Weaning Ideas from Nursing

Updated on January 14, 2011
M.H. asks from Allen Park, MI
17 answers

I have a 22 month old daughter in which I'm still nursing. My plan was to nurse her until 1 but it's worked out so well for me that I decided to keep going with it but she is going to be 2 in March and would like to get some suggestions as far as the best way(s) to wean her. I work full time and have been pumping twice a day at work. She pretty much only nurses once I get home from work and then at night, she also will wake up sometimes during the night to nurse as well which I think is more out of habit now. When I'm home on the weekends of course, she will nurse as she wants. What are you thoughts and/or suggestions?

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for the advise as well as suggestions. It's been harder then expected but knew it would be a task. I'm just taking it slow and day by day:) I just love this site:)

More Answers



answers from Gainesville on

My daughter was 20 months when we weaned. I used distraction when she would ask to nurse. Sometimes she forgot other times she didn't. We just took it slow and she gradually didn't ask anymore. It was hard though because I really enjoyed nursing and she is my last :(

Also, you may want to read up on some ideas to help her with sleep like Dr. Sears Baby Sleep Book or I think the Baby Whisperer and The No-cry sleep solution have toddler versions since she will wake at night to nurse. As you get closer to weaning you can offer her a sippy with a bit of warm milk at night when she wakes.

Be prepared to stay busy on the weekends when she is more used to you being there and nursing at will. The busier you are the less opportunity she will have to nurse. Not saying go cold turkey but the idea is to lessen her opportunities to ask.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

As you introduce new liquids into her life via sippy cup it should be a fairly easy transition. Get her a cute "lovey" to take the place of the boob.
Awesome job nursing that long Mom. It's so much easier than dealing with bottles and formula. The money you saved and the health benefits for both of you puts a big smile on your face I'm sure :)

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answers from Detroit on

I don't think you need to still be pumping unless it's for your own comfort. La Leche League always says to wean gradually and with love. This could take quite awhile but if she's only nursing here and there, why not?



answers from Saginaw on

Good job nursing for so long. I can't believe you've pumped for so long! I think I quit pumping around the time my son was one, and I always had the supply to nurse before work, after work, at bedtime, and pretty much whenever he wanted on weekends. But when I was ready, I told him we were done. He understood and he was mad the first night, but he got over it.

For your comfort, it's easier to just cut out one feeding at a time, night time feeding being the last to go. It's going to be the hardest if you nurse her to sleep. But offer her comfort in other forms so she understands you are there for her, even if the boob isn't, lol.

You might want to start with quitting pumping at work; if your body senses the demand going down, you might start making less milk. Like I said, mine didn't, but everyone is different.

Good luck, do whatever is most comfortable for you and your daughter!



answers from Washington DC on

Wow, I was in your situation, too.

As a full time working mom, I found that the time breastfeeding my son was a great way to connect and have a routine. He was breasfed until he was just past 2.5, but feedings were only first thing in the morning (sometimes) and then before bed, and sometimes before a nap - that's how it was since he was just older than 1 year old. I pumped until he was two, but it was mostly out of habit and because I liked to say hi to the nurses in the health unit. During that time, he would often wake at night, and I'd nurse him back to sleep because it was easier and calmer.

My son ultimately weaned himself (mostly), with the aid of a weeklong trip to visit family sandwiched by a 16 hour drive, along with another child (age 3) and mom. He was already showing signs of weaning before the trip, but the change in routine, perhaps my gentle reminders that "he can go to sleep without momma's milk" and seeing another child go to bed without nursing probably finished the deal. I should note that at the very very end, I was making it very clear to him that I was growing tired with the arrangement, not intentionally but just because I grew frustrated with the back and forth of not nursing for 2 days, and then nursing. (though that only went on for about a week or two) Essentially, after the trip I accepted the weaning, and then he surprised me with new demands, and while I accommodated, he saw that I was clearly frustrated.

