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MDC is pleased to open Child-Led Weaning! For those of you allowing your child to lead the way in breastfeeding as well as those who would like to do so and need encouragement and support to make it happen, this forum is for you.


For those new to the idea, rather than set any deadline for giving up nursing consider the notion of child-led weaning. As with all other developmental milestones if you allow your child to wean when she is ready - to remain secure in the nursing relationship until she is ready to move on - you are helping her to build a confident, trusting foundation for future independence.
 

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There seems to be some confusion about what this forum is supposed to be for.

My thinking is that this should be a place to discuss nursing a child of any age, without mention of parent-led weaning. Is this accurate?
 

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I think we really do need some clarification on what CLW is and isn't. For example, I'm planning on tandem nursing and letting ds nurse during the day until he's ready to stop but we have been working on gentle night weaning (ds is 2.5). Does this mean I'm not CLW? Or if I set limits on how much he can nurse during the day, does this mean I'm not CLW?

Sorta the same parallel with Gentle Discipline...does CLW mean no limits, or just gentle limits?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruthla
My thinking is that this should be a place to discuss nursing a child of any age, without mention of parent-led weaning. Is this accurate?
That's pretty much how I see it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quirky
I'm planning on tandem nursing and letting ds nurse during the day until he's ready to stop but we have been working on gentle night weaning (ds is 2.5). Does this mean I'm not CLW? Or if I set limits on how much he can nurse during the day, does this mean I'm not CLW?
Sounds to me like you're CLW.
 

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Quirky, from what I have read here, it seems to be in the CLW club, you can wean a child, no matter how young, from as many feedings as you would like (Mom's choice and comfort levels) as long as the child is still nursing once a day. Or even once a week if we really want to think about it.

So, theoretically, you could night-wean a 12 mo, you could have her down to twice a day, and as along as she makes the decision to give up the one last feeding, she is CLWed.

And if you get pg and your 16 mo CLWs b/c of "yucky" taste or lowered supply, or sensing mom's pain, she is just as CLWed at a 7 yr old who weaned ever so gradually.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DaryLLL
Quirky, from what I have read here, it seems to be in the CLW club, you can wean a child, no matter how young, from as many feedings as you would like (Mom's choice and comfort levels) as long as the child is still nursing once a day. Or even once a week if we really want to think about it.

So, theoretically, you could night-wean a 12 mo, you could have her down to twice a day, and as along as she makes the decision to give up the one last feeding, she is CLWed.

And if you get pg and your 16 mo CLWs b/c of "yucky" taste or lowered supply, or sensing mom's pain, she is just as CLWed at a 7 yr old who weaned ever so gradually.
I would disagree that this describes CLW. A mother must be sensitive to her child's needs and how he or she responds to limits being set. There are many decisions mothers make through the day and night in nursing their child, and some will encourage the nursing relationship and others will discourage it. How each child reacts will be different also.

Arbitrary limits, patterns of feeding solids, night-weaning, all of these things can lead to premature weaning. Child- led weaning is simply that...the child leads the way. If the child needs to nurse several times a day, s/he does. If the child reacts negatively to giving up the 2 am feeding, even at age 2, then they continue to nurse until they are ready and able to give it up.

To me, is a mindset that does not need a timetable, or a set idea of when weaning should happen. Many moms think about it and start out with certain 'comfort levels' ("we will nurse until he is 2"), etc., but that is expanded according to the child .

Most importantly, the child's needs are respected and honored throughout the nursing relationship.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DaryLLL
Quirky, from what I have read here, it seems to be in the CLW club, you can wean a child, no matter how young, from as many feedings as you would like (Mom's choice and comfort levels) as long as the child is still nursing once a day.
I don't think I've ever heard a CLW mama say that it's okay to bf an infant only once a day.
 

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Originally Posted by Mom4tot
I would disagree that this describes CLW. A mother must be sensitive to her child's needs and how he or she responds to limits being set. There are many decisions mothers make through the day and night in nursing their child, and some will encourage the nursing relationship and others will discourage it. How each child reacts will be different also.
Agreed. But this is describing a respectful nursing relationship, not a weaning. This could have been addressed on the late great Ext Bf board. There is now confusion whether this kind of scenario should be broached on the "Breastfeeding" forum or on "CLW."

