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Thread: Self Weaning - opinions please

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Self Weaning - opinions please

    I've decided to let ds2 self wean. He turned two last Saturday and still nurses one to two times at night between say 8pm and 7am, and on and off all day long. If I'm not home he doesn't seem to miss it, so on days when we are out and about he may only nurse three times or so from the time we get up until we go to bed. On days we are home he does drive by nursing pretty much constantly.

    So here's my dilemma. I really want him to self wean, but I want to start setting some limits. I know that the three key nursing sessions for him right now are morning, before nap, and before bed. I want to keep those sessions for as long as he needs them. I'm also not opposed to more than three times during the day, however I'm so done with the constant nursing when we are home. How do I refuse some nursing sessions and allow others and still let him self wean? Is it really self weaning in this case? He seems to want to nurse in the morning before we get out of bed, after breakfast, mid morning, after lunch, before nap, after nap, after dinner, and before bed. That's really starting to take a toll on me. That's 8 times during the day and twice at night. Plus the drive by's that last only a few seconds. I feel drained. And sometimes I can distract him, but that means I have to be standing up - as soon as my behind touches a chair he's on me.

    I'm open to all opinions and suggestions
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  2. #2
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    May 2006
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    21,131

    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    I think there's a strict definition for self-weaning and a loose one. I personally like the loose definition, which (for me) is that the kid decides when to give up the last feedings, and mom stays responsive to her child's needs, but it's okay if mom gives the kid a few nudges in the direction of weaning. I had to actively wean my kid from night-nursing and, eventually, from the first a.m. feed- otherwise I wasn't going to be happy continuing to nurse. So, when my kid spontaneously gave up her last feeding 1.5 years after those active eliminations, I still consider that to be self-weaning. Maybe she would have nursed longer if I hadn't actively weaned from the nighttime and first a.m. feeds, but I'm okay with how things turned out. 3 years of nursing was enough for me and for her, and in the end, the decision to stop the last nursing session was hers.

    So, suggestions:
    - Try the Jay Gordon method for night-weaning. IMHO, as long as you are offering some form of comfort during the night, that's not the same as CIO. Offering a sippy cup full of water may help- sometimes a night-waking toddler is really thirsty.
    - Enlist help. If Dad or Grandma can take the kid during those times when you want to not be nursing, it's going to be easier, because your child can look at them/engage with them without thinking about milk.
    - Remember that it's okay to say "no." Obviously distracting with a snack or a game is the gentlest way to say no, but if you've reached your limit at a particular time and you know your kid doesn't need to nurse, it's okay to just say "Sorry honey, mama is busy. I will nurse you soon, but right now mama needs to...."
    - Remember that crying is not the end of the world. A dedicated nurser is unlikely to accept "no" without putting up a fuss. But at age 2, it's okay for him to be frustrated occasionally, and to learn that he needs to accommodate other people's boundaries.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    yeah, I'm not as concerned with the label of "self weaning" as I am in taking away all the control. I'm perfectly okay with assisted or mutual weaning, if that is what I'm doing, but I don't want to forcefully cut his nursing short, kwim? I want him to stop when HE is ready, yk? We've done water in the sippy at night and it works some of the time (if I opt to sleep on the couch he will take the water fine for dh and go right back to sleep, but when I'm there he fights it). I think it's his understanding that I'm having trouble with. He's very determined, so if I say "in just a minute" or "after mommy does this we will nurse" he gets very upset. I didn't nurse ds1 very long at all so weaning is very new to me. I think you're exactly right about teaching the need to accommodate other people's boundaries. We have been working on this with his time with ds1. He LOVES his big brother and sometimes sticks to him to the point that ds1 gets frustrated. So we've started saying "A is going to go play in his room by himself and you can go in later". We're meeting some resistance, but distraction is working pretty well in that case.
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    with sarah I worked on night weaning 1st, then I fet beter about the other feedings. I don't think its uncommon for kids 2-3 to be getting up at night and needing nursing to get back to sleep.
    are you still co-sleeping? Sometimes putting distance between mom and toddler at least part of the night helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    4,007

