I’ve come a long way from looking for ways to increase my milk production! My next consideration became how to wean my now toddler in the least traumatic way possible completely off breastfeeding.
We started the weaning process when my little girl turned 5 months. For introducing solid foods, I started with tablespoon quantities of apple puree and the occasional mashed banana. Both went down well the first couple of days and then it was all just a big game of hit and miss! That’s how it goes for most mamas. Moms who are partially weaning their babies by enjoying fun experiences like baby-led weaning can relate to that.
Then comes the time when you know you are completely done and ready to wean. You’ve gone through months of all sorts of experienced from clogged ducts to having to see a lactation consultant to assist you. For many months, your baby has been attached to you at the nipple. You’ve obeyed the recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding for a minimum of 6 months. And now you’d like to be done.
Even where your baby’s been using a bottle or cup as well as breastfeeding, there could be a struggle. A struggle both for yourself and your baby. Mamas complain of problems associated with weaning. Like plugged ducts. That is why I knew I did not want to do abrupt weaning.
As many other mums could predict, it was lots of highs and lows since the early months were influenced by anything from a patch of illness to a bad mood to having visitors over! I never quite knew if she would eat properly or not. We only had one food that she always ate large quantities of no matter what – HiPP Organic’s Gute Nacht cereal – but even that was a struggle sometimes.
Maybe I should do a quick post one day on the various store-bought foods she seemed to enjoy once we started working on how to wean our toddler off breastfeeding.
As she came up to the one year mark, I began reaching out to fellow mums for advice on how to stop breastfeeding. I reckon a lot of the advice will be helpful to anyone reading this who’s about to fully wean. Here’s some of the information/advice I received.
How to wean a toddler – Experiences from 6 moms
I breastfed for 15 months. The last 6 months were just a feed before bedtime. I was more devastated than my son when I stopped and cried for 3 days. Think hormones must have kicked in.Wendy
My best advice is to do it gradually and cut one feeding at a time.Alexandra @ Coffeemaker
I’m in the process of weaning my 12 month. I would say, give your baby grace and patience.Arianne @ www.thecollegestudentsguidetomotherhood.com
It’s all they’ve known, and for many if not most, their source of comfort and soothing.
Don’t lash out at them if they can’t fall asleep or if they are grumpy, irritable or upset for a while. It will take an adjustment period for them as they are having to readjust their schedule, way they relax and bond with you.
Then one day I just decided I was done. Before his nap I rocked him in his chair and sang a song. He went along with it at first, but then started to get upset — crying and pulling at my shirt. I stayed the course, and then the most incredible thing happened. He calmed down. I sang his song once more, then put him in bed and walked out of the room.Amanda @ thekriegers.org. Read full version here
Day two didn’t go quite as easily. He was more upset, and protested the only way toddlers know how — by screaming and slapping me. I held him close, determined to transition him from a routine of breastmilk to a routine of lullabies and back-rubbing.
After three days, he stopped asking to nurse, but continued protesting. That fussing and protesting has persisted. He doesn’t go down nearly as easily as he used to, but the important thing is that we’re done.
This is the end of a really special time between you and your baby. Know that it’s okay to want to be done but also feel sad about being done at the same time. Your baby might fuss and want to nurse, but in a few days they won’t even think about it anymore. Giving up nursing is way harder on moms than babies!!Melinda @ Unfrazzled Mama
Pick a date and then taper accordingly. By the time both my girls hit 1, they were pretty much down to just first thing AM/last thing before bed anyway (extended vacations around their first birthday helped). I had medical reasons for needing to wean them both just after their first birthday, so we just went to the bedtime feed, and made sure they had a good supper just before that. It was very natural at that point to just have a last few bedtime feeds, transitioning to more snuggle/lullaby time than nursing time, and both were fine with having just that one last feed for a few min on the date I had picked.Flossie @ Super Mom Hacks
It’s never a one-size fits all method of weaning. You’ll have to figure out what works best for you and your family as family set ups and routines can all come into play here. Like I tried to do, just keep in mind that whichever process you choose – cold turkey or gradual – your baby will be fine!
So there you go – tips from experienced moms on how to wean your baby or toddler.
If you try any of these, let me know how it goes in the comments below!