Weaning? Need help how...

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2008
Weaning? Need help how...
6
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 1:49pm

Hi everyone?

Since the last time I've posted things have been going very well here. I still only pump once during my work day and get anywhere from 7-10 oz. Right now we are having to use about 1 frozen 5oz bag a week to supplement for daycare. But other than that we're running smoothly.

However - My little one will be 1 on June 9th and I'm looking forward to Hanging Up The Horns (stopping pumping at work) and weaning! Well - let's be honest. I'm not ACTUALLY looking forward to weaning - but my husband and I have talked and I think we're ready to wean at one. My husband really feels it's best for us and he's wanting to be able to take on a more equal role I think. He knows it will be a slow process and is understanding that it's going to take sometime. I want to make it as comfortable for my little guy as possible because he loves his nursing - but I think he would want to nurse into his 20's the way he acts and I just think we're more comfortable stopping now. (PLUS - we want to really start TTC in late July/August and still no return of AF).

Has anyone actually weaned a one year old rather than just doing child led weaning?

We are still working on sleep training - and MOST nights these days he goes to bed at 8pm after nursing - sleeps till about 4am, then when he wakes we go to the living room floor (not ready to take him back to our bed right now - I think that might mess up our work) and I nurse him for a long time and eventually he goes back to sleep oh the living room floor with me. He then usually stirs again and wants to nurse on the other side - eventually getting up around 7:00. Then while he's at my mom's while I'm at work - he takes 2 - 5 oz bottles. Then after work I usually nurse him on demand - which usually equates to about 2-3 times including that bedtime one.

So I guess our schedule is looking like this.

4:15 - nurse one side laying down
5:15(ish) - nurse other side laying down
9:00 - 5oz bottle at grandma's
1:00 - 5oz bottle at grandma's
4:00 - nurse one side
6:00 - nurse one side
8:00 - nurse one side

There is sometimes another nursing thrown in there in the evening and sometimes one less. We really nurse whenever he asks.

How do I go about weaning? I really don't know anyone who's done this - and maybe all of you did child led weaning?

Any guesses where the best place to start is? I was thinking that maybe the afternoon ones would be good to start removing and offering a sippy cup of milk?

What I had planned on doing was HUTH next Thursday (WOW) the 27th. I have a 1/2 day on the 28th and was thinking I'd hang them up at the end of May. So with being off Monday too - I think next Thursday I'll stop pumping. Since I only pump once a day now - for about 18 minutes - that next week on Mon-Thurs I'd just pump less each day. So 15 on Monday, 12 on Tuesday, 8 on Wednesday and 4 on Thursday. I usually have less on Monday's anyway from the weekend of no pumping - so it shouldn't be too drastic for me. Right now I could probably go all day and not even have a problem. So I think that will be fine but I can test it and see.

Anyway - I was thinking that I'd HUTH then and then start actively 'weaning' him on the 10th (his birthday is the 9th - and I don't want to start on his birthday! LOL).

I still have about 500oz frozen - so I should have plenty of milk to continue to give him BM. Is it best to use up all the BM first for all the cups - or do some cows milk and some BM each day so he has BM for a longer duration?

I was thinking that for the week of June 1-5 & Mon the 8th I'll use the frozen BM to keep his bottles at daycare normal and BF him on demand in evenings and weekend. Then I'll be with him on the 9th - his big day.

Then starting on Wednesday the 10th - how should I start? Any ideas at all? Maybe I should keep his daytime bottles the same - but the the afternoon/evening should offer him a sippy cup with cows milk and nurse bedtime and morning? Then try to cut out morning? Should I go to all bottles or 1/2 bottles and 1/2 sippy cups? It's just all confusing to me.

I'm sorry this is so long - I just don't have any idea how to do this.

I'm going to cross post this on the Working & Pumping board as well.

Thanks! Kim

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2008
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 2:39pm
Also - I wanted to note he does get 3 square meals a day plus an afternoon snack. I forgot to mention that!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2006
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 4:39pm

HAve you seen this:
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/index.html

It's a list of information on weaning, including a link to weaning techniques.

While we sort of do child-led weaning in my house, I've been known to help my children drop a few nursing sessions from time to time ... I simply want them to be the one to decide on the last session (although in all fairness, I helped my oldest along on that too, but she was much older).

I typically start with don't offer / don't refuse. And then I start employing distraction (up from nap and right to snack ... or up for the morning and right to breakfast). After awhile this becomes routine and those up from sleep nursings are successfully gone. For us the naptime and bedtime nursings are the hardest and last to go. With my oldest I started shortening the amount of time she nursed until she wasn't nursing to sleep and then eventually she was just nursing a couple minutes at bedtime ... but she held on to that for more than a year. At which point, I began offering her a substitute. She objected a bit, but she agreed.

