18 answers

Weening My Son.

When my son was born nearly 2 years ago, everything I had read about breastfeeding said "Try to breastfeed for at least the first 2 years." Well, I thought to myself...no way! Ha! Ok, so right now the only time I nurse him is first thing in the morning. There's nothing better than waking up and going to get him so we can snuggle up in my bed while he nurses every morning. However, I am getting to that point where I feel like I need my breasts back! My son, like most boys, could probably breastfeed for the next 5 or 6 years if I'd let him! I don't think I'm producing THAT much milk anymore, but he gets just enough to not want to eat any breakfast in the morning before it's time to leave. He'll be 2 in about 6 weeks so I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for weening him off the morning snack and any tips for me as far as when I start to dry up. Part of me is not ready for this, but I feel it's time for both of us to move on to the next step.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

It's only been a few days since I posted this request. I wanted to get suggestions to start implementing some of the advice I was getting. This weekend we are headed out of town so I didn't really want to change his routine until after we returned. Well, after reading everyone's advice (and thank you all!) I had a game plan. However, this morning I got him out of his crib so we could go nurse, he started whining when I put him in my bed and he immediately crawled off, grabbed my hand and headed for the kitchen. I fixed him a bottle and gave him a banana and he was a happy camper! Can you believe that? I asked him, You don't want any mommie milk today? And he said NO! We'll see how tomorrow goes!
Thanks again to everyone for your helpful suggestions and votes of confidence!

More Answers

Hi M.,
I applaud you for your efforts and as my girls were nursed tilll age two as well, I know how you feel. As soon as I quit nursing my first born, a month later I discovered I was pregnant. So it seemed like I was nursing or pregnant for five years! I wanted ME back. And i am total cookie mom. As a dental hygienist, I never worked full time again. It was a great way to keep me talking with adults and feeling vital while having tons of time to nurture and volunteer in school. I was with them so much, in 5th grade my youngest asked me if she could go on a field trip without me. Hah!
I tell you this to let you know motherhood and mothering and nurturing are who I am! So at age two I tried all the recommended weaning things, but nothing worked, until i read a article abut Texas pete Tabasco sauce. I planned the day to be one when i could be home all day and the next day as well. Then placed a teeny tiny bit, not even a drop, of Tabasco sauce on the end of one nipple. I discussed the fact that "booby" I know I know "was sick today, and tasted bad and did she still want to try to have some?" She said "Yes." And before her Sweet rosebud mouth could fully close on the nipple, she sat up and said yuk! I then gave her some regular milk to sip and water, and asked her if she wanted to try the other booby as it was not sick (sorry, I know...but it was her name for Me) and she shook her head and pulled me over to a puzzle which we worked for an hour. later I told her booby was "all better. Not sick anymore." and asked if she wanted some and she shook her head and said apple. And that was sit!
I cried for about a week. She never asked again.
Might seem mean to some but for us it worked just fine. She grew to have a son whom she nursed for a year and a half, so no lobg term trauma i think. And she loveshot sauces!
Good luck and God bless the Mommys of the world. If you do it well, they never leave you.....

My husband nicknamed my daughter "the titty baby" when she was little. Both of my boys had weened at age 1. But, my daughter did not want to give up nursing. By the time she was 2 she was only nursing at bedtime and first thing in the morning. At age two I started talking to her about being a big girl now. We substituted snuggling up with mommy, reading a book, and drinking a sippy cup of milk for nursing. I started calling it "mommy-Kate" time. I also used a trip to grandma's house as an excuse. I said, "You want grandma to think you are a big girl now, not a baby. Babies nurse. Big girls drink out of sippy cups." That worked!

My daughter is 11 now and she still loves her "mommy-Kate" time. But, now we go shopping or out to lunch or to a teenage chick flick. Today we are going to see her Science Fair Project on display in the city Science Fair. I enjoy the "mommy-Kate" time as much as my daughter does.

I weened both of my children around 2 and nursing my third (2mon). My daughter had no really problems weening I just told her that my boobies were not working any more and she could have a drink in a cup. My son on the other hand I had to leave him with somebody else for the weekend. By Monday he seemed to forget all about it. Everybody is different. Try a few things and see what works for him. Maybe you could have a sippy cup of his favorite drink ready and snuggle while he drinks that. Good Luck.

A. M

the only advice that I have is to ween. By that I mean let him suck them down to nothing then leave off the next feeding and then let him suck them down to nothing again and then leave off the next 2 feedings. UNLESS of course you like big boobs then let them fill up and do not feed him every again. I fed 4 kids that way. My first 3 were boys and I weened them. My 4th, a little girl, bit and it was very painful, which by the way made it very easy to want to quit. My left breast was in so much pain that I couldn't ween her from that one. It never went down, however I did ween her from my right one. I now have 2 very uneven breast. So if you like big boobs, which I didn't, let them fill up and then quit. If you don't like big boobs, then make sure he gets every drop out and keep leaving off an extra feeding every time so they dry up without any milk in there.
Now your hormones do change when you stop feeding and it is a sad process. I cried all 4 times weening them but I knew in my heart it was time. Soon my hormones straightened out and began to enjoy my life without an attachment.
Just beware and you will be alright.
Keep snuggling with them even though you aren't feeding anymore and they will continue to be lovable and snuggable from now on.

