Principle: Feed with Love and Respect

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should I wean my child?

Weaning is a personal decision between each mother and baby. While at one time experts recommended that women wean by a certain age, this is no longer the case. Studies show that the longer a woman breastfeeds the more she reduces the risk of many illnesses to her child (such as childhood cancers) and risk of illness to herself (lower risk of breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer). The current recommendations in the United States and worldwide are to breastfeed a minimum of 12 months, and preferably until the age of 2 or beyond.

My one-year-old toddler wants to nurse a lot at night, and I'm extremely tired. How can I encourage him to stop nursing at night?

There can be many reasons why a one-year-old toddler wants to nurse a lot at night. For instance, he may be going through a normal developmental stage, such as when learning to walk or talk. During these times, he needs reassurance and extra touch before he can begin this gradual separation process toward greater independence. If a child is frequently waking during the night, it may be wise to rule out physical causes for the waking such as teething, earache, reflux, or other illnesses.

My three-year-old still nurses to sleep, and I'm pregnant. Should I be looking for alternative methods to parent my toddler to sleep? Do you have any suggestions on tandem nursing at night?

This will be a real balancing act. It will be very helpful to have your partner's help and cooperation during this time of transition for your three-year-old. It never hurts to try other methods to help your older child to sleep if he is ready for them. Reading stories, rubbing his back, and singing softly are all good things to try before the new baby comes, and may work on occasion, especially if it's someone else besides mom who is doing them!

My one-year-old nurses every 1 to 2 hours, 24 hours a day. Should I be doing something to encourage my baby to nurse less often?

First, we highly recommend that you talk to a La Leche League International Leader when you have a specific question about breastfeeding. These leaders are highly qualified to address the issues raised in this question. A one-year-old obviously still needs to nurse, but there could be many issues at work (for example, starting solids, teething, food allergies, or high-need temperament), which the leader is trained to explore with you.

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