Baby-led weaning. It sounds all special, but it’s just cuz I’m lazy.

January 18, 2011

I had very definite ideas of how long I’d breastfeed Bella. One year. Maybe less if my nipples happened to fall off due to never healing. I hated it. The constant pain. The letdown that made me so uncomfortable. Feeding in public and trying to not flash everyone. The stupid nursing covers that smothered her and made me sweat like a whore in church (excepting Baby Bond). I hated it.

HATED NURSING.

14 months later? We’re still nursing.

Not much, once in the morning and once before bed. Occasionally if she gets really upset/scared about something. And while it sounds so ultra-motherly, and like I’m trying to be all high and mighty that I’m still bf’ing – it’s not. The real reason is?

I don’t know how else to get her to go to sleep, or what to do instead of the nursing routine we have. And I’m not to keen on figuring it out right at 2am while she’s pounding her hands against my shirt. It’s a heck of a lot easier to whip out a boob to get her to go back to sleep at night then to lay and listen to her howl on the monitor.

Basically I’m lazy.

Also, it was so awful those first few months to nurse her through cracked nipples, plugged ducts and mastitis that now I just want to enjoy the time with her. We’ve got it down, and I feel as if it’s one of the only times during the day she just rests with me. It’s five minutes where she’s simply still and I get to enjoy looking at her little ears and fingers and toes.

While I don’t want to be the mother who nurses her kid for kindergarten snack (please no), I also can see how it happens. It just becomes something you don’t really think about anymore.

Sam asked the other day if Bella was “too old” for it – he didn’t ask it to be all, “Holy moses honey, her legs are hanging off the side of the chair.” I realized that he didn’t really understand how I felt about it. I had been so adamant at stopping at a year that he was left in the dark. So I talked to him about how with all the stress we have coming up, I wanted to let her continue for a while. He supports me 100%.

Eventually I would like her to wean, because getting up at 6am to nurse her is tiring. But since us three are comfortable with it right now, I’m going to plug away at it. It’s really no one’s business how long someone’s child nurses. It’s a personal choice a family makes.

You know, unless you share it on your blog for everyone to read. Then? Not so personal or private. But that’s ok. Maybe you’re reading this and feeling better because you’re lazy too.

Do any of you plan to do (or did) baby-led weaning? What’s your reason?

If not, how did you wean? How long did it take?

42 Comments

  • Katrina

    March 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I did baby led weaning with my daughter…but I got pregnant when she was only 6 months old (SURPRISE!)and I just wasn’t producing enough nutrients for her, me, and the baby. I started blacking out (not quite fainting but awfully close) and my milk started drying up. By the time she was 8 months I was, much to my dismay, done nursing. Now, with my son, I’m doing the baby led weaning take-two! I’d like to nurse him until he’s at least a year but am not opposed to going longer than that (especially for night and morning feedings). I love that close feeling that you get when you’re feeding them, especially at night when they fall asleep. There’s nothing in the world like it.
    A friend of mine nursed her son until he was two and finally stopped on his own (although that was about the age that she was shooting for anyways). I understand why people don’t – my son is going through a growth spurt right now and I feel like he’s attached at the boob! lol…but I, personally, wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  • lucy

    February 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    My daughter is 12 months now and she still nurses all day long! And all night long for that matter. I want to night-wean, but it’s going to be a bit longer for us. Glad you wrote a post about this! To each her own!

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  • Becca

    January 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Oh the joys of breastfeeding. I’ve learned a lot. Ben nursed until he was 6 months old. And poor guy didn’t get to choose. The only reason i did it is because he literally ate every 45 minutes. And that is with eating solids. He wore me out! And he weighed 18 lbs at 3 months old. And he got his first tooth and decided biting me was fun. But i remember being so sad when he finally took a bottle. I went back nd forth, should i , shouldn’t i? But i had to. I wish i could have nursed him longer! Dax nursed for maybe 3 weeks, but his reflux was so touchy i couldn’t figure out what i could eat and what i couldn’t eat. We finally found a formula that he wouldn’t throw up. We thought he may have been allergic to my milk, which is rare. But if it’s rare then it’s for dax. 🙂 And Miss Rubee is going strong, she has to be nursed to sleep and it’s tiring. Right now she won’t even lay in her crib for more than 5 minutes. She has to feel me next to her. Which i love, seeing as she ismy only daughter. But i can forsee the difficulties when she’s older. But i think baby led weaning is easiest. You dont have the feeling that you did it too soon. They stop when they are ready. I just wish we could keep them babies longer. I still miss ben being a baby. But i don’t think it’s laziness 🙂 i just think you’re not ready anymore than bella is to give up that sweet time together. I love reading your blogs….crack me up.

