Partial weaning after 1?

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Partial weaning after 1?

Postby fodla » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:54 pm

I have a question that I'm going to get slammed for. Hell, I'm slamming myself.

Jessie is 8.5 months. She loves loves loves solids. She probably eats too many solids. She still nurses about 7 times in a 24 hour period, but a good chunk of the time it's me offering, not her asking. I'm aware that that's normal and I'll have to fight her on it more as she gets more distracted in the 9-12 month range.

I'm thinking about after that. I very strongly believe in extended breastfeeding and always had a goal of 2 years. The problem is that... I don't like breastfeeding. At first I told myself it was because we had so many problems...and then that it was because it was just so time consuming...but now feeds are quick and painless and I still just don't enjoy it at all.

I haven't been able to find a ton of research on partial weaning after 1. Is it possible to cut down to 2-3 feeds a day, including nightweaning, without a) having her lose interest and wean herself the rest of the way, b) losing my milk supply, or c) cheating her of something she really needs, whether it be nutritionally or emotionally? I really don't want her to lose the benefits of extended breastfeeding, but I don't want to put myself through another year of constantly doing something I don't like. :/

I feel like we're at the point where if I DON'T plan on cutting out nursing sessions after a year, I really have to start limiting her solids intake. She's pretty much eating full meals a good chunk of the time now and I'm starting to become concerned about the percentage of calories that's coming from food rather than milk. If I want to keep nursing on demand, I need to limit solids...if I plan to limit nursing sessions, I can let her keep going the way she is. TBH, I think she prefers solids for the most part anyway. Emotionally, I don't think she would mind cutting back on breastfeeding.

TL;DR: Can you partially wean your child down to a few nursing sessions per day after 1 without compromising on the benefits of extended breastfeeding?
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Postby KimmyH » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:19 pm

Weaning is a natural transition, and personally I wouldn't try to fight it after a year if that is what the child decides and is ready for. Offering a good variety of solid foods will foster a healthy appetite for a lifetime, while BFing is only a few short years. I wouldn't limit solids personally, but offer tons of variety. It is possible to cut down to just a few nursing sessions a day and not wean entirely, but IMO if the baby is ready to wean there isn't much you can do to fight it. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.... all you can do is offer but you can't force it. My DD self weaned at 15 months (despite all my futile efforts to keep going) and the 3 am session was the last to go. :wink:

Try not to worry about it too much right now and just take it day by day! Babies go through a lot of phases with nursing from 8-12 months, and while she may not be that into it now that may change.
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Postby BeccaM » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:39 am

That's pretty much what we did. Around 9 months he suddenly started showing less interest. At first I offered for a while, but it was such a fight to get him to nurse, that we finally went to 5 - 6 times in 24 hours at that point. We were there for a while, then he dropped all MOTN feedings except the 5 am one. At a year he was nursing 4 times in 24 hrs and really picking up on solids. At 14 months, I weaned him from one naptime nursing, so he could learn do go down on his own for naps. At 15 months, I weaned him from his second naptime nursing since he didn't seem very interested (he wanted "real" food before his nap instead, and then wouldn't nurse much at all!), then at 15 1/2 months, he stopped his early morning feeding and started STTN.

The last feeding was the before bedtime nursing, and Ii intended to keep that up for a few months, but he dropped that at 16 months when we were visiting our inlaws for 10 days across country. He just wasn't interested and kept falling asleep before nursing time, so there he was--weaned. I wanted to make it 18 months - 2 years, and if I had fought him more and offered only nursing instead of the solids he wanted, I'm sure we could have made it. HOnestly, it wasn't worth it to me to make a huge deal out of it. He was happy and healthy, I was happy, so we're good! :D

BTW, I never "loved" nursing either. I had a few moments (especially when he was little and so snuggly) that I really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed that i was giving him the best possible start in life, but I must say, it is easier for us now that he is weaned. He was a real handful to nurse--very picky, fussy, wiggly, distractible, you name it! Maybe our next nursling will be easier to nurse...

Hope that helped.
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Postby fodla » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:34 pm

Thanks guys :) I think I am going to go for a limited-nursing routine. I WOULD like to keep her nursing a little bit until 2, even if I end up pumping a glass of milk once a day if she weans herself.
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Postby 27jillfinallypreggo » Tue May 01, 2012 7:58 pm

With DD, I had a ton of frozen milk so around 14 months I reduced pumping at work and then stopped and only did morning and night nursing for the next few months until I got pregnant. I plan to do something similar with DS, slowly reduce pumping at work and then just morning and night until he is done. I loved ending nursing that way, easy and no engorgement issues.
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Postby victoria_1024 » Wed May 02, 2012 9:58 am

I work out of the home so I guess my situation is different (since I only nursed her mornings, nights, and weekends as an infant) but once she turned 1, I stopped pumping at work and just nursed mornings, before bed, during the night, and weekends. Then I cut back on the weekends to only mornings and evenings. Then she started sleeping through the night, so for the past month we only nurse in the morning and before bed. It seems to be working well for us! I am not sure how much milk she is getting, to be honest. I feel let downs sometimes, but she doesn't seem to be swallowing as much as before. I'm also pregnant though so that could be affecting it. She still gets breast milk that I pumped and froze, but that'll be gone soon.

Anyway it's worked great for us! I did the same thing with my son. I continued nursing him until he was 20 months old, at which point I was too pregnant and it was super uncomfortable.
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