Weaning on the Child’s Terms

October 14th, 2011 by Dionna | 3 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Carnival and Special Series, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy, natural parenting

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Today I am happy to host a guest post by Charity Cole. Charity is the mother of three beautiful girls. She enjoys blogging about her girls, her hubby and her faith at Our Giggles and Grimaces. Life brings with it both giggles and grimaces, and Charity’s family gets through it together. Here is her breastfeeding guest post, number 37 in our “Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy” series:
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I am passionate about nursing my babies, and I have nursed all three of them. I nursed my first child until she self weaned at eleven months (I was five months pregnant with my second child at the time). I loved nursing her. It was easy after the first couple weeks, free and convenient since I never had to worry about taking bottles with me when we were out and about.

My second child made the first nursing experience look short. I nursed Sue for 28 months, until she weaned when I was – you guessed it -five months pregnant with my current nursling.

Sue not only loved nursing, but she needed it more than my first. Sue was a slow weight-gainer from the start. She lost all of the 10% “allowed” after birth and then took over three weeks to attain her birth weight once again. And even once she started gaining, it was maybe an ounce every three days, unlike the ounce a day the doctors like to see.

I know in my situation some moms are told they need to supplement with formula, but my family doctor is very pro-breastfeeding, and since we knew my supply was good, she actually encouraged me to nurse MORE, not less. Out of personal choice, we delay introducing solids until 7-8 months. With Sue, we found she gained even less once we started solids, and our doctor had us cut back on “food” in order to make sure Sue was getting the quality calories of breast milk. Sue was more than willing to comply.

She loved nursing. She continued to love it even as my milk supply decreased once I was pregnant with her sister. She would finish nursing and tell me, “there’s no milk.” I asked her once why she still nursed if she wasn’t getting any milk. Her reply, “because I MIGHT get some.”

I have to admit, it was very hard to nurse her while going through morning sickness with my third baby, but it was wonderful knowing that when we did stop, Sue had gotten what she needed from the breastfeeding relationship. I kind of thought she would want to try nursing again when she saw the new baby breastfeeding. Just a couple months before her
sister was born, she told me, “when the baby comes, I get to nurse again.” And I didn’t tell her no. I decided if tandem nursing was meant to be, I would let it. But no.

When the new baby was born, Sue told me nursing was for babies and she was a big girl. I am comfortable in the knowledge that she decided when to wean, and it was right for both of us. I cherish every moment of those months nursing, and even more knowing the relationship ended on Sue’s terms, the best way possible.

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Breastfeeding past infancy is full of laughter, joys, and heartbreaking tenderness. I am publishing a series of posts dedicated to the beauty of nursing children past infancy in an effort to normalize this healthy and beneficial nursing relationship. But this isn’t just about me – I want to hear YOUR joys. If you are nursing a child who is older than one year, please contact me and tell me about your favorite moments. I will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire. (This series was formerly called “The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler.” I changed the name to reflect the fact that we are celebrating women who breastfeed past infancy, regardless of the age of the nursling.)

3 Responses to:
"Weaning on the Child’s Terms"

  1. Holly N.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I only have one and she self-weaned at 27 months. Sometimes she still asks to nurse but since it has been several months then I tell her it’s gone. I am one of those that has a ped who wanted me to supplement with formula at the beginning because my daugther was slow to get back to her birth weight (plus we had a latch issue that took a few days to identify) and it was very frustrating. I tried a couple of formula bottles but my daughter didn’t want it so I stopped offering. We made it out great after that initial challenging start. Although I still really like my ped she did lose some of my respect and I definitely learned to take my gut instinct over what she advised including when to start solids which we didn’t until my girlie was almost 7 months and even then it was a slow going process. I don’t know anyone personally (or locally for that matter) who has nursed as long as I did so it’s always great to hear of others who let the child lead on nursing. Thanks again!

  2. MummyinProvence (Ameena Falchetto)   mummyinprovence

    What a lovely post. BiP is almost 18m and still nursing. She has been a boobie monster from the day she was born. I have decided, much to the horror of people around me, including my doctor, to give her the opportunity to self wean.

    Nursing a toddler is a LOT harder than nursing a newborn. It’s a different experience and one that I cherish. BiP will only nursing for a short period of time in relation to the rest of her life.

  3. Charity   signingcharity

    I’m sorry to hear the one doctor suggested supplementing and the other doctor is not supportive of baby led weaning, but glad you mamas are going with what is right for your child, not the popular opinions of those around you. I am now 14 months into nursing my 3rd and love it. She is not the voracious nurser of the one I talk about in the above post, but it is still our thing and I pray it continues at least another 14 months!

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