HTH

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 4:56pm

I personally would just advise taking it slowly. I think I'd start with slowly dropping the daytime pumps and getting baby comfortable with taking a sippy in the middle of the day first. The plan you outlined for that sounds

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 11:57pm

<equal role I think.>>

Let me apologize now if I'm I misreading your post but from what how I read it, it does not sounds as if your really not that keen on weaning just yet but that have agreed to it because your husband really wants you too and because of some possible misconceptions you and him have about what weaning will mean for the relationship between you, your husband, and your child. I suspect that your husband has concerns about continue to nurse that are likely unfounded and can probably be addressed without having to wean.

First, if your husband has any concerns that there is something wrong or harmful about nursing beyond a year in general then let me say that I have yet to find any evidence that nursing beyond a year is physically or psychologically harmful to a child. So any concerns he may a have about physical or psychological harm are unfounded. Also, as a PP already mentioned, there are health and psychological benefits to nursing beyond a year, particularly from immunological standpoint so I would suggest that you may want to discuss that up with him too in any future discussion to about weaning.

Now I also get the sense that maybe your husband may be feeling that continued nursing might interfere with his ability to bond and have more active relationship with his child. Sometimes fathers feel threatened by continued nursing in the toddler years where it is more about comfort and less about nutrition, In the case of a son, they may think that the continued nursing will make the child a mama's boy and prevent them from having a totally fulfilling relationship with their son. The reality though is that for some children, they are natural more bonded at first towards mom and even if weaned they will turn towards other means of comfort and interaction with mom. Extended Nursing in these cases is not the reason a child is a mama's boy but rather it's because the child is one that they feel a strong need to continue to nurse for comfort. But as they grow older they will generally grow out of this phase and become closer to their dad and more independent. It is usually just a matter of giving it some time. I would suggest that may want to discuss how he as a father can be more involved with his son without having to wean. Let me share with you a quote from the book "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" about fathering and the nursing toddler:
"The best way you can hasten the time when you and your child will be the companion that you may have dreamed of is the opposite of what you might expect. Do all you can to encourage and help your wife mother your child. Encourage her to nurse him and for as long as there is any baby left. Your wife will rejoice in your support.

If you want to hasten the time when your child will want to be with you, try making yourself available in unorthodox ways." It goes on to suggest ways the father can do this such as lying quietly on the floor and allowing the mobile toddler to climb all over him. He can start out by not being quit and not too rough at first so as not to cause the child to shy away but later as the child grows older he can introduce more father-son roughhousing. Another thing day can do is to play with toys alongside the toddler. He may continue to play alongside dad or may become interested in what dad is playing with and try and snatch it from dad, which can become a fun game between them.

Another concern some dads of nursing toddlers have is that they will be unable to help comfort the child at all or take over for basic bedtime duties if mom is ever not around since they cannot nurse the child. It has been my experience from talking with many extended nursing moms that toddlers and older children seem very good an recognizing that when mom is gone and dad is taking care of the child that can't expect to be nursed and thus they tend to be able to cope for a night or two or even a week with mom gone. In cases where the ENing toddler does not cope well with only dad to comfort, this is often a result of "separation anxiety", a issue that is often most prominent in the 12-18 months age range. Some people will blame wrongly blame continued nursing for the separation not realizing that they child would likely still feel the separation anxiety even they had been weaned at one years old. This can be especially hard on dad who may want to be able to comfort his baby but the baby only wants mom. The father should understand that this is only a phase and as the child passes through it then they will most likely be more open to comforting from dad.

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Some people think that there is some magical window in which if weaning takes place it will be much easier but if they wait they will be nursing into the teenage years. The fact is that this is impossible to prove one way or the other. The reality IMO is likely that the child who strongly resists nursing at two or three would not likely have easily weaned at one either. The child that does wean earlier then three would likely been just as easy wean later on. The approach to weaning may need to be different but I have not seen any evidence that would suggest that weaning earlier in some cases would have made it much easier for some moms. I also don't think you have any reason to worry about nursing until his 20's (or teens or late preteen years). The fact is that cases of children nursing into their teen years are extremely rare and generally the result of a severe mental delay or unusual health issue. Normal children generally wean sometimes between 3-4 years of age on average or earlier, if allowed to self-wean. Proper suckling (in order to effectively draw milk from the breast) requires a special set of skills involving the child's mouth and tongue that appears to eventually be lost by the child. So after a point the child sort of forgets how to properly nurse. This can also happen if the child has not nurse for a period of time. For example, if a child weans prior to or during their mom's next pregnancy and then decides they want to try nursing again once the new baby arrives, often they find that they don't remember how. So concerns about a child nursing forever is IMO non-issue.

