Sunday, July 11, 2010

Weaning

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This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about child-led weaning. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 
 




Just as each nursing relationship is different, weaning each of my children has been different. When Kurtis was born I don't remember having a set goal of how long I would nurse him, however thirteen years puts a damper on ones memory. I do know that at four months when the pediatrician said to give rice cereal we began our weaning process. I continued to nurse Kurtis almost exclusively as he really wasn't interested in solids at that age. By one year old he was much more interested in solids and I was mostly nursing him at night time. By eighteen months old he was only nursing at night, but he nursed all night every night. Not knowing all that I do now I decided to wean him in hopes that he would sleep through the night. Weaning was hard and involved a lot of crying and watching Big Bird Sings in the middle of the night. Of course, this did not help Kurtis sleep through the night and I was left to find other ways to help my baby get back to sleep. Like they say, hindsight is always 20/20. After all these years I wish I hadn't weaned him like that, but I am proud that as a young single mom I did nurse my first until eighteen months.

When I got pregnant with my second I knew I wanted to nurse until two years. This is the recommendation from UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Plus that just felt right. I figured I would nurse Lila for two years and then make a decision about weaning from there. I waited until the now pediatrician recommended six months to start solids, which she wasn't really interested in until closer to a year. Her second birthday came and I had no desire to wean her even though she still nursed through the night. Shortly after her second birthday I got pregnant with my third child. I read Adventures in Tandem Nursing and decided I would continue to nurse and just see what happened. At about three months into my pregnancy I began losing my milk. Sometimes she would ask to switch sides and sometimes she'd just ask for a glass of water! Lila asked to nurse less frequently and by half was through my pregnancy Lila quit nursing at all. It was gradual and it was her decision. I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't gotten pregnant our nursing relationship would have lasted longer but I am very happy with the way it ended. Slow and easy with no tears.

Now here I am nursing Clarissa into her third year of life (she is 26 months old) with no end in sight. My only goal with her has been child-led weaning. I waited until she was ready for solids at about eight months. And most nights she still nurses frequently, but
I know I want the weaning process to be natural. Everything else about Clarissa's life has been natural. She was even born at home. I have friends nursing three and four year old children and when I think about it, it seems old but I know it happens gradually and that my baby will still be my baby when she is three or four. Only time will tell what will exactly happen, but I have a suspicion that she will be my nursling for quite a while longer.

My babies in May 2008

 
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4 comments:

Amy said...

Great post! It's so interesting to hear your perspective as a mom of three (I have one little one so far) and how it was different for each of them. I'm glad you're staying so flexible for your kiddos!

Family of 5 said...

Thanks!

BoobiesNBabies said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing :)

Renee said...

:)