I have weaned three babies, and hope to be nursing the baby until he is about 18 months old. The second two babies were easy to wean so that would be a boring story. I will tell you about the first.
Before giving birth to my first (who I will call Miss Froggie), I really wanted to try baby-led weaning. But there was a problem. DH did not want baby to nurse forever (whatever that means) and I can remember being 2 years old. I don’t really have a problem with 2 year olds nursing, but I really didn’t want my children to REMEMBER nursing. So we decided to nurse for at least a year and wean by age two. Our personal decision. I don't think everyone should do what we did. We all have to decide what works best for us and our families.
Now meet my spirited (read stubborn and high needs) Miss Froggie. (She is now 12 and has outgrown this completely unless she reverts as a teenager.) This is the baby that made me move back to working nights because she would refuse to take a bottle at 4 months old. This is the 12 month old who would not drink milk from anything but MY glass…after I had been drinking it. Granted, some of this behavior I had inadvertently permitted. I often wonder how it would be different if she had been my fourth instead of my first and I had had more experience parenting.
By the time Miss Froggie was 16 months old she was nursing once or twice a day. Getting here was easy and baby led. We nursed in the morning and/or before she went to bed. Then I got pregnant. No problem, you can nurse and be pregnant in most situations. You can even tandem nurse.
Then I got sick. Not seriously ill. But we couldn’t figure out what it was. I was maybe five weeks pregnant and the left side of my face and neck swelled up. My doctor ran all sorts of tests, including the mumps. Everything was negative except the pregnancy test. She told me not to breastfeed for a couple days since we didn’t know if I could hurt my daughter. I thought, no big deal, she barely nurses anyway. We will just wean.
WRONG. Miss Froggie went crazy. This was NOT OK with her. I lasted two days not nursing her. I don’t think I pumped, I didn’t really have any trouble with engorgement, but she was incessant. About every five minutes, all day long she wanted to nurse. And when I went back to nursing her, she wanted to nurse ALL the time. I think she probably nursed every two hours during the day for a week. I started wondering how I was going to wean her by two. I slowly reduced the nursings back to two a day. I read about nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing. I read that at 16 weeks pregnant the milk changes taste and some babies self-wean. I got hopeful.
Then 16 weeks arrived (Miss Foggie was 20 months old) And suddenly it HURT to nurse her. I was so ready to quit. And I had our church’s women’s retreat coming up (three days and two night away from home). I left her home with daddy. I did all the things you do at a women’s retreat when you are pregnant. I slept. I talked. I laughed. I prayed. I came home. Miss Foggie forgot all about nursing. She didn’t even ask about it for two weeks. When she did I told her, “oh, that’s all gone now”. And that was it!
So, with number two and three…I just went away for a retreat with God at the time we wanted to wean and we had no issues at all.