Quote:
Arbitrary limits,
Arbitrary? I guess you mean, going by the calendar, not by the child's needs. Or, perhaps, a mother's need to leave the child to go to work or school.

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patterns of feeding solids, night-weaning, all of these things can lead to premature weaning.
Yes, and I would add one more: pregnancy.

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Child- led weaning is simply that...the child leads the way. If the child needs to nurse several times a day, s/he does.
I still think it is a mis-nomer. That child is not leading the way. The mother and child are making decisions together. It is a relationship.

In no way would I let my child make all the decisions for her upbringing. Past the age of 15-18 mos, bfing included. I will respect and honor her input but the final decision (in bfing and in every other area), as a mature and aware adult, is mine.

Say Mom thinks it is time to go to library story hour with your 18 mo. Her child's opinion is it is time to sit around in her pjs and nurse on Mommy. It is Mom's right to decide, No, we will get dressed and washed up, put on our coats, get strapped into our confining carseat and go to the library! The child may object, but it ultimately makes for a more pleasant and educational and less stressful day for Mom and child (and the rest of the family).

Quote:
If the child reacts negatively to giving up the 2 am feeding, even at age 2, then they continue to nurse until they are ready and able to give it up.
This is a child respectful aspect of the bfing relationship, does not pertain to weaning, and could have been dealt with in the late great Ext Bf forum.

Define "negative reaction." We must differentiate between habit and need. A slight objection that goes away shows the desire to nurse was only a habit ready to be left behind.

Also, sometimes the child may have no desire to bf, but the mother encourages it b/c it gives her a little more time on the phone, computer, to watch her TV show or read her book. But this is part of the mutually beneficial bfing relationship and has nothing to do with the end of the relationship, ie: weaning.

Quote:
To me, it is a mindset that does not need a timetable, or a set idea of when weaning should happen. Many moms think about it and start out with certain 'comfort levels' ("we will nurse until he is 2"), etc., but that is expanded according to the child .

Most importantly, the child's needs are respected and honored throughout the nursing relationship.
And I think we should strongly emphasize that there is a difference between a need and a habit. Sometimes a child may nurse extremely frequently b/c she is bored out of her skull. She needs to have a different activity, but her behavior may make a mom who is "commited" to CLW allow the overly frequent and ultimately dissatisfying, for both parties, bfing continue.

The mother offers the option of not nursing and doing something more interesting, challenging and fun.

But again, this has nothing to do with weaning.

I feel the relationship of nursing is the important part. To have a forum focused on the end of the relationship is confusing and is mucking up mothers' perceptions of MDC's values, I think. Other mothers have also expressed this to me privately.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DaryLLL
To have a forum focused on the end of the relationship is confusing and is mucking up mothers' perceptions of MDC's values, I think.
I don't see weaning as the forum's focus. I see the forum as a place for mamas who aren't planning to PLW to discuss breastfeeding.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DaryLLL

Arbitrary? I guess you mean, going by the calendar, not by the child's needs. Or, perhaps, a mother's need to leave the child to go to work or school.

Yes, and I would add one more: pregnancy.

By arbitrary, I mean 'rules' made up by the parent (as opposed to, we can't nurse while I am driving)...other's have explained this better.

I still think it is a mis-nomer. That child is not leading the way. The mother and child are making decisions together. It is a relationship.

Yes, but with the child's needs foremost.

In no way would I let my child make all the decisions for her upbringing. Past the age of 15-18 mos, bfing included. I will respect and honor her input but the final decision (in bfing and in every other area), as a mature and aware adult, is mine.

Say Mom thinks it is time to go to library story hour with your 18 mo. Her child's opinion is it is time to sit around in her pjs and nurse on Mommy. It is Mom's right to decide, No, we will get dressed and washed up, put on our coats, get strapped into our confining carseat and go to the library! The child may object, but it ultimately makes for a more pleasant and educational and less stressful day for Mom and child (and the rest of the family).

That's ok, everyone has to make decisions like this. Sometimes, when dd just wanted to nurse and nothing else, I found out later that she was getting sick. She knew what she needed better than I did. Again, just being sensitive to and knowing your own child.

This is a child respectful aspect of the bfing relationship, does not pertain to weaning, and could have been dealt with in the late great Ext Bf forum.

Define "negative reaction." We must differentiate between habit and need. A slight objection that goes away shows the desire to nurse was only a habit ready to be left behind.

