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Self weaning v's extended bf'ing, i need your experiences please

(8 Posts)
SleepDeprivedGrumpyBum Thu 15-Sep-11 08:44:20

Ds is 10 months old and still Bf, i've not really enjoyed Bf'ing since he was about 6mo but have continued as he's never taken to a cup/bottle for milk and i felt that even though he's doing brilliantly with his solids milk was still an important part of his diet.

However, as his 1st birthday draws nearer i'm now thinking about trying to wean him, but i'm not really sure how to go about it (due to his lack of interest in cups etc) unless i wait for him to self wean, but i have some questions

What age do dc's tend to towards self weaning?
If your dc's did self wean how did it happen (what sign should i look out for so i can then encourage the process)
and my big question (ok well a fear really) to all those who are extended bf'ers, why didn't your dc self wean? - I'm not being judgey with that question, but i really dont want to be feeding Ds much past his first birthday and i have worry that if i let him do it at his own pace he never will IYSWIM

So any advice would be greatly appreciated

EauRouge Thu 15-Sep-11 09:25:07

Kathy Dettwyler has done some research on this here and estimates the natural weaning age to be between 2.5 and 7 years. From what I've read, it's very unusual for a child to self-wean before the age of 2 if you discount nursing strikes which are often mistaken for weaning.

There are some good books on the topic, Breastfeeding Older Children has a lot of information on self-weaning and natural term feeding. I've also heard good things about How Weaning Happens but I haven't read it yet.

All children wean eventually! So you don't need to worry about nipping into his secondary school at lunchtime grin You can continue for as long as you feel comfortable. If you do decide to wean then it might be a good idea to talk to a BF counsellor so that you can plan a way to wean that works well for both you and your DS.

thereinmadnesslies Thu 15-Sep-11 09:40:59

I weaned DS1 at 15 months by reducing the feeds one at a time, so at around 11 months he was having feeds first thing in the morning, after lunch and at bedtime. I went back to work when he was 1 so stopped the lunchtime feed - he didn't notice because he was at nursery and on the other days I distracted him (chocolate buttons if desperate!!).
Then after a month or so we stopped the morning feed - this involved DH taking him down for breakfast as soon as he woke for a week or two rather than getting into bed for cuddles. I got dressed before coming downstairs so he couldn't access milk easily.
We changed the bedtime routine so he had a BF first then stories, then after six weeks or so just did stories with a beaker of milk instead, and used distraction again if he asked for a BF.

That said, DS2 is still feeding at 2 and a half, bedtimes only now ... I felt such pressure to stop feeding DS1 but I've really enjoyed carrying on this time and hope that he chooses to stop soon but on his own terms.

PontyMython Thu 15-Sep-11 09:53:47

I didn't quite get to the self weaning stage, but when DS did stop it was stress free. We had gradually cut down to one feed a day (before breakfast, sometimes none at all if I was in a rush for work, and he wasn't bothered then) and he had his last feed on his 2nd birthday (a few weeks ago). He's got a slight speech delay so we couldn't really talk about it. Next day he was asking but I said "all finished" and he wandered off to play. He's not asked since, even this morning when he climbed into our bed and I was topless, he didn't try to feed, he just snuggled.

So while he didn't technically self wean, I'm very happy with how it ended (unlike with DD - I stopped at 8m and I really regret it) as he's not been upset, and actually our relationship has improved - we play and cuddle more now my boobs aren't getting in the way!

Deflatedballoonbelly Thu 15-Sep-11 10:02:11

When my son was 13m I think we were both a bed fed up! I stopped 'offering' if he wanted it, I gave it. He didnt ask for it so....

He is 15m and has cows milk from a cup.

TruthSweet Thu 15-Sep-11 21:10:12

Agree with EauRouge. All babies self wean eventually, but mother led weaning is no bad thing if it done respectfully of the child's needs.

I do self weaning AND extended (or natural term) bfing.

DD1 self weaned at 3.6 years old with no tears (unless you count DH's wink). DD2 is 3.10y/o and is 'still' bfing and DD3 is 1.11y/o and is 'still' bfing. They will wean when they are ready. Obviously they do eat ordinary food as well as having bfs.

DD2 nurses between once a week and 4 times a day (she has arthritis so nurses for pain relief - prior to the arthritis it was around 1-3 times a week). DD3 nurses 3+ times a day depending on if we are out and about a lot or at home all day.

RitaMorgan Thu 15-Sep-11 21:14:34

I went down the "don't offer, don't refuse" route with ds too - I did offer cow's milk in a cup though. Gradually he started drinking cup milk, and once we were down to one breastfeed just in the morning, one day he just refused and that was it. He has 3 cups of milk a day now.

SleepDeprivedGrumpyBum Fri 16-Sep-11 08:47:04

Thanks for the responses everyone, i was quite shocked as i thought i'd read that the natural age for self weaning was around a year, so with it being so much later than that i don't think i'm willing to wait that long.

The "don't offer, don't refuse" method sounds like it would work quite well, however knowing Ds he would just try and feed more throughout the night so i think i would have to try and night wean as well (although if is sleep doesn't significantly improve in the next few months i've already threatened to move out grin)

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