A Reader Writes:
Do you or your readers have any thoughts or advice on how to “naturally” wean a nursing child? What I mean is, if you already have a conviction of baby-led nursing but you also don’t mind “encouraging” weaning during the 2nd year (and not cold turkey)? I just assumed my baby would wean himself some time after his first birthday, but it’s 2 months post birthday and he still wants nothing to do with it. Is there any useful tactic for encouraging the cup? My pediatrician said the longer I wait to wean, the less he will be willing to wean. So he prefers I do it now if I’m going to. Is this true?
I don’t know the stats on later weaning, but it’s been my experience that for some babies, baby-led weaning means nursing will end at 9 months or so when he discovers the joy of a sippy cup and finds more interesting things to do. For others, baby-led weaning means nursing will end … no sooner than the third grade. That is, if their moms didn’t encourage it a bit.
For mothers who are inclined to encourage an older baby’s weaning, I think Dr. Sears’ advice of “Don’t offer, Don’t refuse” is a gentle way to begin. Offer plenty of cup drinks and hydrating snacks throughout the day, but don’t offer nursing unless it’s the baby’s idea.
Personally speaking, my Daniel does more biting and slapping than nursing these days, so I have been practicing this kind of “encouragement” with him for over a week now. The spans of time between his nursing sessions have been gradually increasing. I am sure in the near future they will stop altogether, hopefully with no cold turkey, no crying fits, and no mastitis.
Now let’s hear from all you nursing moms out there … Share your weaning wisdom and experience!