Weaning My 1 Year Old

Updated on November 13, 2008
J.K. asks from Raleigh, NC
12 answers

So I posted on here when my son was 5 months old trying to get ideas on weaning. Needless to say he is still nursing and now 11 months old. I am happy I was able to nurse him this long however I do not want to go past his 1st b-day. I feel bad for not wanting to but I have been either nursing or pregnant for so long. I really want my freedom back. Plus my son is huge and very strong and it is preventing me from getting enough sleep. He still sleeps in our bed and wakes me several times during the night. He head buts me in the chest and rips at my clothes,(He was 9lbs 10 ounces when he was born early) not to mention he has 3 teeth and he is very aggresive when hungry. If I take him off of my breast at night and he is not finished he literaly throws a fit, crying and kicking and screaming. I end up putting him back on, he is literally draining me. He also has never taken a bottle or sippy cup. I work fulltime so I am pretty much feeding him from the time I get home from work untill we leave in the morning. He does not like formula I have given up trying to offer it to him. He will take juice or water in a bottle at daycare. I send him with yogurt and other dairy products to daycare. I have such mixed feelings. He doesn't want to stop nursing so I feel bad, but I am exhausted, over-extended and I want my freedom back. Just typing that makes me feel selfish. My daughter weaned herself at 10 months, she was more interested in real food. The docter said not to give him cow's milk untill his b-day. I let him taste a little milk the other day and he loved it. I am think about letting him drink it early, but trying to hold off to his b-day. He turns one Dec. 16. I am not going to pump, I am too busy and I did it with my daughter and I don't want to. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I have such mixed feelings I almost feel like I am going to be unable to say no and I will be posting on here in another 6 months. He is soo attached to me, my daughter wasn't like this, She is more attached to her dad.

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answers from Greensboro on

You do sound exhausted. You're not selfish - you've done a great thing by breastfeeding your children! I remember feeling guilty about those "I've been nursing forever" feelings, too. I'd suggest that you try to shut out everyone else's ideas of what you "should" do, and go with whatever your instinct is telling you is best for your family.

Will your son take a bottle at night if someone else gave it to him? If so, you may be able to both wean him and have him learn to sleep through the night at the same time. Once you're getting more sleep, you'll be able to spend close time with him after work that doesn't include nursing.

My son was a 9 lber, too, and I remember thinking he'd be in college before he quit nursing. To this day he still craves physical contact from me, but he did wean without too much trouble when he was a toddler.

Is your son eating solids so that he's not so hungry during the night? I'm certainly not a pediatrician or nutritionist, but I should think if you're going to start milk in a couple of weeks anyways, it wouldn't hurt to start now. Maybe I'll get blasted for saying that - it's been quite awhile for me and I'm out of the loop as far as the pros and cons of cow's milk. I'm sure you know to make it a small part of his total nutrition. I just hope you can get some quality rest soon. You will, and you'll have fond memories of the great start you gave your children. And you can pretend to hold it over their heads when they're teenagers. "I didn't sleep for two years!" Just kidding. Sort of. ;-)

Best of luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Goldsboro on

I went through a similar issue just a few months ago. My son was exclusively breastfed his first year and I was very eager to wean. The good news is he is now 14 months and is completely weaned. However, it was a difficult process for us. I dropped one feeding at a time slowly, waiting about 2-3 weeks each, until we got down to one feeding right before bed. He had never taken a bottle and did not like the sippy cup. But he slowly would take a little more milk from the cup and he got a lot of milk with his cereal. My supply had decreased so much he finally realized nothing was coming and started drinking from the cup. Now he still doesn't drink as much as I'd like but he still has wet diapers and I make sure to give him yogurt and cheese. This was not a happy time and he definitely acted out during the weaning process by getting very clingy and needy - I thought I would be nursing until he was ten! But, eventually he gave in. So, my advice is be patient and just keep working with him on the cup, he will come around. I totally agree with the other posts, do not feel guilty or selfish for wanting to wean. You should be proud and feel great about nursing this long. That is a huge accomplishment! I will be thinking about you as I know this is a frustrating time. But just remember, eventually it will come to pass. I hope this helps just a little! Feel free to email if you need additional support.



