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Thread: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

  1. #1
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    Default Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    I'm ready to wean and I think my LO is ready to wean too. He hasn't even asked for about 2 or 3 days, even when he was in my room when I was getting dressed and he saw the boobs! I'm 8 weeks pregnant, I have horrible morning sickness and nursing is painful, it makes me really tired and sometimes makes me feel queasy too. If I didn't think he were done, I'd push on through, but I think he's ready to wean.

    My question is: do I need to talk to my toddler about the fact that we're weaning and that there will come a time when he doesn't get kikis any more? Or should I just let it happen, never offer the boob (he rarely asks) and let him forget about it? What if he gradually weans and it has been a month and there's no milk left and suddenly he asks for it? Is it better to talk about it beforehand or just let it happen?

    I really want to do the right thing. He's very bright and likes to know about everything and I don't want to feel like I'm sneaking this by him. I'm always honest with him and he is very secure because he knows he can trust me. I don't want to sabotage that. He loves to know what's going on and has a huge vocabulary for his age. The problem is, he's incredibly sensitive and already senses a change in his family ( my pregnancy) and I don't want to upset him by talking about this and making an issue of it if he's just ready to let it drop by the wayside. I'm going round in circles here... What do you think?
    Emma

    J from Aug '06 to Nov '08 and S from April 2009

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    With the pregnancy thing, I've found it best to just take things as they come. When it hurts too much to nurse, I tell him and we deal with it. When we had gotten down to 3 sessions a day and I was very okay with that and he seemed to be, then suddenly started melting down, we nursed more for a couple of days, then I went back to limiting.

    I'm not sure he'd really understand that he has to keep nursing and even if he did, your pregnancy is going to impact that, too. So, I guess I'd probably just follow his lead. If he does want to nurse in a month, you can talk about it with him and see if he really wants to or if the idea just popped into his head. If he does and there isn't much milk, you'll get through that, too. Maybe not without tears for both of you, but you will get through it. And then again, by that point, he might just need a bit of comfort at that moment, knowing it's still an option, and that be the end of it.

    Have you read How Weaning Happens? It's a really quick read and there are lots of stories from moms about a wide variety of weaning experiences.
    DS 1/2006 9 lb. 2 oz. 22 in.
    DD 10/2008 8 lb, 2 oz. 20 in.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    Just from reading what you've written, I can tell that even if he doesn't need to talk about it with you, you need to talk about it with him. You will feel better, not like your sneaking it away on him.

    Perhaps a weaning day/celebration is in order. Do something special to commemorate it.
    Mother - Wife - Artist - Cook - Writer - EnvironMENTAList - Cloth Diaperer (but we are soooo done with diapers) - Organic Health Nut...I'm sure there's more.

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    DD2 - 8/6/07 Breastfed for 3 whole years and 3 little, extra days.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    How old is he?
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    He just turned two at the end of August. I realise I didn't put a lot of facts in my last post, just a lot of wondering. He nurses once a day or less. Usually only once or twice a week. It's been a very gradual process, starting from nursing on demand, nursing at more regular times, very gradually dropping feeds (mostly according to his demand or lack of) until we reached this point, where we've been for about 2 or 3 months. When he asks, it's nearly always after a nap if he hasn't slept long enough and wakes up cranky. He rarely asks any more, not even if he has an 'owie'. I was sad at first because nursing is such a special relationship and I will miss it. However, when I discovered I was pregnant and nursing started hurting (and I've been losing rather than gaining weight) I decided to let the weaning happen, if that's where we're headed.

    I think the perceptive PP who said it's me that needs to talk about it may have a point! But how do I talk about it and what do I say? I tried a few weeks ago and it was a disaster, leading to increased nursing until he forgot about the conversation. I obviously went about it the wrong way. I don't want him to feel like I'm pushing him one way or the other.
    Emma

    J from Aug '06 to Nov '08 and S from April 2009

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    Maybe as you get to where you are talking more about what it will be like to have a new baby in the house, you can talk about nursing the new baby and what it was like to nurse him and how the two of you do other special things together now. Or, you could even talk about the whole process of nursing/weaning in general terms surrounding the new baby, then just wait to see if he makes any connections and starts talking about himself.
    DS 1/2006 9 lb. 2 oz. 22 in.
    DD 10/2008 8 lb, 2 oz. 20 in.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    How about getting this book? http://store.llli.org/public/profile/143
    You could read it together, and see if he has any questions or wants to talk about it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    That's a great book suggestion, thank you. I didn't know anything like that was available.

    I know a lot of people have a ceremony of some kind to mark the end of weaning, but it doesn't feel right for this child and this mother. I would hate to make the end so definite, and wouldn't I have to set the date for the end? I don't want him to feel like he doesn't any control. My body seems to be coping with nursing once or twice a week (sometimes less) and I think my LO needs to know that the kikis are there if he needs them. If we told him Absolutely No More Kikis Ever, I think he'd have a meltdown. I want it to happen naturally, as it has been doing. I'm just worried about the gaps getting longer until one day he asks and the milk has dried up - won't he be confused or upset, wondering why he hadn't been warned or blaming me for not having milk available for him any more?

    I think the book will help him to understand what's going on. I'm going to get How Weaning Happens too. (5 mins later - just ordered both!)

    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. It's so great to have people to listen to my concerns and offer help. What am I going to do when he weans and I have no excuse to use this board any more (until #2 arrives in April)?!
    Last edited by @llli*purple.monkey; September 10th, 2008 at 09:37 PM.
    Emma

    J from Aug '06 to Nov '08 and S from April 2009

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    Just wanted to share my experience. My last son had a fairly slow weaning (I was pregnant at the time). We went several months nursing every other day and then a little bit 2-3 times a week. I was always trying to remember each nursing session just in case it was his last - I didn't want to not remember it. Anyway, I don't think you have to worry much about him wanting to nurse and there suddenly being no more milk. My toddler last nursed when I was about 4-5 months pregnant when my baby was born she was happily swallowing milk - plenty of it - well less than 24 hours after birth. The LC teased my baby that she wasn't suppose to be getting milk yet; clearly I hadn't completely dried up from nursing my toddler. More proof of that is that she only lost about 3 oz off her birth weight. It seemed apparent to me if my toddler had resumed nursing during my pregancy there would have been something there for him.
    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.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Should I talk to my toddler about weaning?

    Both books arrived yesterday and I just wanted to say thank you for the book recommendations and advice. My MIL and I've read Maggie's Weaning and I've read half of How Weaning Happens and already feel a lot better about my situation and can see he is naturally weaning (and it can take a very long time!) and if he wants to keep nursing once or twice a week until he's four, I'm OK with that. When I try to talk to him about weaning, he gets upset so I'm sure he's not ready yet. He needs to know it's there if he wants it. When I think about other areas of his life, I always leave it up to him to decide whether he's ready and I want to be consistent, so I'm putting the power back in his hands for now. I didn't want to be nursing a toddler and a newborn, but if it happens, I'll have to learn to deal with it!
    Emma

    J from Aug '06 to Nov '08 and S from April 2009

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