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Thread: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

  1. #1
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    I'm a SAHM to an incredibly verbal 3 year old. My doc says she has the verbal ability of a 5 year old. She can express, comprehend and question complex ideas. (Her favorite topic right now is electricity and lightning.)

    I've been wanting to wean for the last 6 months but decided against it because of a demanding/difficult phase in DD's temperament and timing of a long trip to see our family for the holidays. Now that the trip is over and DD seems to be more emotionally reasonable I would like to wean.

    If it matters, my personal reasons are:
    -I want to take my old medication that isn't compatible with breastfeeding.
    -Our nursing sessions are increasingly uncomfortable: teeth marks and sore nipples. I correct the latch each time but it seems her mouth shape just doesn't fit the same.

    I've gone back and forth about weaning because I don't want her to feel rejected. We have also had some setbacks with potty learning with painful bowel movements leading to withholding. We are slowly working through those but I've also doubted the timing of weaning in light of all of that.

    So I have two questions to the mom's out there that have weaned:

    -How can I explain weaning to her?
    -Can we potty train/learn while weaning?
    -How far away am I from the average self-weaning age?

    Your responses are greatly appreciated. My local LLL is very pro-toddler nursing and I get a lot of encouragement and support on hanging in there and latching but I feel that mom led weaning discussions are a bit sparse. Any help on that front would be most appreciated.

    Thank you!
    being a SAHM to DD born 12/09

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    You might want to look into the idea of a weaning party. That's when the child picks the date and aspects of the celebration (type of cake, venue, present) and agrees that after that landmark, there will be no more nursing. The average age of self-weaning is probably around 3-5. But the are kids who nurse longer and kids who nurse for less time than that, so I wouldn't take the average as a good predictor of what any particular child will do.

    Do you have limits on nursing? With my toddler, we usually nurse only at certain times (wake-up, pre-nap, pre-bedtime), and only for as long as I want (usually until I count to 10). Having those limits has allowed me to have a lot more control over our nursing without shutting DD down entirely.

    You can definitely wean while potty training, but they are both processes that can proceed unpredictably, for extended time periods, and it can be hard to know how those two phases are going to impact each other.
    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!"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    We ended up with a weaning party largely because I was starting to resent nursing a 4 YO, prior to that we did cut way down and set a lot of boundaries largely because I was tandem nursing. We spoke a lot about other things we could do together in place of nursing, like when we wanted to be close to each other or when we were tired. So we had a good base of alternatives discussed prior. I still did nurse a few times after the party but he was able to grasp the concept.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    I think it's really important to get the child on board. I think Mother Led nursing is fine, but it's still a dance. So lead her to the water and tell her why you think it's a good idea to drink. But Ultimately you want her to make that leap on her own. So that she feel like she made the call. And walked away. So you are ready. So the 1st thing you should do is begin to talk to her about it. Ask her questions. Like how much longer does she think she wants to nurse. And talk about how just like big girls don't need diapers, big girls also don't need *whatever you call nursing.* Does she go to preschool? Because I found that with the addition of preschool (which we didn't start until after we were potty trained) that nursing receded A LOT when that began just because we were so busy. But you want to involve her in the process. So the fact that she is so verbal is a HUGE plus. And lastly, don't put hard limits on times. You'd like to be done. Well it's not an overnight thing. You begin dropping sessions. You talk about a by when....but if that time comes and your child is really strongly resisting, that means the NEED is still there. I know I wanted to be DONE by 4 also. But when that time came....it was too much. He wasn't done. He had potty trained at 3 years 3months, we started Preschool at 3 years 9months and letting go of THAT LAST THING that made him little was really really hard and really really scary. So I backed up. By that point we weren't even nursing every day anymore. It went from once a day to every couple a days to once a week and then gone. And I really really started talking up a weaning party. It was a graduation of sorts. And we weren't having it until he had gone 2 full weeks without nursing. And even at that point. There were a few relapses. That I both allowed and Cherished. So prepare for it not to be an overnight thing. It could happen for you in as little as month. If she is agreable and AGREES that she is all grown up and "only babies nurse." But if she doesn't agree or has a different idea of when she's like to be done, then I think you prepare for some compromise. Good Luck!

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    kind if in the same boat...my almost 4yo still nurses, mainly at beditme, and first thing in the am. I am also 6 months preg, and REALLY would prefer that she wean before baby is born. Problem is, she is addicted to nursing! He is agressive about it...lol. I can stall her, and I can for the most part quit a session and tel her to just snuggle with me, and sometimes she is fine, but other times she cries and rips at my shirt. I might just have to hope that when baby comes she makes the connction herself, babies NEED to nurse its their only source of nutrition, I will try and remind her of that.

    I SOOO dont want to be the cause of our weaning, I would love for her to make that decision, but not sure she will.

    Sorry to hyjack, just know you arent alone and hope your 3yo is toerant to weaning!
    Mommy of 4,
    3 who I watch over, 1 who watches over all of us

    J- 8/20/05 pumped breastmilk for 11 months due to his cleft lip and palate!

    M- 10/17/07 my precious baby lives forever in her mommys heart

    M- 3/31/09 my special gift, she helps heal her mommy and daddys heart. Nursed for 4 years and 10 days, self weaned the day her baby brother was born!

    E-, new little miracle born 4/11/13, my BIG baby! Born 8.6 at 38 weeks. At 9 weeks nearly 17lbs, at 12 weeks nearly 20lbs, at 6 months nearly 23lbs, at 8 months nearly 25lbs and all from BREASTMILK


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    Dara, have you talked about a weaning party?

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    no I havent...I am HOPING that when baby is here I can explain why baby needs to nurse, he cant eat food like her, etc...MAYBE then she will be more understanding? I guess if that doesnt work a weaning party can be next. I just wonder at 4 will she get that its permanent?
    Mommy of 4,
    3 who I watch over, 1 who watches over all of us

    J- 8/20/05 pumped breastmilk for 11 months due to his cleft lip and palate!

    M- 10/17/07 my precious baby lives forever in her mommys heart

    M- 3/31/09 my special gift, she helps heal her mommy and daddys heart. Nursed for 4 years and 10 days, self weaned the day her baby brother was born!

    E-, new little miracle born 4/11/13, my BIG baby! Born 8.6 at 38 weeks. At 9 weeks nearly 17lbs, at 12 weeks nearly 20lbs, at 6 months nearly 23lbs, at 8 months nearly 25lbs and all from BREASTMILK


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    I think so. The Weaning party was really a celebration of independence.

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    Dara I think she will get the permanence,,although Max did mention that he was gonna wean at 4 and start nursing again at 5 I wouldn't expect though for the baby to decrease M's nursing desires, in fact my experience was that seeing Sam nurse really ramped up Max's desire to nurse, to stake his claim on mommy and to have time with me.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Talking to my 3 year old about weaning

    But...it can' really help with that OS in the beginning. Right Jenna?

    Way too lazy for formula

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