Wean from Breastfeeding

Updated on January 03, 2008
A.M. asks from Sarasota, FL
8 answers

OK - here I am again....now Ella has turned 2 and still wanting to breastfeed when she is settling in for naps and/or night-time. I know she does not need it anymore, but it is something she is soothed by. Anyway, the first thing she says after HI MOMMY (when I come home from work) is I want to go night-night, then she starts clearing everything off the couch (her dolls, pillows, afghans, etc.) so I can sit down and breastfeed her. Anyway - now I feel like I am only making everything worse. I feel like at 2, I could actually reason with her as to why she does not need this anymore, but I am not sure what to say or do.....any and all help/guidance is appreciated.

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answers from Tampa on

Ah A., you're not spoiling her. You're a mom who wants to treasure every moment with your one and only. There's nothing wrong with that. Do you want to wean her because everyone says "you should" or do you want to wean her because YOU'RE ready to wean? That's the first question you need to answer. If your answer is truly because you are ready to wean, I can give you some suggestions as I weaned a 2 year-old last fall. We were in a similar situation, she is my last (of 4) and I treasured that quiet time with her, but she was getting too rough and I was ready to quit. Basically, whenever she wanted to nurse, I'd say "no, not right now" and offer her a sippy cup or distract her with a book. We had a few power struggles for about 4 days but once she realized I was serious that was that. She tried to nurse a few more times after that but we were truly done after about a full week.

Now, if you've asked yourself the question "am I ready to wean" and the answer is NO, don't let other people tell you what you "ought" to do. There is nothing wrong with nursing a 14-month-old. If you want to eliminate that night-time feeding (which is probably not healthy for her teeth) then eliminate that night-time feeding, it will take about a week of you just being consistent and loving in other ways, but it is possible. (I've found that every lifestyle/routine change with my kids takes about a week!) Instead of offering the breast in the middle of the night go in, pick her up and give her a quick snuggle and kisses, and then tell her it's time for night-night, you'll see her in the morning. Put her back down and leave. Let her cry for a minute, then go back in and pat her on the head or the bum, tell her it's time for night-night, and then leave. Let her cry for 2 minutes. Go back in, lay her down if she's standing, tell her it's time for night-night, and then leave. Let her cry for 3 minutes. Go back in, say nothing and lay her down and leave. Let her cry for 4 minutes. Keep repeating this step, adding another minute each time. She will probably be asleep within 10 minutes but it may take longer. It's really hard the first two nights, and then she will get the idea and each night will take less and less time.

One other thing: I've found night-time routines are extremely important. If you don't have one already, I suggest finding one that works for you. We start with bathtime around 7 p.m., then jammies, then stories, then singing 3 songs and then into the bed. A consistent routine will go miles toward eliminating bedtime problems!

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Hi A., I weaned my daughter around 14 months, but I am pregnant and my supply was pretty gone. Now she is 17 months, and although she doesn't nurse, boy does she love my "ne-ne", she loves to snuggle with them, point to them, touch them, anything that I allow, it's cute really, and as long as it's at home, it's ok. I followed this advice, more gently than discussed in this article, but I did follow it for night weaning, and it did work, Rachel sleeps in her bed most of the night, but I do let her in bed with us, or I get in bed with her sometimes.


I am also in a breastfeeding support group with many other great women who could support you with your transition. It's not LLL, but we do have a few LLL members. Feel free to join us.


Good luck, and bless you for breastfeeding, it's the best gift you could give your child!

Warmly, L.



answers from Orlando on

I just wanted to say I'm in the same boat, except my son is 13 months old and down to two feedings(am, pm). I also did a lot of co-sleeping up until a few weeks ago when he started to consistently sleep thru the night. I was also off work for a few weeks for the holiday's and it hasn't been the right time to wean. My approach has been "No offer, No refuse", which has worked well so far. This weekend my goal is to break him of the AM feeding, he's also teething pretty bad right now so it's going to be a struggle. Please keep us posted on how it's going, and I will try and do the same.



answers from Fort Myers on

I commend you for breast feeding so long! Your daughter probably looks for the nursing as a comfort now rather than the feeding part of it. The crying thing is hard to hear when you try to transition them from you. If you stick with it, it does work. The 1st couple of nights might be tuff...
start out just 10 minutes, then go in and comfort her, not pick her up, and then leave. Wait 20 m inutes, do the same, just continue and add 10 minutes each time.
I have 4 boys and another on the way in 4wks, so I admit I have no experience with girls! :)At 14mth they know what to do , believe me... they are sneaky... LOL
I would jut make sure that she is full with dinner and start a routine every night if you can, same time and give your self a week to seee if things change.

I wish you good luck!



answers from Ocala on

Hello A.,

I am a mother of 3 and i breastfeed them all.
The 1st I breastfeed her until she was 14 months old.
The 2nd one I breastfeed him until he was 11 months old, he wanted to stop.
The 3rd one is allergic to dairy so I breastfeed him until he was 20 months old.

When I stopped Breastfeeding the 1st child of mine, I cried alot and I got SAD because I felt like she didn't need me anymore. My husband had to keep telling me that I am her MOMMY and that she will always need me. "He got me through it" :) Now I look back and think about how silly I was. They will always need us.

I was looking through the other posts that the other moms said and i think that BEV says it all. Everything that she said is what i would say to you, SHE IS SMART AND SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE IS TALKING ABOUT. So i don't have to repeat everything that she said all i can really add is TAKE HER ADVICE AND

You are doing a great job.

God Bless and take care.
Have a wonderful and healthy NEW YEAR.

From one mother to another.


Oh, and before i forget.


Think of all of the children in the world that do not get love from their parents or mother.

Your Princess is BLESSED to have you.



answers from Fort Myers on

Well, I will tell you that it M. take months to wean her. It took me 2 months for my daughter to be weaned and we just slowly put restrictions on when she could and could not feed. I learned that she did the best when everything else was in transition around her and she was distracted from breastfeeding. You might want to start by not laying down with her while she is in bed instead getting to a chair and then waking her up when she is done feeding and moving her to bed (makes her self sooth herself back to sleep).



answers from Jacksonville on

I don't have any advise regarding the breaking of breastfeeding but concerning your child being spoil, you may have to allow your child the ability to cry and stop letting the child snap their fingers and you go running.

I watch my son when he threw tandrums and when he finished he looked at me as if to ask, "Didn't you see me." Yes, I saw him, but I refuse to be ruled by a child, I am the adult. Seeing I would do nothing, he stopped. One thing I hate seeing is a child hitting and beating their parents, and the parents doing nothing. It's not cute, and never has been

When I pick up a crying baby and they instantly stop crying, I put them down. I will repeat this process for up to three times to make sure there is nothing wrong. At this point I allow the child the ability to cry. I watch and listen to make sure they are okay. I allow my response time to get longer each time, and finally the child get the message. I hurts, but It's gonna hurt more when they are older trying to have they way in society. Stop it now or be a prisoner forever.



answers from Punta Gorda on

Hi A.,

Bev is right that you first have to decide whether you are actually ready to wean. I have a 16 month old and we are not ready to nightwean yet. Some nights she doesn't need me; most nights she does (esp when teething). I have read on mothering.com that moms get best results from something like Dr Jay Gordon's method between 18 & 24 months.

Beyond that, my only advice is not to let a baby cry solely because you feel pressured to have the upper hand. I can tell over the last 2-3 months that my daughter is crying less because she has no other means of coping, and more out of habit at night, asking for milk while she's half asleep. Sometimes we will rock instead of nurse for those times. For us it's been a very slow, gradual weaning that will finish in months, not days.

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