Weaning a Child from Breastfeeding

Updated on October 16, 2010
S.B. asks from Waxahachie, TX
10 answers

Hello. My son is almost 14 months old and I am in the process of trying to wean him from breastfeeding but it's proving to be very difficult. I'm lucky enough to be able to work from home so I've been able to be with him. However, it's becoming some what of a hinderence when it comes to weaning him. He is very attached to breastfeeding and is clearly putting up a fight on quitting. Since he was born I was doing both, breastfeeding and bottle feeding (formula) but now that I'm trying to stop nursing him, he refuses to take a bottle. I've also been giving him sippy cups and he'll take them every now and then but not enough. He will take a bottle better for someone else but will not from me. This causes an issue because I am his sole caregiver during the day. I even resulted in putting him day care for a week in order to try to break him from it. But even then he wasn't drinking much milk (regular milk) from the bottle. I wasn't nursing him except once for a bit in the evenings during that week because I was trying to wean him slowly and not stop cold turkey. But at the end of the week, he was sick (thanks to the day care) with a stomach virus which has just now finally left completely. During the time he was sick, he wouldn't eat anything but he would nurse so in the interest of trying to keep fluids in him I nursed him, so now we are back to square one. He is sooooo stubborn about taking a bottle from me. He will cry and cry nonstop and refuses to take a bottle or even a sippy cup. I'm concerned he's not getting enough nutrients into his system by not drinking. Eating food has been touch and go as well. It's like he's on strike. It's affecting his sleep as well. Refuses to take a nap (unless he's attached to me) and will wake up constantly throughout the night. There's not much sleep for anyone lately. My question is has anyone ever experienced this and if so what finally worked for you? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. He's my little sweetheart but he's wearing me out.

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answers from San Antonio on

Honestly, and not to be mean or judgmental, but why stop? I too have used breast and bottle from the beginning and even supplemented with formula from time to time. I allowed pressure from others ,make me feel like I needed to stop around the 1 yr old mark and what a terrible mistake!

After struggling and ignoring my gut I finally fad to say, to hell with everyone else. My baby wants it, needs it, and it's good for us both. He is almost 2, still nursing on demand, but eats just about everything and drinks soy milk as well. His appetite fluctuates, particularly when teething or sick, but that's okay because he gets all the nutrients he needs from the breast milk.

Our family doctor said I shouldn't worry about low appetite or giving things like pedialyte when sick because the breast milk is way better! Just be sure growth and development are on track.

I know surrendering your body to a small person for that long can become tiring and even irritating at times. But breastfeeding provides a comfort that nothing else can, particularly in the rough toddler times and your child seems to be giving signals that it's needed and wanted. For me, being home full time, even when working(I write) is a blessing for this very reason-I am holding my sleeping son while he nurses as I type. Don't know what your feelings are on it, but co-sleeping has helped us. Granted on rough nights no one sleeps, but for the most part my son sleeps through the night now, nurses on demand when he needs to and we can both doze during.

It might all seem crazy, but even the World Health Organization advocates breastfeeding until at least age two. I know where you are, been there, stressed about it, lost the sleep etc. But I know that I will never get these months of bonding and comfort back, so we're making the best of it and reaping the benefits!

I wish you luck and if you need more advice, glad to help!

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with the posts about not weaning right now. He is clearly not ready and it's making both of you upset! Let him do it on his own time.

I do not agree with the other posts have said, "fight the fight." This is not something harmful to your child, or a bad habit. Why would you "fight" such a young child about this? It's good for both of you and will be over before you know it. Don't push him!

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answers from Tampa on

I did extended nursing with my child, including sharing a bed until 4.5-5 y/o. She's never been clingy, needy or anything (except for at bedtime), never had an issue with her NOT eating and drinking many other things. Why do you want to force wean? Your son seems to be giving you cues he isn't ready for that next step... Why not nurse on demand (which will be less and less as he gets older) and feed him 3 meals a day and snacks?

Women's breasts.. tho usually seem in a sexual connection are truly simply mammary ducts. Children, babies, adults - will all find laying their head down on a caring woman's breasts as comforting as part of a consoling hug... Having children growing up with love and respect for a woman's breasts is a good thing, not a negative.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I had an easy boy and a toughy! I feel your pain! We are forced to live with family due to the economic slump and my toughy would CRY and CRY until I nursed him. I tried talking to him, which total worked for my first (more reasonable) boy who I weaned at 14 mo. You just have to be persistent. I FINALLY was able to wean him at 22 months but he still fondles and nuzzles my breasts whenever he can sneak it in. It boarders creepy. LOL! He's now 32 months and a couple of months ago, when I said "I love you" to both boys as we were lying down to go to sleep, the 4 y.o. said "I love you too, Mommy", and the 2 y.o. said, "I like your breasts". ...Great!

Good luck! There's no magic solution that I have ever heard of. You could try mustard on your nipples or some other flavor deterrent. I never did that, but some do with success.

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answers from Spartanburg on

He sounds very adiment and stubborn to nurse. When I weaned my daughter starting at 12 months (took a month to completely wean her) I just slowly took feedings away. For example, eliminating the feedings in between meals for a few days, then eliminate the lunch feeding for a few days, then morning, the bedtime, etc.... She would fall asleep for bedtime while nursing so that was the last feeding I eliminated.

It will take time but you just have to fight the fight and hang in there. When he wants to nurse, try to give him a snack instead, distract him with a toy or book, or just hold him/give him attention so that he doesnt feel rejected. It is highly unlikely that he will starve himself. If he is hungry/thirsty he
WILL take what you give him!! It might take a couple of weeks of frustration on both parts but if you really want to wean him, it will be worth it.

Good luck! Keep us updated.



answers from Dallas on

If baby is protesting and having such trouble with weaning, perhaps it is just not time yet. I know of people that breast feed up to 3 years old. Working at home, your little one is very attached to you and feels a bond with you during that quiet 'you and me' time of breast-feeding. It is by far the most healthy thing for you and your baby! After a time of eating "big people foods" by himself without help. The need for nursing may subside. I would suggest 'baby led weaning' where your little one shows signs he's ready! Good luck!




answers from Boise on

I did it by starting with one feeding and giving a sippy cup instead. Oh, he CRIED!! I held the sippy cup up to his mouth so that when he took a break and closed his mouth, he realized it was there, and wouldn't let him push it away. He finally took it. I continued with that meal until he would take the sippy cup without an issue...then moved to the next meal, repeat. The first few days of each feeding were hard, but he did great. Make sure that you are holding and cuddling just as much as you would while nursing.


answers from Modesto on

You have to keep up the fight, nurse a little from each breast and then give him a cup or bottle of milk, or do the bottle first and the nursing second. What you want to do is deplete your milk supply so when he does nurse nothing comes out and he will soon lose interest.



answers from Dallas on

He's simply not ready to wean. I don't know what your circumstances are, but if you can, why not keep nursing? I thought my son would nurse until college (haha), but we finally weaned together around 22 months. I'm very glad I stuck it out and got a few more precious months with him that no one else on this earth could ever share with him!


answers from Modesto on

You have to keep up the fight, nurse a little from each breast and then give him a cup or bottle of milk, or do the bottle first and the nursing second. What you want to do is deplete your milk supply so when he does nurse nothing comes out and he will soon lose interest.

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