answers from Knoxville on

Hi J.,
I don't have any new advice - I just wanted to tell you that you are not selfish for wanting your body back!!!!!!!!! Don't make yourself feel bad about that. Your son will be perfectly healthy either way. And just remember that this is a phase - a year from now, you won't even think about how tough it is right now! Good luck and enjoy having your body to yourself again! (I can remember that feeling!!)



answers from Wilmington on

Dear J.,
I remember the feeling of "having the life sucked out of me through my breasts". I'm sorry that you feel that way, I was there.
Motherhood is sooo full of guilt as it is, there's no reason for you to add to it after you've nursed your son this long. You've got ~60+/- more years of guilt for him to work on you with! (LOL)
The only way I could successfully wean any of my kids was to take a weekend getaway with my husband (... of course, then I promptly got pregnant again). The weekend getaway, though, worked.
I agree with Anne B about feeding him something heavier before bedtime - a protein meal like meat, poultry, etc. See if that helps get him through the night.



answers from Nashville on

Most kids will not wean themselves so it is good to do it if you are ready. Don't feel bad or selfish, a year is a LONG time. Good for you! I nursed both of mine for a year and we too said, "not after their first bday". What we did was at 11 mos old we introduced milk. Vit D. You can pump slightly (I know you said you did not want to) to get just enough to mix the milk 1/2 and 1/2. If not, one month shy of 12 mos won't hurt his belly. We gave them both Vit D milk at 11 mos in a sippy cup. You can do a bottle to make it easier on him. Neither of ours took bottles. Then I started by taking away the middle of the night nursing. My husband would get up with them and pat and shh and sometimes pick them up. Then I took away the morning nursing. That was easiest b/c they had just woken up. Usually I nursed them put them back down so the hardest part was for me b/c I could not put them back down. We were up early! Then, after a week of that going well, I took away the afternoon nursing. Then, a week later I took away the nap time nursing. That was hard b/c that is how they fell asleep. So I read to them and sang to them and rocked them and then put them down. Lastly, I took away the night time feedings. This was about 12 mos by this time. Each take away took about a week. We let my husband put them to bed so they could not nurse, smell me, fight me. This was the hardest but if you start a new routine, reading, rocking, singing, etc it will help. He may get very upset, he may fight your husband, he may scream and cry. But he will be ok. I would say a few nights and he will be fine. First thing you need to do if you are willing is get him out of your bed. Start a whole new routine so that he is not expecting the same as he has always had. Be strong and let your husband do the night times to make it easier. Both of my weanings went smoothly so since your son is stubborn and attached, it may take a bit longer but stick to it. You will be better for it. You will get sleep!




answers from Charlotte on

Its only 1 month away start giving him the cows milk it will not hurt him (you said you've already given him a bit i'm sure if he would've had a reaction you would've mentioned it)... both my girls were switched to cows milk at 9months they're perfectly healthy almost 3yr old *january 10*and almost 1 yr old *november 22*



answers from Wheeling on

You 'hate to deprive him of anything he wants'. You're drained and exhausted. You're stressing and feel guilty. (These are mostly your OWN words). Sounds like little 11- month-old is ruling your life, doesn't it?!?

YOU are the Mom. YOU are in charge. Now, YOU just have to believe it (or he never will).

Sorry if this is too blunt, but I'm afraid it's all too true.



answers from Charlotte on

Hi J.,

I am in a very similar situation and have been before except I don't have to or want to go to work. Thank goodness for that or probably neither one of my children would have been breastfed. I tried pumping when my son was nursing and I too did not like it.

Both of my children sleep with me and my son is now 3 and 1/2. My DD is now 13 months and still nursing. At first she only nursed maybe twice a night. Then she cut some teeth and has now become in the habit of nursing quite frequently in the wee hours. Bless your heart for having to get up and go to work. It is very, very draining! So first, do not feel guilty or selfish for wanting to stop. However, I do know about the mixed feelings of stopping nursing. It is a very emotional time.

