Ask The Readers: Did You Have A Baby That Weaned Early? If So, How Did You Give Them Extra Nutrients?

Ask The Readers: Did You Have A Baby That Weaned Early? If So, How Did You Give Them Extra Nutrients? | Growing Up Herbal | Did your baby wean early? How did you provide them with extra nutrients? I wanna hear from you!

Do you ever hear natural mamas talk about how long they’ve nursed their babies – about the benefits for mama and baby and how easy it is? What’s that called… extended breastfeeding, right?

There’s no denying that breastfeeding is healthy. Doctors encourage mamas to nurse if possible, and science backs up the benefits of breastfeeding.

Shouldn’t you too try to nurse your baby for an extended period of time just like all these other natural mamas?

Should You Nurse Your Baby For An Extended Period Of Time?

If you can, then yes, by all means, go for it. But sometimes, you simply can’t, and the choice is out of your control.

Sometimes breastmilk supply is low and all the herbal remedies to increase breastmilk production aren’t quite enough. Sometimes there may be a medical condition that warrants you stopping. And other times, it may not be you at all. Instead, it may be your baby.

When Your Baby Weans Early

All of my babies weaned early… well early in my opinion. Judah and Ezrah both nursed until 14-15 months while Isaiah and Uriah both nursed until 12-13 months. They were nursing strongly and then within a week or two they were done. Like D.O.N.E. done. Didn’t want a thing to do with it anymore. What’s up with that? Unfortunately, I wasn’t done… at least the girls weren’t, and they were NOT happy with the sudden stop! Anyway, thanks to some herbal concoctions to decrease breast milk, they survived (but barely).

When my first baby weaned I remember wondering what I needed to do to replace the nutrition they were getting from my milk. I didn’t feel like they were eating enough solid foods at that point to get all the nutrition they needed, but I didn’t know what else to offer them… at least with my first I didn’t. Did I switch him straight over to cow (or goat) milk… or even homemade formula? Should I start giving him more foods? Should I put him on additional supplements? What?

The Benefits Of A Real Food Lifestyle

Thankfully, after a bit of research (and this book) I decided to keep doing what I had already been doing by feeding him healthy baby foods like raw goats milk, avocado, farm fresh eggs, homemade yogurt, raw homemade butter, and other age appropriate real foods for babies. I also kept up with his daily dose of cod liver oil and added in an herbal vitamin/mineral supplement as well. Over all, he thrived, as have the rest of my kiddos.

So what about you? Have you had a baby to wean themselves earlier than you would like? How did that go for you? What did you do to provide them with extra nutrients? What foods did you choose? What supplements?
  1. Kristy Howard says:

    Meagan, I had the opposite “issue” with all 5 of my kiddos… they didn’t want to wean! (My youngest just weaned a few weeks ago… at about 27 months old!). :-p

    I have heard other mamas voice concerns over early weaners, however. Moms who planned or wanted to delay the weaning process tend to feel a sense of failure if things don’t work out for extended breastfeeding. This is a great topic and I’m glad you brought it up!

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks for sharing Kristy. I don’t think I really thought about it for myself… how long I wanted to nurse that is. I knew I wanted to nurse until the baby was 1 year old at the least, but I just figured I’d keep going after that point… not really thinking of a stopping point. I always assumed they’d wean when they wanted to. Obviously mine did wean themselves, but I never had the failure feeling seeing as how I didn’t have an end goal in mind. I do know a lot of babies keep going. I guess it becomes more of a comfort thing than a nourishment thing at some point seeing as how they begin to get more nutrients from the foods they eat as they eat more and more solids. Of course all babies (and mamas) are different. All we can do is just keep trucking on… doing the best we can for ourselves and our kiddos and working to not compare our lives to others. That’s easier said than done many times though. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Tina says:

    I guess it depends on how “early” is defined ? My last baby weaned at 12 mo, the earliest of my bfed children. We gave her goat milk, and raw cows milk. She did very well

