Monday, June 22, 2009

My thoughs on weaning

Many of you know that I am in the process of being accredited as a La Leche League Leader. This process makes you look at who you are as a mother by writing down many of your beliefs and experiences. I though I would share a section of my portion called "About Me" - We are asked to answer various questions and one of them is on weaning...

Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.
What are your thoughts about when and how weaning proceeds?
A child starts weening when solids is introduced; therefore Christophe started weening at 6 months and 10 months later is still in the process. My feelings about weening are in constant flux however my core beliefs don’t change change. When I first became pregnant I though I would nurse for one year then stop; however at the time I did not understand the benefits of nursing a toddler and also hoe its not just cut and dry nurse one day then you don’t. Once I started understanding those points I quickly decided that our baby would wean himself - this decision was probably made when I was about 6 months pregnant.
Weaning to me starts when solids are introduced the first time and then stops when your baby no longer wants or needs to nurse. Sometime weaning can happen if a mothers milk is gone but I think typically it should be when the baby decides - or better said child at this point - decides that they no longer require their mothers milk. I hope this can and will be the case for Christophe.

If it’s part of your experience, describe your baby’s weaning.
Weaning these days i san emotional subject because I can see my little baby growing up and sometimes now choosing water over breastmilk. Christophe started solids at 6 months and with his first spoon in his mouth I am sure I shed a tear. I remember telling my husband that this is the first step to no breastmilk and crying; I think this was so emotional for me because we had a though time for the first month of nursing. After 3 months or so of solids Geoff reminded me of what I told him about Christophe and starting solids and we laughed because my son does not want to eat anything and did not want to anything other then breastmilk and a select few foods until he was about 13 months old.
Today at 16 months Christophe eats a small variety of foods; therefore I think it crucial that he continues to nurse however we no longer offer him breastmilk unless he asks - however he asks about 12 times a day so I am not worried. We try to encourage him to eat and drink a large variety of items so that his diet can go beyond 10 foods for the day he decides that he is ready to wean.
Some days I think he might wean sooner then latter because he will drink at the breast for 5 minutes then want his sippy cup with water; but other days he can stay at the breast for hours on end. I feel these changes are not necessarily because he is weaning but because he is changing the reasons to nurse. He is nursing more for emotional needs and less for food - I guess this is also a step a child led weaned baby goes through.
I hope that Christophe will nurse long enough to remember nursing.

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