Now as to TTC while BFing, you don't need to wean to TTC. You may need to cut back on nursing frequency, such as by eliminating any overnight nursing, for example, but you should be able to get AF back without having to completely wean.

Now if you have any desire to continue nursing at all, I want to say that nursing a toddler does not have to be either complete child-led weaning where you do not restrict his nursing at all or complete weaning. There is a middle ground as many moms of nursing toddlers are able to put restrictions on how often they allow their child to nurse that make continued nursing more compatible with their needs. Since nursing toddlers do not need breastmilk from a nutritional standpoint to the same degree as they did as an infant you can get away with restricting nursing at that age.

Now one final thing, I have read accounts of mothers who weaned there child before they where truly ready due to pressure from their DH or relatives or their child's doctor, or whomever and later regretted it. As such, since you have no reason you have to wean, I would suggest you make sure you are really comfortable with weaning. When you say "My husband really feels it's best for us", do you also feel it best for you and your son? If the main reason you considering weaning is your husband's wishes and you would otherwise wish to continue then I would suggest that you sit down with him and try and address his specific concerns with you continuing to BF his son. In some cases, a mother who is not really ready to wean but whose husband is fairly adamant she should wean as soon as possible may find themselves in uncomfortable with disregarding their husbands wishes. In such cases they find themselves in a rock and a hard place wanting to continue BFing because they feel it would benefits their child and that the child is really not ready to wean bit also not wanting to ignore their husband's when it comes to his input on the weaning process. Unfortunately, sometimes their is no way to make everyone happy. If the husband is not willing to try and see how continued nursing would be best for the child, then it sometimes come down to the mother and child making the decision without the fathers input since their is often no way to compromise when the issue is that father objects to any continued nursing. This does not mean mother's should ignore DH's input but ultimately it is the mother's breast and the child who are directly involved here and I personally don't feel comfortable with the idea of the father having a definitive say over how the mother can use her body even though his is also a parent to the child too. Now of course, like I say to all mother considering weaning, your free to wean your child if your truly ready and willing to wean and I don't want to come across as suggesting it would be wrong if you did wean but when I read "I'm not ACTUALLY looking forward to weaning" that suggested to me that maybe you'd would prefer to not have to start trying to completely wean your child just yet if possible. If I'm misreading what you meant by that statement then I apologize.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 7:55am

Also I wanted to mention that AF can return at any time. When it returns varies from person to person and can be different in the same woman after different babies.

Even if it has not returned yet, you MAY find it returns after HUTH or dropping or decreasing a nursing session or two. There are a few women where AF does not return until complete weaning, but most women to not have to wean completely for their fertility to return fully.

I agree that to avoid problems such as engorgement for you, and distress for your child, a gradual approach is good.

To continue the weaning process, you have been given some tips. Another one is to cut back on the length of some sessions that are not as important to him, before dropping them completely.

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2008
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 10:40am

Wow! Thank you ALL for your ideas and support! :)

tlb-g - Yes I have read almost the whole Kelly mom site - probably front to back over the past year and love it - but find it has little advice on mother led weaning. I haven't really been able to find much anywhere about it - I guess most people just do Extended Nursing if they make it to a year and aren't weaning a baby over to bottles full time? Your suggestions are very helpful! The up right from nap to snack and morning right to breakfast.

cl-dietdrpepperfan - Thanks! He already takes a sippy cup of water all the time. I actually mentioned to my mom that I wanted to work toward him moving from 2 bottles a day to sippy cups yesterday. That sometime over the next few weeks we should try that out. Well evidently he didn't want his afternoon bottle because they were too busy playing so she put it in a sippy cup and he drank almost all of it. We'll see how that continues to go for them - I'm not pushing it right now. I'm not planning on activly doing anything real until about 2 weeks after I've dropped the daytime pump.

charleen2008 - Thank you for all of the information! I probably sounded more heisitant than I am - only because partly thinking of ending nursing does make me sad. But I'm ready. I really wanted to be pregnant a few months ago and really want my children as close in age as possible. So at this point TTC is very important to me and I am ready to start weaning. He's been night weaned (going from 8pm to 4am) now for almost a full month and no return of AF yet. I know it could still take a while even once we drop more sessions. I'm still not going to hurry the weaning. I know it could take a few months after we start trying early June. But I want to get information and want to start at least dropping a few sessions early June. I am ready for that. Even if the bedtime session and the early morning session hang on for a few extra months - I'm ready to make progress towards an end. So no - you're not totally misreading my post - because I'm not ready 'right now' to be totally done. But I would really like to be totally done sometime in the next 6 months. I just don't think extended nursing is for me. I have though a lot about it and I just don't think it's what I want to do. I have LOVED nursing him - but I'm getting close to being ready to be done.