Saturday, July 10, 2010

On Nursing, Or, La Leche League FAIL

At this week's LLL meeting I asked about gradual weaning. "I can't take it any more!" I said. "I just want him to nurse a little less. Because he eats a ton, and he doesn't need it as much, and it's making me crazy."

The leader looked at me disapprovingly. "Well, the idea is that you nurse as long as the baby needs it, and if he still wants it, it means he still needs it."



  1. To breastfeeding Nazis? Yes.
    To your friends? No.

  2. What a load of hooey.

    If he is comfort nursing he doesn't NEED it. Well, unless I also NEED diet coke.

    Pssh. Someone needs to be reminded the difference between a want and a need.

  3. Anonymous11:35 PM

    That kind of sh*t is why I'm at times outright ambivalent about ever becoming a parent. Some of those people are so damn self-righteous and quasi-evangelical about everything. People far dumber than anyone I know successfully birthed and raised children for thousands of years before those jerks came around. Try telling them that!

    My mantra anymore (in any situation) is this: Do whatever the hell you want. People will always judge and complain.

  4. That's exactly why I avoid all nursing groups ect. I hate this pressure they put on people. Yes, it's probably the healthier option, but so is never ever giving your children sweets and french fries. The LLL fanatics only see black and white and don't allow for anything grey inbetween. It's probably because they are all mummies without a purpose outside the mummiyng, so they define themselves by how long they nurse their babies..

  5. Having nursed my three babies 6 months, 7 months, and then 3 years 1 month, YOU get to decide how and when you want to proceed with weaning.

    I will say this...the longer you wait, the harder it MAY become, because your child WILL have an opinion on the matter.

    You can look for gentle weaning techniques (because cutting him off cold turkey is unkind), but predominantly, the best way is to get your child interested in something else.

    1. If you nurse more at home and less when you go out...go out more so he's distracted.

    2. Offer hugs, other drinks, toys, etc ANYTHING instead of nursing. If he's still insistent on pulling up your shirt, or is upset about the distraction, go ahead and nurse a little bit and then try to distract him with something else.

    3. Don't offer, don't refuse. This may prolong nursing a bit, but if you follow #1 and 2, it shouldn't be as difficult.

    Good luck.


  6. Oh, I hate that attitude. Total fails to see that nursing is about you two as a pair and you both have needs to be met.

    We were able to fade nursing without any bit deal. Sometimes I was gone at 5 when she wanted to nurse and someone else comforted her. Sometimes we had fun! new! snacks! at that time and she forgot about it. Sometimes I was gone in the morning when she wanted to nurse (work). Finally, one day I needed sleep and my husband just got up with her and didn't bring her to me, giving her a bottle of milk instead. At bedtime we did a "test" to see if they were going to be OK without me at bedtime a week later when I had to go out of town. We did the whole routine but didn't offer to nurse. And she just snuggled instead and went to bed. That was it, we were done nursing. She never went for it after that, and I realized she was only taking it because I was offering.

  7. Fia- ironically, this is a group of women who all work (or at least did until recently). And this woman- who works! - is usually a sane, normal human being. I don't know what came over her.

    RSG- we're down to morning, evening, and naptime now. But he likes to nap at the boob (and really, who can blame him? mama cuddles or a crib all alone...) but I feel a tiny bit confined. On the other hand, my MIL had him for most of today and at naptime I just wanted to cuddle him up. So I guess it's the whole obligation thing!

    Songbird, thanks. :)

    Profgrrrl, that's exactly how I feel about pregnancy/breastfeeding/childrearing: it's about ALL the people there, and it drives me nuts when people think it's all for the baby. Crazy parents are unhappy parents.

  8. I have mixed feelings about LLL. I mean, I nursed Bean till she was 2, and I still found LLL a little too evangelical for me.

    You are allowed to have needs too, despite what the nazis may tell you.

  9. Darcy7:21 AM

    I don't have kids, but I am baffled by the logic of, "if he still wants it, it means he still needs it." At no point later in life do we conflate wants and needs. We would not even say of a four-year-old, "If she wants to eat a Twix bar for lunch instead of a sandwich and baby carrots and a glass of milk, that means she needs it" or "If she wants to stay up until 1 a.m. and watch Saturday Night Live, that means she needs it" or or "If she wants to go to day care naked except for a tiara and butterfly decals, that means she needs it." Why, then, do we assume that a one-year-old's every want is a NEED? Toddlers already have enough personality to want things they don't necessarily need . . .

  10. I think - to be fair - that what she was trying to say was "he still wants the comfort". But I don't think he needs it in the form of mama-milk, any more than I need comfort in the form of 25-year Caol Ila. And he seems fairly well comforted by a cuddle plus milk-in-a-cup, so I think that really, what he needs is the cuddle.

  11. Dr Mum1:56 AM

    I have to comment on this one. I'm the equivalent of a LLL leader, but in a European country. I would never give the answer of "your" LLL leader. Breastfeeding a toddler is a two-way street. (Heck, all of breastfeeding is a two-way street.) The thing that's so neat about breastfeeding a toddler is that you only do it when _both_ of you feel like it. He's old enough to understand the word "no". I have a daughter who is just a month older than your son and I basically just breastfeed her morning and night, although she would want to nurse more at times. But I don't want to.

    I'd say, try to distract your son, or just plain say no when you don't want to breastfeed. He might get a bit upset but that's within his rights :). Like you say, it's the cuddle that's the important thing. When the frequency of nursing go down you can see how that feels and quit altogether if you want, or continue at a low frequency. Some people only breastfeed on weekends.

    Let me also take this opportunity to thank you for an interesting blog that I much enjoy reading.

  12. Dr. Mum - he very much understands NO! Though sometimes it leads to wee toddler tantrums (so funny... doubtless less funny in a year or so).


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