Baby-led weaning

Sorry if I don't have the terminology right. I don't have kids of my own but am doing some reading trying to prepare myself for if/when I do. I'm interested in breastfeeding, but some of the posts here make is sound pretty complicated. I'm also curious about the weaning process... Some of you mention letting the child decide when the time is right, but is there a set time when that usually happens? What if the child never wants to wean? Does that ever happen? I'm not bothered by children over a certain age nursing (I'm not even sure what the average weaning age is here in the U.S.). I don't see how extending the benefits of BF can be a bad thing; in the U.S. it seems parents are in such a hurry to transition to solids. At the same time, I do not want to be one of those mothers nursing a pre-school aged child.

Does it go more easily if you let the baby choose when to stop? Do formula fed babies transition more quickly? What are your experiences with this?
You're referring to child-led weaning. "Baby-led weaning" is actually a term used to describe a certain approach to the introduction of solids. I'm currently nursing my 2.5 year old and my intention now is to allow him to wean himself when he's ready. If it gets to a point where I decide I no longer want to breastfeed him, I may change my mind and initiate weaning myself.

I'm pretty sure I learned at La Leche League that the worldwide average age for self-weaning is 4 years and 2 months. This of course varies depending on geographical and social factors, and most children in the US do not nurse that long.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy
For my DS, at around 16 months I stopped offering to nurse him...but I also didn't refuse him if he wanted to nurse. He was done by the time he was 17 months old. Every child is different. As on NC member put it, I didn't want to be chasing my child around begging for him to nurse...or something to that effect.
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my oldest never got formula and decided he didn't want breastmilk anymore at age 1.

my youngest was excusively breast fed for about 6 months (maybe less, I forget) and now gets a mix of breastmilk and formula and is still interested in breastfeeding (he's 13 months). I'm trying to wean him at night though. He gets boob juice about 1 - 2x a day now.

I just do what I can manage since I could never attain my ideal (only breastmilk on demand for first year).
My daughter weaned herself at around 1 year. She just wasn't interested anymore; she hated sitting still long enough to nurse. A year was plenty for me, too. I know some moms really love nursing and continue for 2-3 years. I didn't hate nursing, but I didn't love it, either, so the year mark was a good stopping place for us both.

It really will depend on your child. You'll know when you're ready. Honestly, it's okay if you get sick of it, too! It really is a lot of work sometimes (it can take quite a bit of time out of your day and requires planning for going out, etc.), but it's very worthwhile for both baby and mom.
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Every child is different.

I will say there is a learning curve to breastfeeding, you do not just pop the baby and he/she just gets it. BUT, once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy.

My DD just is not into nursing like most babies. Even though she rarely got a bottle before 6 months, she started weaning herself at around 5 months. She never had the bond with breastfeeding that many other babies do. Thankfully I have a nice stash and a good pump, so we are working through it (2 months now). My goal is to make it to 1 year, I keep hoping one of these days she will start liking BFing again and we can go back to full time. It was never my intention to wean her before 2, although I always told people I would stop when she was ready.
My toddlers weaned themselves before I was ready for them to. They were each around 18 months, and they just didn't want to take the time to nurse anymore. They much preferred to be able to run around with a sippy cup. I wanted to nurse til around 2 or help get through the temper-tantrum-terrible-two's stage, but it worked out OK. They decided when to stop, and that's almost always the best way.
Both my kids weaned very easily (at just over 12 months with my son, and just over 18 months with my daughter). I didn't directly initiate weaning but I did indirectly bring about weaning because I returned to work part-time and opted not to pump. I had hoped in both cases that we could continue nursing when I was home, but my supply dropped fairly quickly without the mid-day feedings and the kids lost interest. They both loved their solids.

Every kid is different. Some kids are quick to adapt to change, others are more resistant. This applies to breastfeeding, potty-training, sleeping through the night and many other life-skills.

I'm currently nursing my 2.5 year old and my intention now is to allow him to wean himself when he's ready. If it gets to a point where I decide I no longer want to breastfeed him, I may change my mind and initiate weaning myself.
Originally Posted by PixieCurl
This is me now, except Dylan is a couple months younger than Solly. I put a few limits on his nursing just to keep my sanity since I have two nurslings, but for now the plan is to continue nursing as long as he wants. If I get to the point where it's driving me crazy, I will probably start discouraging him more actively.

I'm pretty sure there aren't any breastfeeding high-schoolers, even if their mother were willing to nurse that long.
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