  • Joanne

    January 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I am right there with you. Jackson has co-slept with us since he was born (he is almost 15 months) until Sunday, now he spends the first part of the night in his crib and the rest with us. Basically because I am lazy and I didn’t want to hear my son scream. We are still breastfeeding but only before bedtime. He doesn’t seem to have an interest except to settle down at night and I’m totally okay with it. It’s the time we get to cuddle and he feels like a baby instead of my screaming, crazy, tantrum throwing toddler whom I just adore! 🙂

  • Erika Z

    January 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I’m right there with ya! 🙂

  • Diana Kat

    January 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I am so glad you posted this. I feel better now 🙂

    Zoe Kate is turning one in a couple of weeks and I am mourning the loss of the bonding time already… It’s now become “our” time when I can shut everyone else out and be selfish about my baby, who is turning into a toddler way faster than I’d like. I keep saying I’m going to stop nursing at one, but I’m not sure how to get to that point now. She still wakes up at night some and that’s the only way she’ll go to sleep.

  • allison

    January 19, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I thought I would still be bf’ing mornings and night now, but adele (15 months) self-weaned incredibly quickly during her 12th month. Not sure why – independence maybe – but she just lost interest. It made me sad when it happened. So enjoy the time with Bella. The 2 a.m. feeding sounds rough though. Maybe try letting her fuss for a little bit? Just a minute or two extra each night, and see if she drifts back off? I don’t know – I’m no expert there, but early morning wake-ups are no fun and it sounds like it’s becoming a habit. Bella might just need a little help breaking it.

    1. Diana

      January 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

      2am is a rare occurance – she’s usually a pretty good sleeper. But if she does wake up then, I have to nurse to get her back to sleep. *sigh* That gets old.

  • Brooke

    January 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    We’re completely in the same boat – we only nurse a couple times a day (morning, nap, bedtime) and I’m comfortable with that. And usually she’ll take a bottle with Daddy at bedtime in lieu of me and my wonderboobs, but lately she’s been wanting nurse at odd times through the day. I give her a little, then go get her a snack or lunch or whatever. I can’t tell if she’s wanting comfort or she’s actually hungry!

    Hoping she’ll ease up on the random feedings – it’s embarrassing as heck when I’m trying to teach a yoga class and maintain an illusion of professionalism only to have her toddle over, grab my shirt and sign milk (or shout it!)

    1. Diana

      January 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

      That would be a bit uncomfortable. lol.

  • Beckytwogirls

    January 18, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I breastfed my first 2 to 14 months and at that point I was pretty much done myself. I fed first thing in the morning and then at night and then just at night for a while. I think they were ready too because they never fought it. It is a wonderful time that I treasure. Only I had that special time with them. I loved that look in their eyes when they watch you or play with your fingers. My youngest is 7 months and we’ll see if I go longer than 14 months. She will be forever my baby.

    I do want to add about the poster earlier who said her son stopped abruptly. That’s not baby led weaning – that’s a nursing strike! I’ve gone through 2 of them and they just up and stop one day for whatever little weird idea they have. It took 6 days to coax my oldest back and 3 for my middle child. I think it’s not widely known and no one I knew had ever experience it! Anyway, that’s my soapbox.

    Back to the BF, love that you’ll go until you’re ready. At 14 months my husband started making comments about the dangling legs, and to that I just said, whatever.

    1. Diana

      January 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

      I forgot about nursing strikes! Bella never went on one – she loves to eat so there was no way she’d pass a meal up.

  • Mama P

    January 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I am aiming for 1 year, we just hit 6 months EBF. I have never weaned before, BF didn’t go well with my first 2. I am pretty sure we are going to let her wean when she is ready, and quite honestly, I’m totally selfish, I want her to continue BF, so long as she wants (2 or 3 max though) It’s such a special bonding moment, I love the time I have with her.

    My LO has to have boob to get to sleep sometimes, I fear I’ve created a problem on that front, I’m also a pacifier from time to time as well.

    1. Diana

      January 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

      It’s wonderful that you EBF’d the first 6 months exclusively. We talk about this stuff on my blog FB page all the time, and so many moms are making that their goal.

      I was a pacifier too – so we had to switch to one about 3 days in. Luckily it didn’t mess up nursing.

