Child-led Weaning (Natural Term Weaning)
As the name suggests, child-led weaning means that the child’s needs and wishes are followed over anything else while weaning the child. This is also called self-weaning. It means that the child is breastfed until she outgrows the need for it. Another increasingly used term is ‘natural term weaning’; which again implies that the process of weaning does not involve any external interventions and takes place completely naturally.
When does natural term weaning occur?
It is said that a child who is nursed on demand gradually outgrows the need to breastfeed as she becomes more and more dependent on solids for all her nutritional needs and as she becomes secured enough emotionally to be able to let go of comfort nursing as well. This typically happens between the age of 3 and 7 years. Some children might wean a little earlier than 3 years whereas some might go on to nurse for longer than 7 yeast as well.
Creating a supportive environment for natural term weaning :
Supporting the mother
Supporting the child
How to cope along the journey of natural term weaning?
It can be exhausting and overwhelming to nurse a toddler when it's the path of natural term weaning one has embarked upon. It is important to acknowledge the mother's needs from time to time while not ignoring the child’s needs. Following guidelines can be handy to cope on tough days.
1. Setting boundaries
It is important to understand that this is different from gentle mother-led weaning as here, the focus is not on cutting down the nursing sessions. The focus is on increasing and enhancing the mother’s comfort level. Also, these boundaries are set very gradually over time and with children above the age of 3 years. They can be talked and reasoned about with the child. Some commonly used boundaries are as follows..
2. Not giving up on a bad day
Sometimes, the going can get really tough. A mother might feel extremely overwhelmed and touched out. It is important to address these feelings if they persist. And if weaning can help her feel better, it should be considered. However, a bad/tough day here and there may not call for such drastic measures.
3. Talk to the child when you are overwhelmed
Children can be reasoned with. Also, children who are secured in the breastfeeding relationship are less resistant to give up on a couple of feeds once in a while, if they are explained why it is required. Talking to the child when the mother needs a break on tiring days is a great technique to pause and cope.
copyright © Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers
DISCLAIMER: THE FAQ ARTICLES ARE INTENDED AS A SOURCE OF BASIC INFORMATION AND AN EXTENSION OF SUPPORT FROM BREASTFEEDING PARENTS TO BREASTFEEDING PARENTS. IT DOES NOT CLAIM TO REPLACE ANY MEDICAL ADVICE.
* MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: THE ADVICE SUGGESTED BY THE LACTATION CONSULTANTS/STANPAN SAATHIS/WEBINAR HOSTS ARE THEIR OWN. TO ACCEPT AND TO ACT ON THOSE IS AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS SEEKING SUPPORT. IN NO WAY SHOULD THE ADVICE GIVEN REPLACE A MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS OR ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL. IF THAT HAPPENS, IT'S AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE INDIVIDUAL WHO CHOOSES TO DO THAT. BSIM WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY CONSEQUENCES.
WE UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT PARENTS AND BABIES CAN BE OF VARIOUS GENDERS ON A SPECTRUM OF THE LGBTIQA+. FAMILIES COME IN DIVERSE FLAVOURS. HOWEVER, IN OUR ARTICLES, FOR THE SAKE OF SIMPLICITY AND CONVENIENCE, WE WILL BE REFERRING TO THE BREASTFEEDING PARENT AS THE MOTHER AND USING THE FEMALE PRONOUNS- 'SHE' AND 'HER' FOR BABIES. BABIES CAN BE NOURISHED AND NURTURED IN DIFFERENT WAYS AND WHILE WE HAVE USED THE TERMS BREASTFEEDING AND NURSING, WE RECOGNIZE THAT PARENTS CAN OPT TO CHEST FEED OR FINGER FEED.
We don't have conflicts of interests and declare and we are compliant with the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the IMS Act.