Weaning off the Breast - Seattle,WA

Updated on September 23, 2010
V.K. asks from Seattle, WA
10 answers

Hello Moms,

Thanks so much in advance for your advice. I have a 10 month old baby girl who never took a bottle - so she is purely breast fed. She wakes every 2-3 hours at night and will not sleep unless she nurses. I am ready to be done - I'm tired! While I completely understand the benefits of breast milk, I would like to wean her by age 1, I am willing to go an extra couple months to ensure a smooth weaning process ( if there is such a thing as a smooth weaning). She does not even eat much solid food. We've tried all sorts of sippies and bottles, nothing seems to be working. I am a SAHM with a 3 year old boy who is very energetic.

I am NOT a cry it out type of parent, so I am not going to do that, I am looking for tips on how I can wean her. My husband works fairly long hours and it's not always possible for him to help at night.

Your comments are greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much!

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answers from Buffalo on

I just put the Breast milk in a bottle or cup and fed it to her then after they were 12 months old starting 1 oz for a week at a time (1st wk 1oz 2nd wk 2 oz) and they went just fine.

However I worked so they have been using bottles since 6 wks old.

Good luck.

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answers from Chicago on

OK, she is waking out of habit. She does not need the milk in the middle of the night. So this is what you can do to get rid of each night feed, one at a time. Tonight, when she wakes for her first feed, nurse her and TIME IT. Tomorrow night, nurse her one minute less. Keep nursing her less every night until she is down to just a minute. Then, let her fuss the next night. She should only fuss for about 3 minutes. If you don't want her to fuss at all, when you get down to around 2-3 minutes, set your alarm, wake 5 minutes before she normally wakes, and then go into her room and just do something, anything, to lightly disturb her sleep enough that she rolls over. This will reset her sleep cycle and she should sleep another hour. Then start the process over. Reset her sleep for 3 nights, and then do nothing for one night. She should sleep through to the later time. When she wakes, nurse her, and if you want, do one minute less. Repeat until she wakes at her usual morning hour.

I've been doing this with my son since 5 months. At 6 months, I did it till we got down to one waking, and then he started back up to two during a growth spurt. Now, at 9 months, we only have one waking at 4 in the morning. I am hoping that by next week, he will be fully night weaned.

Also, you need to introduce a cup at meal times. I use old fashion tubberware. He loves it because his older sister drinks out of them. So, you have a 3 year old, offer your daughter the same type of cup he drinks out of, and I bet she will be really interested in drinking water out of it. There is no need for a sippie or bottle. In fact, these are new inventions! They can drink out of regular cups if you let them. Work it a few times a day, and shortly, by 12 months, she should have the hang of it and then you can introduce whole milk.

In any case, pick a plan and stick to it. In a few weeks time, she will be sleeping, you will be sleeping, and you will LOVE when you do nurse.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Hi V.,
I could have written this. I have the exact same situation. The only difference is my baby is almost 8 months. I have a 3 year old son also. I'm glad you asked the question and enjoyed reding the responses. Just know that you are not alone. We will figure it out!



answers from Minneapolis on

My 3 babies were just like that. I did manage to make it 1/2 way through that first year (weaning between 14 and 17 months). It is exhausting. My husband didn't really help at night either, because he works a ton, but when working on this, maybe you can try to start it on a week when he's around more so he can help.

This is what had some success for me (especially with my first). Try to cut out the night nursing first. Easier said than done, I know (!), but if you can, nurse more during the day offer more solids, and then when she wakes at night, go in, pick her up, and walk her around until she falls back asleep. My son was 10 months when I started this, and it did work to get him sleeping 4-6 hours straight after a few weeks of not nursing at night. If your husband can go in and carry her, that's probably better, mine was never able to. So, I'd take my baby downstairs (our bedrooms were upstairs) and I'd say - "no nursing, time for sleep" then just walk him around and once he calmed down, rock him back to sleep.

Once she is sleeping better at night (hopefully in a few weeks - cut out 1 feeding at at a time) then you can work on the other times during the day. Maybe if you can wean her at night, you'll be better able to nurse her once or twice a day and get her past a year.

Good luck! Know that you've already given your daughter a great gift by nursing for 10 months!




answers from Seattle on

The thing that worked for my son, who LOVED nursing, was to sit in much the same position that we would sit to nurse and then I would give him a sippy cup with warm milk in it. It wasn't an immediate click, but after a little bit of coaxing he loved his milk - I was drying up so he didn't really have a choice. As for the night waking thing, I feel your pain. I would get so tired I couldn't focus long enough to have an adult conversation. Unfortunately the only thing that worked for any of my kids was cry it out. Good luck finding another option.



answers from Seattle on

At this age wean slowly as you increase solid foods and the baby increasing drinking from a milk or sippy.
Weaning at night is possible even for a parent who goes it alone. Be firm. One feeding at a time...track normal nigh feeding tmes then wake up prior to babies waking to throw offschedule. Also feed for shorter lenghts of time and if possible put baby in crib awake (that didn't work always for us).
Have you tried a sippy cup with a soft spout and maybe handles? That is what my kids went to instead of a bottle. It is completely different in shape than nursing but easy for them to control.



answers from Anchorage on

I would start by night weening and by offering her a sippy of breast milk through out her day to get her used to using it. As she gets used to it start adding small amounts of whole milk to the breast milk to start getting her used to the taste and to watch for any reactions to the milk. Start trying to get her back to sleep one time each night with out feeding, and once that feeding it out, cut out another, and so on. It may take some time, but if you do it slowly she will not really even notice. She should be fine without night feedings, buy boys both started sleeping through the night shortly after 1 month and are super healthy active boys now :)


answers from Tampa on

My first course is to ask what exactly are you done/tired about? Nursing is so much easier than having to fix a meal or bottle. Maybe you should consider having your son in a part time school program so you can have more quiet/relaxing time with your youngest... like you were able to do with your first born.

Babies aren't meant to wean at age 1, but then Mothers aren't supposed to be the ones holding ALL the domestic and child rearing burdens... so I can sympathize. I've been a single parent for 5 years (she just turned 5) and exclusively breastfed her until about a year, then introduced diluted juices, and mechanically softened foods. She continued to nurse on occassion until she started kindergarten. She's the most outgoing, curious and leader-like in her class.

I had to work to support us and went to school. I know how tiring and taxing being a Mother is in the 21st century - - but I still think women should fight to enable to best health choices for their children. Breastfeeding is the 2nd chronological part of optimal development and health choice... and is very important. All you have to do is look around at all the babes having GERD, surgery because of GERD, allergies, autism, etc, to understand how important the optimal and most beneficial nutrition is to babies and toddlers (breastmilk).



answers from Seattle on

we did a very slow transition, taking one nursing session away at a time over several months. kept all the cuddling and replaced nursing with bottle/sippy. (not without objection, but kept consistent and lots of love) and it wasnt too traumatic. some fussing, but got the idea in a couple days. we would wait several weeks before cutting down the next one.
started with removing first night feeding, then second, etc til none at night (this was over a lot of time) mine was a little older when we started about 13 mos. and we were done at 17 mos.
good luck!

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