Child-led Weaning: They Aren’t Going to Nurse Forever


  1. Amy, thank you so much for including our story! Of all the things that I’ve done in my life thus far, breastfeeding for 31 months is one of my proudest accomplishments. :-)

  2. My kids chose when to wean, although my older two chose it much younger, around 18 months. So easy and pleasant!

    My youngest is 19 months and showing little inclination to stop. We’ll see how this all goes.

  3. How funny, Amy! We are so on the same wave-length. I wrote a related post just today about how I felt about my girls nursing past infancy.

    I think it is so interesting that when Ava asked for milk after a weeks without nursing, she had lost the knack for it. When our younger daughter was born, my oldest would often ask to nurse, and I always let her try, but she would just giggle as she realized she didn’t know how. Every now and again my youngest likes to pretend like she is nursing. I think that instinct and desire to connect with mama like that lingers on past weaning for many little ones.

    Such great thoughts, Amy. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’m trying very hard to enjoy every minute of my 2 yr old nursing, but truthfully it is absolutely excruciating now that I’m pregnant again and I just want him to STOP. I’ve managed to get him down to a couple times a day by telling him my boobies are broken – which prompts him to ask every doctor or person with a tool set he sees if they can “please fix mommy’s boobies, please?” That’s both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time, but I will not feel bad about it because the pain is truly unbearable, and I think I should get a say in this matter. I’m all for CLW and I hoped that’s what we’d do, but I just don’t think I’m going to be able to handle this much longer, and I think that’s perfectly fine. I have gone above and beyond.

  5. No, they don’t nurse forever. I watched my oldest run across the football field today with a bunch of other little boys. So big, so far removed. Two weaned, one left, what felt like such a long time is nearly over in a flash.

  6. I think I took a similar path as you, although a bit earlier, with my daughter. I would say that I ‘gently encouraged’ weaning. She was a little bit sad about it, but actually much less sad than when I told her she couldn’t have a cookie at snacktime. That told me that while she enjoyed nursing, her need was not the same as it had been.

    I think that every kid is different, and at the end of the day what matters most is that you are both reasonably satisfied with how things go. You both have needs, and respecting those needs is important. It sounds like you did just that. I hope I am, too.

  7. Just wanted to say to TheFeministBreeder, nursing while pregnant does get easier. It takes a long time though, maybe 6-7 months you get past that extra nipple sensitivity. I found the advantage was that my nipples didn’t need to be broken in (as such) with the newborn, which was a big help.
    I’m still nursing my 32 month old but I think she’s getting to the point where she is forgetting how to nurse. Lately when I let her she will try very briefly then say ‘there’s nothing in there!’ when I know there is. :) But once in awhile she will still nurse, get milk and fall asleep at the breast. It’s bittersweet. I had no idea how long I would end up nursing, and had no goal in mind. Now I’m nursing two!

  8. This is exactly how it seems to be going for me. I do think Gray would have nursed longer (until almost 3) if I hadn’t had so much pain and dehydration in my pregnancy with Ivy. Ivy is almost 2 and still going strong- it’s funny how it just happens and you don’t even pay attention to age. It just feels so normal and natural. On top of the fact that I think it’s very healthy for both of us as well as sometimes the ONLY time she will sit still and snuggle and I love it. :)


  9. If my pregnant self could see me nursing my 32 month old now, she would be in shock :) But nursing Kieran has been one of the greatest ongoing joys of motherhood. Thank you for sharing your story of breastfeeding a preschooler – I’ll be joining your ranks in a few short months.
    (And psssttt – I’d be honored to include a story from you in the Joys series!)

  10. Doesn’t this just sum up parenting? It’s a balance of parent and child led actions.

  11. I wonder if any of you have advice for me? I nursed my daughter until she was three and don’t regret any of it–almost. I did lead her weaning, letting her know we were going to stop and giving her about four months to prepare. By the time we did stop, she was excited about the milestone.

    However, she is now five, and is still fascinated by my breasts. We can’t cuddle without her trying to reach her hands under my shirt to fondle me. Whenever she sees me change clothes, she always comments on how “cute” my nurses are (what she still calls them). I don’t know how to get her to stop. Telling her that since she’s too old to nurse, she’s old enough to leave my breasts alone isn’t working. Any suggestions?

  12. Thanks for this. I had another talk about finishing up mommy milk with my 3 3/4 year old while he and his 2-year-old little brother were nursing tonight. 2 years of tandem nursing is starting to wear – I really needed the reminder that it won’t last forever. Pretty much the story of my mothering lately – I really need these reminders to savor the moment and stop wishing for the next whatever!

  13. I nursed my son until he was about 2 when he self-weaned. At that point we were just doing night nursings. I absolutely LOVED nursing him but I’m not sure how I would feel about nursing past age 2. Some of my friends and family were already starting to give me a hard time about it. I would love to nurse my next child as long as he/she needs it but I don’t know if I could handle all of the criticisms I know I would receive.

  14. I wasn’t able to nurse my oldest long at all. A month, maybe. With pumping. She never got the hang of latching on (pretty sure it was cuz of medicated labor and the fact that the nurses whisked her off for several hours before I could nurse her for 1st time. I didn’t know any better then). And I never produced much for her cuz I couldn’t get hte swing of pumping.

    Anyway. I had mini-goals for our youngest. I wanted to make it past a month. Then nurse exclusively for 6 months (made it to 7 before she had her first taste of food!). Then nurse for a year.

    Here she is, about a month away from turning 2 and we’re still nursing!! At the very least, every night before bed (been this way for quite awhile now) … but sometimes she’ll want to during the day as well.

    I NEVER thought I’d be nursing this long … but we (yes, WE. My husband is FULLY supportive!) love it. Truly. It just seems natural. To all of us.

    Both of our families, though? Think we’re out of our dang minds and doing some sort of damage to our child. Ha!

  15. Hi Amy, as you know I’m still nursing my almost 4-year-old. I love nursing him, and since he is most likely going to be my only child, I’m not looking forward to him weaning. Like you, I never anticipated to nurse him this long, but I’m glad I am. Reading your account of telling your daughter that she is done makes me sad, I just know how hard that would be for me.


  16. I am so grateful to have found this on my google search “breastfeeding age” first I was happy to find the who recommends 2 years and more, and then I found the crunchy domestic goddess and laughed a little. My son is only 16 months and my mom is afraid he is too clingy and I dont know anyone who is okay with this except two of my friends. I feel like I am secretly partaking in a sexual taboo, so reading all thecomments is really helpful. I can nurse in secret as he gets older. The secrecy and social unacceptability will probably help him decide… I don’t like how unsure I am and how I flip flop between openly letting him nurse and drawing a line. We will see… I am going to blog about this :)

  17. I am seeking for any qualified author, extended time within this region. Exceptional post!

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