Okay, ladies. I’ve seen lots of comments on previous posts talking about weaning or not weaning (I assume child-led weaning). So let’s talk, shall we? Please, PLEASE share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences on how to gently wean your toddler. I have nursed Monkey for all 23 months of his life and do not want to force him off the breast. But he has become more and more demanding about nursing and still wakes frequently at night to nurse and I’m just ready to move on to the next stage. Even if the idea of a second child weren’t brewing, I’d be ready to start the process. I just feel like it’s time.

Our plan is to begin with night weaning, trying out the Dr. Jay Gordon method. We co-sleep, so this seems like a good way to start. Once we have this done, I figure I need to get Monkey on some sort of schedule for daytime nursing so that I can begin dropping feedings. We have no schedule at all currently. It seems like any time I enter the room/sit down/look in his general direction/breathe I am being led to the couch and my shirt being lifted. I know he is teething like crazy right now, so hopefully that’s why he’s looking to nurse so often. (And yes, I feel guilty about wanting to wean when he’s having teething pain. But I’m not looking to go cold turky on him, so hopefully it’s a compromise.)

Your turn! Tell me all about your weaning plans or experiences. Include links, too, if you have them. Operation Wean the Monkey is on!



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8 responses to “weaning

  1. I found it easier to drop day time feedings. I told Jackson at about 2 years that breastfeeding was for bedtime only. He threw fits several times but it worked out well quickly. I’m still nursing at 2.5 years and finding it hard to cut out the bedtime/nighttime nursing. Will check out that link. I did cut out some bedtime nursing for a little bit and they learn quickly that it is gone and don’t fight it so much.

    One idea I came up with that helped to really demonstrate the point was “breastfeed broken.” I put band-aids on my breasts to cover the nipple (no nursing) and told him that they broke. This way he really understood that it was no longer available and there was no choice in the matter. Try it!

  2. Karen

    Hi! I have been wondering the same thing as I am gently trying to wean my 22 month old as I will likely need to take medications to try for a second, and even though there is likely very little transmitted in breastmilk, I want to decrease any risk of harm to him to as low as possible. These are a few things I have tried.
    Over the past several months E weaned himself gradually in the day, with a bit of help from me. ie first I started with a don’t offer/don’t refuse approach. Then I consciously went out of the house at the times he would usually want to nurse- before nap and or after his afternoon nap especially; he would fall asleep in the stroller or on me and wake up somewhere where he could easily be distracted, like the park. Then I/we started talking about how nursing was only at home, not outside, and then that we nursed at night, when the sun was asleep and the moon was up. I never pushed it if he really insisted though. Over time he absorbed all this, and now he will even say “E nurses at night”. The difficult ones have been nursing to sleep at night and the all night nursing fiesta, as we also co-sleep. For the nursing to sleep, for a while I started going out to the gym or for a walk after kissing him good night and he would fall asleep with his dad and a bottle of water; according to my husband it went fine. It has been harder with me there too when he falls asleep, but up until he got sick a couple of weeks ago, I could tell him, “no “b”now, just water, lets cuddle and fall asleep”, and after crying one night (at which point I decided if he cried again I would stop the weaning attempt), the next nights he would just roll over and hug me and fall asleep (melt!). Again- he had a stomach flu a couple of weeks ago and we went back to nursing all day and night, so we are currently nursing to sleep again, having just stopped daytime nursing. I recently decided to try again stopping before he actually falls asleep, and if he asks for more I say that they are empty and need time to fill up. That seems to have gone over well. For the all night fiesta, that is tough. I used to plug him on without even thinking about it as soon as he moved because I was not really awake. I have recently tried to be more aware of this, to wait and see if he falls back to sleep on his own, or with a pat or a cuddle, or if he really insists on nursing. In the last couple of nights I have tried the “they need time to fill up again” approach and that goes OK most of the time, esp if I give him a bit of water. After 2 am or so I really am not awake enough, and he does end up nursing at some point, but we are getting back to almost a once a night feed, so I am happy with this. I read a suggestion once about offering to let your child hold the breast rather than nurse; this did not go over at all the couple of times I half heartedly suggested it, but to my surprise, this morning when E wanted to nurse, I said, smiling, oh, but it is the day! and he replied “E nurses at night, now I hold it”. and he did. I am not sure if any of this will be of any use to you, but that is where I am. All the best to you. Karen

  3. Just another note that they still remain attached at 2.5…he told me he will stop breastfeeding when he’s “a teen.” I hope not!!! And at night he will find the breast himself and say, “I want my breastfeed.” I have become a soother at this point because I know he’s not getting much milk… :/

  4. My 2 year old is down to just nursing at naptime and bedtime. I’ve read a lot about Jay Gordon and I think he’s got a great, very gentle method for night weaning. Ditto pp above, I found it easiest to distract from day time nursings first. Anytime I was sitting on the couch and he wanted to nurse I’d offer him something else and if he wouldn’t take it, I’d simply get up and get him his sippy. I thought he was really going to fight it but he actually (most of the time) had no problem just getting his sippy. I just kept telling him that milk was for sleepytime and if he wanted milk we had to go upstairs and go to sleep. He night weaned himself kind of, he got Hand, Foot and Mouth (for the second time) and refused to nurse for almost 2 weeks. At that point he stopped needing to nurse every couple hours at night, although we still have the occasional night that he still nurses once or twice. i don’t recommend that method, lol!! We’re still doing the nap and bed time nursings and at 29 weeks pregnant with #2 I’m kind of dying to be done but having a hard time getting him to wean off those…. and part of me doesn’t want him to anyway :-/

  5. CJ

    I have no advice, but I’m looking forward to updates on your process! Cheeks is only a year old and I would prefer to let her decide when she’s done, but my wife says 18 months is it! (Hmm, we’ll see how that goes!)

  6. Enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I tried the “don’t offer / don’t refuse” approach with no success. My toddler demands it frequently… We are still working on it though & I’ll look forward to hearing how it goes for you.

  7. I couldn’t do that don’t offer one either. Jackson was demanding it CONSTANTLY. I couldn’t do anything on the weekend without him wanting it. Even now he’ll sometimes ask when it’s not bedtime. I think the broken idea worked because I could show him the band-aid and he got it. Also, limiting it to bedtime and not waivering.

  8. This was really helpful to read the comments. Of course, you are the one that linked to Jay Gordon – sorry I posted on FB about it and didn’t know it was you that was already there.
    I really don’t have much wisdom to offer, except I think that with a goal in sight – TTC#2 it might be easier to be serious about it. I think about it sometimes and I just have such a hard time denying Isobel something that obviously gives her so much pleasure and sustenance, and calms her and bonds us together so much. But hearing that Shawnie is not behaving so nicely about breast-feeding that might make it easier. It’s funny to think of him coming up to you and lifting up your shirt! isobel doesn’t do that, but she does look at my boobs and kind of paw at them when she wants “milkies”. I also think having a plan to follow – like the Jay Gordon one is really helpful. I am freaking out and not freaking out enough because I start nights on call in a month’s time and I know Isobel is going to freak out, but I have gotten lazy about trying to get her to be less reliant on me and more on Susan. She has less separation anxiety than she did a while ago, which is good, but I know it’s going to be horrible. Which is why it’s good that when I start working nights Susan will be almost finished with her Master’s thesis. Okay, sorry that turned into a hijacking of your post. I guess it’s really on my mind too.
    Well please keep us posted as to how it is going and I really hope it’s not as painful as you are anticipating! xoxo

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