Hi M. - my son just turned 3 and is still nursing in the morning as well - except he comes in to my bed and helps himself, and has been doing so for the last year. I too wonder when he'll decide to be done. Since you go in to get your son and then sit down to nurse, what would happen if you just went in to get him and then went downstairs for breakfast? Could you bring him a sippy cup in the morning and then still sit and snuggle? He may take right to it or fight you a little - may be a process, but worth a try. Is there someone else in the house (dad or sibling) that can get him out of bed in the morning? That way the routine is completely different and he may respond better.

Hang in there!!

If it helps, I breastfed my daughter until she was about 2 1/2 years old. She's 9 now, so I'm a little fuzzy on all the details. At some point (and I want to say around the 2 year mark) we started backing down the breastfeeding a little at a time. At first it was just first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Then it became just last thing at night. Bit by bit it became every other day, and then just a couple of times a week, and eventually none at all. A lot of it had to do with making sure that she was getting enough to drink and spending some real quality time with her. When the "bonding" time was not in danger, she could relax in my arms as I read a story or sang to her, and there was not as much inclination to breastfeed. I hope this helps!

How about changing the routine? Maybe you could have your husband get the kiddo up and take him down to eat breakfast. Or start the day with another activity he enjoys - reading a book or watching a quick video while you fix breakfast might help distract him until he learns the new routine.

Congratulations on hanging in there for 2 years! I nursed my daughter that long also, and really by 1 1/2 she was down to bedtime feeding. I really didn't have a problem, as she was already drinking from a sippee cup. We just substituted the cup for me and continued our rocking routine and she never fussed about the difference. As others have suggested, skip the snuggle routine and head straight to breakfast with his sippee cup and see how that works. I know it's hard to let go of this special bonding time, and I felt like I was the one holding on more so than my daughter. But really, once you let go it is such a relief to have your body back and you find different opportunities and times to sneak that cuddle time in.

As for the milk drying up- mine never completely did. There was no major leakage, and no pain since she was nursing only once a day by the time we weaned, but even to this day (she's 3 now) I have experienced a "wet" feeling, but not enough to warrant breast pads or anything. I will, however, contribute part of this problem to the fact that my husband is a boob man. I think if he would have left them alone a bit longer after my daughter was weaned, they may have completely dried up, but who can say. Now I'm preganant again, and they have started up again. Guess we'll see this time if he can leave them alone long enough for them to dry up completely!

M., I want to encourage you in this time! I have a 3 1/2 yr old boy who nursed only at bedtime until just after his 3rd birthday. It was not anything I planned on doing it just turned out that way. I sought advice from lots of sources who reassured me it's ok, not everyone can do that. My husband would sometimes make me feel funny about it and I thought other people might think something of it if they knew. But moms know best and he wasn't ready to wean and I knew that. As his birthday got closer I began to talk to him about being a big boy... he had already potty trained too. He would talk about when I turn 3 no more boo boo...right mommma?! Yes that's right you're a big booy now... Let me tell you though this commentary didn't actually take place but a very few times before his b-day. I still didn't believe that it would ever happen any time soon. I was all worked up about how to "wean", oh it's gonna be so hard etc. Please let me comfort you in letting your child let you know when he is ready! It will be much easier than you ever dream of! Jathan was all excited about his b-day so I made sure not to push the issue too much. The next night he would mention something like; I'm not 3 mom I'm not... I'm thinking oh no.... still not pushing it ...a few nights go by like this he acknowledges that it's time to quit but not now. Within the week, one night we were outside playing and he said "Mom it's getting dark and it's gonna be bedtime." Yes Mom when we go to bed no more boo boo right? Yes son you're right. All the time I'm thinking sure I bet. But guess what we go to bed he never mentioned it we laid down and went to sleep! I was still in shock! Then the next night the same! I'm still not falling for this. By the time the 4th night came around I realized he was done. I did cry only because I realized it was over and I didn't cherish the last time he nursed! He is the only child I plan to have so I don't have another to plan on nursing in the furture. I say all this to say don't get uptight about weaning it will take care of itself if you just relax and let it!!! My pediatrician always said Don't worry about it he will quit before graduating high school!! Ha Ha!! Also the potty training was just as easy for him too. I didn't push that either, he watched some different potty videos etc. No interest in it, then all of a sudden one day he said "Mommy I need some underwear!" You do? Yes! So we went and made a big deal out of buying some and that was all there was to it! Honestly no accidents and no diapers at night to sleep!! I just was so amazed! He has since had an accident or two but not initially! So what I am learning is to not get caught up on trying to figure out how to do.... and just relax and let things come as they do! Although if you are truly ready I'm not saying not to. A really good source of advice to go to, look up Elizabeth Pantley on the web or in book stores. She is fabulous! She has several books at different age levels and a website etc. She is a christian lady who takes a "NO Cry" approach to parenting it's truly wonderful to learn from her!! Good Luck and I will praying for you and your son as you go through these new stages! In His Grip, L. Ann

