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Thread: Don't offer, don't refuse?

  1. #1
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    Default Don't offer, don't refuse?

    I've seen a number of mentions of "don't offer, don't refuse" as a weaning method, but I am confused about what it means. How is that different than nursing on demand? I'm not looking to wean completely right now, just to reduce feedings to 4-5 during the daytime hours (DD is 13 months). Anyone have any experience with this method?
    Katie
    Just one more fanatical cloth diaper convert...
    Mom to Morgan (01/10/04) and Zachary (07/12/06)
    What are M & Z up to now?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    As they get older they get beter at waiting and then you can refuse some of thier requests to nurse.
    A baby that age might not undersand...
    so like if you wanted to cut out a mid morning session you would not sit down and keep baby busy with something esle. If they asked to nurse you nurse them if they don't then you skip it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    Thats what I don't get. We don't have scheduled sessions where we sit down to nurse (except at bedtime). I've tried recently, but he only wants to eat when he wants to eat. I've always only nursed him when he "asked". I thought that scheduling feeding sessions was not recommended. Have I been screwing up since the beginning? I'm really feeling worn down by nursing every hour or more these days and think that reducing feedings would really help. Do you think by 18 months he will be old enough to go longer between feedings?
    Katie
    Just one more fanatical cloth diaper convert...
    Mom to Morgan (01/10/04) and Zachary (07/12/06)
    What are M & Z up to now?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    "Don't offer, don't refuse" doesn't mean that you can never say no. You just have to get creative in how you say it! When you don't want to nurse, don't just try to stand down your baby- he'll only pitch a fit, and avoiding nursing will become an unpleasant battle of wills. Instead, try to get the baby interested in something else- going outside, a favorite toy, a game of peekaboo.

    Also, when you're trying to cut down the number of nursing sessions, it helps to avoid places/things that make your LO think of nursing. If you have a favorite nursing chair, don't sit down in it unless you want to nurse. Wear shirts that make access more difficult.

    Finally, hang in there! Your LO will become much more interested in the outside world, and will soon nurse less, even if you don't do much to further the process.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    Well I have experience with both doing it and not doing it. With my first son I thought that was what you were suppose to do after 1 year of age. So I didn't offer and would wait for him to ask. Eventually he was hardly nursing during the day (nights were another story). It was particularly clear when we took a vacation to Florida (he was 14 months) and he never nursed during the day. When we got back he was disappointed that there wasn't much supply for nap time nursing. It also brought on my first pp period.

    With Mark I made a point of offering him the chance to nurse at times he normally wanted it -- they honestly get so busy playing between 12-16 months that they forget to ask. I really wanted (want) to nurse him till 2 and decided that this was too important in his life to leave up to his memory. Sometimes he wasn't interested but many times he was.

    When I've gotten serious about weaning I have had to do more of the creative distractions mentionned in the pp post. With my others I didn't really have to do to much out right refusal but Mark (who is still nursing some) frequently asks to nurse and I basically have to tell him no. Maybe because he's older and it's easier for him to ask, or maybe he doesn't fall for my tricks as well.
    Laura, proud vbacing, ecological breastfeeding mommy to four ages 8, 6, 5, and 2. That's Kate nursing her doll, Adam.

    The Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding: (1) exclusive breasfeeding for the first 6 months (2) pacify baby at your breast (3) don't use bottles and pacifiers (4) co-sleep for night feedings (5) take a nursing nap (6) nurse frequently day and night; avoiding schedules (7) avoid practices that restrict nursing or separates you from your baby. The average return of menstruation for ecological breastfeeding mothers is between 14 and 15 months.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    This is what I am experiencing, to quote from a LLC paphlet

    "If weaning is going too quickly for the child, he'll usually let you know by his behavior. Increased tantrums, regressive behaviors, anxiety, increase in nightwaking, new fear of separation, and clinginess are all possible signs that weaning is going too quickly for your child"

    She is one and a half and I am three months pregnant. My practitioner and my therapist have encouraged me to wean. Mainly because I have complained that I am having a hard time saying no to her crying. Also the MD feels that after four months the fetus needs the nutrition more than my toddler. I am not OK with any of this and I am riddled with guilt, inconsistency with saying no to her and then giving her the breast and then being really tired. But then sometimes I still want to nurse, but it also feels that when I nurse her, she is even more demanding for the breast and even has started waking up at 1am screaming titty.


    She also has started throwing all her solids on the floor and crying titty in the high chair, which is stressing me out alot. And she doesn't always want to be with the babysitter, whom she has known since birth.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    paolina sorry your having a tough time.
    Try not to feal guilty about weaning, part of what your dd is doing is her age and just doesn't have anything to do with weaning.
    They can realy be hard to get along with between 1 and 2.
    they want so hard to tell you things but just don't have the words.
    And lots of kids that age are picky about the foods they will eat.
    FluffyN if you feal like you want to set some limits then by all means do.
    Thats perfectly fine. at that age
    My dd liked to nurse 1st thing before getting up, before lunch, at nap time, before supper, most nights one time between supper and bed, and then bed.
    and then at least 2 or sometimes 3 times a night. just try and figure out the nursing that means the least to baby and then don't nurse during that time.
    Most moms find that bedtime and nap time are the last sessions to go.
    My dd was before she got up, nap and then the last was bed.
    She nursed to go to sleep at night for a long time maybe from the time she was 3 untill she weaned shortly after she turned 4.
    all night DQ I've read other moms say that to their toddlers will not nurse much during the day and then make up at night thats very common!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    What Andrea said. The symptoms of weaning too fast sound like the symptoms of being a toddler.

