When DD hit 12 months (my original BF goal) and neither of us were anywhere near ready to wean, I set 18 months as my next goal. I decided to keep doing what I was doing and when DD hit 18 months I would switch to 'don't offer, don't refuse.' Now that 18 months is right around the corner, I'm stuck trying to decide if I'm actually going to quit offering. My *new* goal is at least 2 years and I have no doubt we'll make it, baring unforeseen circumstances. Even with the night weaning we've been attempting, DD is still nursing loads during our daytime time together. I'd say its 75% her asking and 25% me offering (usually when she's whining or otherwise being troublesome). If I quit offering, how might that impact our nursing relationship? For those of you who've quit offering or have weaned previous nurslings by 'not offering, not refusing', how big of hit did your nursing take?
As I've mentioned before, I've stopped offering. The constant monkey business while nursing was driving me nuts and I was no longer enjoying BFing. I've stopped offering (well, mostly - he gets it when he's hurt himself or if I know that I'll miss one of his regular scheduled asking times lol) and it has made a huge difference for me. I enjoy nursing again. Aiden is calmer when he does nurse and while he's nursing less times, they're longer sessions.
My original goal was 12 months. At that point I set a goal of 15 months. Now, I have no goal other than to continue as long as we're both happy with our nursing relationship. It wouldn't surprise me if he was down to just once a day at 18 months, but I would be surprised if he weaned by then. We currently nurse 2-4 times a day.
I offer very little, though I haven't actually made a decision to stop offering. Some days DD goes quite long stretches (like most of the work day) without nursing, and I'm ok with it. She pretty regularly nurses in the morning (she wakes around 6:30 and nurses until 7 or 7:30), at nap time and a bed time AT LEAST. Some days she asks to nurse more than others. Her 2 year molars are coming in now (felt a tip on each side on the top just yesterday- we still have a long way to go, but at least it's started!), which means she generally wants to nurse more.
For overall effect- I'd say we're just doing ok. But of course, I'm all influenced by being pregnant. My nips are sore, so I don't mind nursing less, especially when she's going to nurse with a bad latch because of her teeth. I have noticed that my boobs have gotten sadly floppier and far less cute than they were when she was nursing a lot...but I guess that's just bound to happen. That part makes me sad though. Ha ha!
I think overall, this is going to depend so much on the individual child. There are still a few people nursing on my BB, but, quite a few have also *just* weaned- the ones that weaned mostly seemed to say that the kid was really ready, which is obviously a personal parental decision/assessment. My opinion is that my DD is not ready- which is why even though I don't offer much, she still nurses at least 3 times a day and even up to 6 times a day. So what I'm saying is, ultimately, if your kid is not ready to stop, you stopping offering won't change things THAT much, because she'll still ask for it when she needs it. You know? Well, that's my going-through-it-for-the-first-time-myself opinion anyway.
Mara & Joel, 2009
I guess I have never really "offered" it up. He has always been pretty straightforward about what he wants, and when he wants it lol.
But really thinking about it, I DID use to think OH, it XX'clock... hes probably hungry. But after a year it was pretty much just up to him. On busy days, we won't nurse all day long and not even notice.
ack.. hit wrong button
But on boring days, or if he doesn't feel well he nurses much more often. I never sit down and ask him if he wants it, though. He is pretty demanding. If its Blankie he wants, then there is little to nothing that will stop him from getting it LOL!
Around 12 months I stopped "offering it" every 3 hours, and kind of went through a figuring out phase of when she really wanted it. She easily learned to ask (she taps my collarbone and holds onto the top of my shirt). She always nurses first thing when she wakes up, after nap, and before bedtime, and then most nights once a night, so 4 times in 24 hours. Right now she has pneumonia and she nursed 5 times since this morning and will probably nurse once more before tomorrow morning.
It made our nursing relationship better. She was nursing for like 3 minutes and messing around prior to when I stopped offering all the time. Now she actually nurses and it's relaxing. I agree with PP who said the relatinoship won't stop unless the child is actually ready for it to stop.
Ethan - June 21, 2009
Olivia - December 5, 2010
5w3d - October/November 2012
My Ovulation Chart
I've all but stopped offering expect for first thing after he wakes up and when going down for nap. Those are the times he will demand if I don't offer and are also the times he is able to relax and not mess around as much. I had to stop offering at our other regular times because of pregnancy and his decreasing interest with my supply dip. Its actually made our nursing times better. When he is sick and does demand more nursing time then I of course go with it but for the most part he really is too busy doing other things to remember to demand. I'd say he nurses 2-3 times per day on average. Those times he still nurses are still pretty important to him and he would have a hard time without the transition.
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
I guess I still offer, but it's mostly when Bowen's being fussy and nothing else seems to help. I plan to BF as long as he wants to. We cosleep, so he nurses 3 or 4 or 10 times during the night (I actually don't keep count - some nights I hardly notice and other nights it seems like he nurses every hour). He always wants some "wake-up" boobie, then he's usually good 'til around 10am or so. We usually have mini-session around then. He actually asks for it so often, sometimes I have to refuse, like when I'm just sitting on the living room floor, he'll crawl into my lap and pull on my shirt. He gets some at nap time (and often during nap time as well). Then probably 3 or 4 more quick sessions before bed. I really should count one of these days. The rate he's going, he's not going to be weened until he's 5! Sometimes, when it's been a few hours since he last nursed, my boobs will just let down at a regular nursing time, like when it's near his nap time. Does that happen to any of you?
I never have really offered. Since she's been signing she's been able to tell me for a while now when she wants to nurse, so I just go with that. Some days it's just 3-4 times, other days it's more like 6-8 times. I no longer have a long term goal, we're just going to keep going as long as we're both happy with it and celebrate the milestones we happen to reach.
I think since she asks to nurse a bunch on her own, if you don't want to offer any more it should be fine. Totally up to you though. You could always try it for a few days and reevaluate depending on what happens.