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Thread: Child-led, mother-led, in-between?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    97

    Question Child-led, mother-led, in-between?

    I am curious about what kinds of intermediary methods there are between totally child-led weaning, and totally mother-imposed weaning. My daughter is 20 months, nursing happily and I'm not rushing into anything. But I'm already setting some limits on the nursing. Like no nursing in the middle hours of the night (my husband or I stroke her and comfort her in other ways if she wakes up, but no nursing until the birds sing, that's our rule). Mostly I keep the nursing to a particular 3 or 4 times a day -- except if she's sick or obviously having a difficult day. Sometimes she makes a big fuss about wanting an extra one at some inconvenient moment. Sometimes I persuade her to think about something else, sing a song or have some strawberries or whatever. Sometimes she keeps yelling, I figure it's not worth the agony, and I nurse her. Sometimes I insist that she has to wait. All this seems not very different from all the other limits which you work on with a high-spirited child of almost-two. Every day we have issues about stuff like getting dressed and toothbrushing, which far more consistently produce tantrums than anything to do with nursing. But I would be very interested to hear more from other mothers who have done extended breast-feeding, but have nudged or encouraged their children to wean at some point, without major power struggles or sense of deprivation. Is it possible to wean in a gradual, sensitive, loving way, when the child is more or less ready, but with some encouragement from the mother? Maybe in a few months' time? Or is that an unrealistic goal, do I just have to commit to one way or the other?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: Child-led, mother-led, in-between?

    Hi emilyw,
    Did you happen to see this post yesterday?
    http://lalecheleague.org/vbulletin/s...4&postcount=18
    (Thank you LLLMamaEve. )
    It includes an excerpt from this article Baby-Led Weaning--What Does It Mean? from LEAVEN, LLL's magazine for Leaders.
    You asked, "Is it possible to wean in a gradual, sensitive, loving way, when the child is more or less ready, but with some encouragement from the mother? Maybe in a few months' time? Or is that an unrealistic goal, do I just have to commit to one way or the other?" Nursing isn't an "all or nothing" activity. There is a lot of area in-between natural weaning and planned weaning. It sounds like you are looking to continue nursing but would also like to continue setting some limits. There are a lot of individual factors involved. What are your dd's needs? What are your needs? What are your goals? You might enjoy taking a look at MOTHERING YOUR NURSING TODDLER, by Norma Jame Bumgarner and HOW WEANING HAPPENS, by Diane Bengson.
    The age of weaning will vary from child to child, just like other developmental milestones. One child may naturally wean before age two, while another may be going strong at three.
    I hope this helps,
    Mary

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,064

    Default Re: Child-led, mother-led, in-between?

    In addition to above references, I'd also recommend THE NURSING MOTHER'S GUIDE TO WEANING by Kathleen Huggins. It divides discussions of weaning into sections based on age and looks at pros/cons of various methods ranging from full mother-led to full child-led. It also provides a good historical perspective on weaning practices.

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