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How to wean toddler ?

  1. #1
    scr
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    How to wean toddler ?

    My 2yr 8mth old is still nursing and while I still appreciate how easily I can calm him down I'm ready to stop. I have absolutely no clue how to do it. He needs to nurse before his afternoon nap, bedtime and any other time that he is feeling bored or tired or upset. I keep telling him when he's in a good mood that he's grown up now and it's time to stop nursing to which he always agrees. Sometimes I can negotiate with him that he can nurse only for a min or two or after a little while. I don't have a helper who can take over bed times and my husband travels too frequently to take up the bedtime routine consistently. How can I do this alone ?

    And yes he knows how to drink from a cup..eats a balanced meal, drinks 2 cups of milk a day. I don't enjoy nursing anymore and begining to get real depressed, I want to stop but have no idea how to do it gently.

    Any tips and ideas to get me started ? Thanks

  2. #2
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Hi SCR

    I don't have any personal experience (my daughter self-weaned at 11 months) but thought as no one else had replied, I'd share what I saw on TV a couple of weeks ago.

    On the show, mum just went cold-turkey. She had a few cranky days on her hands, but bub had forgotten about it within a short space of time. The trickiest bit was breaking the feed to sleep association. It seemed sort of easy during the day because the mum just distracted the child.

    Of course everything seems easy on television. I bet it is much harder in real life.

    Best of luck and sorry to hear that it is upsetting out. You've kept at it for a long time and your son has done very well. I completely agree that if you don't feel good about it anymore, you should stop.

  3. #3
    scr
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    Thanks Jane

    I really wonder how "soon" my son will forget..he seems to have an excellent memory and remembers things that happened just once even months later. If I do go cold turkey ..how long before the milk dries up ? If I stop producing milk then even if my son insists on nursing, on finding that there is no milk he will surely lose interest ? But if nursing after just a week or so of stopping, the milk starts again then the whole purpose is defeated. I give in too easily..can't bear to see him howl :(

    Thanks a lot for sharing

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    jwang is offline Registered User
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    Hi SCR,
    I have to disagree with the advice given in the show mentioned (was it "The Baby Whisperer"?). According to <http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/how_weaning_happens.html> sudden weaning is bad for both mum & baby. It can cause blocked ducts & other breast problems, mood swings in mom, and emotional distress to the baby. The general consensus seems to be (from articles/posts I've read on the web & the Usenet) is that it's best if the weaning is gradual & ,if possible, led by the child. Some general tips on how to wean can be found at <http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/t026400.asp>. Good luck SCR & please let us know how it goes. I will be facing the same situation soon too (i.e. trying to wean a toddler).

  5. #5
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    The show I referred to was the Baby Whisperer. Personally I really like her approach, but perhaps it is not for everyone. I like that it takes into account the needs and feelings of both the baby and the mother. It is not hard line let them cry it out nor is it attachment parenting. It just seems more mainstream and sensible than a lot of the other advice you read.

    On the milk drying up - the mum had to express just until she was comfortable for a few days, but then was fine.

    On the emotional distress, I'm not with you on this one jwang. SCR has said that she is depressed by the feeding and the baby is not leading the weaning. Sure, babies will eventually wean sometime before they become teenagers. But for SCR that could be in a week or in a year. She has said that it is upsetting her and she wants to do something now.

    Just my opinion, but if the nursing is causing mum problems, one cranky week (or so) where a toddler doesn't get what they want is not going to hurt them. Sometimes I think sites like kellymom and Dr Sears are helpful, and sometimes I just think that they help mums feel guilty where they shouldn't. These sites seem to be about 25% good medical advice and 75% ideology. I really object to them selling their idea of perfect parenting as being the only medically sound way to go. As I said, just my opinion

    SCR - of course speak to your Dr about the medical effects of what you are doing. But don't let anyone else tell you what is best for you and your baby. Only you know that.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    scr
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    Thanks.

