How Should I Stop Breastfeeding My 12 Month Old?

Updated on July 02, 2010
K.J. asks from Springfield, OR
15 answers

So i have heard that just suddenly stopping can be traumatic, and i dont want to do that. But it just seems like if i dont just stop cold turkey i will always be tied down to breastfeeding. My son does not feed because hes hungry, he only feeds for comfort. Any advice?

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answers from Portland on

I haven't yet stopped (and my daughter is 2.5 years old) but I have said that she can only have "boo boo" in the morning when she wakes up. That is the sole time that she can breastfeed. It has been good because I know that she is still benefiting from the comfort and antibodies that breastmilk provides and it is a concrete time that she can only breastfeed. Just an idea to start you off towards the weening process.

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answers from Richland on

This is what I did with both my babies...I just finished breastfeeding my second yesterday so this is fresh. :)

Towards the end they were only eating 3 or 4 times. One morning, two mid-day and one at night. Pick wich one would be the least traumatic to start with and drop it. Like the mid morning one, he'll never notice, especially if he has a snack, do this for about 5 days, then pick the next one. I usually did both mid day ones they seemed easier...then drop only that one for a week. At that point pick the next one, say..the morning one but make sure breakfast is ready and he has something to look forward to to get his mind off of nursing. Do that for another week, then drop the night feeding whenever you feel your ready. That one was hard for me with the first one but not the second so it depends on the kid. Doing it gradual like that helps the baby get used to it as well as your milk supply! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Are you wanting to quit or just doing it because you think thats what you're supposed to do?
I'd let him take the lead- he'll naturally slow down and stop don't worry. :)
If you really want to stop, then I'd suggest cutting out the daytime feedings one at a time first- and keep the night feeding for quite awhile. Its comfort, security and bonding. :)



answers from Peoria on

my son was the same way. at first, i cut down to 2 feedings (one when he wakes up and one at night before bed), supplementing with whole milk. then i dropped the morning feeding. and then i quit. it's less painful for you to do it gradually.

your son will learn the new routine, and soon he'll "forget" he ever breastfed.



answers from Seattle on

I fed my kids until 15 months and at the end it seemed it was habit or comfort.
You will have less engorgement and discomfort if you wean over a few weeks time not cold turkey.
I cut out some of the midday nursings first....the ones easiest to distract with other things. Leave a few days between eliminating a feeding before doing the next. We got down to nurse before nap, bedtime and if he woke up at night. Then we eliminated nap. Bedtime and middle of the night went at almost the same time and then it was just be tough and not give in to the urge to nurse. It left me with very little discomfort. He barely asked to nurse since.



answers from Philadelphia on

I weaned all of my kids feeding by feeding, keeping the morning, naptime, and nighttime feedings last. Supplement the feeding after your morning feeding for a snack with milk in a cup and alternate from there. Its much healthier for mom to do it that way, and better for baby too. I held onto the bedtime feeding until my little one was 2... we just couldn't give that one up!



answers from Seattle on

what worked for me was to start by eliminating one feeding at a time. with my oldest, we stopped nap time feedings first, just because that worked, in time, the morning feedings were out,and all we had left was nighttime. which was the hardest, but she was still weaned by 18 months. with my second, we eliminated them in a different order, based on what was the easiest for us. for my first, it was easy to stop the morning feeding because she is a morning person and was easily distracted by other things when she first awoke. my younger one was easier to stop the bedtime feeding first because she is a nighttime cuddler and didnt need a feeding to get to bed... also weaned around 18 months. so maybe for you if you could start finding different options for each feeding, one at a time to start eliminating them. and the other thing with us is that the last month or two for both of my kids we were on just one feeding a day. the great thing is that as they grow and are able to do more, it becomes natural to nurse less. i started weaning both around 12-13 months by the way. hope this helps.



answers from Tulsa on

My DS is 13 months and we are working on getting down to a before-bed nurse only. I've been removing a feeding ever couple weeks (you can do it faster, if you want). DS nurses mroe to eat, not so much for comfort. That sauid,. there are times he does want to nurse for comfort. If we're home, I will sometimes let him, if we're out, then usually not (I try to be consistent to avoid confusion).

It has been helpful for me to have his blanket and a snack/drink on hand. This way, when he wants to nurse, I can give him one or all of those things to help comfort him.

I have read to start with midday nursing first, then remove morning, then night. I think this is based on how tired the child might be and how easily they miight be distracted by soemthing else. Maybe this schedule will help.

As to the cold turkey--up to you. I would consider, however, how much pain you might be in, and how upset your son might be with a sudden stop, and if that's worth it.



answers from Anchorage on

If he is still feeding at night, cut that out first, and than replace his mid-day feeding with whole milk. Depending on how often he is feeding, try to get down to 1 or 2 a day over the next few weeks, and than go cold turkey. Is he taking milk already? If not, you can try mixing it with breast milk to get him used to the flavor change. Start with mostly breast milk and slowly increase the amount of cow milk until he is taking it straight. Best of luck with your transition!



answers from Seattle on

Eliminate one feeding a week. Otherwise your breasts will hurt so bad. One feeding a week will be barely noticeable to your son.



answers from Grand Rapids on

as i weaned my daughter, as she was doing the same things yours is, i just stopped offering to her, and as she wanted it, just distracted her. i would drop one feeding every 3-4 days, up to one a week was dropped. So it took close to month to fully wean her, but at the same time when we got to that point, she was more than ready to stop as well.

Since he is doing it for comfort, you have to help him substitute the comfort. Maybe with a stuffed animal or a blanket could help. But trying to get him into doing another activity when he wants to nurse for comfort, will at least draw his attention away from you.

Good luck



answers from Los Angeles on

Why do you want to stop or do you? My son just turned a year and I LOVE, love, love breastfeeding him and I will continue as long as he allows me. He's my third- I breastfed my first two for the first year, but they weaned and I let them. This time, I'm offered all the time- when he wakes, morning nap, 3-4 hours later, afternoon nap, then at bedtime. I love it and so does he! Keep it up if you can. It's so special.



answers from Seattle on

I breast-fed one of my sons until 15 months and the other until 17. The first one I cut back to just before nap and bed time. Then I went away for the weekend and came back and we were done. My youngest son, I cut back to just nap and bed time. Then I made sure that the bedtime routine was set (bath, story time, nursing, song and then bed). Once this was really done every day, I cut the nursing part out. He didn't cry for it and did very well with it. Only a few times that he was sad did he ask for "milk" but he never did get too upset.
Good luck with however you decide to wean him.



answers from Chicago on

Start cutting out feedings by introducing whole milk. If you are feeding at night at all, introduce water. Do one feeding a time.



answers from Seattle on

Stopping cold turkey is likely to be hard on you and hard on your baby. The chances of your breasts becoming engorged are relatively high and breastfeeding is an emotional thing for moms and babies both.

There's loads of information about weaning on the La Leche Leaque website ( There's also information about extended breastfeeding and the benefits to mom and kid both.

I am currently nursing a 11 month old and a 3 year old and there's a huge difference in their breastfeeding needs. The "tied down-ness" will change as your baby grows. Current recommendations from the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics are to nurse until at least 2 years of age.

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