    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    He starts off in his toddler bed in our room but usually ends up in our bed somewhere between 2 and 4am. Maybe I'll push the toddler bed to the other side of the room
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    2,005

    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    When we started weaning, I decided to try to distract or redirect some of the nursing sessions so we weren't nursing all day long. But I also decided that if my ds was not accepting of redirection, then he wasn't ready to give up that nursing session and we would not eliminate it at that time. It was a very gradual process. He learned to respect my needs and in turn, I feel like he was able to wean at his own pace.
    Proud mom of 2 boys, both weaned gradually and with love.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    4,160

    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    I would also start by nightweaning. Then what happens if you say no? My ds1 could generally be distracted at age 2 with. Snack, game, change if activity. But if he was super persistent I would give in.

    Once we got to nursing only at nap and bed I enjoyed it a lot more.
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

  8. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    2,538

    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*green.momma View Post
    I would also start by nightweaning. Then what happens if you say no? My ds1 could generally be distracted at age 2 with. Snack, game, change if activity. But if he was super persistent I would give in.

    Once we got to nursing only at nap and bed I enjoyed it a lot more.
    now I'm not home every day I work M-F but this, what Lisa did is what I did and honestly soon after he realized there were other fun things he'd rather do he just only asks at bed or nap time now or sometimes first thing in the morning on the weekends when we cuddle in my bed

    I started by distracting and adding in the are you ready for night night? cause that was what we call all nap/sleep times it worked well, really well within a few weeks
    Autumn
    Moma to *Silas* 10-30-07

  9. #9

    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    Congrats on 2 years of nursing! Yes, you can definitely set some limits on nursing and still follow your son's lead on weaning. Nursing is a relationship, especially with a nursing toddler, and it does need to work for both people involved. You're giving your son a wonderful foundation by following his lead, but also showing him that others also have needs.

    You've already noticed that he's more likely to want to nurse several times a day when you're home and sitting. Yes, it's exhausting to be up and moving all the time, but while you're trying to reduce or eliminate some nursing sessions, it may help to stay busy. Do you want to simply reduce the frequency of daytime nursing, or competely eliminate some nursing sessions? Planning several busy days may help lead your son in the direction of eliminating some of those drive-by nursing sessions.

    Toddlers are notoriously persistent, and many mothers have found that once a nursing toddler decides he wants to nurse, distract and redirect doesn't work so well. You may need to plan ahead a bit - what encourages him to nurse? Certain times? When you sit in a certain chair? When you're on the phone? Reading? If you can plan ahead and have a more exciting activity, a sippy cup of water, or a snack ready to offer before he asks to nurse, he'll likely be easier to distract.

    One idea that I've heard mothers use is to allow nursing, but limit the length of nursing sessions (won't help so much for those quick check-in nursings, though). This allows you to say "yes!", but start placing some limits on the constant nursings. You might allow him to nurse while you sing a favorite song, or read a short book, or count to 10. Then it's time to be done. This can help introduce the idea that he can't always nurse as often as he wants, and may make saying "no" later on a bit easier.

    Have you read "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler"? It has many good ideas for setting age-appropriate limits for nursing toddlers.
    Last edited by @llli*lllcheri; April 6th, 2010 at 09:55 PM.

  10. #10
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    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
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    Default Re: Self Weaning - opinions please

    When DJ was two and we were negotiating he always wanted nurse when I was at the computer. So I found I could trade. I started with trays of juice pops. You know, juice in ice cube trays, saran wrap over, tooth picks in, makes toddler pops! My son would happily give up the "I'm bored" sessions for and ice cube of frozen juice! He never got juice before. He was willing to make that trade all summer.

    Way too lazy for formula

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