P.S. I would love to chat with you again if you would want to! ____@____.com

at 2 years old your son is probably old enough to talk to about nursing. explain that one day a week (Saturdays work if your not busy in the mornings) you wont nurse. the two of you can come up with something else to do in this time. like give him a cup of milk, and lay in your bed and read stories while he drinks his milk. this way you still get to have that together time, and he still gets a morning drink. if he really enjoys this time with you, ask him if he would like to try it on another day also. slowly replace the nursing with your other activity.

In most parts on the world that still practice natural parenting, children are nursed for 3-5 years. I have many friends who are still nursing 3 year olds and older. Extended nursing is very helpful to the physical and mental well-being of children. good for you!
I recently weaned my daughter (2 1/2) very slowly (because I'm pregnant) by first limiting the nursing sessions to predictable times of day - it was 4 for us. Take advantage of when your child forgets and don't remind him. If the time passes, say, oops we forgot and we'll wait till next time. Then we gradually dropped one at a time. When we got down to 2, I asked her which one she wanted to keep and we kept that for a while (a month) and then talked about not nursing anymore. I was very gentle with it and even after we'd officially stopped, we nurse every couple of days when she really needed it, but just for a few seconds. Even now, she pretends to nurse when she just needs the closeness and comfort that it brings. also, we've substituted touching naked bellies as a skin to skin close time which makes us giggle.
Good luck.

After trial and error with my first two kids, I finally decided that their third birthday was the best time for weaning. By that time they are old enough to understand some basic reasoning tactics. Before that, they are not old enough to understand why you are cutting them off from their favorite passtime. Breastfeeding is so much more than just milk. It is so deeply entrenched in the comfort, security, nutrition and extra health benefits they have known since birth, that weaning can be a very traumatic experience. On the other hand, some kids just one day decide they've had enough and wean themselves, go figure, I never had one do that myself, but I've heard of it happening.
I would start one week before their third birthday, talking to them about how big they were going to be when they turned three. I would entice by promises (real, never idle!) of big boy (or girl) underpants, rides on the big swing, instead of the baby swing, etc. stressing all the things they would be old enough to do, then I'd mention, that as well as the things (s)he was big enough to do, there would also be some things (s)he would be too big to do, such as nursing, pooping their pants, etc. This worked so well, I used it on my last 5 kids!
You could try that tactic earlier, if you want, say make a goal of the 4th of July, or Christmas, or some other big occasion that happens to come in the time frame you're wanting.

You might want to read the book How Weaning Happens, by Diane Bengson. Obviously, it's a process that's going to be different for everyone, so you can see different things that worked for different people and figure out what's right for you and your son. Best of luck to you!

Two suggestions -
1. Give him breakfast first and stop the nursing.. or
2. This is what I did to cut out the last nursing at night with my daughter, and she was 3 but nursed for about a minute and was done, so I told her that I would count to ten and then we would stop. Each night I decreased the time and she was weaned. Snuggling is great, try the afternoon name with a book or story but not nursing. Give it time, rarely to kindergarten students nurse during school. LOL

M., I stopped a month before my son turned two. I just stopped cold turkey and put bandaids on my breast and told him they were broken. I was down to nusrsing in the morning and night. As far as drying up went I did not get engorged at all. I don't know if it was because we did not nurse as often any more or what.
Alittle bit about me I am a fifth grade teacher with an 8 year old and a 21/2 year old and one due any day. All boys. I don't think I am going to nurse the new baby as long.

I did it with the help of my best friend (husband out of town). She came in town for 3 nights. In the morning she would get up with her and give her breakfast all before seeing me. After she left, I continued the breakfast routine. No hassel except that I still get felt under my shirt often. Kaycee loves skin touching. As for me, we were down to only morning nursing and stopping was a breeze. No pain or engorgement. I still miss the morning snuggle time but glad to have me back and my husband gets up more often.

My suggestion (if he's terribly attached to that last nursing) would be to start limiting the time of this morning snack and shortening it over a week or so until you can distract him from nursing 100%. Now if he's not nursing for very long or isn't really attached to it, some kids (esp at this age) can quit cold turkey with distractions and be great about it. So a lot of it has to do w/ your son and his temperament. And KUDOS to you for going this long, it's a wonderful achievement! Good luck!

Hi M.,

You've gotten a lot of great advice on weening, but as for how long it will take to dry up, there is no answer. The milk will dry up when it dries up. It could be a week, it could be years. Everyone is different and your body will work in it's own time. I have a friend who was done in a week. It took me 3 years. I nursed my first son for 9 months, weened him and got pregnant within a couple of weeks, then nursed my second son for 9 months. There is nothing they can give you (Rx) nor are there any great suggestions, just give it time.

Good luck!!

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