The Personal Journey of Weaning

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about The Personal Journey of Weaning.  The views and opinions of this post are of a very personal nature and are not necessarily the views of La Leche League philophy. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post to understand the various forms weaning takes. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

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My name is Jenny, a mother of 4 children ages 2-13. Weaning and breastfeeding in general is a topic I love to discuss over on my blog, My Little Me. I am currently in the process of weaning my 4th breastfed child! Thank you for reading!   

 

Today’s Prompt: Weaning is such a personal choice for each family. In many cultures around the world, children are allowed to choose the time of their weaning, which can be up to 7 or 8 years old. Did you nurse into toddler or childhood yourself? If weaning has or is taking place with your child, what does it look like? Did you expect this? 

 

Weaning can take on many forms and can come on gradually or unexpectedly. I have breastfed four babies and each one has been a different experience when it was time to wean. The last two children have been the longest breastfed and their weaning experiences are the most clear to me.

For my previous child, my goal was to get to one year of breastfeeding. I had never made it that far and it was a special goal to me. We made it… and then some. Our nursing relationship lasted over two years when she was finally ready to slowly wean away from mommy.

breastfeeding

My baby now (who is not so much a baby at 20 months) is still currently breastfeeding. She shows no sign of wanting to quit, much like her sister did. I am seeing some of the same things in our current breastfeeding relationship that I had with the previous child, but it’s a little different this time because I am ready to wean and she is not.

How do I know that I am ready to wean?

I feel ready to wean. Two years is a long time. A very long time to have someone demand something from your body. Don’t get me wrong, I love it! But not as frequently as she would have it if I let her. My daughter now I am purposely trying to hold off on some of her sessions, to redirect her interests because she asks for it a lot. I am beginning, though very slowly, the weaning process.
Feeling like a human pacifier. Both of my daughters have used my breasts for constant pacification. They both used it to fall asleep and to get them back to sleep if they wake up at night. This gets tiring. So, I am feeling ready to begin the process again, yet she isn’t.

How do I know that my baby/toddler is ready to wean?

Fewer and shorter breastfeeding session. With my previous child, she began asking for it less and less. It was much easier for her to go without on her own throughout the day. I did not expect her to wean so easily during the day. The night was a different story and it was a very long, hard road.
Showing an interest in what I am eating*. Again, with my older daughter, she eventually became more and more interested in the things I was eating, and less interested in the breast. For the longest time, she didn’t eat many solid foods, but eventually she became interested in them.

How do I wean my baby?

First, let me state that it is recommended that your baby is breastfed for at least the first year (AAP)**. In many cultures breastfeeding is the norm into toddler, and even childhood. Myself, I am ready to wean by the two year mark. But if you or your child are showing signs or desires that lean toward weaning, it is best to take it slowly. If you are interested in weaning, the la leche league website has some very useful information on how to wean a baby.

*Please note that “weaning” begins when a child is first introduced solids besides breast milk.


**While the AAP says “exclusively for six months, with supplement (food) for the first year, then as long as mutually desired by mother and child,” it is important to note, particularly this year being the 10th Anniversary of the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding, that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding for AT LEAST the first two years of a child’s life, and then as long as mutually desired.  This recommendation is for ALL children of the world!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Personal Journey of Weaning

  1. timbra

    Jenny,
    Thanks again for this post. . .I think it reminds us that weaning looks different in every family and there’s no one way, except to be loving and gentle with our children. . .
    http://bosoms-and-babes.blogspot.com/2012/07/weaning-wii-ones.html

  2. I like your how-to approach – thank you for sharing, Jenny! I will check out your blog to get ideas if and when it’s no longer a mutual decision, as I am still nursing our soon-to-be three year old. I am still joyfully tandem nursing 🙂
    http://www.sweetpeabirths.com/blog/2012/07/21/Still-Tandem-Nursing.aspx

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