Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Meredith
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Posted: March 17 2006 at 3:04pm | IP Logged Quote Meredith

OK ladies (and any gents?) I've just poured over the immensely thought-provoking and insightful thread on Making the Leap and since I'm already 40 (Cay stop whining, you'll be fine ) my question is this:

If I'm almost 100% certain we won't be able to concieve without weaning do I start weaning my 11 month old to try or is this not really following God's plan?? Baby #4 wasn't concieved until I weaned ds #3 at age 2 1/2, but dh and I would really like to have another one sooner, since we're getting older, yada yada yada...

I LOVE nursing and really don't want to short change my sweet little baby #4, but my fertility is such that I really don't know if it's possible to become pg before weaning sets in.

Help! Need all your experience and wisdom here pretty please!

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Posted: March 17 2006 at 3:32pm | IP Logged Quote teachingmyown

Meredith,
I am not really in a position to speak, as I have conceived the last five while nursing. However, I would say don't wean this little one until you and she are good and ready. Trust God with your fertility while making the most out of this nursing relationship. I have known people to wean only to not conceive again, or to miscarry, and then the feel the sadness of having given up that stage of life too soon.

Just my thoughts. God bless in your decision making!

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Posted: March 17 2006 at 3:43pm | IP Logged Quote Bridget

I'm always tempted to wean early so I can get pg sooner too. But I keep coming back to: this is how God designed my fertility. 11 months is still a baby. Let this baby have all the benefits of nursing.

ETA Elizabeth had to talk me out of weaning my last one, I was so impatient to conceive.


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Posted: March 17 2006 at 4:04pm | IP Logged Quote Meredith

Wow, thanks for the fast responses ladies!! I really and truly don't want to wean, he's such a good nurser and so easy as we bed share and all that too. I'm just not sure how long it will take, of course that's me whining and not letting God take care of THE PLAN! Sigh...I knew I'd get the wisdom I needed here! What if dh wants me too, do I submit to him??

Note to self: Find a book on PATIENCE

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Posted: March 17 2006 at 5:23pm | IP Logged Quote kingvozzo

This is something I've struggled with too, Meredith. Although I'm 'only' 32...my youngest is 2 1/2, and still VERY interested in nursing. He doesn't nurse very frequently, but he's very persistent when he wants that comfort from mama. I seem to be very sensitive to the affect that nursing has on my fertility, so I've been a bit concerned as this baby gets so much older. Every month, I pray I'm pregnant, and figure "he'll be (insert age) when the next baby is born.   I find it a bit unsettling to think that he'll be 3+ IF God sends another little one our way. There's 3.5 years between my first 2, and only 26 ms between #'s 2 and 3. I found the shorter difference to be much more manageable. I really have to remind myself that this is GOD'S plan, not mine.

Plus, there was a thread late last year (I'll see if I can find it) where this was discussed, and I had come to realize, through the wisdom of this group of ladies, that I need to cherish this time, because I don't know what the future holds. I would very much regret weaning my baby so facilitate pregnancy, and then there was no pregnancy.
If God wants us to have babies, nursing is no impediment to HIM!!

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Posted: March 17 2006 at 5:46pm | IP Logged Quote Erica Sanchez

Oh, Meredith, what a dilemma. I have the exact opposite situation with cycles returning very early, so my advice might not hold much water....but I say keep nursing! 11 months is sooooo young! Let's all pray that this time around will be different with your return of fertility. I'll be praying.

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Posted: March 17 2006 at 9:24pm | IP Logged Quote kristina

Meredith,

This is a difficult one. I view the nursing as necessary until 12 months. After that, I just do "don't offer ~ don't refuse." Our boys all gave it up between 13 and 15 months. I had never had any experience nursing a toddler until our daughter came along. She did not stop nursing until 21.5 months. I never consciously weaned any of them. My fertility returns as soon as I feed solids (which was 4m for our first and nearly 12 for the last ones!).

Blessings,


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Posted: March 18 2006 at 7:18am | IP Logged Quote Elizabeth

Bridget wrote:


ETA Elizabeth had to talk me out of weaning my last one, I was so impatient to conceive.


And Bridget and Mary Chris had to talk me into it but dd was just shy of three. Actually, Mary Chris just held my hand while I cried. Katie was ready to wean. I wasn't. I had always gotten pregnant while nursing before this baby and even with weaning, it took seven months before I was pregnant again. Not sure if the weaning had anything to do with it. I still stand by my original advice. This is all part of God's plan--let the baby be a baby for a good long while and trust that God will bless you when the timing is right for all.

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Posted: March 18 2006 at 3:51pm | IP Logged Quote Karen E.

