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still bf at 18 months.

(14 Posts)
homeedmam11 Fri 01-Jul-11 10:55:07


Im still bf my 18 mth old. I know some children self wean, but not sure when, hes showing no signs.

He eats quite well but still bf a lot most days.
Has anyone weaned the child themslves at this stage? Any advice?


kiteflying Fri 01-Jul-11 11:37:00

God, I waited and waited for my DD to self-wean. Everyone around me was so confident she would. She was interested in all sorts of food. She was generally a busy, interested, curious toddler. But she would not give up feeding to sleep, and would wake for a feed in the early hours without fail.

I was desperate enough to wean her myself, and tried the gently gently approach recommended by BF associations with no effect. As far as she was concerned, there was no reason to give up what she loved to do.

At twenty months, a light bulb went on in my head and I sat down with her one day and said, we are not going to have [read family nickname for BF] any more. Mummy can't do it any more, because [read whatever reason you have - I had an operation looming]. SO we have to stop. Tonight we are going to have extra stories instead of BF, and if you are still not sleepy, we can go for a drive OK?
It took about a week to give up BF at night, and yes, we were driving her to sleep on and off for a couple of months, but I made a game of her new bedtime routine, we had a special song for pyjamas - teeth - stories - sleep. This somehow made it all new and interesting. And now she had a reason to stop.

There are books, advice out there on managed weaning, but you have to really seek them out and I found most tailored to smaller babies who could not understand more than basic reasoning. I could not believe how quickly my DD understood, once I presented it to her as something that was just part of life, and she just got on with the business of relearning how to get to sleep. Sometimes I feel we don't give little babies enough credit.

Most BF counsellors I spoke to were of the gradual weaning thinking, but were sympathetic, so don't be afraid to get counselling. It can help to just moan to someone. Weaning is kind of emotional, as it is a big break.
Whatever you do, don't tape up your breasts, or slather them with something nasty tasting! Someone will suggest this, I guarantee!

Secondtimelucky Fri 01-Jul-11 12:07:38

DD self weaned, but that was when I was 16 weeks pregnant with no. 2 and my milk went. I've always had a fast let down and she just wasn't interested in dry nursing! Not much help unless you're planning another one soon, sorry!

Teapot13 Fri 01-Jul-11 12:57:59

I have heard true self-weaning is unusual before age 2.

That being said, I know two families in which the mother just wasn't there at a time the child would normally nurse, the child got on with it, and then didn't want to nurse again. (Personally I would count an abrupt stop like this as a nursing strike, but in both cases the mothers were happy to stop.) The children in question were both just about a year.

RantyMcRantpants Fri 01-Jul-11 13:01:05

DC1 self weaned at 10 months when we all went down with a rather nasty and virulent stomach problem.

DC2 self weaned at 15 months as I was pregnant with DC3 and then came back when DC3 was born for about 3 or 4 months and then just stopped.

DC3 self weaned at 23 months, I had been doing the 'never offer, never refuse' approach for a couple of months and it just gradually reduced as he was more interested in doing other things like playgroup etc.

MigGril Fri 01-Jul-11 16:20:22

Self weaning
What is self-weaning?

A baby who is weaning on his own:

is typically well over a year old (more commonly over 2 years)
is at the point where he gets most of his nutrition from solids
drinks well from a cup
cuts down on nursing gradually

Child-led weaning occurs when a child no longer has a need to nurse - nutritionally or emotionally. The solids part should rule out self-weaning in babies under a year since, for optimum health and brain development, babies under a year should be getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk.

Babies who suddenly stop weaning are technicaly classed as a nursing strick but if mum is happy to stop at this point then that is fine. Although babies would need formula if under 12months.

MigGril Fri 01-Jul-11 16:21:21

DD didn't wean untill I was PG with DS and that was around 3years she was a boob monster. DS is only 8 months so who knows what will happen this time but I do plan on letting him self wean.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 01-Jul-11 16:28:34

Hi homeedmam. Do you want to encourage you ds to wean or are you happy to continue?

From what i've read self weaning is more common from three onwards, though varies a lot.

There's a book called "bf older children" by anne sinnott that i found really interesting. Might be worth a look if you want some reassurance that bfing a toddler is normal, nay, A Good Thing.

If you want to wean fair enough. Iirc there are some suggestions re this in "adventures in tandem nursing" though i bet someone can suggest something on t'web...someone? smile

TheRealMBJ Fri 01-Jul-11 17:09:14

If you are wanting to gently wean your DD, Elizabeth Pantley, has some suggestions in the NCSS, iirc. If you want to night wean the there is this book I've heard about and of course Dr Jay's method

homeedmam11 Fri 01-Jul-11 20:04:07

Thanks everyone. Yes Moonfacemama I would like to stop bf

morechocolate Fri 01-Jul-11 21:00:41

One of my children naturally gradually stopped at 18 months but I was already pregnant and felt that the milk was reducing and it was trouble free but he never drunk any other milk for at least a year which was worrying. Amazingly he will now drink cows milk.

My third child was horrendous to stop feeding at 18 months and I couldnt do it gradually as she refused any alternative but once I stopped totally she moved to cows milk from my husband and now drinks it well from anyone. It was an awful couple of weeks but she quickly forgot all about breasts.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 01-Jul-11 22:05:04

ok homeedmam, it,s not a path i've been down so i'm not in a position to offer you advice, but hopefully this thread will turn up something that works for you. smile

kiteflying Sat 02-Jul-11 01:49:21

Have you tried offering food when he asks for a BF during the day? Like "How about a biscuit instead [first]?" "How about sharing this apple with Mummy?". It is in keeping with the never offer, never refuse program but might help things along. OR you could try deferring the BF until "after you have had your lunch, if you still want it...". Again, you are not actually refusing him.
I kept my DD topped up on healthy snacks, and drinks of water, all the time so she was never actually hungry or thirsty for BM during the day. It did not help with the connection she had going between BF and going to sleep of course.

My daughter did not move on to cow's milk at all. It did not agree with her until she was much older, and even now, she only drinks limited amounts.

You should feel proud that you have breastfed him for eighteen months already. You have given him a great gift. Don't feel like you have to continue until he is finally ready to stop, sometime in the future you don't know when. Better that you are a happy mum for moving on.

My experience of stopping breastfeeding was actually great for my confidence in our relationship, as she made a move in my direction for the first time. Also, when it came to toilet training six months later, she got on with it, in exactly the same way, as just a part of life. Maybe that was just her character, or maybe it was because of her previous experience with giving up BF.
Not trying to say everyone should manage weaning, so please don't anyone shout me down, but wanted you to hear the positives I experienced. I think if you want to stop you will feel better about yourself and your relationship with your son if you do stop.
And I am really proud I breastfed so long.

Secondtimelucky Sun 03-Jul-11 11:36:14

Oh yes, added to what Kite said, I encouraged DD1 to drop daytime feeds when she was 11 months as I was going back to work and didn't feel it was going to be practical to express (never really got the hang of it, and she hated bottles). I did it by offering her a snack just before I thought she would ask for a breastfeed. Within a couple of weeks, she was into a new routine and didn't really ask for a feed in the day even though I was there four days out of seven. It suited me because I didn't actually have to turn her down, I tried to pre-empt the request, if that makes sense.

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