Help Weaning My Two Year Old :(

Updated on June 25, 2012
L.L. asks from Austin, MN
11 answers

Brief background...still nursing my almost 26 month old toddler. She has Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and other digestive issues, so I've really been loathe to try weaning before this point (and I'm sure she would be too.)

My concerns at this point, however, are becoming overwhelming.

1. I'm exhausted. When she doesn't want to eat or isn't feeling up to par, she nurses to make up for whatever she didn't eat. I don't mind because I love to cuddle her up, etc, but I'm just really tired and think I'd feel better if we were done. I try to eat healthy but I know my diet isn't perfect and I'm pretty sure my stores are depleted. Plus, she's never accepted a bottle or sippy cup, so I don't's just me, all the time.

2. She needs to take to milk. She will take a sip or two of lactose milk at lunch, just in the past week or so. I don't want to miss this opportunity to get her liking regular milk (the only thing she drinks besides breastmilk is water, which she really likes, but still.)

3. She needs to sleep through the night. She still wakes up once to be fed and ends up in bed with 220 lb husband, me, and a growing toddler end up sharing a full size bed and it's starting to be too much. I think that if I weren't nursing her, sleep training might be a bit easier. Don't want to hear about how I should've done it earlier...she was sick a lot, and it just didn't work. :)

But here's the hard part...I am just so sad about the prospect of quitting because she's not a particularly affectionate child (very sweet when she is, but it's rare!) and I will just really, really miss this part of our relationship because I feel like I won't have my baby in my lap anymore after I quit. I just want to start crying right now, and she's currently in my lap!!!

This really sucks, this is really hard, but I just think it's about time. I would ideally like to have her weaned by the end of summer, so that's gives me some time. I don't know how to do it (never done it before) or what to expect. Please help...this sucks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful support and advice. You've made me feel a bit better (although it still sucks.) :) I really appreciate it.

More Answers


answers from Houston on

Replace nursing cuddles with some other sort of cuddles. I used story time as my nursing replacement. She really wants that comfort, even though it is fleeting. I gave my son a sippy cup to drink on as I held him and read him a story, played with his hair or toes, sang him a song, played patty cake type games... Sometimes he would throw a fit and try to practically rip my shirt open... so my husband would have to pry him off at times, but mostly the cuddle replacement thing worked.

She is also old enough to not have to nurse in the middle of the night and to stay in her own bed. If she screams or cries for it, there are some good alternatives you can try, like telling her no. Dr, Sears is an expert and has some good advice here, especially #7:

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

weaning can be hard... espesially since it can be something you'll really miss! I wanted to nurse till 2 and have my daughter self wean, but I became pregnant with my second, so do to the physical strain I had to wean her.

Try replacing nursing sessions with cuddle time. With my eldest, I offered her a sippy cup of milk (or even chocolate milk) before bed- or to nurse... it was her choice. We still snuggled and slept together. After she weaned to the sippy cup, I gradually switched her to plain water and that was that. now she had a water bottle next to her bed at night and that is it.

Save the sleep training till after she is fully weaned. Doing things one step at a time will be much less stress on you that trying to do them all at once. If she wants to nurse in the middle of the night you could possibly give her a sippy of milk or some water... however, try to curb her feeding by making sure she has a nice high-calorie meal before bedtime. My kids don't have digestive problems... so you'll have to talk to your doctor about what would work for her.

Keep i mind that you can still be close with her, even if she isn't nursing. You can cuddle up with a book, or hold her while you watch TV or other things. My eldest became MORE cuddly when we weaned her!


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answers from St. Louis on

one comment: if you wean, your child may actually become more affectionate. Right now, she equates closeness & feedings. Without those feedings, she may seek closeness independantly from you.

Prayers to you that this becomes a win-win situation!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Start replacing nursing her with a cup and then just hold her after the meal and cuddle her if she'll let you. Hold her on your lap with the cup if you want. Then cut out a feeding at a time and it shouldn't take long at all once she knows it's the end and you are serious. I never nursed past 12 months but it is the same way to wean.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Can you set limits on nursing instead of completely weaning her? Can you set the nursing for right before bed? I think even giving yourself 2 months is not enough time because it's not just nursing but also the bedsharing. Just because you don't nurse her it doesn't mean she will stop getting up to be in your bed. I think the waking up to be in your bed is going to be much harder to break honestly. I nursed my son for almost 3 years but at age 2 it was just before sleeping and also when he was sick or teething. For me, it was a lifesaver since when he was ill or cranky from teething, it gave me a break and we could just relax. You can't force a child to like milk. My son never did. He has a milk allergy and it's like he knew it was not good for him. I would keep offering, but don't force it. There are plenty of fortified products as well as green veggies and lactose free products for her to enjoy. Since she has some dietary issues, I would not wean completely at this point, just cut it down and set some limits. When I weaned at almost 3, it was natural and totally fine. I just told my son ok, tonight only 10 seconds. Then we read a story and went to bed. The next night I told him, ok, only 5 seconds of nursing. Then we read a story and went to bed. The next night I said nothing and he never asked. And that was that. But at that point we were down to 1 time a day. I think gradual is best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux Falls on