    I have read whatever I can about weaning and just feel that the advice isn't helping my particular situation. One thing is definite...attachment parenting advocates mother-led weaning if mother is not happy about nursing. So in my case I don't want to wait for child-led weaning. It could be at the age of 4 for all I know. I'm not really looking forward to another 2 years of nursing !

    Went through what Dr.Sears says about weaning jwang. Not much different from what I've already read. Here are the points mentioned
    1.skip the least favourite meal first : My son has no fixed timings for nursing except for at sleeping time..now that's his favourite so has to be the last to go and will be the most difficult as jane pointed out.
    2.Minimise situations that induce breastfeeding: In my case sitting down reminds him. So I try to avoid that. When we are outdoors he doesn't ask to nurse but I couldn't possibly stay out all day !
    3.Use the don't offer, don't refuse : I obviously don't offer but if I don't refuse I could very well be nursing all day !
    4. Become a moving target : I am doing that but it is exhausting.
    5. Keep baby busy : His day is quite full..he even goes to school and loves to go. When he wants to nurse he just wants to.
    6.Set limits: I mentioned before..I do negotiate with him "just 2 mins, after a while" etc it works sometimes.
    7. Don't wean from you to object..ideally father should take on a bigger role : Daddy spends a lot of time with him. But frequent travel means he can't be consistent with bedtime routines. He knows daddy travels a lot so tends to cling on to me for security..understandable. he knows I'm always there for him.
    8.Expect breastfeeding to increase in times of illness : I've been very flexible that way. When he started school in august...nursing increased..as I knew it would. But now he's settled down in school. When he's ill I expect him to nurse more but he's rarely ill so that hasn't been much of a problem.

    so another question..how long before milk stops coming completely once child stops nursing ? One week or longer ? I've had my fair share of blocked ducts in the past 2 years and know how hellish that can be. So a little apprehensive about going cold turkey ! At the same time wondering if that's the only way for me.

    Sites like kellymom and dr.sears encourage child-led weaning but they assume you are trying to wean a child under the age of 1. There really isn't much out there for those trying to wean a toddler who is over 2 ! It may be just me but I think weaning an older child is harder. He doesn't forget as easily...has more tantrums for longer period consequently.

    Thought I might get some tips from someone who has been there. But anyway it feels good to talk about it on this forum

  7. #7
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    SCR - Yeah I'm not a Dr Sears fan either. It sounds like you are doing everything you can. This link to the Aust. B/F Assocn has some more tips for weaning toddlers, but not much more than you are already doing:

    http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/weaning.html

    I find them very helpful because their philosophy seems to be more about giving mum all the information they need, but supporting their decision.

    Other b/f organisations (and Dr Sears) can be quite dogmatic and try to sell you their ideology. Ugggghh I hate that. I think that more mums end up giving up because they can't live up to their lofty expectations of parenting that often just don't fit with mainstream parents. If they just gave a bit of sensible advice then supported mum's decision, I think more people would continue nursing for longer. Just my opinion.

    As I said, I'm certainly no expert. My daughter self weaned by cutting down gradually on the no. of feeds per day. She just refused to feed. When she cut out the final feed, I just felt a little full. I stopped producing milk completely within a couple of weeks.

    I would check this part out with your Dr. Good on you for nursing for so long. I would certainly be wanting to wean too, it's a personal choice.

    What is better for your son - a depressed mum or a cranky week or so whilst he gives up? I think you've already made the sensible choice.

  8. #8
    scr
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    Thanks Jane

    That link did give me a little more insight than other books/links I've seen. It does address weaning toddlers seperately. I'm already doing some of what they have mentioned but there are still some more things I can try. I am being realistic about how soon it should happen. I don't expect it to be all over in one week...I'm prepared to give it a couple of months. Let's see how things go. If all else fails when I go home on my next vacation..will enlist the help of family and go cold turkey !!

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