How to Wean Your Toddler from Breastfeeding

 

Written November 17, 2017

Breastfeeding is a topic that has exploded in the past few years and continues to create a lot of tension between people. Many people have been treated a certain way thus breastfeeding advocates felt they must change society’s view on breastfeeding. This movement, just like any movement has brought both separation and also awareness in the motherhood community. It has gotten so far that if you do not agree 100% with everything this group believes in you are not a true supporter even if you 100% support breastfeeding.  Just like any “movement” there is now negative light towards breastfeeding.

I do want to point out that one benefit of the movement is that it has brought resources to those who want to breastfeed and how to find support. Some of the advocates are trying to change the minds of every person to accept what they believe and that can get messy. However, many women just focus on supporting breastfeeding women and bringing resources to them. The movement has spread like a wildfire the past few years. It now is just whatever it wants to be.

That being said I personally support breastfeeding. I highly encourage it. I want every women to succeed and find real resources that will help them through the process! It does come with many challenges and you have put yourself last in many cases. I decided a long time ago I wanted to prove that I will not give up and will make it for a minimum a year. You can look at many articles or research of this topic to find the benefits of breastfeeding long after one years old, however my goal was to be completely weaned by two. Liam was weaned officially at 20 months.

As the months past I was very eager to wean Liam. I was hoping he would do it on his own, but I finally decided to no longer feed on demand and slowly wean him from a feed one by one.

 

How to Wean Your Toddler from Breastfeeding

 

Disclaimer: Go with your gut. You know your child and situation. 

 

1. Distractions

I started working full time after being a stay at home mother when Liam was around 14 months. I had no time to prepare him so he did not get any breastmilk during the time he was in his class. He did not use a bottle. He adjusted very well, however wanted to nurse the minute we got home. After a few months I eventually walked right to his high chair and gave him his cup and snack. It took a little while to get use to but he finally did not ask for milk.

2. Get them excited about “the Cup”

I found that if I made it a big deal to use his cup and using the sign for water, it would distract him him. I started to redirect Liam to his cup anytime he ask for milk(breastfeeding).

3. Sign Language

I feel this was the reason I could help him wean because we could communicate and I could understand him. He can sign milk, more, or please. Because I knew exactly what he wanted, I could redirect him and teach him more signs.
4. Slowly Take Away a Feeding at Night One by One
This was the hardest habit to break! It really just came down to the night feedings. He did not sleep through the night so I breastfed between 2-4 times a night! I slowly cut back and once it was one feeding, I eventually could stop. It takes time, frustration, and patience. I tried cold turkey one night and that was a bad idea. I was hurting all day the next day! Once I slowly got rid of feedings I could stop completely. They will adjust and finally sleep!
Remember everyone will tell you their opinions or suggestions. Go with what works best for your family. I wanted to bring the most health benefits to him and also loved the bonding, but my health was being effected with lack of sleep and my patience was very thin. I knew that I had gone far with it and started to feel less guilty in helping him wean rather than self wean. At 20 months, Liam was officially weaned!
You are doing great momma and remember the painful or hard times will pass and you will finally have a weaned baby or toddler in no time!

What is feel now(May 2018):

I see the breastfeeding movement has evened out a bit online. I notice many people are talking about it and posting pictures still, however it does not feel as aggressive as it once was. I am happy to see this! It is a beautiful thing, however sometimes best intentions are not always the right thing.

 

 

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