviation of 1.08 years, and a range of 3.00 to 9.17 years.
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#6 of 36 Old 04-07-2005, 11:52 PM
 
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Thanks for that link--- hadn't seen it before. It looks like slightly less than 10% of that population weaned after they were 5 (6 or older). Also, more than 50% weaned before 4.5 (62%--- in fact over 45% weaned before 4). Makes me fell a bit better about DDs weaning (50 months)--- it looks like a pretty popular age. We'll see where DS ends up on that scale

 

 

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#7 of 36 Old 04-08-2005, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, interesting to know...
well, I'm quite comfortable with the concept of nursing a 3 or 4 year old at the moment, so by the time dd is 4 I'm sure I'll be comfortable with older than that

nothing more to say I guess :
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#8 of 36 Old 04-08-2005, 06:09 AM
 
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There have not been any studies (that I know of) on statistics of actual child-led weaning. As enlightening (and encouraging to mamas with younger children) as K.Dettwyler's study is, it is merely of children who "extended" (I hate that term) nursed, whether mother-weaned or self-weaned. I would bet that the number would rise greatly if there were a study of exclusively child-led.

Child-led weaning is such a new concept in the professional/research field. The best we can find is from Katherine Dettwyler, which is probably the best info available but, I feel, still lacking. For one thing, she speculates that humans naturally wean when they lose their milk/baby teeth....my dd as well as numerous other children blew that idea out the door (dd lost her first teeth when she was 4)!
Or...
Quote:
Originally Posted by K.Dettwyler's "A Natural Age of Weaning"
In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma, between 3 and 4 years of age.
Bah! : (the word "usually" is what irks me)

Don't get me wrong. Her research should be commended. She has gone where no one else has gone thus far. It is just not completely accurate and makes some dangerous assumptions that can lead to mothers needlessly and undeservingly feeling "abnormal". There are a lot of subjective assumptions, not to be taken as law. Children wean on their own in their own time, if given the opportunity. The number shouldn't matter.
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#9 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 02:24 AM
 
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The problem is that most cultures don't do CLW. While many quote Dettwyler's number for a 4 year old + average, nowhere in all the anthropological literature have I seen a culture that goes beyond 3 As A Norm. Now I've read of observations of the occasional child older than that nursing in any number of cultures, and the observation that no one gave it much notice (which is used to support that being a norm and tus unremarkable), but I've never seen anything to indicate that that's not an anomaly, an independent mom doing as she wishes (like us? ) rather than a norm.

I had an interesting discussion via e-mail last year with a lady reading Our Children, Ourselves regarding weaning ages, and had to eventually agree with her that, try as the author might, her data regarding the cultures she profiled in the book did not support her premise. Bummer that. OTOH it did support the concept that there's no One Right Way to raise a mentally healthy child.

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#10 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 05:29 AM
 
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I hear you Meiri. Even Dettwyler herself said that the "4.2yr average" is worthless because it is so hard to come up with an "average" among a World society that ranges from not breastfeeding at all to child-led.

I used to have a link that connected certain cultures with longer duration of breastfeeding. For instance, it noted that native Hawaiians (way back when) traditionally breastfed past 4, and the Inuit past 7yrs. I wish I could find that info. You think it could have been from the same source you mention (Our Children Ourselves)? I remember it did have back-up/footnotes though, concrete evidence, not just theory.
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#11 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 09:48 AM
 
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I noticed she used "median" age which is different from "average."

I agree it's a mistake to say that every mother in X culture weans or allows CLW in the same exact way, or that every child is the same.

But at the same time we need to start somewhere.

If I buy a new house...it's the price of that house that matters to our budget, not the average or median price in town. If that makes sense....

At Ted Greiner's Breastfeeding Website there's an article that says when the World Health Org. was coming up with the two year minimum recommendation, some of the Asian delegates were offended because it is so common in their cultures for 3 year olds to nurse. I guess when we try to pigeonhole families it just doesn't work.

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#12 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 09:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mother_sunshine
I hear you Meiri. Even Dettwyler herself said that the "4.2yr average" is worthless because it is so hard to come up with an "average" among a World society that ranges from not breastfeeding at all to child-led.
Agreed. I think that, even if we COULD know the average, the number would be worthless because each child is so different. Within my family, for instance, one weaned at 2 1/2, the next at 4y10mo, and the third is still nursing at 5. That puts our average at...what 4.8 ish? Which means.....nothing! :LOL If we had numbers from all over the world, I think the same thing would happen--some would wean early, others would wean later and the numbers really wouldn't reveal anything.

I think that if you're clw, you're just along for the ride, however long it lasts.

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#13 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meiri
The problem is that most cultures don't do CLW.
Why is that a problem? Animals don't always CLW either, at least not the ones I've ever seen. Mama dog finally starts refusing to nurse her babies, or stays away from them for longer periods of time. I've seen mama dog growl and snap at larger nurslings when she didn't want them to nurse. How many of you have seen mother dog/cat/pig/whatever stand up and start walking away with little ones dangling from her teats? Even in nature, it's natural for mom to start setting some limits.

