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Thread: Ages of weaning

  1. #1

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    Default Ages of weaning

    Why is it that babies self wean at different ages? What is it that makes them no longer want boobie?


  2. #2

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    I think there are many factors at play.

    Does the baby like feeding or is it a bother? They can walk around with a biscuit but not a breast.

    Does the mother like feeding or is it a bother? Is baby aware of feeling "rushed" so Mamma can do something else?

    Physical wants: does the tummy want something more than milk, even though it's not as nourishing? Like some nights we fancy a take-out over a home-cooked fruity nicity.

    Digestive development: is the tummy ready for more and thus the baby wants more?

    Breast availability: is Mamma around for snacky breastfeeds or is it timed feeds that Baby doesn't want - or is Mamma at work so no breast is available?

    Sleeping and nights: if Baby only goes to sleep and sleeps well on the breast and co-sleeps and feeds all night, they're less likely to give up in a hurry. If baby doesn't feed to sleep and/or doesn't feed at night then there's less opportunity to feed.

    Daddy time: is Daddy a hands-on Daddy or is Daddy a weekend Daddy? Either one could lead to the father not wanting the mother to be breastfeeding quite so much.

    Adult time: a few misplaced comments from your OH could make you less likely to feed. Personally I thought it was great my milk jets could hit the opposite wall postcoitially, but I know DH didn't.

    Personalities and "luck of the draw": some people have long feeding relationships, others don't. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason sometimes.

  3. #3
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    i wonder this too Antheia.

    i also wonder why my 29 month old, is wanting to be bf so often. I'd read from the start, about two year olds who only had a breastfeed, say first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. Or that breastfeeds became very fast (efficient) as the child got older.

    i don't rush my child, or resent feeding, i'm just a bit curious why there is no "tapering off" for us, at this point.

    especially as she is in childcare twice a week, i feel the need to "make it up to her" on the other days. from what others posted, i actually thought she might go off bm, from being at CC for six hour stretch, without bm, but this hasn't happened, she is just VERY happy to have a feed, as soon as i arrive to collect her.

    it's probably something obtuse, like "every child is different" etc!

    i am happy with extended bf-ing, but i don't want it to continue past school age. it does enter my mind, will i have to take it from "heaps" to "nothing" at school age? i know i'm thinking a long way ahead, but the thoughts still come into my mind.

  4. #4

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    It's probably like asking why do babies and toddlers walk and talk at different ages.

    My 3 year old has very good speech and has been clear, speaking in sentences and able to hold a conversation for about a year. But her little 3 year old friend has only just gotten the hang of two-word sentences and is not very clear at all (and it's certainly nothing to do with his intellect, he can name most of the letters of the alphabet!).

    All kids move on to different stages when they're ready. If Mum is around when they want a bf I guess they're more likely to keep it up for longer. My DD is a stickler for routine and has had only 2 bfs a day for nearly 2 years now. You'd think that when I dropped her back she'd have gradually cut out some herself, but in her case her personality is such that it hasn't worked that way.

    The WHO says that most toddlers/children self-wean between the ages of 2 and 5. That's a pretty big difference, but it explains why there are some little ones who don't self-wean for twice the age of others!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigi View Post
    i'm just a bit curious why there is no "tapering off" for us, at this point.

    especially as she is in childcare twice a week, i feel the need to "make it up to her" on the other days. from what others posted, i actually thought she might go off bm, from being at CC for six hour stretch, without bm, but this hasn't happened, she is just VERY happy to have a feed, as soon as i arrive to collect her.
    .
    Not that we are at the same stage, MJ is 13mths old, but she stays a night a week with her Nanna due to work and is FDC one day a week (same reason) i assumed that the feeds would drop off, especially as she is not that interested in the EBM when she is with Nanna...
    But she still wants them and lately as she has been sick, she has indicated thats she wanted/needed more than her 3 a day that she usually has with me.

    Possibly it is a comfort thing, our feeds too are never rushed and it is special time between us, maybe its a bonding thing, i dont know, but i do know that while she wants it and i am able to provide it, she will have it

    I do however agree with Gigi, i dont particularly want it to continue to school age, but that is a really long way down the track for me.

    Sorry no real answer here

  6. #6

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    Hi,

    Anthropologists have looked at the available evidence and surmised that children self wean between 2.5 and seven years. But some of the confusion that comes about when you are at mothers group or another group of friends and they say that their (insert any age) baby "self-weaned" is a matter of definition.
    Young babies (under a year) don't self wean. But feeding is important! Faced with a choice between an inadequate breastmilk supply and a full bottle, most smart babies will choose the bottle. This is not truly self weaning, but based on sheer survival from the baby's point of view.
    If mother and breast are unavailable, and baby becomes used to another type of feeding, then the baby may become more comfortable with this as well, and seek it over the breast.
    Breast refusal for a short time in the early moths (4 mnths seems to be the *peak* time for this) is relatively common - and we are still trying to pin down the causes. It could be the baby's normal "business" and engagement with it's surroundings - wanting to get "out there" instead of being "pinned to the breast". Or it might be the start of an illness - being a bit off their food - or something else entirely. Many times a mum will misinterpret this as "wanting a bottle" - of course babies don't know bottles exist unless their parents introduce them. If a bottle is introduced at this time, the mother's heart breaks as the baby appears to scoff the bottle. (there may be many reasons why this "appears" to happen - bottle feeding and breastfeeding are 2 different things entirely) It seems to confirm for her that baby didn't "want" her. Nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases it's nothing to do with weaning, and in most cases is very tempory.
    Society seems to have lost the skill of trouble shooting even the most basic of breastfeeding issues. The standard information given to mothers facing problems seems to be "put it on the bottle" I've also found that when a mother says "My baby didn't want the breast anymore" in a social situation it's code for "I had a lot of problems that at the time I felt were insurmountable and I felt my only option was to wean my baby, but it's too painful and complex for me to go into with you right now" - so what comes out is "he self-weaned"

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