Baby Steps Blog

Little Nursing Persons: Child-Led Weaning & Mama-Encouraged Weaning

WEANING

There are times of ebb and flow – if you want to wean most easily, do it when the child is LESS interested in nursing. (Makes sense, but sometimes we are just crazy when they want to nurse all the time and WE are ready to wean!)

  • Don’t offer, don’t refuse
  • Think through your own reasons for weaning – and remember it’s a PROCESS not a moment in time
  • Also think through your child’s reasons for nursing. It will guide you in how to offer other things when you don’t want to nurse. (For example – is s/he hungry? Bored? Upset? Don’t offer food if they’re bored…don’t offer a teddy bear if they are hungry.)
  • Stay away from favorite nursing sites (chair, bed)
  • Postpone when you can (“Sorry, they’re re-charging right now”) (My daughter’s phrase, BTW!)
  • Be alert – know when you’re in for a meltdown
  • Have a discussion, negotiate. (This doesn’t work if they’re not ready…)
  • Bottles? Sippy cups?
  • A “lovey” (transitional object)? This is a blanket or stuffed animal etc that becomes you when times are tough.
  • Many moms have the little nursing person hold the lovey while nursing – the idea is that it will be associated with you and the warm, loving feelings of nursing.

bs_little nursing personFrom my own personal experience, I know how hard it is to even talk to people about this topic. People who haven’t nursed a little person think you are crazy, and people who have, tend to forget how it felt sometimes.

You certainly don’t want the frustrations now to poison all the sweetness you’ve had in the past. I hope you’ll find these tips useful.

AS YOU APPROACH WEANING

Think about behaviors you do and don’t want – you can put boundaries on the nursing (sometimes…..)

  • Twiddling, hair pulling
  • What do you call nursing?
  • Where is it NOT okay to nurse?

Sometimes limiting the behaviors that are most challenging can help you keep going when you can tell your child is not ready to be weaned.

ARE THERE STILL BENEFITS TO BREASTFEEDING?

  • Immunities continue to help toddlers stay healthy
  • Immunizations “take” really well
  • Can help to strengthen relationship at a time when the push/pull of the mom/child relationship is a challenge
  • De-stressor for both mother and baby
  • Nutritional insurance
  • In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 43% of protein requirements
  • 36% of calcium requirements
  • 75% of vitamin A requirements
  • 76% of folate requirements
  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% of vitamin C requirements
  • Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.– Dewey 2001
  • According to Sally Kneidel in “Nursing Beyond One Year” (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.): “One study that dealt specifically with babies nursed longer than a year showed a significant link between the duration of nursing and mothers’ and teachers’ ratings of social adjustment in six- to eight-year-old children (Ferguson et al, 1987). In the words of the researchers, ‘There are statistically significant tendencies for conduct disorder scores to decline with increasing duration of breastfeeding.'”
  • Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq. in “Extended Breastfeeding and the Law“: nicely says, “Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood.”
  • Baldwin continues: “Meeting a child’s dependency needs is the key to helping that child achieve independence. And children outgrow these needs according to their own unique timetable.”
  • Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis (for both mom and baby!). During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom’s bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast.
  • Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease insulin requirements in diabetic women and drastically reduce your chances of developing metabolic syndrome.

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