I didn’t know if I could do it. I was terrified.
Weaning my son from the breast was simple. He fell in love with solid food and stopped drinking on his own. It was natural. Calm.
My daughter, however, had a passion for the breast. She showed signs of being ready to wean (read more here). At eighteen months she didn’t need the milk.
Yet, She couldn’t be away from me for long without wanting a sip of that magical ‘booby juice.’
She drank in the car, at home, in public (I was that mama!), during dinner, while I was typing stories, and in bed. She kept waking up at night to have a sip and fall back asleep.
It felt like it was never ending.
Our sweet time for bonding was becoming an all consuming struggle.
I knew it was time to stop.
Like you I went to the internet and Facebook for help and found these amazing moms. They gave me their time and fantastic tips for weaning baby to help moms like you and me.
Take a moment and check out their sites for more awesome info (and read to the end to see my advice!)
Megan Prince Stonelake
For us it was really important to replace breastfeeding with another activity where we slowed down and connected. My son was 25 months when he weaned, and it was a natural time. One day he tried to nurse after two days of not asking. When he realized my milk was gone, he said, “That’s okay. Read a book.” Cuddling and reading is still our favorite way to connect.
I breastfed for a LONG time so it eventually became more of a comfort things for my daughter. Weaning her from her nighttime feed was the hardest, so I replaced it with something else that could comfort her: lots of cuddles, singing, talking about our days. Thinking about and talking about breastfeeding still makes me tear up; they were some of my favorite moments with her as an infant, those quiet times that couldn’t be replicated elsewhere. We struggled so much at the beginning that I was amazed I was able to do it for so long, which probably was why at the end, I think we both were a little attached to it. Wouldn’t change any of that for the world.
Hmmm… both of mine were weaned because of an injury (neck injury – couldn’t move my neck and had a CRAZY cocktail of drugs that meant I couldn’t breastfeed for #1 and then tonsillitis so bad that my supply just dried up for #2) We mix fed both from about eight months because I went back to work and we knew we would have to. We started introducing bottles as a dream feed so they got the idea, but we did it from the time they were a couple months old so that it would help them to mix-feed. It seemed to work for our guys.
My tip is to watch and attend to the cues your baby is giving with regard to weaning. Taking is slowly, not rushing. Start gradually replacing a feeding time with activity. Keep the morning and evening feedings as those ten to be a time of emotional connection and the hardest to eliminate.
I breastfed both of my babies and am actually a breastfeeding counselor!
I just weaned my son at 16 months a few weeks ago. The best advice I have is to take the easiest feedings out first. For instance, the daytime snacking feeds. Replace them with food snacks, drinks, or play time for distraction. Leave the hardest feeds for last, the night time feedings. It takes effort, but when they wake up, you’re going to have to get up and hold them for comfort until they calm down, offer a drink or a cracker, something small to put in their belly. When they are calm and relaxed and know they’re being taken care of, it may take a bit of whining or crying but they will fall back asleep.
It is HARD and will take TIME but a lot of times I find it’s harder on the momma than on the baby!
Karen Langston -Nutritionist
Don’t wean… keep going!
Nikki Van Strien
I breastfed both my babies and ran a huge breastfeeding support group. A tip about weaning: If you can, wait until baby initiates it. Things will go much smoother if they are ready as well as you. If you must, offer them a special nutritious drink and a snuggle in place of nursing.
I weaned my daughter at eighteenth months. She literally lived on breast milk as she was a picky eater. At fifteen months I gradually started weaning her from the breast. First I focused on weaning her at night, which helped us both to get the sleep. Later I concentrated on daytime feedings.
It was so challenging.
During the day she was so attentive and it was impossible to divert her. Sometimes, she would cry to make me feed her and I felt so sorry for her. I didn’t want her to think I was abandoning her. But thank God I was able to manage her and she is finally on her own now.
Lashonda Jones Neal
I did, but allowed her to self-wean.
Check out her site for more. Her Site!
My first child self-weaned when I was in my first trimester of my second pregnancy.
That was lucky!
When my second was a year old, I cut out the first middle of the night feeding. I am a working mama and really needed some more solid sleep by then. I picked a time, midnight I think it was, before which I would not bring him to my bed to nurse and sleep. If he cried in his own sleeping space then, I would let him cry for a time, then pick him up and comfort but not bring to my bed. It was super hard for me, but after a week or two, he adapted.
A month or two later, he got a cold & was teething so it all fell apart and we had to go through it again after. Be prepared for regressions and don’t let them make you feel like you have failed! When I was ready to cut out the feeding after work, I would tell him “Later” when he asked. That worked well. Eventually he was ready & self-weaned his final feedings.
I fed both my kids! Weaned them by the same method, first stopped the day snack feeding and then in the night. At night I would try to make sure to make them eat dinner and hope for an uninterrupted sleep. As in the weaning phase kids tend to feed to calm down n feel secure. It became more of a soothing exercise. But then again, it is easier said than done.
I weaned at one, but she was already nursing less frequently on her own and I just started offering a snack or drink instead with one nursing at a time, with morning, midday and night last. It was definitely harder on me than on her! I also used sage tea to decrease the milk supply and promote my own comfort when it was time.
I breastfed four and half years (about because there were still occasional feedings later). No advice worked on my daughter. However the good news of having milk for 7 years (yes, it took another one and half years to stop producing) was that it was a slow and natural process. I have breasts that aren’t droopy nor have any signs of that years of milk production. I have heard that droopy boobies happen when this process is unnaturally stopped.
I breastfed my two until they were thirteen months or so. Weaning just sort of happened. I stopped offering the breast for comfort, gave them more table food and other things to occupy their time.
I breastfed all three of my girls. I started weaning right around age one. One of the midday “snack” feedings went first. It was replaced with whole milk or a cracker to nibble on.
Shannon Brescher Shea
We just cut down on feedings slowly until there just wasn’t much there. He seemed pretty ambivalent about it.
Check out her site for more Her Site!
Aditi Wardhan Singh
For my son, after 2.5 years.
I tried pepper.
I tried vinegar.
I tried distraction.
Finally one day we went cold turkey. Longest hour of our lives. Needless to say there were lots of tears and anxiety.
With my daughter I gave her formula to supplement feeds and slowly she shifted herself off the breast onto the bottle and soon whole milk. A tip that worked with her is slightly warming the formula or milk before giving her since breast milk is warmer. Plus, I guess different kids are differently wired, too.
Mine have all naturally cut down feedings as they grew and were only nursing a few times a day by about 18 months and down to mornings only within a month or two. My three eldest all completely self-weaned by the end of the first trimester of my next pregnancy. No more babies for me means this last guy may nurse until college!
How am I weaning my passionate breastfed baby?
We stopped cold turkey. I simply told her it was all gone and refused to pull down my shirt.
It has been difficult. Falling asleep was and still is a little struggle but it will improve as we figure out our new routine. She would sob angry tears and call out “more”, her signal for breast milk. I ended up crying, too (oh motherhood).
But I used lots of cuddles, kisses, rocking and singing in place of breast milk.
The bond I miss with breastfeeding has turned into cuddle sessions. I love the way I get to kiss her soft nose and smell the baby shampoo on her soft curls.
She likes the kisses, too.
The best part? Last night she slept all night long without waking.
It goes to show if you and your baby are ready, you can do it.
What’s your best weaning tip? Let us know in the comments!