I don't mean to hijack this thread (maybe I should just start another one ...) but is anyone still nursing beyond age 3? My littlest one does not want to give it up, and she's 3 and 3/4 .... She's quite the strong-willed little thing. Some days I'm ready to give it up, and other days, I hang on, knowing this is probably the last child I'll ever nurse ....

My older two weaned quite naturally at around 14-15 months, so this is new for me. I don't mind continuing for awhile yet, but am wondering if after a certain age, mom has to lead the way? Or do they all wean eventually and before high school?

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Posted: March 18 2006 at 4:43pm | IP Logged Quote Lissa

Karen, I nursed Kate until her fourth birthday. By then she was down to just once a day, and I just told her sort of matter-of-factly that when her birthday came it would be time to stop. The transition wound up being very smooth. She felt like four was a big-girl age and I think it made sense to her that it was time to stop nursing.

I was so grateful to be able to nurse her that long, though--all the way through chemo, pretty much. Cancer would have been a HUGELY different ordeal for her without breastfeeding.

I think it's lovely that you've enjoyed this extra time with your spunky little Ramona. (I love your blog names for the girls so much!!)

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Posted: March 18 2006 at 7:54pm | IP Logged Quote Rebecca

Hi Meredith,

I nursed my two boys until they were a bit past three. My period returned for those two at 22 and 26 months. My daughter was a thumb sucker and my period returned when she was about 16 months. I weaned her at 2 or so because I was uncomfortable during preganancy.

All of my children were night nursers. I understand, through what I have read and been taught in La Leche Leaugue, that one of the biggest roadblocks to getting your period to return is having a child who nurses at night. I do not know whether your son still wakes at night to nurse. If he does and you can get him to drop a feeding or two at night, you may find it is not necessary to wean him altogether. There are some mothers who do not get their periods back until their children are completely weaned.

Just a rambling chain of thoughts...

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Posted: March 18 2006 at 8:00pm | IP Logged Quote Rebecca

Karen E. wrote:
I don't mean to hijack this thread (maybe I should just start another one ...) but is anyone still nursing beyond age 3? My littlest one does not want to give it up, and she's 3 and 3/4 .... they all wean eventually and before high school?


Hey Karen, do not dismay. I have never met a highschooler who was still nursing!
Interestingly enough, the average worldwide weaning age is 4.2 years. (This was true about 10 years ago, I am not sure of the updated average.)

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Posted: March 19 2006 at 3:46pm | IP Logged Quote Karen E.

Lissa wrote:
Karen, I nursed Kate until her fourth birthday. By then she was down to just once a day, and I just told her sort of matter-of-factly


Whenever I speak matter-of-factly to Ramona about weaning she responds as if I'm weaving the most outlandish fantasy tale of which one could conceive.

Lissa wrote:

I was so grateful to be able to nurse her that long, though--all the way through chemo, pretty much. Cancer would have been a HUGELY different ordeal for her without breastfeeding.


I can only imagine. On a much smaller scale, I was grateful last summer, when Ramona had her tonsils out, to be nursing. It was an enormous comfort (to both of us) and often it was the only fluid she'd take.

Lissa wrote:
I think it's lovely that you've enjoyed this extra time with your spunky little Ramona. (I love your blog names for the girls so much!!)


Yes, it really has been lovely and I wouldn't change it. The times I think of stopping are during the nights, when she still wants to nurse in order to fall back to sleep. She's never really learned to go to sleep on her own, but on the other hand, nursing knocks her out most nights at 8 p.m. (now that she doesn't nap) and it does get her back to sleep quickly at 3 a.m. ....

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Posted: March 19 2006 at 3:50pm | IP Logged Quote Karen E.

Rebecca wrote:

Interestingly enough, the average worldwide weaning age is 4.2 years. (This was true about 10 years ago, I am not sure of the updated average.)


That makes sense to me. They really are still so attached to us at this age ... American culture encourages little people to be so independent so young ... I think the encouragement to wean early (or not to breastfeed at all, for some women) is part of that mentality that says they should separate from us as soon as possible. I had an acquaintance tell me the other day that she doesn't plan to nurse her new baby because she doesn't want "to be milked." Yikes. I felt sad for her, and tried to tell her about the beautiful side of it, but she was adamant that she doesn't believe it's for her.



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Posted: March 19 2006 at 4:09pm | IP Logged Quote Willa

Hi Karen,
My experience has been similar to Lissa's.    My 3rd and 4th child nursed until their 4th birthdays and basically I prepared them ahead of time that that would be when they stopped.   I think one of my children got some kind of weaning gift because he seemed the most likely to be demoralized by the change.   

My present toddler is 3.5 and I don't think he'll stop until I tell him it's time.

