How do I Wean a Stubborn Boy?

Elizabeth - posted on 07/08/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




My boy is 19 months old and I REALLY WANT TO STOP BREASTFEEDING HIM, but he is SO STUBBORN. He refuses to fall asleep at night without the breast, and will cry for HOURS in the morning and nap time if I don't breastfeed him. Please help me. I loved breastfeeding him when he was 1-12 months... But I am feeling hopeless now... How can I wean my stubborn boy? A bottle is not an option. He just throws it and spills milk everywhere. Should I just go cold turkey and let him cry, kick, and scream for hours? :


Lori - posted on 07/08/2012




I wouldn't go cold turkey. It won't be good for either of you. Does he sleep through the night currently, or does he wake and want to be breastfed back to sleep too? I also have a 19 month old who I still breastfeed. I've been having trouble with her waking in the middle of her nap and wanting to breastfeed, and waking in the middle of the night several times per night wanting to breastfeed. I've started using some of the techniques from Dr. Jay Gordon's sleep solution.

Even if you don't have a problem with night waking, you might want to read through this article.

What I've been doing is limiting the amount of time I allow my daughter to nurse before bed. If she's not asleep after half an hour... she's done. She cries about it, but I just lay in bed next to her and tell her that she already got her mommy milk, now it's time to sleep. She's slowly learning to fall asleep next to me without needing to have the boob in her mouth. At nap time if she wakes in the middle of the nap I am now refusing to nurse her again. I'll go in and lay her back down and sing to her, and tell her to go back to sleep. So far we're making pretty good progress. She's now taking longer naps, and is starting to fall asleep easier if I'm not breastfeeding her.

You don't need to worry about a bottle. He's old enough he doesn't need to drink out of a bottle. As long as he's drinking something during the day, and has had food and water before bed time, he'll be fine. Does he drink cow or other milk during the day when it's not bed time?

Morning time breastfeeding should be able to be averted by distraction techniques. Don't lay next to him in bed or sit with him on the sofa or wherever you normally nurse him. Instead, just get up with him and get him playing with his favorite toy. Offer breakfast shortly after he's gotten up.


View replies by

Anna - posted on 07/10/2012




Welcome to my world lol I have a 26 month old and have been trying to wean since he was 21 months. I succeeded in day weaning him by distraction but night feeding is not working as I'm against traumatizing him and other soothing methods don't work. What I can tell you is that as your child gets older, the time spent at the breast will be exponentially minimal. I'm serious, the only time he stays latched on the for 20 min is the bedtime feed. Unless something is bothering him, he normally wakes up once or twice a night to suck for a min or so. Sometimes, I'll say honey let's count to 10 and you'll let go and he lets go. Unless you're ready to spend 3 or more sleepless nights of listening to crying, I'd just let it go for now and revisit the topic in a few months.

Sarah - posted on 07/09/2012




I starting telling my daughter "no night night" when we would nurse, and she just seemed to understand that she could no longer fall asleep that way. I also watched to make sure that she wasn't dosing and if she was, I would tap her on her nose and say "no night night," break the latch and but still hold her. She'd latch back on if she wanted to, but the same tap and verbal ques would still be in place. Sometimes I would lay her down next to me if she did really get that she couldn't fall asleep that way anymore. I knew that getting her to go to sleep w/out nursing her wouldn't be a problem b/c other people (daycare, grandma's) were able to get her to nap without any problem. She just needed to know what I expected of her. I started telling her "no night night" with every session, but really pushed it when it came to nap time. If she cried, she cried, but she was never ever left alone to cry it out. I stayed w/ her, gave hugs, kisses, rubbed her cheeks, her back, whatever until she calmed down. My daughter was used to having access to her boobies, so I took the access away by wearing a really long t-shirt to bed. I stopped wearing nursing bras too. Weaning took about 3-4 weeks doing it that way. Once she was weaned, we bought a "big girl bed" and transferred her to that. For a baby that woke up about 3x a night to feed, she sleeps through the night on most nights now. Of course, our daughter was 23 months, so she may have been more ready than your son seems to be. Don't do cold turkey. Gradual change is best. She did, however, attach herself to other objects, but that was short lived (a couple of months). I've read that that's a sign of weaning too quickly and is something to watch out for.

In the morning, we did what Lori A stated. We got up w/out nursing, did a diaper change, straight to the breakfast table, ate, then got on w/ the morning. You might offer water at night. It's not as appealing as the boob juice, but if he's thirsty, give him a drink. Have the cup within reach, so you're not trolling through the house half asleep in the middle of the night hunting for a cup of water.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms