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Old 03-12-2007, 12:40 PM   #1
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"natural" age for child-led weaning?

I've posted here before about my DD (now 15 months) and her relative disinterest in nursing. She's a totally happy, busy little toddler who is just irritated by my constant offer of nursing! She shakes her head "no" most of the time when I offer. She does consistently nurse when she wakes up at night or when nurse her before I go to bed (sort of waking her up--a "dream feed").

I've read so many places how babies really don't self-wean until they're 2 or so, and honestly, my feelings are rather hurt that she doesn't like nursing more! I've said to DH, "doesn't she love me?" Of course she does, and she sits in my lap for stories and she's a good hugger and I carry her around in the sling a lot, which we both enjoy. So it's not like weaning will end our physical closeness, or that she doesn't enjoy cuddling and being close.

I have in my head that I want to nurse her at least until she's two. (My only other child, 5-year-old DS self-weaned at 2 years 3 months.) But it's such a struggle, and I do feel really stressed about how much she's nursing--has it been often enough, how much did she take...etc. I keep pressuring her, and she laughs and shakes her head no. Shouldn't I have learned that kids rarely want/do exactly what we expect?

I guess I'm looking for someone to tell me that it's totally normal and ok for some babies that are 15 months to taper down to only a couple of nursings a day. It's weird, but I'm taking this very personally! I guess nursing is so symbolic for how I want to mother...

thanks for listening!


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Old 03-12-2007, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: "natural" age for child-led weaning?

My DS1 totally weaned himself at 15 months. I was really surprised because just a couple of months before he was totally into nursing. He went down to just morning and night for a few weeks, then gave up the morning feeding, and eventually stopped asking at bedtime too. I had been following the "don't offer, don't refuse style of nursing" since he was about a year old.

DS2 is a different story. He'd still nurse many times a day if I let him. We're down to morning or night now, and he's nursing for less and less time each feeding.

I'd say don't worry about it. Some kids are happy to nurse until they're two (or longer). Others are done sooner. Your DD sounds like she's somewhere in the middle.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:11 PM   #3
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Re: "natural" age for child-led weaning?

She sounds totally normal.
Most toddlers go through a phase between 12 and 18mo where their interest in nursing dwindles. For some, it picks back up, for some it does not. It depends on the child. As toddlers learn new skills, they tend to get wrapped up in their play and less interested in nursing. It sounds, to me, like your daughter will probably pick back up. Even if she's only nursing two or three times a day, she's still nursing. If she's nursing quite a bit at night, then she's still getting plenty of milk. I don't have a real good idea of what self-led weaning looks like as all of mine have weaned differently. My first weaned around his first birthday - he stopped asking, I stopped offering - I was about halfway through my second pregnancy and had little to no milk left. My second, I had big problems with supply (due to my own errors) and he'd nearly 'self-weaned' to a bottle by 6mo. I managed to hang on until he was about 10mo. My third weaned at 19mo when I was halfway through my fourth pregnancy and, again, had little to no milk left. I'm now 10wks into my fifth pregnancy and still nursing (several times a day, several times at night) my almost 14mo - we'll see if she makes it all the way through pregnancy to tandem nurse! My goal with my first was one year or beyond. My goal with my second was 18mo or beyond and my goal with my third was 2yrs or beyond. I'd love to keep Ellie nursing till she's two or older, but we'll see.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:26 PM   #4
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Re: "natural" age for child-led weaning?

My middle daughter completely TOTALLY self weaned to cups (wouldnt even take bottles!!!!) at 9 months
I took it very personal at the time and was so freaked out that she was going to starve or be malnurished; but she is 7 now and thats her personality. I mean she taught herself to ride a bike, wouldnt let DH or I near her. Very independent.
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:29 PM   #5
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Re: "natural" age for child-led weaning?

DD #1 weaned herself at 15mo.
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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Re: "natural" age for child-led weaning?

OMG I have to say I'm in the SAME boat all the way to the taking it personal. Now my dd is 18 months but it ALL started at about 12 months. She too just shakes her head at me and yells NO NO, running off playing. Nurses during the night and most of the time before/after a nap. Also, is VERY VERY independant. From what I've read it's VERY normal but it's sooo hard when they act this way. I finally decided at 15 months that Iwas just going to be OK with nursing 3-4 times a day and hopefully that's what she'd get. I quit PRESSURING/bugging her to nurse. I still offer consistanly but I try not to stress over it. It was becoming frustruating and I was getting upset by her not wanting to nurse. Now shes 18 months and she's still nursing at least 3 times a day and once during the night. The past two days she hasn't nursed much but I seem to see this about every months?? Don't know why I don't think it's anything to do with AF as I've already gotten it around these times. Anyway I just wanted to say we have to stick together and just keep pushing on. I do think even if i have to push that I want her to nurse until 2 I just think that the immunities would be sooo beneficial during these times that I DONT want to stop worrying until then. If at two I find these things I will slowly try to STOP worrying and go at her pace. All of this to say:

Yep I think they are just two indepdent babies. They want to learn about the world and NOT stop for a second to nurse. Who can blame them. If you can get it on the go why STOP, KWIM? I do also think that because they are nursing a little they will eventually pick up their nursing sessions. I have read about sooo many babies doing this SAME thing and then going on to nurse until 3-4 years old. So I think it's VERY common you just don't see it often or many women take it as Self weaning and let it be, KWIM? Sorry to make this long just thought I'd let you know that I"m dealing with it too!! ((hugs)) Hopefully we can make it to 2!!!
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