how do you stop breastfeeding a toddler?and what to do when...

[deleted account] ( 9 moms have responded )

hi, my daughter is now 19months old and at some point over the next 6 months i plan to stop breastfeeding. i am always seeing how to stop/change to formula for little babies but what about the older baby/toddler who are determined to breastfeed and have tantrums when they are not aloud it, how do you stop breastfeeding them?

Also after you stop breastfeeding what do you do when..

they wake in the night? how do you get them back to sleep?

know when they are really tired enough to go to bed at night and nap times or is it best to have set times?

comfort them when they are ill?

how to make them happy when they wake up in the mornings or after naps when they are upset and grumpy?

Okay i should probably know how to do all these things by now, but i am a softy and have never had to face these issues before so any advice would be much appreciated

thanks

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Allison - posted on 03/22/2009

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Honestly, all the things you list are much easier to deal with when they are still breastfeeding, and I'd like to add the tantrums that occur during the "terrible twos" to your list ;-) I don't think I could have survived the 2's without the ability to nurse my kids...not only did it reduce the frequency of the tantrums (they did still happen, of course), but it tended to help them return to their normal self after a tantrum (I called it the "reset button"). Eventually, they outgrow the need for nursing at night or at naptime and will outgrow nursing as well.

I really like the book Mothering Your Nursing Toddler because it discusses all this stuff and how to go about changing nursing for toddlers, helping them to learn how to do some of this themselves, and really is great for moms who have never really been around toddlers who still nurse. It also discusses weaning and how to go about it in a loving and respectful way.

Just some personal experiences for you: I forced my daughter into night weaning at 19 months because I though it would make her sleep better. It didn't - she still work up every 2 hours at night, but then I had to rock her/rub her back instead of nursing her back to sleep (so I got less sleep). At 2, she started sleeping through the night, after her 2 year molars came in. With my son, he started sleeping 6 hours at night at 20 months (after a year of waking every 2 hours to nurse) on his own after the molars came in. He was just ready.

I believe in child-led weaning, though we do set limits on how long and how often. Right now, my son is 2 and I sometimes tell him "quick milk" and make it a very short session because I'm just not up to it (I'm also 33 weeks pregnant, so it's uncomfortable sometimes). We stopped nursing to sleep a while ago - he gets to nurse on one side, then the other, then it's lights out. He was ready for that. He also has days where he doesn't nurse all day, and some mornings where he skips the morning session because he's too excited to get up and start the day. He rarely skips bedtime, though..but it has happened. So I guess you could say he's weaning...although I don't expect him to stop nursing completely for a while. But who knows?

What I've found is that as long as things are working, I don't bother trying to change them. When it stops working, then I go ahead an make a change, and at that point the kids have been ready for it. It all just kinda works out. I don't consider allowing children to nurse for all the things you listed as "being a softy" or anything - it's something that works and works well. As they get older they will develop other techniques and I don't always jump right to nursing if I think something else will work...but it's great to have nursing as a potential option as well.

I think I rambled a bit (a lot?!). Sorry. If I didn't make sense, feel free to ask me to try it again or if you have other questions just let me know. I know my position isn't the most common one for nursing/weaning ;-)

Letty - posted on 03/21/2012

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I can get my toddler to stop breastfeeding at night , I work and can get much sleep. I have notice that she just wants to have my breast in her mouth all night long , I can't even turn because she will start to cry :( , don't know what to do please help.

Amy - posted on 03/23/2009

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I found the gradual method worked best for me. I gave my son a sippy cup and a cuddle as we replaced each daytime nursing. We gave up only one nursing a week until we were down to just night time feedings. Then I began shortening the nursing time at night by one minute each week and singing to him more. When we got to two minutes of nursing and two songs he refused the breast and we were done. Bittersweet! Remember too that your hormones will be adjusting. I had about two weeks of baby blues before my hormones reregulated.

As far as night time goes-if you are married or partnered send someone else in at night to comfort your baby.

I found that routine nap times are really important. Children love ritual as it makes their world understandable and predictable. Also, by holding strong boundaries you are teaching your child that the world is predictable. Something to remember when it is tempting to give in.

