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Thread: Gradual weaning after age 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Gradual weaning after age 1

    I'm wanting to breastfeed Catherine until she is 2, barring any unforseen circumstances... I have a few questions though. She is 7 1/2 months now and breastfeeds about 4-5 times a day. After she is 1, I would prefer not to be feeding her this many times per day. Should I begin to gradually wean her? How would I go about doing this and when would I start? She already has a bottle at bedtime, so that's not a big deal. My favorite nursing times are when she wakes up in the morning and before her nap. So I guess those are the two that I would like to hold on to...although...sorry, I'm going to ask a bunch of different stuff here...when does a baby stop needing to feed immediately before bed? If around age 1, I wasn't having to give her the bedtime bottle anymore, then maybe I could do a small bit of nursing before bed and just keep the nursing sessions of bedtime and naptime? Sorry to sound so confusing here. Basically after age 1, I don't want to be nursing 4-5 times a day. But I want her to get breastfeeding benefits until age 2. Will two times a day be enough? Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    651

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    Any breastfeeding provides benefits and is good. And as far as it being "enough" if by enough you mean calorie need, then it should be since she'll be switching to getting most nutrients from food, if by immunilogical benefits, then it depends. If she gets a cold, she may want to nurse more to help fight it off. But by now she's getting stronger and will be able to start getting through things without needing as much help (though its definitely still needed at least some!!!

    Anyhow, I know a friend of mine nursed every night before bed then one night her daughter laughed at her when she asked her if she wanted to nurse and so she asked if she'd like a sip of water instead and her daughter nodded yes, took a few sips, and went to bed! So if she's eating a good dinner (esp if she maybe gets a snack of oatmeal or something like that before bed) then she probably doesn't need much calories at bedtime by a year and would more want to nurse for comfort and thirst. I've heard usually this is one of the last feedings to go.

    Sorry to ramble, but I guess long story short, you're doing great and its so wonderful that you want to nurse until two, so keep whatever feedings are comforting for your dd and fit into her busy little schedule and enjoy that sweet bonding time that will be over before you know it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    329

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    My daughter is almost 17 months. By one year, I was still nursing about 4 times a day/night. She had 4 4oz bottles each day at daycare too.

    The first home feeding I dropped was the one right before dinner. Maya actually weaned herself from this one. Each night after daycare, I'd put her in my lap and she'd squirm away from me. After a month of this I finally got the hint! She wanted nothing to do with that feeding that had been so sacred since she started school at 4 months. She wanted a solid dinner. So I started putting her in her high chair with about 1/4 c. shreaded cheese (she's not crazy about cow's milk) and a sippy of water. She was perfectly happy with this.

    I use to nurse more on weekends, before each meal and before naps. From 12 months on, I started following her daycare schedule on the weekends, offering her sippy cups at lunch and dinner, and only nursing in the morning, before her afternoon nap, and before bedtime. We are now down to just the morning and the evening, both times Maya really just does for comfort.

    So you see, I just followed my daughter's lead. She didn't protest when I reduced the weekend feedings and she preferred the removal of the week night pre-dinner nursing. Doing it this way, the weaning was gradual and I did not have a problem with engorgement.

    In the spring I plan on dropping the am feeding so I finally can get to work by 7 am like in my pre-baby days , to be home by 4 pm to pick dd up from daycare. I plan on continuing the pre-bed nursing for as long as she likes. We both enjoy snuggling together in the rocking chair after a long day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    8,018

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    The pps have given some great suggestions. I just want to add that, although it's great that you're putting some thought into this now, my advice is to wait until after one year to work on reducing nursings. I think increased solids-eating proficiency and communication skills, which usually develop a lot after the first year, really help to make gentle, partial weaning a cooperative process between you and your LO. For example, if my DD says to me, "Mama, na-nas" in the morning, she understands if I say "Why don't we get dressed and eat breakfast before you have na-nas?" and after breakfast, sometimes she forgets that she even asked for na-nas. (Maya's mom-I'm trying to get to work on time, too. LOL)

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    1,712

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    Like Molly said, my plan is to reevaluate at one. Right now I am still letting her nurse on demand about 6-10 times a day. Then when she is one, I am going to work on reducing the number of times she bfs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    8,018

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    Just to give you a heads up, around age one most children are either learning to walk or developing other major developmental skills, not to mention those one-year molars, so be prepared for the possibility that your LO may not be ready to cut down on BFing the day after their first b-day! Just try to be patient.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    470

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    Ok, sounds like good advice. I wasn't really planning to start weaning NOW, but just trying to figure things out for later. But I think it might be wise to wait until she is a year to figure things out. Thanks for the help!! Wow, it's hard for me to imagine still nursing 6-10 times a day!! She hasn't done that in forever. I guess she just eats more at once???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    2,178

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    Your baby must take in more per session, because my 9 mo. old still nurses like 8 times a day/night (roughly)...although he is starting to go longer between nursing sessions. My baby doesn't nurse for very long at a time though...just a few minutes unless he wants to nap or its bedtime. I think my DS honestly prefers alot of small meals throughout the day to a few large ones. My oldest son did this too, and still does even though he doesn't nurse anymore...he eats like 6 times a day...3 meals and 3 snacks...its what works for him...although I'm starting to wonder if he maybe has issues with lower blood sugar, so maybe his frequent eating helps him out in that respect.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    Wow, it's hard for me to imagine still nursing 6-10 times a day!!
    My DD also does not sleep through the night, so 3-5 of those feedings are in bed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,178

    Default Re: Gradual weaning after age 1

    Same here, glad I'm not alone.

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