    If you're exhausted, and you've got a baby who loves to nurse, I'll bet the last thing you feel like dealing with right now is weaning. I don't know if the medical professionals always know how dang easy and relaxing nursing is and how much WORK it is to find something else to comfort your child. But you know what works very well for some kids? Grandma! Send that baby away once in a while so you can nap.

    Now, really at that age, most children are pushing and pushing for limits and if nursing is a big part of your relationship she will push in that area too. When my child was about one and a half (maybe a little earlier) we finally made our first hard and fast nursing limit. It was no nursing during meal times. As long as mommy had food on her plate, dd could not nurse. Yes she threw tantrums and cried through meal times... I just let her go into the living room to cry(scream) while we ate. And I scarfed that food down fast. But I learned that it's ok for her to cry and she learned that sometimes what she wants is not the family's first priority. It took a few days, and then we had nice meals together. Then I started to drag it out by leaving a little food on my plate for quite a while. And always at restaurants. We learned from that experience and then when we instituted other rules, they got GRADUALLY smoother and smoother. I think they stop arguing altogether when they turn 25.

    I never got the don't offer don't refuse thing either. It depends on the kid. I just kept asking, "Who offers? Why offer?" My child never just forgot to nurse. But some do! And if they are actually close to naturally weaning anyway, this method would work fine. I see that now... now that my child is 3 and just doesn't need it anymore. But at this age you can just say something like, "no candy today if you nurse." Still not exactly proud to offer something unhealthy to encourage her to give up something healthy.. but if it works and everyone's happy, hey, I'll give the kid some candy.

    ANYWAY, I've learned that weaning this kind of kid words better backward; instead of picking one session to drop, keep adding "no nursing" times: Not at dinner, not in public, only in bed, only before bed, only for nap, only on Sundays (I still think it's funny my child agreed to that)...only on your seventh birthday (maybe I'll try that next).

    If you get pregnant and breastfeeding becomes uncomfortable, painful, exhausting, etc., perhaps it's nature speaking to you... perhaps you should trust your body, listen to your body, and make your child listen too. I don't know, I haven't been there..
    But BE FLEXIBLE. Weaning is a journey, not a new law.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    Quote Originally Posted by FluffyN View Post
    Thats what I don't get. We don't have scheduled sessions where we sit down to nurse (except at bedtime). I've tried recently, but he only wants to eat when he wants to eat. I've always only nursed him when he "asked". I thought that scheduling feeding sessions was not recommended. Have I been screwing up since the beginning? I'm really feeling worn down by nursing every hour or more these days and think that reducing feedings would really help. Do you think by 18 months he will be old enough to go longer between feedings?
    I do. At 14months DJ was down to 3-6 x a day while I worked and 6-8x a day when together all day. Now at 20months he never eats more than 6 x a day. Even when we are together all day. And we are at the point when it's mostly for comfort. he know associates solid food with hunger. But it is still a nice trick to have in the bag when he doesn't want to eat his dinner. And it happens. While I have been glad to let the amount dwindle naturally and at his pace...I am glad we still do it. For all the reasons. I have a friend who doesn't even have her son in Day Care and he is sick ALL the time. Her doctor told her on average, kids between 1&4 will have 12 colds a year! She just accepts that. DJ has been fighting something for the last couple of days...it's the 1st time since March. He's in daycare. I love that it can still fill in the holes nutritionally when they exist, I love how they are helping him stay healthy and of course I LOVE the bond I have nursing my toddler. So while I have wanted to set some limits in public and always always suffer through teething, I am glad that we will make it to the point where we can reason verbally about the way he feels about it and letting go of it when the time is right. Good luck to you.

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Don't offer, don't refuse?

    If you don't have a child who forgets to nurse, this "tactic" won't work for you. Plain and simple. Another weaning tactic, perhaps, will work, but not this one. I agree that distraction is probably your best bet. I always had to remind dd to nurse...and she is definitely and early weaner. It was just never that important to her. I nearly never had to set limits...although sometimes she was cranky and I let her fuss until we got to a point where we could sit down and be comfortable to nurse.

    I am in agreement with Shelly right now...since my supply dwindled as a result of pregnancy, Haylee has been sick 5 times...in 6 months . Tonsilitis 3 times, strep throat, and an ear infection. Very sad. And she isn't exposed much at all...just to one other kid on a regular basis. Nursing is so beneficial...and I am anxious for my renewed supply so I can give her breastmilk in a sippy cup, and hope that she will want to resume nursing.

    I think cutting back is a reasonable expectation after about 15 months...especially if baby is eating a variety of solid foods. Certainly, at that point, it becomes about comfort (which doens't mean there isn't nutritional/immune value, becuase there def. is).

    HTH!

    Erin
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