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Thread: Do 16 month olds self-wean?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default Do 16 month olds self-wean?

    Sorry, I posted this in extended breastfeeding and realized it should be here.

    I have a 16 month old DS, who was nursing before an afternoon nap, bedtime and 2-3 times during the night. For the last two weeks at bedtime he clings to his daddy and won't let go, so he puts him to bed and he does just fine. I have tried to take him from daddy but he gets upset clings to daddy harder. I sign and say 'milk' (which he knows) but he puts his head down on his shoulder and doesn't want to come to me. Every night I still try and take him but it doesn't work. I'm not going to force him to come to me, he seems happy with daddy so that's what we do. (I have been the only one putting him down for bed and naps for about 7 months now. He's had a bottle maybe 5 times before that from Grandma.) For two weeks now he hasn't nursed before bed, Last week (about a week or so later) he was refusing to nurse at naptime too. I offer but he turns his head away and wants to sit up. He seems more content to just sit and snuggle than trying to refuse the breast. He is still up 2-3 times a night, as he has since birth, and definitely wants to nurse then. At least we have that.

    Could this be a nursing strike and not weaning? I've read everything I can as to why he would strike (he never has before) and nothing has changed. He doesn't have bottles or pacifiers, but does use a sippy cup. He is a thumb sucker since birth and has a teddy bear he snuggles, but he's done that for a long time. The only thing that may be different is that I'm LESS stressed (until this anyway) for a change but I can't think of anything else recently. We moved, but that was over 6 months ago.

    I am so, so sad. My first did this also at the same age and I (maybe mistakenly) took it as a sign of weaning. Within a month my first DS was done and never looked back. I let him take the lead and decide when he wanted to nuse and when he didn't. Maybe that was a strike too, I don't know. If it was, I feel terrible about that.

    He eats a ton, but again that is nothing new. No new patterns or habits there that I can think of. He doesn't drink cows milk. Nothing has changed with my DH either and our bedtime routine has been the same for months. I'm exhausted because I'm up so much at night but again, he's been up 2-3 times since birth so that's not new either.

    I can't begin to explain how upset I am. I'm terribly missing that bond that only nursing can bring. He is still up at night but I'm missing our bedtime together. He's my last baby so my last nursling and that is hard too. With both boys I've been blessed and had wonderful nursing relationships, especially with my 2nd as we had no problems at all with it. I was hoping they would both nurse longer, but I knew that I would do child led weaning and let them choose when to stop. I'm very happy that they nursed this long and that I could give them that choice (I hope.)

    Another wrench to throw into this is that I need jaw surgery soon, we're just waiting for him to wean. It's a long story but basically they are going to reconstruct my top and bottom jaw. It will be wired shut for 4-6 weeks and they told me I would not be able to nurse afterwards due to the medications. After surgery I start a total mouth reconstruction (which is medically necessary for my health) that will take 2 years to complete. I'm looking into what those meds are to see if maybe I will be able to nurse, but I'm worried what will happen to my supply as well.

    So, as sad as I am about this if he is weaning (and not a strike) it may not be a bad thing. I have a genetic condition that affects the enamel on my teeth and they are decaying at a rapid rate. I need the surgery so they can fix my bite then start repairing my teeth. This will affect my overall health if I don't get it taken care of, so the sooner the better.

    My problem is that I would hate to think I'm following his lead of weaning and inadvertantly wean him when it's just a strike. I have a really hard time with that. On the other hand if he is weaning, I want to follow his lead. I do not want to make him wean if he's not ready - I firmly believe in that.

    I apologize for this being so long and jumbled, I am having a very difficult time with this.

    Thanks for any help, advice, suggestions...anything.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    8,591

    Default Re: Do 16 month olds self-wean?

    If he abruptly cut out daytime nursing session, and this did not happen gradually, it is most likely a strike. The following link has a great perspective on child led weaning, and made me decide to continue to offer to my dd, even though sometimes (a lot) she refuses now. Anyway...hth, and . You sound like you really want to continue nursing if at all possible, and I hope you get your wish.

    http://arlinghaus.typepad.com/blog/2...ional_wea.html

    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


    Miles in 2012: 350.5/900 (Actual Miles Ran: 189)
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    Miles in 2010: 800.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 620)

    January Miles: 37.5/75
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    227.5 miles on my new shoes
    338 miles on my old shoes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Bryan, Texas
    Posts
    4,260

    Default Re: Do 16 month olds self-wean?

    That was a good article Erin. I am reading up a lot on strikes and weaning. The last few weeks its been really really difficult to nurse Shiloh during the day, even when he's really sleepy. My mom keeps saying that he's weaning and I don't want to believe her, but then I'm wondering if its just a strike. He's always been difficult to nurse.

    Then he wakes up 5x in a night (new teeth) and I definitely know he's not ready to wean. So complicated...why didn't they come with an instruction manual?
    All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to giving care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiary. ~ Dr. Kloosterman, Chief of OB/GYN, Univ. of Amsterdam, Holland


    **Leslie**

    Mama to:
    Shiloh (5/6/06) Nursed for 13 months and Josephine (7/26/08) Nursed for 23.5 mos Currently nursing my new little firecracker, Finley Catherine, born on the 4th of July!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Do 16 month olds self-wean?

    Erin - Thank you for the article, I haven't read it yet but I'm going to try this afternoon.

    I'm going to continue to try and offer as well, trying different times of day too. We'll see what happens.

    ShilohsMom - I wish they did too, it would be a lot easier for both of us!
    I've been very lucky, Holden has always been extrememly easy to nurse so this isn't 'normal' for me at all!

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