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Weaning advice needed...

Posted by on Dec. 18, 2017 at 9:34 AM
  • 3 Replies

I have an 11 month old baby boy who has nursed amazingly these last 11 months.  We are so lucky!  About 4 days ago, I tried to nurse and he wasn't interested.  So I sat him up in my lap (boob still out) and while I was looking away, he bit me.  Hard.  It took me by total surprise because I was looking away when he did it so I remember screaming a little and it about put me in tears.  I knew he felt bad because he just hugged me afterwards.  But I'm thinking this traumatic experience has scared him from nursing again.  Our goal was to nurse until he was 1 year old, then start to wean.  And we're almost there!  My husband has made a good point by suggesting that since he now refuses to nurse, to stop trying and just pump him bottles.  I agree that this would be easier than going through a weaning process (which I am not too familiar with being a first time mommy).  But I'm not sure that I'm ready to stop nursing.  I'm just asking for opinions.  Is my hubby right, should I stop nursing and just keep pumping bottles until we switch him over to cow's milk?  Or should I keep trying to nurse and see if his nursing strike will end?  He's still getting his breastmilk, I just pump everything he needs now.

by on Dec. 18, 2017 at 9:34 AM
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Replies (1-3):
MusherMaggie
by Ruby Member on Dec. 18, 2017 at 11:12 AM
Treat teething pain, which is probably the main reason they bite. Your husband is mistaken in this case. Unless you have been pumping regularly all along, you won't have enough pump response to get what he needs.

Cut back or eliminate solids and any other drinks for a few days.He will not starve himself. Teach nursing manners. If he bites, unlatch him, look him in the eye and say "No, that hurts". If he does it again, end the session, put him in a safe, boring place and walk away for a few minutes. It may take a couple of times, but he will learn.
jmbachtle23
by New Member on Dec. 19, 2017 at 12:02 PM

I have been pumping very regularly as I work full time.  But I did consider this.  We have been supplementing with formula as needed.  My milk production has drastic changes, like monthly.

Will this work for him if he doesn't even try?  I'll offer and he either just sits there with his mouth shut or gets upset when I offer.

Quoting MusherMaggie: Treat teething pain, which is probably the main reason they bite. Your husband is mistaken in this case. Unless you have been pumping regularly all along, you won't have enough pump response to get what he needs. Cut back or eliminate solids and any other drinks for a few days.He will not starve himself. Teach nursing manners. If he bites, unlatch him, look him in the eye and say "No, that hurts". If he does it again, end the session, put him in a safe, boring place and walk away for a few minutes. It may take a couple of times, but he will learn.


MusherMaggie
by Ruby Member on Dec. 19, 2017 at 4:05 PM
It's called a nursing strike. Most of the time it is due to teething pain, stomach upset, a cold or too many solids. I would stop solids and formula, treat teething or other discomforts, and offer to nurse frequently. This usually works itself out in one to three days.

Here is an article with more information:
KellyMom.com
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Home ▸ Ages & Stages ▸ After the First Year ▸ Do babies under 12 months self-wean?
Do babies under 12 months self-wean?
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By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

Introduction
What is self-weaning?
What factors might lead mom to think that her baby is self-weaning?
Low milk supply
Normal developmental stages
Tips for avoiding premature weaning
Additional Information
Introduction
True SELF-weaning before a baby is a year old is very uncommon. In fact, it is unusual for a baby to wean before 18-24 months unless mom is encouraging weaning. However, it is very common to hear a mother say that her baby self-weaned at 9 or 10 months old, or even earlier. How do we reconcile these statements?

What is self-weaning?
A baby who is weaning on his own:

is typically well over a year old (more commonly over 2 years)
is at the point where he gets most of his nutrition from solids
drinks well from a cup
cuts down on nursing gradually
Child-led weaning occurs when a child no longer has a need to nurse – nutritionally or emotionally. The solids part should rule out self-weaning in babies under a year since, for optimum health and brain development, babies under a year should be getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk.

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What factors might lead mom to think that her baby is self-weaning?
When a mother says that her baby self-weaned before a year, there is a chance that she interpreted a normal developmental stage (perhaps combined with her own wishes) as baby’s wish to wean. Low milk supply can also play a part.

Low milk supply
If mom’s milk supply is reduced, baby may become less interested in nursing, and of course decreased nursing will lead to an even lower milk supply. If milk supply is low, baby may grow to prefer a cup or bottle simply because he can get more milk this way. As long as baby is nursing on cue and removing milk thoroughly, mom’s breasts will produce the milk that baby needs. There are a number of things that might interfere with the milk production process after lactation has been established. Some factors that commonly come into play in baby’s second six months include:

Scheduled feedings or other things that reduce baby’s nursing frequency too much (for example, pacifier overuse or sleep training). The answer to “how much is too much?” will depend on the particular mother-baby pair. A consistent decrease in nursing frequency will signal your body to decrease milk supply.
Rapid weight loss. A sudden decrease in mom’s calorie intake can result in decreased milk supply.
Medications or herbs that reduce milk supply (hormonal contraceptives, for example).
Early introduction of solids (before 6 months). Besides interfering with baby’s immunologic health, solids before six months often results in baby taking less milk at the breast and thus results in a decrease in milk supply.
Overly rapid increase in the amounts of solids. Again, this results in baby taking too little milk at the breast and thus a decreased milk supply. Keep in mind that mom’s milk supply will naturally and gradually decrease as baby begins to eat greater quantities of solid foods – this is fine and expected. What you want to avoid is increasing solids/decreasing milk supply too quickly, as breastmilk is what baby needs for proper growth, health and brain development through the first year and beyond.
For more on milk supply, including how to increase it, see Got Milk?

