Don’t get me wrong. I loved nursing my daughter. Nursing gave us that special one-on-one bonding time and I always looked forward to it. It became something so natural and easy for me to do. And after my son was born, I loved nursing my 2 babies. I think tandem nursing really helped my daughter adjust to having a new baby brother. It helped her feel more included. Everything was great! Until my son turned into a toddler and I had 2 toddlers wanting to always nurse at the same time. It was too much chaos for me and became more like a chore rather than something that I loved to do. That’s when I decided that it was time to wean my daughter. I mean, she was already 2 and a half year old, she had her fair share of breastfeeding and she was already eating regular food. I knew it was going to be hard since she was still nursing regularly but, one day I decided that I was just going to stop and I did. She put up a big fight in the beginning but, over time she got used to the way things were and completely forgot about it or at least didn’t make a fuss about it anymore. I was very relieved. These are some tips and suggestions I have for any mamas’ who are planning or want to wean their little ones.
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1. Take the time to make sure that’s what you really want:
Don’t do the off and on thing. Once you decide you want to wean your child, make that your final decision and stick with it. Don’t go back and forth. You’re going to confuse your child and that’s not fair to them. If you’ve breastfed your child since the day they were born, it will be a huge adjustment to just stop, so really think about if it’s the best decision for you and for your child.
2. Be consistent:
Anytime your child tries to nurse, tell them “no” and keep doing that every single time. You can’t give in one time and stop them the next. If they throw a tantrum or cry, say something warm to help them feel better.
3. Don’t rush the process:
Take it slow. This is a big adjustment for you and your child. You could start by cutting off all daytime nursing sessions and only let them nurse in the night before they go to sleep. Then slowly stop the night time nursing as well. But, think about giving them a sippy cup with (warm) milk or even just water inside since they are used to going to sleep drinking something. It might be difficult in the beginning, but over time they’ll get used to it.
4. Show them extra affection:
Children always love hugs and kisses. Especially when they’re going through a rough time or their feelings get hurt. Taking nursing away from them may make them feel sad and like they are losing something special, don’t let them feel that way and reciprocate with lots of hugs, cuddles, and kisses so they know that just because they don’t get to nurse anymore doesn’t mean that anything else is changing.
5. Get them a lovey:
If they don’t already have one, you could get them an extra special blanket or stuffed animal friend. You could tell them that this is their special blankie or friend to make them feel better. You just want them to feel comforted.
6. Have lots of snacks and goodies on hand:
So if they try to nurse during the day, you could just turn around and say “here, why don’t you have this (cookie, chips, juice, or healthy snack) instead.”
7. Cover up the goods:
What I mean by this is, don’t wear low cut shirts or tops that expose your boobs or bring them to your child’s attention.Remember: you’re trying to make them forget about that.
8. Get your child excited about a new cup:
Take them to the store or look online and have them pick out their own big boy or girl cup. Tell them that they only get to use it when they stop drinking mommy’s milk. Look for something fun and colorful. I purchased my daughter this one (it comes in tons of different characters for you to choose from) and she was so excited to use it. If that doesn’t work, try looking for silly straws with lots of twists and bends in it. The point is to get them excited for new drinking tools that they will get to use once they stop nursing and become a ‘big kid’.
9. Scare them:
My mom told me that when she needed to wean me when I was a baby, because I was 3 and still nursing. She bought a fake bug and placed it on her boob so when I tried to nurse, I saw the bug and was scared of it. I just left her alone afterward. I didn’t try this with my daughter but, she is scared of bugs so I’m sure this method would’ve been effective.
10. Disguise the taste:
Another suggestion my mom had for me was to try putting some hot sauce, chili pepper, or vinegar on my boob. She did that to wean me. That’ll for sure give them the shock of their lives. They will be wondering why your milk tastes different. Tell them that “mommy’s milk is no good anymore since you’re a big boy/girl now.”
11. Don’t go from breast to bottle:
Just my suggestion because then you will have the issue of weaning your child off of a bottle and that’s a whole different story.
A few reasons why mom’s need to stop breastfeeding:
- They need to return back to work
- Personal issues (No freedom, not wanting to nurse anymore, etc)
- Problems with their health
- If they are having breastfeeding difficulties (improper latch, clogged milk ducts, etc)
- Too much stress
- They have another bun in the oven
- It’s too painful
Don’t have mom-guilt if you have to or just decide on your own that it’s time to wean your baby from the breast. Especially if your child is over 1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding from birth until 6 months of age and breastfeeding plus an introduction to solid foods until the age of 1. Anything after that is for the mother or baby’s personal comfort.
Weaning a child can be hard. Especially if nursing is something that they are so used to doing. But, it’s completely doable if you do it slow and steady and with lots of love.
What did you do to wean your child? Were you successful, or did they put up a fight? Did you have mom-guilt? I would love to know! Please feel free to leave me a comment down below.
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