I would really like to night wean my DD now, but I have to tell you J., I came to a point where I night weaned my son, and I am not looking forward to it again. There really is no easy way that I know of as long as he continues to sleep with you. If you find one, please please please let me know.

With my son, I had to let him scream and holler, pulling my hair, kicking and hitting just as you described. I might add that he was much older than 11 months. I ended up nursing him for an extreme 26 months total before he weaned himself while I was pregnant with my DD. Anyway, around 16 months I was really tired of the night nursing so I decided to night wean. I got the same result you are getting. I would roll over so he couldn't get to me and he would crawl over me. I would roll over again. And on and on and on. It was very very hard saying no and letting him cry like that. But it went on for three nights, getting a little better each time and then it was over. Boom! Night weaned! Fantastic!

Now it is time to do that with my DD. I am trying to figure out how to go about it again. One lady mentioned the Pediasure. My dd likes the stawberry pediasure so I may try that. It would be a good time to transition her to her crib but I don't want to change everything at once on her so I am holding off on that, if I do that at all.

One more thing I'll add is that I am going to skip the bottle and teach her to go straight to a sippy cup. My reason being that I have a friend who is in the same situation. She weaned her now 2 and 1/2 yr. old daughter with bottles of juice. She is having the hardest time getting her daughter weaned from the bottle. So that's like a double whammy so to speak. First you'll have to wean from the breast and then later from the bottle. Ouch! Once is enough for me.

Well, I just wanted to share my story with you in hopes that you will feel better about your decision of wanting to stop. It is so very understandable. Especially having to go to work! And it is very conflicting as to how to go about it as there is no easy solution that I have yet to find. If I find one I'll be sure to let you know! Please do the same for me! I want to night wean also! It is extremely draining! It will drain the life right out of you!

Please let me know how everything goes. I will be thinking of you.

Best wishes!




answers from Memphis on

I can't give you any advice about weaning, but I do know that your son will be completely fine if he starts milk a month early. My oldest son had food allergies as a baby and his allergist, who used to be a pediatrician, actually had me switch him to milk at 10 months. I switched my youngest son at 11 months too. They were both eating a variety of other foods so I never worried about them not getting all the nutrients they needed. They are 5 and almost 3 now and are both very healthy boys.



answers from Nashville on

It sounds like it is time to wean your baby. If you gave him cow's milk and he did not have an alergic reaction you can probably start him on milk. The general rule is no cow's milk until their first birthday. But, he sounds like a big baby and he can probably handle it. Stop having mixed feelings and just go with your gut feelings on this one.



answers from Lexington on

I breastfed both of my children. I daughter weaned herself, my son got to the point where he only wanted to nurse at night to help him fall asleep. I reached a point where I was very tired of this situation as well. I did not really know what to do either. My son had already had his first birthday at the time. About a week before I was to be maid of honor in a wedding, I came down with a horrible stomach virus. Fortunately, my sister agreed to keep my son for a few days. When I got over the virus and my son came back home - I did not let him nurse. I felt horrible. The second night and from then on he didn't try. I would not wish a virus on you - but do you have someone you trust who could watch your child for a couple of days and nights? You might wait until his first birthday. If not that - could you eat something that would not make him sick, but would change the taste your milk that he would not like it. Maybe something like onions.



answers from Fayetteville on

If he is taking juice and water from a bottle it shows that he is just being picky about milk from a bottle because he knows mommy will just give in. He wont let himself starve. As hard as it is I would suggest being stubborn on your part. Keep offering the bottle and dont give in, eventually he will take the bottle because he is hungry. Also my daughter is 11mo. and has been on formula since birth but has recently began refusing it. I tried the pediasure (it has everything in it they need) and it is flavored. She loves pink milk. If you find a flavor he likes it will make it easier to transition him because he looks forward to the flavor.

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