Yes, I strive for CLW, as an ideal. I try my best to always follow my children's lead, but sometimes I fall short of that ideal. Sometimes my needs must be taken into consideration (I'm not talking about wants or desires, but for-real needs) because just like with my children, if my needs aren't met, I'm miserable and the entire family suffers. I honestly can't say if I'll be nursing DD until she's seven or eight. I'd like to think I will, if that's what she needs, but I don't really know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
I think that if you're clw, you're just along for the ride, however long it lasts.
Yeah, that! I think both of mine are going to end up weaning about the same time. My little one just doesn't seem to need to nurse in the same way my oldest one does. I mean, she still nurses quite a lot, she's not yet two, but it doesn't phase her when she goes a little longer without nursing like it does her big sister. My older DD gets really cranky if she doesn't get to nurse every so often. Baby isn't like that at all, or I've never found her limit.
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#14 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 02:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meiri
The problem is that most cultures don't do CLW.

Why is that a problem?
====================

I don't mean to speak for Meiri, but the way I took her statement was that it's a problem to obtain statistics regarding clw when it's hard to FIND people who clw.

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#15 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 02:32 PM
 
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I don't know the average, but my son was 3 yrs 9 months. I would almost say that he weaned because of my pregnancy, but I'm not 100% sure. This was his second pregnancy nursing and he had already been skipping days nursing and had stopped nursing at night before I got pregnant. I think it was mostly because it was summer time and he was too busy having fun
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#16 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 02:35 PM
 
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Michelle: I may be remembering wrong, but I had thought K. Dettwyler's research pointed to the natural age of weaning being when permanent teeth erupted, not when the childhood teeth fall out.
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#17 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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I lived in India when I was younger and remember everyone telling my mom to nurse until 5. My little sister was still nursing and I would nurse if I felt like it, but not very often at all - maybe twice a month. My sister was 2 1/2 and I was 5.
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#18 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 02:56 PM
 
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My DS self-weaned at 3 yrs, 2 months. He decided that on Friday he would have his last nursing. He marked it on his calendar, just before I went to work that evening he asked for his "last nurse". He nursed for about 20 minutes, then jumped down and said good-bye.
The next morning he asked me if he had his last nurse already, and I told him yes. He has not asked to nurse since.
That being said... I had been limiting his nursing to 3 times a day (I was tandum nursing and had to set limits for my own sanity ) However, I talked to my DS about how many times a day he would want to nurse before I started limiting him. He decided 3 times would be fine. The few times he wanted more, I let him nurse more. I had been prepared to continue tandum nursing "forever", and really thought that would be a reality

I really believe that it is different for every child, and every mother.
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#19 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 03:04 PM
 
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Your son is quite a planner, NB_Mom
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#20 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 04:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kavamamakava
Your son is quite a planner, NB_Mom
He gets that from me :LOL I listen all day long to him giving a count-by-count description of everything he has done today and everything he would still like to do (first i'm gonna get up, then i'm gonna get dressed, then i'm gonna eat, then i'll play a game, then you can nurse Nicole, then she can get dressed...... it just never stops :LOL )
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#21 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 10:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
Why is that a problem? Animals don't always CLW either, at least not the ones I've ever seen. Mama dog finally starts refusing to nurse her babies, or stays away from them for longer periods of time. I've seen mama dog growl and snap at larger nurslings when she didn't want them to nurse. How many of you have seen mother dog/cat/pig/whatever stand up and start walking away with little ones dangling from her teats? Even in nature, it's natural for mom to start setting some limits.

Yes, I strive for CLW, as an ideal. I try my best to always follow my children's lead, but sometimes I fall short of that ideal. Sometimes my needs must be taken into consideration (I'm not talking about wants or desires, but for-real needs) because just like with my children, if my needs aren't met, I'm miserable and the entire family suffers. I honestly can't say if I'll be nursing DD until she's seven or eight. I'd like to think I will, if that's what she needs, but I don't really know.
I just wanted to point out that CLW doesn't mean that the mama's needs aren't respected and met too. Limits are a part of the journey. In retrospect, I don't feel like a martyr for meeting dd's nursing needs. And I never saw CLW as an 'ideal' either. Like Joan said, I went along for the ride and trusted that dd would stop when she was ready. But the ride was just as enjoyable (with plenty of bumps and curves, just like anyone else) for me.

I respect all things living, but as humans we have the intelligence to go a little further than other creatures with important decisions and responsibilities such as parenting. I do understand the need to connect our instincts to other mammals, but I don't think it is healthy to use it as an excuse for mothers to wean when they hit a bump in the road or whatever.