Also, sometimes the child may have no desire to bf, but the mother encourages it b/c it gives her a little more time on the phone, computer, to watch her TV show or read her book. But this is part of the mutually beneficial bfing relationship and has nothing to do with the end of the relationship, ie: weaning.

My feeling is, if a baby or child is asking to nurse it is because they need to or desire to...why question that? That's my point, CLW doesn't seem to analyze the nursing relationship so much.

And I think we should strongly emphasize that there is a difference between a need and a habit. Sometimes a child may nurse extremely frequently b/c she is bored out of her skull. She needs to have a different activity, but her behavior may make a mom who is "commited" to CLW allow the overly frequent and ultimately dissatisfying, for both parties, bfing continue.

The mother offers the option of not nursing and doing something more interesting, challenging and fun.

Why are those things more fun or interesting than nursing? What's better than snuggling up and nursing?

But again, this has nothing to do with weaning.

I feel the relationship of nursing is the important part. To have a forum focused on the end of the relationship is confusing and is mucking up mothers' perceptions of MDC's values, I think. Other mothers have also expressed this to me privately.
The forum was created because clw is a relationship...based on mutual needs, wants yes. Often times in other forums, weaning is suggested as a remedy to many stressors that often have many other precipitators. Breastfeeding is encouraged and honored at every age. Infants, toddlers, preschool and school aged children are treated with respect. It has nothing to do with focusing on the "end" of the relationship. To me, that embodies exactly what Mothering's values are.
 

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I don't think that everyone is going to ever agree on an exact definition of CLW because it is such a subjective and personal term. All mothers are different, all children are different, all mother-child relationships are different. It is such a personal experience.

I think Joan's words summed it all up:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mom4tot
The forum was created because clw is a relationship...based on mutual needs, wants yes. Breastfeeding is encouraged and honored at every age. Infants, toddlers, preschool and school aged children are treated with respect. It has nothing to do with focusing on the "end" of the relationship. To me, that embodies exactly what Mothering's values are.

I don't always accept everyone's experience as my own, and I'm sure the same goes for others of my experience. I have made some choices that others would see as not being in line with their definition of CLW, but I don't take that experience and use it to tell others that it is okay to do the same (at least I don't mean to). For example, I have waivered back and forth over the night-weaning issue. Ideally I don't wish night-weaning on any child, but if it allows the mother to continue nursing with a more positive attitude toward her child and toward breastfeeding her child, then I still think it is in line with CLW (if it allows them to continue). However, I think that night-weaning threads would be a better fit for the Breastfeeding forum. But that's just my own complicated conflicting opinion. I know that others disagree with me and I am okay with that. I think we are all intelligent enough to accept one another's differences and still support one another with open arms.

Child-led weaning all boils down to this, IMHO:

Quote:
Breastfeeding is encouraged and honored at every age.

I did want to comment on the habit-versus-need issue. "Habit" is a term that I have heard too many times as an excuse to wean a child. I don't think the word "habit" has a place in breastfeeding. If the child needs to nurse, the child needs to nurse.

I think we are all thinking too hard (myself included) on what CLW is. We can all try to convince one another til we are all red in the face. I don't think it is healthy for the community (nor for our own sanity) to do that, though I also realize that communication and clarifying misunderstandings is important. As long as it ends in mutual peace and respect and doesn't keep recurring. If we continue to deliberately debate it then we are disrupting the peace.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mother_sunshine
I think that night-weaning threads would be a better fit for the Breastfeeding forum. But that's just my own complicated conflicting opinion.
I know what you mean. I do remember being a little depressed by a nightweaning thread in which it seemed like I was the only person who hadn't nightweaned and had no plans to nightwean. And everyone was like, "Why? Why wouldn't you nightwean?"

On the other hand, I don't want mothers to feel that CLW is an all-or-nothing thing!
 

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nak.
up until recently I didn't understand what the big deal about nite weaning was. it had also never really occured to me that not all ppl that bf also co-sleep. I just thought that kind of stuff went hand in hand.
I guess that just shows my ignorance. I agree w/ mother sunshine; 1. we will never all agree on a definition and 2. all m-c relationships are different, it is a very personal experiance.
btw, why are we all here arguing over this, obviously our children are getting what they need, shouldn't we be out there advocating and educating for other childrens rights to be breastfed?
 
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