21 answers

Wean 18 Month Old

I would really like to wean my 18 month old boy. He is getting mean and violent if I don't offer at his demand. I am not kidding, if he is trying to lift my shirt for a drink and I pull it down he hits kicks and bites and throws an all out fit. I can get him distracted for maybe 3-5 minutes before he remembers 'I want a boobie'. I have a 5 yr old who weaned herself when I got pregnant (she was 16 mos.) and a 3 yr old who weaned herself at 22 mos but from 17 months she only had a drink when she got up and before bed at night.(2wks before I gave birth to the 3rd- the unweanable). This boy would just like an "open bar, self serve". I totally wouldn't mind morning and night but I really don't appreciate getting hit all day when he has no need to nurse. If anyone has any wonderful ideas I sure would appreciate it. He get PLEANTY to eat and drink without me... I am just not quite sure how to get him to understand that:)
Thank you in advance for your help!!

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I had similar questions while I was nursing. My mid-wife told me to use something non-toxic, but horrible tasting on my nipple (like bitters or a flavor your child doesn't like). After a couple tastes of "somethings wrong with Mom" he should start to wean himself. Be cautious though, don't use a skin irritant or let him nurse without the deterrent. Hope it helps!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi E.,
I can so relate to breastfeeding older babies. One of mine didn't wean until she was 22 months (she was my longest nurser). Many years ago I read an article in a Parenting magazine that talked about babies and suckling. It said that babies up to the age of 5 use sucking as their first form of comfort. In your situation I think it's apparent that your son is using nursing for comfort. Perhaps try getting him to comfort himself with other means, a thumb, a bottle, the binky. And don't let him walk all over you by hitting you. One way to stop this is grab him up into your lap holding firmly onto his little legs and arms so that they aren't flying everywhere, then in a quiet voice right next to his ear sing him soothing songs until he calms down. When calm love on him and tell him his actions are unacceptable and hurt you. He sounds like a very smart kids and he'll be quick to understand that it is unacceptable to hurt you. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

He's not unweenable. You just don't have the experience to ween him, since the others weaned themselves. He is 18 months and maybe cold turkey would work, or you could be very encouraging and offer him something else and a lot of praise if he takes the bait, like smiling and hugging him and telling him how much you love to hold him. In the meantime, don't let him get near enough to kick, bite or hurt you, because, although it is amusing, it does hurt. When my son was little and got upset, sometimes I'd just say, "it's so hard to be a little boy". Another thing you could try is going a few days without nursing, then tell him there's no more milk. There are a million solutions, you're smart and if you want to, you can ween him. It can be difficult with the youngest one, because we love our babies so and unconsciously we sometimes want them to stay that way. Especially if we realize that this is the last one. Good luck.
-J.

1 mom found this helpful

Although he probably does not need to nurse for his nutritional needs, (although he would still benefit nutritionally), he obviously needs to nurse for his emotional needs. I invite you to consider that. Your other children probably weaned to make room for the next one, and this one doesnt have another one "pushing him off". Some babies find it soothing to nurse well past 2, even 3 yrs of age. You might find it soothing, too, if you can accept that it is "OK". I invite you to contact LaLeche League in your area to find others who share this experience and can support you. If, however, you are determined that he wean, La Leche League can also offer you information on how to help him wean without harmful consequences. Being able to "be there" for our children, even when it is beyond our expectations, is challenging, but in the end, so very rewarding. Kudos to you for meeting his needs these past 18 months. I am sure your whole family has benefited for it.
I would gently let him know, however, that hitting, biting, etc is never acceptable behavior, but he is expressing his frustraton in the only way he really knows how. Gently teach him alternative ways.

1 mom found this helpful

Hitting your mother is NEVER NEVER acceptable. That's the first thing you should be dealing with. I also think that a 1/2 to 2 year old should not be nursing. That's my opinion but once they have teeth, they should not have the opportunity to bite the "boob" that feeds them. Tough love, cold turkey. You are in charge and he needs to know that. Tell him he is a big boy now. My children are grown and are wonderful respectful adults. My 3 grandchildren were all weaned at around six months. They are also well on their way.

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It is a soothing mechanisms. It will take some time. good luck.
kat

1 mom found this helpful

have you tried taking him to buy a new cup of his own? I had a simular issue when my son was 1yr and I took him and let him pick out his own cup and after that instead of trying to nurse he would bring me the cup when he was thirsty.