  3. Sarah D. says:

    I’m still b-feeding my youngest at 13 1/2 mo. He doesn’t seem too interested in weaning completely yet. When he seemed to not nurse as much, I began adding more and different baby foods (they are organic, but not homemade). He now eats 3 times a day, at least, with one meal including oatmeal/ cereal and one including meat. I find that if I just give him fruits and veggies he gets cranky and wants to eat crackers/ snacks. I hadn’t been giving him meat regularly until one day I realized that when I start snacking I usually need some protein/ meat and thought he might be the same way. That helped! =)
    The other children weaned at different times: my first (now 7yo) weaned at 12mo.+. I was trying to follow “da rules” for feeding babies (i.e. cereal at 6mo, followed by more and more baby food as he got older) and got pregnant again when he was 10mo., because he wasn’t nursing enough. I was stubborn and made it to 12 mo., but the morning sickness was worse while nursing. He wasn’t too distraught over weaning. I don’t think my babies like “pregnant” milk. =)
    Baby #2 (now 5yo) was different. Since the boys were close in age, I wasn’t as energetic and worried about “da rules”! I just wanted to do what was easy. He b-fed until 17 mo. and weaned a week before I discovered I was pregnant again. Like I said, they don’t like pregnant milk! lol He’s a big boy, so I still fed him cereal at 6 mo. because he was obviously hungry and added in baby foods gradually. I kept him mostly b-fed ’til 12 mo., then started backing off/ adding more food.
    #3 (now 3yo) is our girl and she has been completely different from the boys. I tried adding cereal at 6 mo., but it constipated her. So, I followed her lead and b-fed exclusively ’til 8mo. when she seemed to want the food. I watched her reactions to foods and knew which ones to give her when. (You learn a thing or two the more you have, I guess!) She didn’t wean until 19mo. + and wasn’t fazed by “pregnant” milk as I got pregnant when she was 17 or 18 mo. I had to encourage her to wean because of morning sickness.
    Anyway, that’s my story. My goal with each of my children has been to make it to 12 mo.; anything after that is bonus. I’m not the best with what foods to feed or when. I guess I’ve been doing baby led weaning, but not on purpose. I was “gung-ho” to do things “right” with one child… After that, I decided to just “let it happen” (whatever “it” was) with the rest of the children. I think it’s worked out pretty well. =)

    To Mamas who are worried about “goofing”: Don’t worry and pray! It will all work out. =)

    • Meagan says:

      Very well said Sarah! Great advice. Thank you for sharing how your experiences varied among your children too. It’s a good lesson for mamas on baby #1… just to know that the next little one may be totally different from the first.

  4. Kari says:

    My first loved food and would eat any and every thing I gave her. We gave her loads of fruits and vegetables (oh my goodness if you could have seen the way her eyes lit up when I pulled out the broccoli!), legumes, oats, etc… Avocados were our favorite snack when we were out and had to grab some food from the shops for her. Her big interest in food meant she self weaned a couple of weeks before she turned one, I was planning on breastfeeding for 12 months (hadn’t thought about things beyond that) so I was fine with that. I was vegan at the time (through pregnancy and breastfeeding) so didn’t introduce dairy until she was 18 months and she happily grew and never really even caught colds or anything so I figure we did well.
    Baby number two was very different, despite offering a variety of different foods she never took to eating solids until after she turned 1 and breastmilk was her primary source of food until around 18 months. She feed on demand day and night until 17 months when I decided she needed a little prompting to gently convince her to eat more food. I stopped breast feeding her through the night at 17 months and over the next few weeks I began slowly getting her to increase time between day feeds. By 21 months she had really taken to food and was eating lots and just having a couple of feeds a day. I went away for a week around this time and she didn’t seem to miss the breastmilk, once I returned she feed a few times but my supply was quite low by then and she lost interest. For several reasons including a particular health issue of my own and having done more research on grass fed dairy my daughter had dairy (with a particular love for butter) from when she started taking to food after she turned 1.
    Both babies were very different but with both we didn’t feel the need to change from breast milk to any other form of milk, we just gave a variety of good quality (vegetarian) food. I think that every baby is different and their needs are different so there’s not one right way or one specific diet to raise a strong, healthy child.

    • Meagan says:

      Oh I love that Kari! Thanks for sharing your stories with us! And you hit the nail on the head when you said that every baby is different and their needs are different so there’s not one right way or one specific diet to raise a strong, healthy child. So true!

  5. Eliesje says:

    Both my guys weaned themselves “early”. My oldest (now 3 1/2) was mostly weaned at 11 1/2 months. I continued my first thing in the morning feed (for my sake) and he has his last breastfeeding snack the morning of his 1st birthday. My second (2) was still feeding strong at his 1st birthday but within a month was completely weaned. It was bittersweet to know my boys no longer needed “me” and I missed the chance to sit down with them one on one and enjoy a little break (I am sure that’s why God created nursing… to give busy moms a reason to sit down,put their feet up, and enjoy looking at their little ones).

    Both my boys are great eaters and always have been. They were very interested in food by 6 months so I began with avocado and homemade baby food. To this day, I have not found anything they won’t eat (sometimes it will take a few “forced” bites to discover they actually like it) and people are always amazed when we come over that my kids will eat anything (and everything) we put on their plates. As I have a slight milk intolerance, I did not give my boys milk until they were over 18 months but they did enjoy cheese and homemade yogurt and kefir from a young age. Both my boys are very healthy and quite tall for their age, but they have never been pudgy (no chubby baby thighs for me… and pants that are long enough for their legs but narrow enough for their waist are hard to find – love the adjustable elastics in some waistbands).

    We are now pregnant with baby #3. Curious to see how different this baby will be to his/her older brothers. Looking forward to built in breastfeeding breaks and snuggles although the stress of thinking of wondering when and what food to starting feeding little one is something I’m willing to wait a while with. 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks for sharing your story Eliesje! It sounds very similar to mine! I too miss those snuggle times during nursing, but surprisingly, after baby #4, I haven’t had those newborn longings as much as I did after the others. Maybe four babies are all we’ll have! Who knows. Best of luck on your third pregnancy!

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