We breastfed for so long because it was easy, and it was a calming routine in our constantly changing and hectic lifestyle (read: train and metro commute to work/daycare, and long days), that I didn't feel the need to disrupt. It was a way I, as a working mom, could have some close time with my child, and I think it helped him cope the changing and volatile emotions of a toddler. So, even though there were occasional times when I was bothered at being needed in this way, extended breastfeeding was a great help to our relationship and routine, and I credit it with helping me be a better, calmer mom than I might otherwise have been.

just my four cents, hope it helps.




answers from Detroit on

Kudos to you for a doing such a good job AND working! It was a long time ago that I was nursing, and my kiddos were over 2 years old; but from what I recall, I eliminated the "non-important" nursings first; and I think I had already started the gentle reminder that "we don't nurse if we are not at home"; I think nap, bed and in the night were the last to go. My husband helped a lot and I kind of had to be absent. We substituted rocking and gentle singing; the absolute last to go was bedtime nursing and that worked itself out when my kids wanted to spend the night at my Aunt's house....the youngest child was still nursing, but really wanted to stay there. He did fine with his siblings close by and a "party" atmosphere;) and I took advantage of that by not nursing him for bedtime the next day; there was not a struggle, but he did ask and I just remember saying, how about we rock tonight....and if I recall, it was really not a big deal - guess he was ready!



answers from Anchorage on

She is old enough to understand no, so just tell her that mommies milk does not work anymore and she needs to drink her milk out of a cup like other big girls. Than put band aids on your nipples.



answers from Milwaukee on

I nursed till dd was 22 months old also. I cut her down by 1 min from her average nursing time. After a few days, I would cut her down by another min. A few days later, another min. When we got down to just one min, I did that for a few days. She was ok with this. When it was time to quit even that one min, she cried, but with some extra snuggles she was ok. I would also follow the same thing for pumping so you don't get sore.


answers from Tampa on

So happy to hear you were able to breastfeed for so long. Having done so for almost 2 years, it is really an issue to force wean her now, or do you feel you can let your daughter decide when to stop?

Daughter nurses so much once you get home to make up for what she doesn't get (skin to skin and breastmilk too) while you are away and it is how she relaxes and re-orients once you return. Same with night nursing. It's more than habit - after the age of 1 y/o, toddlers are notorious for being easily distracted, but at night, they are tired, hungry and get their fill.

Breastfeeding during daycare or early interaction with other children is a boon! She will not be as sick as the other children. My daughter at almost 3 y/o got the rotavirus going around our neighborhood. 4 children needed IV fluids due to all the vomiting - mine did not. The breastmilk is what helped her stay hydrated.

I allowed my DD to self wean and she did just before her 4.5 y/o mark. Did she nurse often? No, maybe 3 times a day (right after waking up, during nap time if we were together, and during bedtime) and not always 3 times. I think she felt more confident knowing I gave her the power and independence of choice - and she was old enough to remember nursing and will have those loving memories with her when she becomes a Mother.



answers from Grand Rapids on

Kudos for sticking with the nursing even while you work! I nursed my first until about 20 months and the weaning went well. I don't remember exactly what I did, but I think you would be wise to slowly cut out the feedings that seem "less important" to her (probably the ones that aren't before sleep). Then you can tackle the before bed and night time ones!
You have received some great advice here. One thing I remember when I weaned my second was that I always nursed her while sitting on the same couch each night. We were down to eliminating that difficult before bed feeding. I made sure I didn't sit on the couch, EVER, because that was a signal to her to nurse. This really seemed to help. Also, as many others wrote, I think your daughter is probably old enough to understand if you tell her you are "all done" with mama's milk. Just be sure to offer her lots of snuggle time to make up for it (and for you too!).
Blessings on this endeavor! I know I am not looking forward to it with my son although to encourage you, both of my girls weaned well.



answers from Boston on

Good on you nursing this long, especially while working full time. That takes commitment. Some will wean at that age as someone else mentioned, but many will want to hang on a lot longer if you leave it up to them. I left it up to my daughter (tho I did night wean at 28 mos) and she wouldn't have given it up anywhere near that age without direction from me. It depends on the kid, definitely! And different techniques work for different kids as well. When you do start, keep in mind that she may dig in her heels and start demanding even more nursing as she sees you trying to take it away. Also, you will need to offer other opportunities for attachment when you are decreasing nursing sessions.