Brenda J

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. I have just been going through something very much the same with my 2 yr.old. I have been going through the weening process for the last two weeks with him. He started out pretty much the same way as your 1 yr. old, except for the biting. My 2 yr. old can be VERY verbal about wanting to nurse and how he feels about not getting to. And there is kicking and screaming. This is new to me too. My other two weened alot more calmly, there were some tears, but they accepted that we could still cuddle and hold and feel loved and comforted by doing other things then nursing. Not my 2 yr. old! At first, and still sometimes now, he refuses anything else I am offering in place of nursing. And I understand, he is not being deprived of nutrition. I think it is emotional. The best advice that was given to me, was that no matter what system I was going to use to wean my 2 yr. old, I MUST be consistent. I give him a little more extra attention, hugs and holds and tickles, through out the day, trying to recondition his mind that there are other ways to feel those same wonderful feelings from nursing. I realized I was depending on my 5 yr. old to play and entertain him mostly, so I started to play more with him, rolling a ball, blowing bubbles, building with blocks. More ways to show him that we can connect, other then nursing. At night he has to lay down on his pillow and blanket and I will offer my arm or hand to hold, sometimes he pushes it away and gets mad, but I tell him its ok and that I love him and good night. Usually after a while he cuddles up (but that took almost 2 wks before he would do that). I also, when we first started weening, would talk to him about it. We even had a good-bye moment with the "nursies", telling them we loved them and thanking them for all the nourishment and comfort they had given him. He has been alot harder to ween then the others and it sounds like your 1 yr. old is the same. Again just be consistent, take every opportunity to reassure him (by talking, playing, hugging, etc.) and also sometimes, which is something I have had to let my 2 yr old do, let him throw his tantrum (as long as he is not hurting himself or others) and just be there close by when he is done so you can hold him then. It might take him a while but he will come around. I would also tell him "no biting" and tht it hurts. Be firm but loving. And the key is to be consistent. It feels like he will never ween (it has been a long process and we are not totally over it with my 2 yr. old!)but keep an eye out for progress as you go along. You will see it sooner then you think. I hope I have offered at least some encouragement. I wish you and your son the best.

S., mother of 5 (14, 10, 8, 5 and 2-who, I like how you put it, also seemed unweenable, lol)

1 mom found this helpful

Hello E.,
When I weaned my now 3 1/2 year old I used lemons! I would cut them in half and then rub them on my nipples. It only took a couple of time and my daughter went on her way. I've also heard using garlic. Put it on your nipples and try not to laugh at the addorably-yet funny faces they make.

Hope it works!
D. Callahan
____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

At my baby shower I had a friend who gave me a little black hat with the words "Boob Man" emblazoned on the brow. Little did I know it was a premonition of the future...!
My son was crazy for the boob too!! Holy cow! He was two years and 1 month before I finally just flat out refused to give it to him. I told him that the milk was all gone... sorry. This didn't make him happy but it did get him on the track to quitville!! It wasn't easy as I had become used to just flipping out the boob to keep his quiet. He threw fits, tried to bite and scratch me... all kinds of stuff. But I just kept saying no. It took three long days and nights but eventually he finally gave up and even began to go to sleep on his own.
Now if only I can keep him from trying to grab my boobs in his sleep.
So just say no and be tough... and try and hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E., I too have a 3rd child who does not want to wean- he is 24 months and I have him down to am and pm only for 10 days now. He does not behave the same, but gets very upset and asks for side (what he calls it from switch sides mommy)I am just doing a lot of talking about how it is almost gone and during the day I just say I do not have any until after bath, sorry all gone. then I try and disract even if I have to use a video, not my favorite thing to do as I want him to play instead. I keep the discussion going when he is not as stressed about and matter of factly just say. you are getting so big, pretty soon you won't need any and mommy won't have any. He gradually hears more of this and now says "oh" but then asks again. You have already given him the best nutrition possible! last idea is to have a special cup or drink that he gets because he is big. Our is a thomas cup with a straw. I only use it occasionally to say it is his special big boy cup. Oh, I know these ideas do not help when he is in fighting mode, but toddlers wnat to control things and this is his favorite thing so he is testing it to the max. Good luck! A.

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Hi E.,

I nursed both of my children until they were almost three. I had a very similar problem with my son. My daughter weaned her self with a little push but my son would not. He too was becoming violent, grabbing, pinching, scratching, doing whatever he could to try and nurse, he even torn one of my shirts. After trying everything I could think of I did the same thing as you and got online for help. Somewhere I read to put band aids on your nipples during the time that you did not want your child to nurse, and to tell your child that you have owies. I was not sure if this would work and did not really want to lie to my son...but on occasion I would have bruises from him bitting down if he got excited (there for having owies) and I was willing to try anything. Amazingly this worked. He would try to nurse and come across the band aids. I told him mommy had owies and they did not work anymore. He asked a few more times over the next few nights but after only three nights of having to put band aids on my nipples he was completely weaned. He never asked again. This may sound a little strange (which is what I thought when I read it) but it worked for my son and me. Gook Luck! Keep me posted.

1 mom found this helpful

E.,
One of the nicest things about being a parent is that you are the boss. You're older, bigger, taller, and smarter than your 18-month old. If he hasn't got that figured out now, it's time he learned it.
If you want to stop nursing him, do it. You can make it easier by starting with only morning and evening, a few days later give him the choice between those 2, while telling him that soon he will be so grown up that he won't need a boob anymore. Then after another few days, stop. If he screams, you can outlast him. If he kicks and bites introduce him to the timeout concept 1 minute per year, so he gets to sit all by himself for 90 seconds. And be firm. His actions aren't amusing and this is the time to make him aware of that.
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
Kudos to you for nursing your babies so long! To start, pat yourself on the back and remind yourself that you're doing a good job :) It might be helpful to start with specific nursing times to get him used to being on a schedule. In between nursing times, give him lots of physical attention but NO access to your breasts. When he acts out with the kicking, impose stict consequences immediately. My 20 month old responds well to "time out" in which we strap him into his highchair for a few minutes the second unacceptable behavior begins and expain to him what he has done to land him there. Once he gets accustomed to a nursing schedule, you can slowly phase them out one by one. It may eaiser than going cold turkey. Just an idea, I hope this helps you! Take care :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hey!! I have a 5yr girl, 3 yr girl, and 1 yr boy as well!! And I'm in the process of weaning my sweet boy who can turn not so sweet when he wants to nurse...

