Re: Weaning question
I think some people get pressured to wean before they are ready (because their babies are "too old" to nurse), and some people get pressured to keep nursing (because their babies are "too young" to be weaned). Either way, what's really important is how YOU feel. If you're ready to be done, you should feel free to wean. At 12 months you have done your due diligence and met a wonderful goal!
I think the reason a lot of the mamas here suggest that women continue to nurse their toddlers is that for a lot of mamas, toddler nursing is actually easier and more fun than nursing an infant. And a lot of people don't realize that, because they have never tried it or seen it done. So if you're feeling pressured by people here, I think it's important to realize that the "pressure" is very kindly meant. We're telling you what has worked for us, and why, and why we think it might work for you- but we're not trying to make you do anything!
If you're ready to wean, here's how to do it:
1. Go slow. Weaning cold turkey sets a mama up for nasty problems like engorgement, plugged ducts, and even (possibly) mastitis. You want to cut out one feeding, wait a few days for your supply to adjust to a lower level, and then cut out another feeding.
2. Start by cutting out the least favorite feeding. Night-weaning is a great way to start, since a toddler may not be as attached to those feedings, and often those are the ones that bother a mom the most. The pre-bed and pre-nap feedings are often the last feedings to go, since they are the ones which help a baby through the most difficult transitions in her day.
3. Avoid your customary nursing positions. When baby sees mom in the favored nursing chair, that will trigger a demand for milk.
4. Enlist distraction. Older babies often forget to nurse when out and about, or when there is a caregiver other than mom meeting their needs.
5. Offer lots of snacks and drinks. A 12 month-old baby may still be relying on breastmilk for a large part of her nutritional needs.
6. Stay flexible. Weaning is often a give-and-take process, with baby sometimes really needing to nurse even though you thought you managed to drop that particular feeding a few days/weeks back. Remember that as long as the general trend is towards less reliance on nursing, you're going in your desired direction even if you slip back and nurse more than you planned on a given day.
7. Expect crying. Left to their own devices, few 12 month-old babies are ready to wean, and most will not give up the. Breast without a fight.
8. Be realistic. Weaning will not break your baby's bond with you, or her reliance on you. Even if you wean, she may still be very attached and clingy- so movie night may still be a ways away!
Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"