My DS #1 weaned himself (or so I considered) when he was almost 24 months, and I was 20 weeks pregnant. He was down to nursing 1-2 times a day for about 3 months at that point. At 23.5 months, I would offer in the morning and he would not be interested 6 days out of 7. So, one week, I just stopped offering and he stopped nursing, never to ask again (except to ask to taste when I was nursing the new baby a few months later, to which he replied, Yumm! but didn't ask to nurse).
I thought that was "child led weaning" but now it seems from reading that it is not.
So, I guess I am confused - what is true CLW? Would I have to just keep asking forever?
I'm asking this because now DS #2 is 20 months and I am 14 weeks pregnant with #3. I think I still have some milk but not a ton. He has cut his nursing sessions down from about 4-5 to about 2-3 (depending on if it is the weekend or the weekday). But, he is not nursing for as long anymore and has actually refused once or twice.
I'm wondering what I should do with him this time around - continue to nurse at our normal times, asking him if he doesn't show initiative? what if he starts to refuse - what do I do then?
I don't know how I feel about tandem nursing - I can see myself doing it but also being stressed about doing it because I'd be worried about the baby not getting enough.
I know this is the Child Led Weaning forum, but I don't see why the "CLW" label matters. You should do what feels right for your family. If my dd slowed down and was ready to stop around two years, I would think that was perfect...especially if I were pregnant. I would also consider that her lack of interest was her "leading" toward weaning. I don't think we need to encourage our children to keep breastfeeding beyond where they want to, especially if we are talking years 3, 4, 5, etc. I'm sure there are others here who disagree.
Also, this method depends on your child. I almost never ask my dd if she wants to nurse, but at 19.5 months she is still going strong. I don't see any reason to encourage more frequent nursing because she already nurses frequently.
My two cents: Follow your instincts.
I follow what I called child-respected weaning.
I didn't do "don't ask, don't refuse" with either.
With my son, who weaned a month shy of 5 years old, I refused many, many times every single day. He wanted to nurse 24/7. I needed a nursing amount that I could handle. It's because I set limits that I was able to nurse him for so long. He always nursed far more than the norm. You do what you can handle and repect what your child needs.
With my daughter, who is still nursing at 2.5 years old, I offer many times. She will only nurse at night and only lying down. She does ask for it now. But there was a time when she wouldn't ask for it at all.
I didn't do pure CLW with my son, since I did cut him down every step of the way. But I know I had to in order to keep my sanity! Plus, I don't know of any kids who wanted to nurse as much as he did. It definatly wasn't the norm.
So far, I am doing CLW with my daughter, but she's the one who has been pretty much textbook on her nursing. At 2.5, she nurses 3-4 times a night now, which isn't all that much IMO compared to how much my son wanted to nurse.
Though I post on this forum, pure CLW isn't my goal - Child respected weaning is. (But it's hard to find people who nursed an almost 5 year old who didn't do CLW).
I also did the child respecting weaning. It was very gentle and sweet and not traumatic at all. I did the 'don't offer/refuse' for a long time, but not consistently lol. Up until i was mindfully beginning the weaning process, there were times i would offer because i knew that was the only way to help her calm herself or get her to sleep... nursing through the toddler time was immensely helpful for us.
really I don't offer my DD unless she is fussy or I am a little sore. But she usually has a specific spot we nurse in and if she wants it she just climbs on my lap and pats my chest and then starts smaking her lips. But if she does want I don't refuse UNLESS we are at the store or some place where nursing really isn't doable because she is so big now I can't just carry her around attched to me and I was never really good at it anyway. anyway I hope in all this rambling you got the meaning of my post
I view child-led weaning to be a weaning that is led by the mother off of the child's cues. Allowing the child to lead in the direction the nursing relationship heads is if the child needs to increase sessions, mother follows this lead and if the child needs to decrease sessions, mother follows this lead. That could very well mean discussing the benefits of weaning and allowing the mother/child relationship to grow and develop in other nurturing ways. Even though mother may discuss the idea of weaning, if mother ultimately allows child to decided, then it was child-led.
If mother does not offer any guidance whatsover and offers whenever and asks the child to nurse (imho, this can easily not be seen as child-led after a certain age), that is more child-controlled. WHen I think of leading, I think of followers as well. It isn't a one man show, it is a procession of others walking behind the leader and encouraging the leader to follow the path that the leader is considering on traveling.
Child-respected to me means that even though the child would prefer to nurse more, mother encourages child to nurse less in a way that is not bereft with tears and sadness.
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