I have a question. When is the earliest age a child is able to truly self wean?
A very good friend of mine told me her son self weaned at 3 months old. I find this to be impossible, and after listening to her story it became evident that there was clearly a BF mismanagement problem. Nipple confusion for one. A baby that is discouraged by the lack of instant gratification at the breast after using a bottle is not, in my opinion, self weaning.
I tried to explain this to her as sensitively as possible (I didn't want to berate what she thought was "right") but she just wasn't hearing it. I heard the usual - baby was happier with a bottle, baby didn't "want" the breast, blah blah blah. Then it got me thinking... when CAN a child self wean? When are they able, mentally, to make the decision?
I've read all kinds of studies that say children who use pacifiers, bottles, and who are fed solids before 6 months tend to "wean earlier". Is the "weaning" in these cases actually breastfeeding mismanagement? Or is it the child's actual preference for something other then the breast/milk?
I find this particularly interesting because my daughter does use a bottle, and on occasion while we're out, a pacifier. Any mothers with older children and self weaning stories care to chime in?