I have found that if I save the cuddling and being close to him for times when I am willing to nurse that helps. His dad usually takes him out of bed in the morning and straight to his high chair for breakfast. That way he doesn't smell me or get the chance to strip me. :) If he wants to nurse at night, I'm more than happy to, I just try to avoid it during the day.

He seems to want to nurse most often when I am sitting and he can get to me, or if he is sad/tired/hungry and near my breasts. So I try to give him his bottle(I wean from breast to bottle and THEN to sippy so that they still receive the comfort from sucking the bottle nipple) before he gets too upset and needs me to hold him. Because as soon as he gets near me he'll pull my shirt up, hit, and yell.

Basically, I try to fulfill his needs before he realizes he's uncomfortable and mainly just don't let him near my breasts when he's angry. The bottle can be just as soothing as the breast as long as he's not so upset he won't accept the bottle. Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,

As a parent educator, I hear about this kind of behavior often.
There is NO reason for you to be hit and kicked when breast-feeding! Your child's behavior tells me that he's in the beginning of his two-year-old cycle. The longer you wait to correct this behavior, the more he will come to believe—this is the way to get what he wants.

Take a look at my website, www.proactiveparenting.net (notice .net) and go to the online store. There you will choose the Everyday Solution Series and you want MINI-seminar #1: No we don't do that!
This seminar shares a new version of timeout for really little people ages 1-3.
This new timeout is the perfect way to stop the hitting and kicking and stop your son from believing this is the way to get what I want.
The new version of timeout is very supportive, takes 10-30 seconds, yes, seconds, and can be done away where you are. It really works.
Good luck, The Mommie Mentor

1 mom found this helpful

Hey E.,

I totally get you, girl. My 22 month old is the same way. I've read all the replies, and I think the "discipline-time out" route is harsh. After all, he's been used to getting the boobie when he wants it-it's only natural that he would act out when he's not getting something that up to this point has been a given. People who haven't nursed their babies as long as you nursed yours aren't going to get it-they think you should cold turkey it because that would be the most expedient, easy thing for you to do for yourself. But, we know that that's not what it's about, don't we, because if this were just about you, you wouldn't have nursed him this long already, now would you've? So, here's what I've been doing with some success. I say "no" and put him down, especially when he begins the kicking, hitting, etc...(yep, mine does that, too. I don't think it's unusual in this situation...) and I walk away for a few seconds and he follows me and I try to turn him on to something else-sometimes I enlist the aid of his older sister in helping me to divert his attention. He's angry for a few minutes, but eventually he'll move on to the next thing. This is going to be a process. He's been nursing for 18 mos. (22mos in my case) He can't be expected to give it up overnight. Unless you feel comfortable letting him "cry it out" as I'm sure most of the disciplinarians who responded allowed their children to do, I'd approach it as a process and be patient. He won't be nursing forever. Some yucky thing on the nipples sounds like something to try, too. I might give that a try myself.

Good luck, and follow your heart. He's your boy, treat him with love and compassion and everything will fall in to place.

Cheers,

A.

1 mom found this helpful

I hate to say it but you are probably gonna have to take a "vacation" for a few days (away from the house and kids) in order to get him all the way weaned. My mom had to do that with my little sister who was almost 4 and just wouldn't wean. Something else that might work, but seems a little weird, is to put mustard on your nipples and let him know that he's a big noy now and mommy's milk is yucky. : ) Whatever you want to say...lol. Anyway, a friend of mine used that successfully and also painted her nipples black. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do, depending on the situation. I think in your case I would choose to take a short leave of absense, if possible. Hth...

E.
33, SAHM of 5 kids, 4 living.....ages 10 boy, 9 girl, 3 boy, 6 month boy.

1 mom found this helpful

Some people might not think this is good advice, but my daughter took up a pacifier at 18 months when I was weaning her. It was great. Up until then she had been a very clingy baby, unwilling to let anyone besides my husband or I hold her. The pacifier gave her security and independence at the same time. Her whole personality changed, and she gave up the pacifier 1 year later when she was ready.

1 mom found this helpful

Are you kidding me? Just tell him NO and discipline him for hitting or kicking you. As far as weaning, just cut him off cold turkey since he's being so demanding! Not disciplining him for his disrespectful behavior is only teaching him that it is okay to behave that way when he wants something. Stand strong and protect your body. It's time he stopped! Good luck.

In that situation I would be done all together!!!

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