Tuesday, May 06, 2008


"I'll tell you how the Sun rose -
A ribbon at a time" - Emily Dickinson

As some of you know we've been on the long road of child lead weaning. We've been making a habit of reading the books below and I think it's been helping Satch to let go because he LOVES books and it seems that reading about breasts, milk and the process of weaning is helping him understand that it's a natural process and it's not just about me or him.

There were a number of reasons why I chose to go this route. One is because I remembered reading in a Dr. Sears book that regarding weaning, emotional needs are often just as valid as physical needs and you can tell the difference between a need or a want because if it's a want, the child can be dissuaded, but if it's a need, the child will cry. I also read that children who are weaned before they are emotionally ready are likely to adapt a different form of immature behavior to compensate. Sears offered an approach, "don't offer, don't refuse". So, I've tried to be mindful of that during this longer-than-I-expected process. But mostly, I chose "child lead weaning" because it felt right for Satch. And Satch has taught me to trust my instincts because every child is an individual with individual needs.

He stopped nursing during the day about a year ago which was the first sign that he was getting ready to wean. I've allowed him to nurse before sleep if he asked. If he awoke during the night, I didn't exactly refuse him, but reminded him, "Now that you are a big boy and eating food, mommy's breasts make less milk...we have to wait for more milk to come"...and gaged the next step accordingly. If he cried, I told him that he could try and see if there was any milk left. This seemed acceptable to him and it also was a signal to me that he simply wasn't ready at that time.

Since then he has made great progress. Though he is still nursing before bedtime, it's VERY brief after which he will roll over and go to sleep on his own - without trying to make me a human pacifier. He seems to have accepted the fact that there is less milk. AND he no longer wakes me at night for milk! Dare I say this again: Satchel is sleeping through the night for the first time in 3 years! I believe that he's on his way to giving it up nursing altogether.

I would like to thank everyone for their support and Vickie, you have been a tremendous inspiration - thank you!

Mama's Milk is a beautiful homage to breastfeeding celebrated in charming illustrations and interesting facts. Did you know that kangaroo milk is pink or that papa coyotes feed the mama while she is nursing?

Satch calls this one, the booby book. It's everything a child would want to know about breasts, what they are for, how they work. The lines that really touched Satch were, "Once a baby no longer drinks mother's milk, it stops flowing from her breasts. This is how babies say goodbye to their mothers' breasts". I think it's helping him to understand what is happening and that it is a natural and normal process...and it's not just about me and him.

Below is an illustration Satch made for me recently. He said, "I'm making a booby, mama...and now I'm making a nipple"...and in my heart I felt that this was a sign that he is getting ready to let go.

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posted by Wendy at 6:01 AM


Anonymous Vickie said...

awww, i'm thrilled that i've been of some help but MOSTLY because i have found other moms that beleive as i do that gently letting go is a perfectly natural and lovely way to go. Following that all powerful mama instinct. Dr. Sears baby book was my bible, it just felt right.

so happy for the full nights rest you are getting now and so proud of Satch who is growing up. your book lists are awesome, i had no idea there were books to help on this subject of weaning.

just the other night i was thinking about how wonderful it was to give milk to my babies and was pondering why i so enjoyed it. and that it's over now...so glad we did it for 2 years each, well Camille was about 2 and 1/2 when she stopped.

now it's on to sleeping in their own beds! Do you co-sleep as well?
i haven't found many moms who sleep with their little ones. we do still and are just starting to work on independent sleeping.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

oh yes we co-sleep and that has been truly wonderful. i will truly miss him when he decides to sleep in his own bed, but i will also be proud and honor his independence with some sort of celebration.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous knitsational said...

What a wonderful post! I just found your blog, it's lovely. My dd will be 3 at the end of the month and she is still happily breastfeeding twice a day and her little sister, who is 1, well, she nurses almost constantly. Don't know when they plan to quit but we're in no hurry!

1:16 PM  
Blogger jessamyn said...

This is so beautiful and gentle! I believe in taking this road as well. My oldest stopped nursing around 15 months. I had less "knowledge" of what was going on than I do now...and I always wonder if he would have nursed longer had I been more aware of the process (or surrounded myself with support for our decisions). With my youngest, we are still nursing a LOT. She is 17 months and shows NO signs of being ready to stop. I love reading writing like this because it reminds me of what a beautiful, natural and altogether connective nursing really is. Thank you for sharing.

7:05 PM  
Blogger denise said...

We believe in child-led weaning too - it worked well for my oldest, and the youngest is about done but for the middle of the night sleepy moments. It's a good thing. :) We never read books - how interesting! Who knew!

9:43 AM  

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