      1. Mama P

        January 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

        Yes, I was lucky that my LO took a paci as well, those things can be quite handy at times 🙂

  • Blair@HeirtoBlair

    January 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I know it’s different because it’s a bottle & not a boob….but in a way, we’re doing the same thing. Harrison still takes a bedtime bottle at 15 months & I’m comfortable with it. I know our pedi is going to have a stroke about it, but whatever.

    I lost so much time with him & bonding this past year & we both enjoy the time together. It’s the one time of day where I get to really sit with Harrison in the quiet, smile & rock & sing to him. We’re building our relationship that other mothers & babes got to experience in the first few months of life. & if that means that my kid still takes a bottle at 18 months, then so be it.

    1. Diana

      January 19, 2011 at 10:01 am

      Even your comments make me tear up. I get it. I don’t understand that feeling of loss as deeply as you do, but with nursing Bella I do a little. Because it was so awful, I honestly wanted nothing more than to just curl up in a ball and die in pain for months after she was born. Then reflux, and barfing… I feel like the first 6 months of her life I spent wishing I was somewhere else.

      With healed nipples.

  • Melisa

    January 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    One year was my goal…here we are at 23 months and still nursing. I am also 33 weeks pregnant. I wanted my son to self wean and thought maybe once my milk changed taste he would. He slowed down but nursing is the only way he can fall asleep at night and nap time, unless we are in the car. So basically it boils down to me being lazy as well. I am alone for 3 to 4 nights a week and just don’t have the energy to get through screaming and tantrums!

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      BINGO. I’m alone 3-4 nights a week as well with her (Sam gets home after bedtime) and I’m fried. I do not have the strength to deal with her freaking out over not nursing.

  • Julie S.

    January 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I wanted to nurse my son for an entire year. All of the sudden one day when he was 8.5 months old? He wouldn’t nurse. Wanted nothing to do with it. Wouldn’t latch, wouldn’t eat- I was devastated at first. BUT I didn’t have to do any of the weaning work, and in my eyes, it was baby-led. Just a different way of baby-led. It took some time to get him used to the sippy though, and to get him to not want SOMETHING right before bed all of the time.

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      Oh yeah, that is for sure baby led. But it sounds like it was a little harder since he hadn’t done a sippy yet.

      Sometimes I worry that tonights the night when Bella just pushes it away. I would be sad.

      And then I’d get my sleep on.

  • Janelle

    January 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I followed Baby Led Weaning (although I didn’t know it had a name!) with Austin…we went till 13 months and then it just sort of phased out. I was pregnant again, and I hear that your milk can change in taste, so perhaps that urged him on? You could always get knocked up and see if that helps with the weaning! 🙂 Anyhow, I’m 9 months in to nursing baby #2 and plan to follow the same pattern as you – although Wes doesn’t nurse to sleep (even as a newborn!) so we won’t have that hurdle.

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      I actually read your post on that the other day (I get you delivered to my email 🙂 ) and was writing this one at the time.

      Jealous your kid never sleeped to nurse. Geez. Bella was like clamped on for dear life at bedtime.

  • Law Momma

    January 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Jude had to have tubes put in his ears and he couldn’t eat after midnight. So… I figured it was as good a time as any to sub in a bottle for a boob since I couldn’t nurse that morning. We started about three days before the surgery, which took place on August 30th. So he was a year and … 5 days? Something like that. One year was my goal although I’ll be honest, there are times now when I think “I wish I could nurse him!” because it’s so sweet and special when you remember it… you know, when you’re far removed from the nipple cracking and pounding the floor with your heel because it hurts. so. bad.

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm

      Oh. I remember. I remember well.

      And part of the remember is thinking, “Hey, I’ll just nurse her till the next one and then no chapped nips again!”

      Which totally isn’t going to happen. Who knows when the next one’s coming.

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  • Noelle Spooner

    January 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Great Post. Thanks for writing it =)
    I had no real goals when I had Hudson I just knew I really wanted to nurse him. He latched on like a pro and its been wonderful ever since. When he was one week old I realized I was really a nursing mama and set up some personal goals for myself. I decided to exclusively nurse him until he was 6 months old and then introduce solids and let him self ween. We just hit 6 months and are starting to let him taste some solid foods. Last night he gagged at the first taste so my husband joked that I will be nursing him in college. Hope they have co-ed dorm rooms!! =)

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Welcome. 🙂

      I think it’s neat you were able to wait till 6 months. That was our goal too, but with reflux and the milk being constantly spit up we were strongly recommended to start her on rice cereal (it did help).