One thing I've heard is that weaning happens easier if done during the waning phase of the moon. I know things are difficult now, but weaning could cause more difficulties to arise. Make sure your daughter keeps gaining weight after weaning and her health doesn't deteriorate. If it does you can start nursing again.

I have digestive issues and find that taking digestive enzymes and probiotics helps considerably - ParaGone Also, I use doTERRA DigestZen

Hope that helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Duluth on

I had to wean my two year old to get pregnant with #3, and we did it very slowly, over hte course of about 5 months. I had really hoped to be nursing and pregnant together (I get horrible anxiety when I'm pregnant; nursing makes my anxiety non-existant) but it wasn't working, so I just cut down one nursing session a day--which was HUGE. I too was feeling the way you were--we nursed in the morning, we nursed before nap, after nap, before bed, and in the middle of the night--that's a LOT for a 2 1/2 year old, and was a lot for his mama. I resented anyone who told me I needed to set limits, but it sure helped me enjoy nursing more. He and my third are terrible grazing-nursers; they just want the boob whenever THEY want it, to heck with whether it's sensible or practical for mama! Anyway, I really loved it when we were down to one or two sessions a day. It really wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be--we just snuggled, and I couldn't put him near my boob to snuggle--kind of, if *I* didn't assume that's how we were gonna do it, *he* didn't assume it, either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

I have never nursed a child that long (well done, by the way), so I can't help with that specifically, but I wanted to mention a couple of things.

#2 - My kids love milk, but there are plenty of kids that do not. This is not the only source of calcium. Yogurt, cheese, ice cream are other forms of dairy. Don't stress just because she's not a fan of milk. Do a little research or ask a specific question about lactose free sources. This particular challenge is very manageable.

#3 - Sleeping through the night may or may not be related to breastfeeding. Some kids just can't do it until they are older. (I'm sorry to say that.) Our 3 year old comes into our bed almost every night! He will go through phases where he doesn't, but lately it's been often. Fortunately for us we have a king size bed. I'm sure weening her would help, but you might need to come up with a plan in case that doesn't work. Our son really likes sleeping with us (because close to Mommy and Daddy). He hasn't nursed since he was 1 month old.

My sister used to do this to my parents. They also had a full size bed. Drove my mom crazy! My dad was pretty good at just going back to sleep. My mom delt with it by going into my sister's bed. Just a thought, but could you or your husband simply get up and go somewhere else to sleep?

Hope you get some other really good suggestions!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

When my son turned one and then two, that's how I felt. Now he is 3 and I didn't even try to quit this time. My son has multiple food allergies and now I realize he needs this until he can eat enough and several foods to sustain himself. If you cannot provide enough nutrition otherwise ( eating, digesting and assimilating), please know that weaning does not take place. Don't be forced to wean just because you want to be normal. I don't feel as tired and exhausted as I felt last year even though he does increase and decrease his nursing depending upon his health. I have even stopped eating a lot of foods due to his allergies. I still don't feel that exhausted anymore. I guess it gets less tiring as their other needs decrease. You won't need to watch over them as much. It also helps him a lot with his emotions and calm them down when they get physically hurt. You can consider just night weaning. Best wishes with whatever you choose to do!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I also thought that I didn't have a very cuddly child. She loved being nursed, but other than that it seemed like she preferred sleeping in her crib rather than cuddled up with me and even preferred falling asleep in her bed than rocking in my arms (if she didn't fall asleep nursing.) I stopped nursing her around 15 months and I don't know exactly when, but by 2 she was such a cuddly child. She still is. So, I agree with the other mom's that your little one might become cuddly after the nursing stops.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I still nurse my 3 1/2 year old. He didn't start sleeping through the night until about 4 months ago. Now he nurses in the morning, at naptime and before bed. I cherish those times as he is growing so fast and won't be little anymore. Don't rush can make your nursing times shorter....or just do certain times of the day. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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