I love nursing toddlers! I was studying 2 Maccabees with my son and found this said by the mom of the persecuted seven sons:

     "In derision of the cruel tyrant, she leaned over close to her son and said in their native language: "Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months, nursed you for three years, brought you up, educated and supported you to your present age.
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    2 I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth and see all that is in them; then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things; and in the same way the human race came into existence.
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    Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them."

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Posted: March 19 2006 at 4:33pm | IP Logged Quote ALmom

I have had several that nursed till at least 4. In both cases, they simply stopped when they were ready. Our first nursed through my preg with 2nd, asked to nurse with the baby and smiled and said that nursing was for babies and never nursed again. This is my child that always knows her own mind - has never waivered or regretted a decision. The other was a son who just seemed to need the confidence boost and at some point just got too distracted with life.

I was tempted to wean too but in God's good time and turns out I did get pregnant while nursing. I did take extra vitamins while nursing just in case.

Janet

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Posted: March 19 2006 at 5:28pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Willa, thanks so much for the quote on nursing/weaning from Maccabees. I find the biblical portrayals of nursing to be very powerful and a definite reinforcement. I have always understood that two of the most famous weanings in the Bible - Isaac and Samuel- would have occurred when they were at least 3 years of age. So many children died in infancy/toddlerhood. At that time in that culture a child would only be weaned after the danger of infant mortality would have passed which is put at between 2 and 5 years of age. Even though we don't live in an age of such high infant mortality those same health and emotional benefits still exist for our children.

Karen E. wrote:
... and it does get her back to sleep quickly at 3 a.m. ....

...ah, the conflict easy remedy for getting a little one back to sleep but sometimes an irritation for mother. I did do night weanings with some when it was getting too frustrating for me. But, with a couple of the kids it didn't bother me. So if the nighttimes are hard for you it might be time to work toward a weaning from that middle of the night nursing to help you feel more at peace.

I have nursed all mine for at least 3 years ( the 3rd for 4 years and the 4th for 4.5 years.) All but the youngest I did some gentle encouragement, but they accepted it fairly well and seemed ready. By the time the 4th came along I was pretty much at peace with nursing a 4+ year old. He is the only one who really did quit all on his own when he was ready. It does happen (before high school ). The challenge is that while going through it it might not seem like they will "ever" stop on their own. So know that they will wean when they don't have a need to do it anymore (emotional, physical or otherwise), but sometimes that time isn't on mom's timeline especially in this culture. If mom is ready when baby/child isn't yet then she has a decision to make - how, when to proceed - based on her needs, child's needs, etc.

Peace,

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Posted: March 19 2006 at 8:51pm | IP Logged Quote Rebecca

The funny thing is that I find nursing the three years olds easier than nursing the two year olds. A two year old will try to lift your blouse in public or will yell out "I want some Mommy milk" at the in-laws on Christmas day. They are the ones who want to nurse standing up. A three is a little more reasonable. I am able to say "Let's wait a few minutes" to a three, almost four year old. I never used to bribe my children until one of my two year olds would ask for milk in the most public of places, when they were far to old to nurse discreetly. That's when I came up with "How about an M&M instead?"...works every time! But at nap and bedtime, they would not accept a substitute for nursing.   
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Posted: March 19 2006 at 11:49pm | IP Logged Quote materdei7

Hi Meredith, dear friend,
Enjoy little guy for a while longer...you are very healthy and young enough to have more in good time!
I had two more in my 40 somethings and was nursing
a toddler while pg. Keep taking your vitamins!! and enjoy the cuddletime with little one.

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Posted: March 20 2006 at 11:16am | IP Logged Quote Willa

MaryM wrote:
Willa, thanks so much for the quote on nursing/weaning from Maccabees. I find the biblical portrayals of nursing to be very powerful and a definite reinforcement. I have always understood that two of the most famous weanings in the Bible - Isaac and Samuel- would have occurred when they were at least 3 years of age. So many children died in infancy/toddlerhood.


Yes, that seems to make sense to me.

This is from 1 Samuel 1:

"In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, "I have asked him of the LORD."

21 The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the LORD, and remain there forever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time." 23 Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only may the LORD establish his word." So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli."


The logic is that the priest Eli would not have taken charge of a 1 or 2 year old baby, so Samuel must have been at least 3 or so before he was weaned by his mother.

I think Moses is another example because the Pharaoh's daughter, after finding him in the basket when he was a few months old, ended up giving him back to his own mother for wet-nursing. By the time that Moses was in the Pharaoh's palace he was old enough to know something about his Hebrew heritage so that seems to imply he was at least somewhat beyond infancy when he was weaned.


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