I suppose with this post I am sharing and inviting comments and discussion, rather than asking for help, as I think I am pretty much settled on what's going on, just feel the need to share a bit!
I am weaning my 26 month old son at the moment. It is definitely mother-led - I think he would go on quite a while longer if it was up to him! Reasons? Partly I just feel ready myself to stop nursing, and my instinct tells me that while he enjoys nursing still, his emotional need for it has decreased a lot (he hasn't asked to nurse when he is upset or hurt for some time, mostly when he is bored, wants a cuddle with Mommy, or tired). I base this on the fact that when I was trying to reduce the length and number of his day nursings, he didn't really protest that much or get particularly upset. The other reason is we are trying for another baby, and I don't want to tandem nurse, as my son was very high needs in the nursing and sleeping departments and if the second one is the same, I think I would find it overwhelming if a three-year old want to nurse day and night, too! I also don't want to have the end of our nursing relationship be because my supply dries up in pregnancy, or it's too painful, or the new baby factors in in some way that he can perceive.
SO, I have been weaning him very, very slowly over the past few months, and we are now at a stage where he isn't nursing at all in the day. He still asks sometimes, and when I say we can have milk at bedtime, he doesn't get upset, although he sometimes says things like 'Don't like bedtime', which means he doesn't like that he has to wait until then!
Yesterday, though, we were having lots of fun playing and he asked to nurse, I think just to connect and because he was enjoying our time together, but when I said we could nurse at bedtime, he seemed fine with it, and carried on playing, but suddenly I felt a pang of sadness and loss. I realized that I will really miss those joyful, cuddling nursings, and connecting in this way, and I am sure that he is already missing them, too, even if not to the point of it making him upset. We already do a lot of hugging and kissing and cuddling, but I also realized that there is nothing that will be quite the same as that nursing relationship.
We're down to 2-3 night nursings now (since Sunday he hasn't asked at bedtime and I have rocked him to sleep). I am going leave these for a while, while we get used to where we are now, and see if they gradually go on their own through the don't offer/don't refuse approach, if he is starting to not ask to nurse at bedtime.
So, I now will treasure the last nursings we have together knowing how special this time has been (especially the extended nursing in his second year), and making sure there are lots of hugs, cuddles and kisses to replace them!