  • Becca

    January 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    “It’s a heck of a lot easier to whip out a boob to get her to go back to sleep at night then to lay and listen to her howl on the monitor.”

    LMAO… that is so freaking true.

    We’re at 16 months and going strong (just at night), and it is because: 1. I’m lazy (see above) and 2. I’m selfish– I really, really like nursing and I am not ready to let it go.

    We stumbled upon another perk this week, though. Little K. is sick with hand/foot/mouth virus, will *not* eat anything, and will barely drink. But you know what she will do? Nurse! She’s still clamoring to nurse at night and that makes it so, so much easier to keep her hydrated! Whew. Hooray for boobs! 🙂

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      Same with us for croup and her current cold. She kicks nursing into high gear when she doesn’t feel good.

      I hope K feels better. H/F/M is no fun.

  • melissa

    January 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Same situation here. Parker nursed until a few months ago just for comfort. I took the “don’t offer, don’t refuse,” approach and slowly would push the bottle more and.more each time. It helped to have my hubby take over the feeding where I knew he would want to nurse just until he was used to getting a bottle then. Just be persistent, she will be comfortable stopping soon!

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      So at night – would you offer him milk? Because that’s what I get stuck on with Bella, what would I do in the middle of the night if I usually nurse her to get her to fall asleep? I hear the “bottle mouth” stories so I don’t really understand.

      1. melissa

        January 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

        At night he will take warm water in a bottle like its the best stuff ever. I don’t think its a universal fix, but you could try it???

  • Alexia

    January 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I’m lazy too! But really more than being lazy I figure like everything else that it’s just a phase. A really lovely phase where my little lady still needs her Mama cause the rest of the day she’s so busy doing everything herself and pushing me away. Will Bella & Cedella be breastfeeding before heading off to preschool? I really don’t think so. But I say let’s let our babies be babies for a little while longer ; )

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      I love that she’s my baby still – and I love that nursing makes her that way just a little bit more to me.

  • kim

    January 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I guess I did baby led weaning w/ my kids, but I didn’t know it had a cool name 🙂 I never got past 6 months, though, which really upset me. It makes me sad to this very day that I didn’t get more time to just be with them the way you get to be with Bella. I’m so glad that you realize that time is precious. AND I don’t think it’s lazy. If it is? Bring it!

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      Oh, it’s already been broughten!

      :p

      I know my mom switched me to milk at 9 months and I refused to nurse ever again. She said if she had known that she would have never introduced it that soon.

      And yet, look how amazing I turned out?

  • KLZ

    January 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    One night Alex refused to sleep unless attached to my boob. That was how I knew nursing was done. Not only was it not healthy for him it HURT.

    So the next night, daddy put him to bed with a cup of milk. I kept my boobs away. And he went right to sleep and slept through the night.

    We got lucky for sure but there was no way I was prepared to be a human pacifier.

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Yeah, that’s insane. Bella used to do that when she was really little, but it was kinda expected at that point. If she had started that later on it might have been a deal breaker.

      And you’re a working mom, so you need restful sleep. Me? Meh, I’ll just stay in a continually zombie state. Like now. 🙂

  • Sol

    January 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Baby led weaning on everything for us. We let our children decide when they were ready to eat solids (meeting the milestones for safe eating) and we allowed them to decide when they’ve had enough of mom’s milk.

    My oldest nursed until she 3 1/2. Around 2 or so she cut down to once or twice a day. Then around 3 it was once a day. Around 3 1/2 she decided she’d had enough. She was in school full time and I don’t think she felt the need for it anymore.

    I’d love to say I nursed her for this long because I believe first and foremost it was the best thing for her. That I had some novel approach backed up by loads of science stating how great it is for her to be a full term nurser- but no mostly it was because it was our routine. We got used to it and the idea of changing it was too much for me. I worried that if I forced weaning on her the nightmare that would ensure would not be worth it. We have tried to be gentle parents who are loving and logical first. It made sense for us.

    My son is different from my daughter when it comes to his nursing habits. At a year old he can go two full days without any interest and then a week long of nonstop nursing will follow. I suspect he’ll be nursing till he’s in college 😛

    1. Diana

      January 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      Love your style on these issues. I know we try to stay as informed on our decisions as we can, but sometimes it’s validating to know other people chose to do the same thing just because it felt right.

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