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Monday Morning Parent: To Wean or Not to Wean...THAT is the ?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marlie is 13 months old this week. She is still nursing. That in of itself is not a problem. I feel truly blessed that I have been able to breastfeed this long and my plan is/was to keep going until she is 2. The issue is with nursing on demand.

I had a (naive) vision of nursing her 3 times a day once she turned 1...once after breakfast, once before nap time, and once before bedtime. Marlie swiftly and deftly blew my plans to smithereens.

If she needs it in the morning or the middle of the night, she ain't 2 proud 2 beg...if you catch my drift (10 cool points if you got the TLC reference). She wants to breastfeed when she is thirsty (um, hello there are two sippy cups right in front of you!), when she is sleepy, fussy, teething, bored, so forth and so on. I can't walk past her without her making the sign for nursing, motioning to be lifted up, and then pulling at my shirt. Most of the time she is not even technically eating, just soothing for a couple minutes and she's off.

I am starting to think it's time to start weaning her
now before things really get out of control. She has a knack for asking for my breast while I am in the middle of something (shopping, cooking, exercising, making out with her daddy). I am living la vida interruptus!

So all you breastfeeding mamas out there...help! What is up with Marlie wanting to nurse 8 times a day? When did you know it was time to wean? How did you do it? Anyone successfully switch their breastfeeding babies from on-demand to a schedule?


Anonymous said...

My son is 13.5 months and still nursing multiple times a day. In fact, he still doesn't care for solids. I used to think that after 12 months he would slow down with nursing but now that we're at 13+ months, it doesn't seem so strange that he's nursing so much still. I think it only seemed strange because culturally we don't really see toddlers nursing openly.

I guess I would suggest checking out kellymom.com to see what she has to say about weaning. There are definitely moms who've initiated the weaning process in a gentle way.

On a sidenote, I've noticed that my son seems to increase his nursing and general clinginess when he's approaching a developmental milestone or teething. I figure it's because his brain is needing the extra fat and other nutrients.

Brandy said...

I am not to that stage yet, but I would suggest going to a La Leche meeting. There are lots of breast feeding mamas there with lots of experience and knowledge to share. I bet they would have some great suggestions for you!

Unknown said...

I was going to suggest a milestone, too! My kiddo is only 8+mos but we are planning on going til 2, nice to get some heads up on issues we might face at that time. Kellymom and LLL are both awesome suggestions, as well. Props for Bfing your baby this long!

Kim @ What's That Smell? said...

My son weaned himself around 9 months or so. He preferred the bottles and then sippy cups because he could do what he wanted while using them.

So...I got nothing LOL

Good luck, sounds tiring!

Mama Up! said...

Oh, man, I do not envy that. It was a little sad when the Babby weaned, but even by then she was only nursing before bed or in the morning, not all the time. She'd try, and then get bored and go for the cup!

My non-expert advice: If you're considering weaning and you think most of the nursing happening is comfort nursing, why not try replacing some and then all of it with cuddles, quiet book time, or that sort of thing? That's how it happened with the Babby - she was less interested in milk, and more interested in getting held by me.

L.A. Mommy said...

I can't speak to weening off the breast but I will say that my baby literally stares us down each time we lift a glass to our lips. So sippy-cup time is just around the corner for us. After that I'm not sure how he'll do without the bottle.

BTW, Marlie-girl is getting so grown up!!! She's such a little lady!

Unknown said...

Thanks for all the great advice and support! I will try to hang in there and adopt some defensive moves. just kidding. Stay tuned for more adventures in boobland!

Mrs. K said...

Wow, I can't give any advice due to lack of experience but I wanted to comment anyway. I am so proud of you for going so long to begin with. My goal is past 8 months for each baby when the time comes. We shall see. This was such a funny post too. By the way--hubby and I were in Gainesville from 2000-2004. He stayed there for med school and I went to FSU (booooo, I know). LOL

Help! Mama Remote... said...

I think that is beautiful. The benefits of breast feeding are numerous! Love your TLC insert! Since I only breast fed. My kids no longer than a month, don't think I should comment. Not to mention my daughter drank a bottle til she was......& my youngest is stuck on the glorified bottle(sippy cup)

Maureensk said...

Well, Miss V turns 2 next month and is still breastfeeding. I did not nurse any of my other kids past 15 months, so this is new. I will say that the constant nursing did get better as she got older. Definitely, teething was part of our problem. Still, there were times that I seriously wondered if I could possibly make that much milk (it felt like I was sucked dry). Quite frankly, she is not into solids much and i think would be skin and bones if she didn't nurse. She does ask to nurse at awkward times, but has come to understand that I won't nurse in public now. So she will wait until we get to the car or house. I did have to nurse her on the plane and at Sea World, though, as she couldn't wait any longer and felt extremely uncomfortable about nursing an almost 2-year old in public. Of course, due to the fact that she still has very little hair and few teeth, everyone thinks she is only 12-15 months old. Still, the public nursing is an issue (of course if our society wasn't so hung up on boobs, it wouldn't be an issue, like it isn't in most of the world). I do tire of breastfeeding at times, but it is a joy to be able to bring her so much comfort. I can't imagine what she would do if I tried to wean her. My other kids kind of weaned themselves at 9, 11, and 15 months, except baby #4, who had to be traumatically cut cold turkey due to me needing to start taking a new medicine w/o any warning and that was awful! Anyway, I guess I have no helpful advice. If you keep nursing, there will be some good and bad consequences, if you wean, there will be some good and bad consequences... The biggest question really is can you actually go through weaning her (as in there will be a battle of wills and Mrs. Marlie has one major will! :-) )

The Redhead Riter said...

I nursed until 18 months and I just knew it was time because she only did it once each day in the evening.

Maybe she is seeking nurturing more than the milk, but finds it the quickest and easiest way of doing it.

Try finding ways to get her mind off the nursing when she is seeking a quickie like immediately picking her up, grabbing the sippy cup and running outside for a minute. Something quick and drastic LOL

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