Parenthood

The Best Way To Wean Your Toddler From Breastfeeding

How To Wean A Toddler From Breastfeeding
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How To Wean A Toddler From Breastfeeding
How To Wean A Toddler From Breastfeeding

The best way to wean your toddler from breastfeeding is the way that works best for your family. With that being said, here are a few tips that I found helpful while weaning my toddler.

I breastfeed Alexa for 18 long months. There were times along the way I thought I was ready to stop. Especially when she discovered biting 😳

I loved breastfeeding my daughter though. I loved having her snuggled up to me and knowing that I was providing her with the best nutrients available made me feel so important.

While there were times I wanted to stop because of biting, the inconvenience, and because she was getting older, I just couldn’t do it. It made me so emotional to think about this time being the last time.

When she turned 18 months I knew it wasn’t going to get any easier to stop so I just had to do it. That brings me to the first tip to wean your toddler from breastfeeding, committing.

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Tips To Wean Your Toddler From Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding

Commit

When you decide you are ready to start weaning your toddler you need to commit to the decision. Toddlers are notorious for throwing tantrums to get their own way, and they are bound to do this when you start the weaning process.

If you give in to these tantrums you’re letting your toddler know that they work, so they are going to keep throwing them to get what they want.

Telling your toddler they can’t nurse, and then nursing them once they throw a fit is only going to confuse them.

Have A Plan

It’s a lot easier to commit to your decision if you have a plan. It isn’t recommended that you quit breastfeeding cold turkey because this can lead to engorgement and even infection.

Instead it is better to eliminate one feeding session at a time until you are done.

How long this will take will depend on how often you are feeding your toddler.

When I first started weaning Alexa I was feeding her before naps and before bed but also on demand during the day if she would ask or if she was upset.

So first, I got rid of the on demand feedings. If she would ask, I would say not right now, I will nurse you before your nap. Although she wasn’t very happy being told no at first, it did make her feel better to know when she could nurse.

Being consistent and not giving in is crucial.

A good rule to follow is dropping one feeding per week. This will help you avoid engorgement.

I had a hard time giving up breastfeeding, almost as hard of a time as Alexa. If I remember correctly I believe we gave up one feeding a month 😂

You have to do what works best for you and your toddler. If you are 100 percent ready, fed up, down to be done, then that’s great!

The drop one feeding a week will work great for you.

Buuuut if you’re like me and you’re having a hard time letting go there is nothing wrong with dragging the process out, as long as you don’t backtrack and give a feeding that was already dropped.

 

Related: How I Do More For My Toddler By Doing Less

 

Related: Spring Wardrobe Must Haves For Toddler Boys

 

Offer A Substitute

Every toddler is different and will have slightly varying reactions to weaning, ranging from a small look of confusion to a down right ugly temper tantrum.

Offering your toddler something special once you tell them no to nursing can help soften the blow.

Here are a few suggestion:

Sippy Cup

Pacifier

Special Stuffed Animal

Favorite Toy

Or offer doing a different activity together like:

Read a book

Do a puzzle

Sing a song

Have a snack

Prepare For Side Effects

Aside from a cranky toddler, when you start weaning you yourself may experience a few side effects.

When you drop a feeding you may experience more leaking than usual until your body adjusts. You will definitely want some good breast pads, I like these because they are reusable.

You may also experience engorgement because your breast aren’t being emptied.

Until your body adjust and stops making milk this can be uncomfortable. Warm compresses, cold compresses, and pain relievers like ibuprofen can help ease the discomfort.

Sometimes engorgement can lead to an infection called mastitis.

If you experience flu-like symptoms, painful breasts and redness of the breasts you should call your doctor right away.

Weaning your toddler can also cause some women to become very emotional.

This is caused by changing hormones, of course. It’s perfectlly normal to feel sad, a sense of loss, or even irritable.

Hang in there. It will pass.

I definitely cried every time I thought about dropping the last feeding, which is why the process dragged out for so long.

Get Help

If your little one is having an especially hard time giving up breastfeeding it can take a toll on you too.

Having Dad, or another family member, take over nap time and bedtime can help.

It gives you a much needed break, but your toddler may also be less likely to throw a fit when you aren’t right there for them to ask to nurse.

Words of Encouragement

Weaning your toddler from breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Every mother is different, every child is different, so every experience is going to be different.

Some find it easier than other, while some find they have a harder time letting go than their child does.

The best thing you can do is follow the tips you’ve read here today and most importantly follow your instincts. Good luck Mama!

What are some of your tried and true tips for weaning? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Sierrah Schmidt

Hi! I’m Sierrah. Welcome to Another Mommy Blogger. Subscribe now and follow me on Facebook and Pinterest to get all my mommy tips for making life easier on this journey called motherhood.
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4 thoughts on “The Best Way To Wean Your Toddler From Breastfeeding

  1. Hi there!
    As I’m reading your post I wavered between wanting to know how you were successful and being emotional that the time was coming for us.
    My babes will be 15 months this week and I know she’s getting older. Originally my goal was a few months, followed by 6 months, then a year. I told my hubby 16 months was our cut off for breastfeeding, but even that deadline is terrifying to me. Babes can’t tolerate dairy so that is my excuse for nursing her longer, but the truth is exactly what you said you loved about breastfeeding. I love her snuggling up and knowing I’m the one feeding her. I feel like committing to weaning means me admitting she’s not my baby anymore. Even though I know she’s not it’s still a little tear jerker.
    I appreciate your tips and hopefully I’ll be ready to start using them soon!
    By the way you have an incredible writing style. I really enjoyed reading your work!

    1. Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Our babies grow up so fast and it’s emotional. It gets easier as time goes on. It’s hard to lose that breastfeeding bond but the future holds more bonding moments and great memories made. Take your time, there’s no rush. Wean at your own pace when you’re both ready. You’re doing great Mama!

  2. Hi there! I know this article is over a year old, but I find it to be helpful as a starting point. Like the mother before me mentioned, my son is halfway through 15 months and I want to wean him in the 16th month. However, my experience may be a little different. I have been back to work since he was 5 months old, but he’s never slept through the night even after introducing solids and cutting back on daytime nursing sessions. The main feedings I need to eliminate are before bed, SEVERAL times throughout the night and first thing in the morning. Any tips for that?!

    Overall, I WILL miss it and get a little sad thinking about it, but I’m BEYOND EXHAUSTED to the point it’s causing daily mood swings, crankiness and irritability. I think it’s time to let go!

    1. Wow Tiricka! I’m sure you are exhausted if your little one hasn’t slept through the night yet at 15 months. If it gives you hope, my daughter stopped waking for night feeds after just three days of telling her no when she would wake up. From then on she has almost always slept through the night. My best tips for you are to commit to weaning. At bedtime tell your child there will be no nursing at night. Stay strong and tell them no when they wake up in the night. As long as you don’t give in they will eventually get that nursing isn’t an option and they should start sleeping through the night. I found that offering a sippy cup of water helped soften the blow. Keep in mind that the first few nights are the hardest. Stay strong and hold your ground. You’ll get through this and good sleep will come your way 😊

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