11 answers

Help with Weaning My 15 Month Old.

I have been trying to wean my 15 month old for a couple months now and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. He usually nurses at bedtime, but if he wakes up in the middle of the night (which is often), he will only fall back to sleep if he's nursing. He's never taken a pacifier and is not a fan of drinking milk. I work full time and am expecting another child in March. Needless to say, I need my sleep. I would like to have him weaned by at least 18 months because I am afraid that he will never want to stop!! I don't intend on tandem nursing, plus my Dr. doesn't want me to nurse past 30 weeks. When he wakes up at night, I am the only one that can soothe him. If dad goes in to get him, he'll cry for an hour. My house is too small to let him cry in the middle of the night, or let him "cry it out". Has anyone run into road blocks while trying to wean, and what has helped if anything? I'd appreciate any advice.

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First of all, BRAVO for nursing your son to 15 months!! That is an accomplishment and you are a wonderful mama for making that health and bonding commitment to him :)
I am guessing that because you have nursed him for so long you feel that close bond and commitment to him and you wouldn't want to hurt him in any way. So I truly believe the only way to wean your son is to do it GENTLY! LLL has many wonderful books on weaning naturally and tandem nursing if you are at all interested in that. I have been practicing "don't offer, don't refuse" for several months now. And it has worked quite well. My dd is 18 months and only nurses once or sometimes twice (in the morning/before bed). Occasionally she asks during the day and I just say lets get some juice, or lets read a book, or play something, etc. just to distract her. That always works for us but I would NEVER deny her if she really wanted to, you know.
So I would suggest having Daddy try to put him down at night instead of you for a while. Maybe offer him some milk, water, juice in a cup instead of nursing at night. There are lots of GENTLE ways that you can distract him and work on weaning. But remember that it is a slow process. You don't want to rush anything and risk loosing that close bond and trust you have with your son.
BTW, I would encourage you to do your research on nursing while pregnant, there is not reason you have to stop at any time.
Good luck mama!
And congrats on your new little one on the way!!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, you are a busy! I went throuh the same thing with my now two year old daughter. I purchased the No Cry Sleep Solution, which helped me wean my daughter at night. It took about 1 month. What you do is you start pulling her off the breast in shorter amounts of time through the night and then I did have to supplement with milk during the end, so I'm not sure what you are going to do with that. Good luck, I know it's very difficult and I did have to let her cry a little bit. Good luck and I feel your pain!!!

Sounds like you want him to quit nursing so don't let others try to persuade you into continuing. Trust your gut instinct.
Here's the hard part though. If you want to wean him you need to quit cold turkey. He may cry and the first few days/nights may be rough but he will get over it. Please don't be offended but you are encouraging the behavior. You claim that you are the only one that can soothe him. Who has control over the house you or the 15 month old? Sounds like he does.
Let Dad take care of him for a few nights. If he cries he cries
He's getting up out of habit not because he needs anything. If you don't get control of this now, it will only get worse.

My oldest was 15 months when she finally gave up nursing, which was great because her sister was due to come three months later! I went through the same things - nightly nursing, crying sessions, no one else being able to deal with her. I did notice that if I held her (standing up) and let her cheek/face lay against my bare chest/shoulder, she tended to be easier to calm with out nursing and would be more likely to go to sleep with out nursing. I also added a small amount of Nesquick to the milk sippies and she was more willing to drink those. The best thing I can tell you is look for the zodiac calendar and see when it says the best time to wean is. It's wierd, but it works. If you can just make it through one day with out nursing it isn't too hard, day two will be a little (maybe a lot) rougher, day three and it's over and done. Try to do it with the zodiac calendar, it will make it a lot easier!! Don't give up, you are definately not the only one to go through this - it makes me feel better that I'm not the only person who has dealt with it. In my little world, my kids always seem to be the odd ones out, knowing they aren't is always such a help!! Good luck.

Had to mention that your doc is full of it - there is NO reason to stopp nursing if you don't want to - contrary to popular belief, theres no risk of preterm labor or any other problems. Ok so you want to wean/night wean. I suspect your milk supply will diminish as you get farther along so your son will cut back. See the Ferber method for other ideas - you can modify it to work for you. I nursed my som till I was about 25 wks preg.

Hi N.,
Let me guess your doctor is a man. If you look at all the other countries in the world we are the only ones who wean our kids before 2. Your son is barely a year old--let him nurse. I totally agree with the mom who doesnt offer doesn't refuse. Distract, distract ,distract. Let me tell you with my 2 boys I thought I would be nursing them at their graduations. This too will pass. Keep up the distractions it WILL work.
Good luck,

You can do what you want of course, but I had to agree with another poster that your doc doesn't know what he's talking about. I nursed throughout my whole second pregnancy and never had so much as a contraction. It's totally fine. Tandem is hard though, if you are considering it. IT's also awesome to see how my kids are so close to each other and hold hands while nursing, etc. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. That being said, I night-weaned my daughter at about that age too when I got pregnant because I needed more sleep too. I still went to her when she woke but I kept my shirt on, two if necessary, and just wouldn't let her nurse no matter what. It took a few nights and then she slept through. We never let her CIO, always responded just didn't nurse her. It worked. Good luck.

Have your husband get up and put him back to bed. He associates you with nursing during that time of night. To break the cycle, see if daddy can comfort him. If he doesn't take a paci, try to introduce another kind of lovey--like a blanket or stuffed animal for him to snuggle with.

It probably won't be easy for the first night or 2, but he will catch if you remain consistent.

my youngest daughter only nursed wouldnt take a pacifier or a bottle. I was in a similar position like you. However, i wasnt pregnant. I have 3 children and my doctor never gave me a time restriction on nursing. When my daughter turned two, my husband stepped in and started putting her to bed with a sippie of water. She cried a lot each nite but then it got better. Can your husband help at bed time? Is your son interested in the sippie cup? Maybe go to the store and have him help pick out a special cup. My daughter and I have a close bond, good luck

I was in a the same situation...smaller house too. I decided to allow the baby (girl) to cry while I rubbed her back...patted...then I'd leave, come back and do the same three times only, about 5 minutes apart (letting her cry for five minutes...After three days, she stopped waking at night knowing she wasn't going to be nursed. I still nursed in the morning until weaned.. The nighttime is the hardest. I hope that helps. It's sort of a combo of them both.

I had a similar situation. I worked full time and had boys 22 months apart. I ended up tandem nursing although not my original intention. It was actually a great experience. My son (now 4.75) weened at age 4. There is a good book called gentle weening if you decide to go that route (it discusses weening in the context of the different developmental stages, with different suggestions for different ages), although I encourage you to consider if that is what is right for you guys. You'll likely get more sleep if you opt to tandem nurse.
As for your doctor not wanting you to nurse past 30 weeks (or even months if that is a typo) I'd love to know why, since the WHO recommends a minimum of 2 years and as long thereafter as mutually acceptable. There isn't likely a MEDICAL reason to ween your son. There may be lots of good reasons, but they aren't normally medical in nature.

As for the last posting from Theresa G - wow that sounds harsh. I'd encourage you to protect the bond you have with your child throughout the weening process. You've worked so hard and nursed him so long - do you want to teach him that one day his comfort source just suddenly vanishes? I don't think that would be a very good life lesson. Weening if fine at any stage that it becomes not mutually enjoyable - but no matter what age it is at, it should be gentle. Please don't take that awful cold turkey advice.

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