Weaning my 3 year old son.

Julia - posted on 02/12/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My son is 3 years and 3 months old. Although I am heart broken already for ending our nursing relationship before he is ready I cannot keep doing it any longer due to lack of sleep and energy. I am very curious how you did it/ are planning to do it/ think about it and what advice you can give me. Thank you!

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Celeste - posted on 02/12/2012

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Congrats for making it to 3 years!!



A few ideas that I can throw out:

-I'm not sure how often he's nursing (I know my twins were nursing once or twice at that age), but I would use a lot of distractions, for example, keeping their minds off of it.

-Limit his nursing, for example "When I count to 10, nah nahs (or whatever he calls it) are all done!



That got one weaned at 3 1/2. I had a different approach for my other one. I made a reward chart for him. He was nursing only in the morning (he was 4 1/2 at this time). He got a sticker when he didn't nurse. Once his chart got filled up, he got a prize (he's OBSESSED with Star Wars so I got him a small star wars toy)..

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Julia - posted on 02/21/2012

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Thank you everyone. We have been in the process of night weaning since I posted here. I was torn between going radical (no breast from bringing him to bed to waking up in the morning) and taking it slow by gradually leaving out feedings. The problem is that there were no "feedings" but rather one feeding from when I went to bed until the mornign ;-), I usually fell asleep before I could detach him ... well and if I managed to stay awake he immediately woke up and wanted to nurse again after I rolled over...

So I went radical. I prepared him a week or so before I actually started, telling him that soon we would stop the nursing in the night. And then after waking up one morning, feeling dried out and hungry and crabby and tired I decided that this was the last time.

I nursed my son after dinner in the kitchen as long as he liked and then we went to bed. He was very upset for 5mins and then I explained him, that my breasts are super tired, that they need a rest bc they have been giving him good mommy milk for 3 years and that this is a long time, and they need to prepare for the new baby (not pregnant yet, maybe bc of the all night nursing....?) and I love him so much and I will be there for him in his sadness. He had calmed down and not a single tear was flowing that night. We chatted (whispering and cuddling) and sang for 3 hours and he wanted me to tell him why he couldn't nurse in the night any more over and over again. Then he went potty and I thought, wow, this will be a long night, and after that he curled up and I sang one song and he had fallen asleep. Oh my god, this is so detailed, not sure if you want to hear it that explicitly! :D

Anyway, I was relieved. The following nights were more complicated, he was very upset and was trying to avoid bedtime. Which has never happened before, usually he tells us he's tired and wants to sleep.

So I do nurse him a little bit in the beginning now and then count to 10 and he stops. This works ok and it's a good solution that keeps both of us happy. Although he still doesn't want to go to bed... :( I'm feeling bad about causing him so much discomfort and pain....

But then I have been feeling so much better when waking up in the morning, it was just a very necessary change. I have the feeling he's sleeping more solid now, also very nice!

And he's nursing a lot during the day.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom everyone! What a journey.

Maria - posted on 02/20/2012

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Congrats! My daughter will be 3 in March and finally got her weaned about 1 month ago. It was hard cause actually I've grew used to it just like her I'm sure. I too would have kept going with it but got to the point where I was just too exhausted from her still waking up in the middle of the night for it and knew it was time to stop. My daughter wanted it when I got home from work and at night so first I gave up the after work and then tried to gradually reduce the nighttime feedings until I just made her stop really. I had to keep telling her mommy had boo boo's and even had to put bandaids so she would believe me, lol but it worked. She kept asking if I felt better and if she could have her "yummies"(that's what she called it). First couple of nights were rough cause she just cried and cried but I didn't give in. I just had to keep telling her that she was a big girl now etc. She still asks for it today but it's getting to be less and less. Good luck, it's not an easy process BUT you have done a great job:)

Paula - posted on 02/20/2012

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what I did was pick a day and mark a calendar we usually used their 3rd birthday and we made it a celebration of wow your a big boy/girl.. we made sure to show the differences of the toddler of what he/she could do but the baby could not... like they can not eat.... or they can not play with.... ect.. and then we gave them lots of attention like reading and doing other things to replace the nursing time we had..

Danette - posted on 02/16/2012

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I weaned my son when he was about 3 yrs and 3 mos. as well (he turned 4 today). I started very gradually cutting out during the day, he nursed only at night and for nap. Then as we came up to 3 he was slowly weaned off night feedings, by slowly I mean we would start nursing to sleep and then I would stop before he fell asleep then over a couple weeks we would go to sleep with no booie at all. He got to the point where he knew that when it was dark it was night time and that meant sleep with no booie. Naptime was harder because it wasn't dark, but due to medication I had to be on that only took a week a fit filled crying week but a week as opposed to possibly a month. The biggest thing is I took it slow and did not completely cut him off of booies, even now at 4 when he is tired or hurt or we are cuddling he will lay his face or hand on the tops (part that sticks out of tank top) of my boobs as a comfort thing. He understands this is just done at home and not in public. I listened to him and took it slow and really all said and done it went faster and less painful for us both in the end. Good Luck to you!

Stefie - posted on 02/15/2012

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I really like Summer's article. I have to wean my 21 month old tomorrow due to some medical issues I am having. I am very sad to end that relationship, but I am excited to show her new tools to cope. We are planning a big girl boob party to say good bye to the boob and celebrate her growth. We are also planning on reading lots and lots of books (we already read at least 10 per kid on a normal day, they love to read). I do have candy as a distraction of last resort, but I am hoping to only use that once or twice. I wish all of you luck on your journey.

Julia - posted on 02/14/2012

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Thanks Celeste. Wow, I don't think I would be able to nurse TWINS for so long! Very cool.

I think I could keep going wth my son, but the nights are pretty intense, he practically nurses through the night, which is new and has been like that for 3-4 weeks. I wonder if it's a phase, we have dry weather right now and I guess he needs to hydrate himself a lot during the night, so he just doesn't leave the "tap" for convenience ;-) And if I manage to stay awake for the nursing and roll over once he's sleeping again, he immediately wakes up and wants to nurse again. This has been very exhausting and I wake up in the morning like a hungry and tired raisin. I had planned to let him wean himself but gotta go a different route now. We've been talking about it the last days, and he is upset only thinking about it but also seems to understand, especially the fact that we want a new baby soon and the baby will need the milk. Thanks for your tips!

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