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'Extended' / natural term bf - when / how did you DC self wean?

(12 Posts)
LakeFlyPie Wed 12-Oct-11 22:21:39

Never planned to be an extended (nor tandem) bf but find myself with a DS1 (3.5) who bf at bedtime (more often than not bf to sleep blush) and also DS2 (10 mo) who bf 3-4xday and all night.

During a conversation about DC bedtimes etc this evening DP (who has always been very supportive of bf) said that he thinks DS1 should be weaned before starting school as he thinks it'll allow more independence and be 'healthier' from an emotional point of view.

I know that school is 10 months away so no need to stress about it but my feeling is that having got this far I'd really like DS1 to self wean rather than withdraw bf from him.

Bedtime bf seems such an ingrained part of his bedtime routine I struggle to see him giving it up of his own volition.
He did have a cup of cows milk in addition to bf when I was pg with DS2 (presumably my supply was low) but this has been turned down for a long time now.

I would love it to be his decision to stop rather than ours and would be very grateful to hear other people's experience / wisdom.

TIA

prioneyes Wed 12-Oct-11 22:31:37

Not sure how much help I can be but happy to share my experience. DS fed at night lots, due to me working long hours from 6 months. We co-slept in order to cope but as he got bigger and wigglier I found it increasingly hard. He had given up all daytime feeds including bedtime by around 2.2 and so I started to wear t-shirts to bed to make access difficult, although didn't refuse a feed if he persisted. He gave up of his own accord easily a few weeks into this. It was so easy I didn't notice.

You might want to bring the feed forward so there's a story between it and bedtime? Or if you are happy, keep going - there's nothing wrong with it!

incognitofornow Wed 12-Oct-11 22:34:10

Message withdrawn

mawbroon Wed 12-Oct-11 22:36:28

I don't understand your dh's logic tbh. Is he subconciously thinking about that hilarious hmm old chestnut of sticking your boob through the school railings?? Why would it be "healthier"?

DS1 is in P2 now and nurses most days, along with his wee brother. I would say that it definitely made starting school easier for him to cope with. He went there only knowing one other child, which is hard for any child I think. It didn't take him long at all to fit in and he seems to be very popular.

He has never, ever mentioned the fact that he breastfeeds to any of his school friends. He does know that it's likely that he's the only one still doing it, but he doesn't care.

I feel that we have got this far, it wouldn't be fair to stop him now. We tried stopping last year and it was hideous. Our circumstance is a bit different though, he has got nasty gastric stuff going on which I think is making him even more reluctant to wean.

WoTmania Wed 12-Oct-11 23:04:55

re: independence: www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-BT and on an emotionaly level at this age it would surely be worse to make him stop than to let him continue if he feels the need?

With weaning - DS2 weaned at just over 4 - 2 months before he started school. It just gradually slowed down in his case til it was every 2 weeks or so.
The folk I know who nursed past school starting age said their children never mentioned it at school (DS2 certainly never did at preschool) as it just isn't something that comes up.

TruthSweet Thu 13-Oct-11 13:41:42

DD1 nursed until she was 3.6y/o and had a period of time when latching on was problematic and painful (I put it down to being pg with DD3 but nursing DD2 didn't hurt at the time).

One Sunday morning she just couldn't work out how to get her tongue or mouth to latch. We had a look at her mouth and she had massive gaps at the back of her jaw for the first set of adult molars to come through. Basically her physical ability to nurse had run out.

Her adult molars came through at around 4.6-4.9y/o and now at 5.7 she has 7 adult teeth and has lost 5 baby teeth (still missing top front teeth!).

DD2 is now passed DD1 in age as she is 3.10y/o and still nurses. Some day it is or so times (she has arthritis so nurses for comfort) and some days it might not happen at all. She is at the very end of weaning and if it wasn't for the arthritis I think she would have weaned earlier than DD1 (though through her own choice not physical reasons).

DD3 is just 2 and nowhere near ready to wean although she does/can go along time between feeds.

I really don't think forcing a child to wean would do anything to encourage independence in a child, moreso the opposite. Perhaps if you asked your DH what signs of independence he'd like too see in your son (aside from no bfing)? If you look at a child development book/website you can see together if those expectations are reasonable for a child of his age or if they set the bar too high.

otchayaniye Thu 13-Oct-11 17:14:55

Hi, I wasn't expecting this, but my 3 year old is self weaning just as I've had a baby. Not what you'd expect. She still occasionally asks for it, but has stopped sucking, it's more symbolic. She hasn't asked for days now.

TimeWasting Thu 13-Oct-11 21:17:44

DS didn't self-wean, I found it too irritating while pregnant so weaned him at 2years 10months. sad
If he'd been much younger I'd have carried on and tandem fed, and if I'd not been pregnant would have carried on but the sensation was making me irrationally angry which wasn't what either of us needed.

That being said, altering the bedtime routine when he was around 2 so that I wasn't the major element of it had made me happier to continue as long as we did, and gave DH more of an involvement in DS daily life.
The bedtime feed was dropped in practice, but he still fed whenever else he wanted.
If he'd wanted a feed before bedtime I'd have fed him, but it wasn't routine anymore iyswim.

Caz10 Thu 13-Oct-11 21:23:44

Dd1 was around 3, I was pg and getting bigger by the day, I think it was a combo of less milk plus she found it harder to get comfy around my big bump! She has asked twice since dd2 was born, and it was declared first to be "rubbish", the next time "slimy" grin!

I just followed the "never offer, never refuse" advice, and even before pregnancy she was going a few days at a time between feeds.

LakeFlyPie Thu 13-Oct-11 22:05:29

Thank you so much for all of the replies, really interesting to hear your stories.

I think DP sees weaning as reducing reliance on me for comfort and therefore another step towards independence.
I'll ask him to have a read of WoTmania's link which affirms my views in a more eloquent way.
He's definitely not in the 'boobs through the school railing' camp grin
I think he's also concerned that DS would talk about it at school and get teased but as a few of you say it isn't an issue as it's not discussed.
DS already knows that none of his close friends have "Mummy's milk" but it doesn't deter him!

Interesting about the teeth Truthsweet, DS did get his 1st teeth pretty early (by 6 months) so wouldn't be surprised if his back molars begin to sprout at some stage in the not too distant future.

I do think a change in bedtime routine is the way forward as I recognise DS would benefit from being able to settle himself more reliably.

Thanks again, I don't know anyone in RL who bf their toddler but knew MN would be good for some sound advice smile

TruthSweet Thu 13-Oct-11 22:13:41

LakeFlyPie - DD1 didn't get her teeth early but when they came through they came like a freight train - her 1st 7 teeth came in 3 weeks at 7m/o and she had all her baby teeth by 21m.

DD2 had teeth at approximately the same age but took slower to come through and has yet to get the gaps.

DD3 is now 2 and still hasn't had her baby molars through!

It may not effect all children in the same way and I have heard on here of children nursing with adult teeth (can't remember who though - sorry).

TeddyRuxpin Fri 14-Oct-11 13:27:23

My DD just self weaned last week but she is a bit younger than your DS (19 months).
Since 12 months she had only been feeding morning and night and over the past few months, the evening feed got shorter and shorter then one night she just refused it and went to bed without, same again next night and thereafter, so I stopped offering her it after about 4 nights.
She still had the morning feed for about a week afterwards but only a very short feed so I stopped offering her it to see what would happen and she didn't ask and hasn't asked for a feed since. That was a week ago.
Like you, I worried how she would sleep as a feed has always been the trigger for bed and she has only quite recently been sleeping through the night but it made no difference at all and she makes her way up to bed fine without a BF.

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