Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beginning Weaning

I know a lot of breastfeeding moms want to make it to a year, as the APA recommends, but my BF'ing goal is to simply nurse my kids until they begin to wean themselves (if they don't show any signs of starting before 18 months, though, I'd start nudging them in that direction). I think that's the best thing for me too. If I let her lead the weaning, I shouldn't be too uncomfortable (avoiding engorgement, much leaking, and mastitis).
Apparently G started weaning herself in the past few weeks. I don't know exactly when it started because of the chaotic move, but I know it was a little after her first birthday. I had been nursing her 5 - 6 times a day for about five months, without any reservations, but we are down to 3 nursing sessions now. This is obviously due to the fact that she is eating more--both quantity and type--solid foods and drinking from her straw cup like an expert (water or watered down juice; no cows milk for us, more on this later). She nurses before bed, when she wakes up in the morning, and before nap time.

During the first few days of her starting to wean, I didn't realize what was going on. I would try to nurse her mid-morning and she would pull off after a few seconds. I got kind of frustrated because it would lead to a let down and then milk would get wasted. I would just set her down to play, and try again in a little bit. She'd refuse again. I thought it was so weird, but then she'd eat really well before nap time, so I didn't feel too "full." G had been eating a solid food snack around 3:30 for quite a while, but she would also nurse around 5. She started to refuse that nursing session, too. After a few days, I decided she must be weaning herself.
I've heard that when mothers lead the weaning, it can be painful and the baby may get frustrated or "not like it." With G starting her own weaning, there's none of that. I highly suggest you consider letting your baby initiate the weaning process (although I'm not judging those mothers who do/can not) because it is a very smooth transition.

Our days look {something} like this:

7 am: awake
7:15 am: nurse
8:30 am: breakfast
12 pm: lunch*
12:30 pm: nurse
1 pm: nap time
3 pm: awake (if I'm lucky)
4 pm: snack time
5:45 pm: another little snack to hold her over for dinner time
6:15 pm: dinner
7:15 pm: nurse
7:45 pm: bedtime

*I'm thinking about adding a morning snack time or moving up lunch time a little bit because she tends to get crabby in the late morning.

I don't know how long we'll be at 3 times a day, but if it lasts for a few months, that is fine. I assume she will eventually just stop wanting to nurse when she wakes up or before she goes down. I know that is is a comfort measure for her, so if she is using it as such until 18 months of age, that is fine. After that, I'll probably start offering snuggles before nap time instead of nursing, because while I am all for baby lead weaning, I don't want to be breastfeeding my potty-trained toddler (and my hope is to have her potty trained by 2).


  1. Thanks for sharing. We are trying to do a bit of the baby-led weaning as well. Alethea is down to 2 nursing sessions (as of the past two days she dropped the 3rd). She doesn't like cows milk, we've tried so we just do a lot of yogurt and cheese to make sure she gets enough calcium. I am very interested to hear what your thoughts are on weaning without cows milk. It's crazy to think our girls are already weaning!

  2. It is crazy!! I don't know if you'll see this, but if you do, which feeding did she drop?
    I'll write about our decision not to do cows milk, but if she's not allergic to nuts...look into almond milk and fortified OJ as a way to up calcium intake! G eats YoToddler and greek yogurt and cheese at almost every meal!

    1. She is now only nursing when she gets up in the morning and when she goes to sleep at night. She dropped her mid morning feeding first (1030ish) and then the most recent one she dropped is her after nap feeding which was usually 2:30 or 3. She now just eats a snack at both times instead. Yah the main thing I have heard is that you need to make sure they are getting enough calcium and fat. Our doc said she didn't care what we replaced whole milk with as long as the fat content was equivalent. We do almond milk ourselves so I may see if she likes that...


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