I think we (myself included) tend to think too hard on what is right and wrong for everyone in our society, rather than going with what is right for our own families.

Stafl, I'm not attacking your post or anything so I hope you don't see it that way. I feel the need to speak up because I think you brought up some important misunderstandings of CLW.

It is so important for mamas just to take it one day at a time, stay in tune with their children and themselves, and not get tied up in any 'ideals', yk?
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#22 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 10:21 PM
 
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What she said (Mother Sunshine.)

Really, that was beautifully put.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#23 of 36 Old 04-09-2005, 11:46 PM
 
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Stafl, Joan read me correctly. It's a problem for gathering info on CLW, not that CLW is a problem.

I wouldn't have done it with DS, or with DD 8.5 years later, if I thought CLW was a problem.

Info I've read on the Inuit, from a photo book done by a guy who lived with them off and on for decades mentioned them going to 3. Might have been an "at least 3" statement though, FWTW.

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#24 of 36 Old 04-10-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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it's cool
I'm still working out some things in my own head. Like, I'm still not real sure exactly what is CLW, because it sure seems there's a huge grey area. So far, breastfeeding my two daughters has been a dance. I've been leading for the most part, but I am in tune with their moves and follow along too. I never, not ever, suspected I'd still be nursing DD by her fourth birthday (next week)! I had always planned on nursing for two years, and when we made it to four months I was ecstatic because she wasn't able to nurse the first three months of her life. We'd never have made it this far if I had ever ignored her very real need to nurse. Part of me wants to call what I do "child respectful nursing" rather than "child led weaning" - does that make sense to anyone?
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#25 of 36 Old 04-10-2005, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
Why is that a problem? Animals don't always CLW either, at least not the ones I've ever seen. Mama dog finally starts refusing to nurse her babies, or stays away from them for longer periods of time. I've seen mama dog growl and snap at larger nurslings when she didn't want them to nurse. How many of you have seen mother dog/cat/pig/whatever stand up and start walking away with little ones dangling from her teats? Even in nature, it's natural for mom to start setting some limits.
I have read a few quotes recently about animals shaking off their young, etc., but what I've wondered about is that I imagine they are doing this by instinct at the biologically appropriate time for their young to wean (rather than because they are tired of the behavior, etc.) I don't know if we even have a clear idea of what the human biologically appropriate time is because of the use of formula, cultural norms, etc. Don't know if I'm making sense here. Something about the animal analogy doesn't sit quite right with me. Oh well. Interesting discussion. I SO wish there was more information for us out there.
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#26 of 36 Old 04-10-2005, 03:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kavamamakava
Michelle: I may be remembering wrong, but I had thought K. Dettwyler's research pointed to the natural age of weaning being when permanent teeth erupted, not when the childhood teeth fall out.
She cites more than one biological "sign post" for weaning--- which occur upon a continuium usually reached somewhere between 2.5-7 years. There is no *one* predictor that is the end all be all:

Quote:
One of the more interesting starting points is the essay by Katherine Dettwyler, "A Time to Wean: The Hominid Blueprint for the Natural Age of Weaning in Modern Human Populations." Dettwyler looks at physiological and biological studies in human and other primate populations that correlate weaning with things such as the eruption of teeth, the percentage of adult body weight obtained, the growth of the infant, or the age of gestation across a variety of primate species. Her conclusion stands in contrast to modern American weaning practice: that the "natural" age of weaning (difficult though that is to define) is somewhere between 2.5 and 7 years of age.
http://www.larkfarm.com/books/breastfeeding.htm

I sold my copy of the book or I would site exact statistics.

 

 

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#27 of 36 Old 04-10-2005, 03:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Part of me wants to call what I do "child respectful nursing" rather than "child led weaning" - does that make sense to anyone?
I think that's a fairly common feeling (and even a not unknown term, lol).

 

 

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#28 of 36 Old 04-10-2005, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm amazed and pleased that my little question has actually spawned 2 pages of discussion (I feel relevant for a change :LOL ). This inspires me to some other CLW questions (but I'll start a new thread for that).

nothing more to say I guess :
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#29 of 36 Old 04-10-2005, 07:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
it's cool
Part of me wants to call what I do "child respectful nursing" rather than "child led weaning" - does that make sense to anyone?
Yes, that definitely makes sense. That is basically what we did, not knowing there was any term for what we were doing other than "extended nursing".

But then we get into the subjective debate of what is "respectful". :LOL

It was hard for me to think in terms of "self-weaning" when dd was not even near there yet. She was clearly not ready to stop so we kept on going. Support to keep on going was so valued then, and I think that is what this "CLW" board is all about basically. The freedom of mamas with all ages of children to openly support and encourage to "keep on keepin-on" without any reasoning/rationalizing/defending to wean.
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#30 of 36 Old 04-10-2005, 07:07 PM
 
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BTW thanks Momtwice


(I think you might have inspired me to keep on )
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