Normal developmental stages
It is common and normal for babies to show less interest in breastfeeding sometime during the second six months. This is developmental and not an indication that baby wishes to stop nursing.

Older babies tend to be distractible and want to be a part of all the action around them. Your baby may be more interested in learning about the world than in eating during the day (these same babies often increase their night nursing to make up for their busy days).
If baby is being given a bottle or sippy cup frequently, he discovers that he can walk/crawl around with it and not miss a thing, whereas nursing generally requires sitting still and not looking around for a few minutes. For this reason, some babies develop a preference for the bottle or cup at this developmental stage.

Milestone times, such as crawling and walking, and stressful times like teething or illness can also cause baby to be less interested in nursing – these types of things are common in the second six months. Nursing strikes (when baby quits nursing suddenly) also tend to be more common around this age, perhaps due to the same factors.

Our society tends to produce the expectation that babies can and should become independent as quickly as possible. Babies are considered more independent when they sleep alone, sleep through the night, potty train, wean, etc., As a result, babies are often pushed toward these milestones before they are ready – emotionally or physically. Because of this societal mindset, many moms don’t even consider the idea that baby’s disinterest in breastfeeding might be temporary, but simply go ahead and wean.

This is not saying that a mother’s choice to wean a baby this age is necessarily a bad choice for her family. A mother who wishes to wean her child at this point can certainly take advantage of baby’s temporary disinterest in nursing to initiate mother-led weaning.

However, it should understand that this is not self-weaning but a temporary developmental stage. Mom is making the choice, not baby. Once mom knows that she has a choice in the matter, she can better make an informed decision of whether to wean or to seek the benefits of continued nursing.

Tips for avoiding premature weaning
The following suggestions can be helpful in preventing baby from weaning prematurely:

Keep breastmilk primary in baby’s diet during the first year
If you feel that your milk supply is low, take measures to increase it.
Offer breastmilk first, before any solids, through at least the first year. Don’t let solids become more important than breastmilk during the first year.
Increase solid foods gradually. An example of a gradual increase in solids would be 25% solids at 12 months, 50% solids at 18 months, and 80% solids at 24 months.
Sugared drinks (and juice, too) are “empty calories” and will keep baby from feeling really hungry – limit or eliminate these. Water can also fill baby up and decrease nursing frequency. Click here for suggestions on offering water and juice.
Minimize the risk of baby developing a preference for the bottle or cup
Limit (or eliminate) bottles. If baby must be supplemented due to separation from mom, then only use bottles when you are physically separated from baby. Use a newborn-flow nipple, no matter how old your baby is, to reduce the risk that baby will grow to prefer the fast flow of a bottle. If baby is older than six months, seriously consider using a cup rather than a bottle.
Limit or eliminate pacifier use when you are with baby, so that your baby’s desire to suck encourages him to nurse more often.
Avoid allowing baby to walk around with bottles or sippy cups.
If baby is very busy and doesn’t want to stop and nurse
Try different and novel nursing positions in which he can have more control and perhaps see what’s going on around him – baby standing up, sitting on your lap facing you, etc.
Try singing, talking, telling stories, playing finger games, reading, etc. while nursing.
Try wearing a nursing necklace or bright colored scarf to help hold baby’s attention when nursing.
Give baby a small toy to hold and play with when nursing.
Be aware of your own subtle cues that encourage weaning
Offer baby the breast often; don’t wait until he “demands” to nurse. Be aware that the “don’t offer – don’t refuse” method of breastfeeding is a weaning technique.
Be available to nurse when baby wants to. Saying “not now, but later” is certainly part of the natural give and take of a nursing relationship as your child gets older, but don’t overuse it and don’t forget the “later” part – offer to nurse later, rather than waiting for baby to ask.
Diversion/distraction by mom is a weaning technique, particularly if used frequently.
Avoid limiting times or places for nursing. This is another weaning technique.
Allow baby to nurse at night if he wishes. Baby will nurse more often if he is in your room and/or bed, and many families get more sleep this way.
If you feel you need to phase out night nursing before baby does it on his own, then it may be helpful to make a conscious effort to increase daytime nursing.
Keep in close contact – carry and hold your child often. This will make breastfeeding more accessible to baby. Restricting access to nursing is a weaning technique.
Be aware of normal developmental stages
Pay attention to your child’s natural growth rhythms. Be aware of times that are not true weanings.


Additional Information
@
The Distractible Baby
Got Milk?
Child-led Weaning
@ other websites
Triple Nipples and Early Weaning by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC
Breastfeeding as Baby Grows by Becky Flora, IBCLC
Updated on February 8, 2016
Filed Under: After the First Year, Considering weaning, Older Infant, What is Normal?
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