Kellymom has a good description of the different weaning techniques http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/weaning_techniques.html

You may want to tackle night weaning first. Dr Jay Gordon has a plan many people like, though his website doesn't seem to be working right now.

Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

The old fashioned way and recommended by Le Leche League is "don't offer/don't refuse" I had one that self weaned at 15 months...shocker. Another was 3.....I was not able to EVER sit down. LOL! If I did she wanted to nurse. The LLL way is, I think the way to go. She is still a baby...take your time. Sounds like you have a good handle on it already.



answers from Boston on

I was able to wean at around 2 years by having my husband provide care during the times when my daughter would normally nurse: bedtime and wake up. We were already taking turns on weeknights and weekends. Then, we took a vacation and he took over for a week. When we returned, I explained that I didn't have any more milk and we were done.
Good luck,



answers from Detroit on

Dear M.

Congratulation for your effort. Your kid got immunity which will help her later in the life. I know stopping is so difficult. If you have another caregiver for her that person has to make an extra effort. Stop the day feeding first and then the night. It will be easy for you and the kid. It was difficult to put her to bed so my husband played a very important role that time.
Keep trying.




answers from Detroit on

I just dropped one feeding a week or so. Once I was down to just at night and nap time, I just quit cold turkey. She did fine. She actually started drinking milk out of the sippy cup, instead of just a taste here and there. She got a little bit panicky when daddy would pick her up, but that lasted about a week and then she was fine.


answers from Anchorage on

idk how much help I'll be, but my daughter will be 15 months on the 23rd & It has been a week today since I last breastfed her, I was planning to let her self wean and/or wean her gradually, but I got tired of it before she did, so I finally had to go cold turkey & I was expecting the worst, but she did great!! She still wakes up at night, but I just cuddle her & rock her back to sleep, she's even just laid down while I rub her back & fell asleep that way a few times, she's napping better & sleeping better at night now! she was also waking up 2-3 times a night out of habit just to nurse, now she wakes up once & goes right back to sleep!
I would just slowly start cutting back or just cut out the breast feeding & give her the bottle for a while, We started feeding our daughter more food too, I make sure she gets plenty to eat & she's doing really well with it! a LOT better than I expected, I think I held on as long as I did because I was attached & didn't want to stop, knowing she's my last & I'll never breastfeed again, it was hard for me to let go!
If you're willing, I'd even do as I did & go cold turkey, but it was very hard on my boobs that way!! I was in a LOT of pain up until yesterday, so I would slowly start pumping less, so it's easier on you as far as that goes!

I'm not much help, because the whole weaning thing didn't work well for me!
Good Luck though!!



answers from Honolulu on

Both my kids, self-weaned. That was my choice. Even my Husband was proud of me for doing that.

My daughter self-weaned at about 2.5 years old.
My son at about 1 year old.
Each kid being different.

By the time my daughter self-weaned, she was not nursing much. I had milk still. But I would talk with her about it.... that one day she will be a big-girl etc. I also had rules about it: ie: not 'demanding' it, it is 'my' boobs, if she asked I would sometimes say "in a minute, Mommy is busy....' and I would be busy... and not sit down. Then she would get distracted and forget about it. And never in public... only at home. And NO pulling up my shirt.
Usually a child does 'nurse' at sleep times.

Then one day, my daughter just told me that she does not drink from me anymore, and she giggled like it was just so silly that she did that. And that was it. She never again nursed.
For my Son, he just flat out HATED being at breast already... and would actually slap my boobs away and scream and not want to be on me. He didn't even want to nurse.

They both had no problems sleeping at night without it.
They both also had/have Loveys they sleep with.

For my friends who did extended breastfeeding, their kids were about that age too. And what they did is: they put Band-Aids on their nipples... and would say "Mommy's milk is broken...." or "Mommy has a boo-boo...." and they say that worked for them. They just applied Band-Aids until their kid stopped asking and forgot about it.

all the best,

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