Also, you are in a 1/2 year place and I have found that from the 1/2 to the whole year (6 mos-1 year/1 1/2 -2, 2 1/2-3) are times of growth and fussiness where the whole year to the half is a time of more stability (2-2 1/2 for example). You may have more luck weaning in the 6 months after your baby is 2.

Good luck and God bless!
Amy

Michelle - posted on 03/22/2009

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Start by eliminating one nursing at a time..... start with the one you think would be easiest. Tell your Dh that they are "empty" or "sleeping" lol....anything she may understand really. Stay with that one eliminated nursing for  a week or so and then eliminate another in the same manner. Bed time will probably be the toughest as you will be tired too and it will be easier to just give in. but trust....stick to your guns. If your Dh seems disappointed with the sudden inability to nurse ask her if she wants some snuggle time instead... (curl up on the couch and have a snack together)    Make sure she isnt asking because she is hungry also...if so make sure you have plenty of snacks or small meals she can turn to. As for waking in the middle of the night and getting them back to sleep..this can be tricky. Some ppl use the CIO method...I never could. I usually held him (however long he screamed or cried) until he fell back to sleep. i know its overwhelming...but you CAN do it!! Always remember that. You could even enlist DH to help out (if possable) and see if he can manage to get her to sleep.  Waking up from naps w/o nursing was a little easier for me. I would anticipate a time that my son would get up, put on one of his favorite movies...get out a yummy snack and gently tickle him when he started to stir....he would wake up with a grin every time.  Hope this was helpful. GOOD LUCK! I'll be rooting for you!



                                                                          Michelle and Benjamin



                                                                              (former booby baby)

Cassie - posted on 03/22/2009

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I believe in child weaning to! I have said hundreds of times I was going to stop after he turned one, but I just felt he wasn't ready, and he nursed on demand all the time. He's almost 2 now, and just a month ago stopped nursing at night because he wants to read books instead. So I think they let you know when it's time. And I think that's what so great about nursing because it gets them through the 'hard times" and gives them more confindece when they finally do stop nursing to just be able to cuddle with you and feel comforted. The article allison mentioned in mothering magazine about nursing a toddler is awsome to!

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[deleted account]

thank you all for your comments, it has given me much to think about.

i think partly why i want to stop is because she feeds far too often so i think i will try some of your techniques to cut her down from the none essential feeds for now and see how that goes, then liked said i still have option of breastfeeding.

thanks

[deleted account]

This was a very difficult stage. I just did it gradually. First was stopping the middle of the night feedings. My husband always went to calm her and tuck her back in, it helped. And the daytime feeding were stopped next. I just distracted her every time she wanted to breastfeed. I'd give her her favorite snack or let her color or whatever else got her attention and she'd forget eventually. But when worse came to worse I simply had to reject her. It was very heartbreaking for us both but it didn't take long for her to move on. She went straight to the sippy cup.

Michelle - posted on 03/22/2009

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Quoting patricia:



i understand were you are coming from i bf both of mine till they were 2 lol i slowly cut the feeds down bye giving fav foods ie :- apples ,rasins,and yes little  flaverings like mushed straberrys  and milkin a tippycup  or a bottle  for bed time i did get into truble for flavering milk but it worked i stoped after 3 weeks but fell pregg pritty fast after no one told me that would happen lol do what you think is best and go with the flow saying milk bars a sleep helps as well cause they think its a game and after a while the forgett but do use there hands on the brest as a comferter witch sometimes can hard to brake out of as welll






OMG! I forgot to mention that...LOL! My son is 2 1/2 and still goes for the cleavage. >

Patricia - posted on 03/22/2009

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i understand were you are coming from i bf both of mine till they were 2 lol i slowly cut the feeds down bye giving fav foods ie :- apples ,rasins,and yes little  flaverings like mushed straberrys  and milkin a tippycup  or a bottle  for bed time i did get into truble for flavering milk but it worked i stoped after 3 weeks but fell pregg pritty fast after no one told me that would happen lol do what you think is best and go with the flow saying milk bars a sleep helps as well cause they think its a game and after a while the forgett but do use there hands on the brest as a comferter witch sometimes can hard to brake out of as welll

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