I’ve always liked the idea of self-weaning: instead of forcing a baby/toddler to stop nursing on your schedule, you let her stop at her own pace. On the other hand, I don’t particularly want to nurse Adeline until she’s three years old. Dilemma.
So I was really happy when she started the weaning process on her own several months ago. One day she just skipped her mid-morning nursing and never went back. I thought, hey, we can do this self-weaning thing!
But then she didn’t seem likely to drop any more. She was particularly attached to her after-nap nursing and didn’t want to give it up. She was going to start napping at school and I wanted to make sure she’d be ok with that. So I pushed the weaning: I stopped nursing her after her nap, even though she still wanted it.
It was really unpleasant. For several weeks she would be incredibly upset when she woke up from her nap, grabbing at my shirt and crying for 15-20 minutes every day. Even now, she will occasionally be upset after her nap. The whole experience made me want to slow down on the weaning thing.
For the last couple months we’ve been nursing twice a day: first thing in the morning and before bed. Again, I was starting to get worried that she’d never wean on her own. And then, about a week ago, she was running around before bed, not seeming remotely interested in sitting down long enough to nurse. So we kept playing and I offered her some extra snacks. When bedtime came around she started putting her books away and getting out her PJs without any desire to nurse. So we got ready for bed and she went to sleep. The next night was the same, and every night since then. And just like that, we’re down to nursing once a day.
I feel even more confident about self-weaning now. I know she’ll drop this last nursing when she’s ready for it. And I love that I can allow her the space and the autonomy to take that step at her own pace. The more I respect her personhood, the more confident and capable she becomes. She’s such a rockstar.
Did anyone else do self-weaning? How did it go? And if you did regular weaning, how was that?