Any advice on toddler weaning?

iris427iris427 Registered Users Posts: 6,002
I am ready to wean. I am just tired of nursing and I want my breasts to myself. Unfortunately, she is not tired of it. She loves nursing and still nurses many times a day (mostly just little snacks or for comfort). I wanted to do the whole baby-led/gentle weaning thing, but the baby-led part doesn't seem to be happening.

I am trying to offer her a drink or snacks when she asks to nurse, or to distract her with an activity, but is only working some of the time. Sometimes if I ask her to let go, she will, but a lot of the time she will just go back to pawing at my shirt 5 minutes later. I am home with her all day and my husband works 12 hour shifts, so he is not around a lot to help out during this process.

Does anyone have tips on weaning a reluctant toddler?


  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Registered Users Posts: 31,259 Curl Connoisseur
    I think you have to be very firm and tell her she only gets nursies at night-night time, and then put her in the crib after every nursing to reinforce your "rule". Pretty soon she'll figure out that she doesn't want to take a nap every time she wants nursie and she'll ask for it less and less.

    Of course, this will only work if she's trained to sleep in a crib from an awake state. If you co-sleep, or are in the habit of lying her down only when she's fully asleep, you might be out of luck with that approach and just have to find a different activity to attach nursing to (dinnertime only?).

    Be strong. Toddlers are master manipulators and can be petty demanding, but she really will get over it.
  • webjockeywebjockey Registered Users Posts: 2,786
    I treat it like special snacks. He gets it when I feel up to it. It's a once a day thing either in the morning or when I come home from work. On the weekends when I'm around more, I'll play it by ear, but no more than 3x a day.

    I don't do it before bed because he'll never let up and the tiredness makes him extra cranky/needy. I don't treat it as a substitute for milk or juice mostly because I know he's doing it for comfort. If he asks for it, I'll tell him yes or no.
  • AmnerisAmneris Registered Users Posts: 15,117
    J self-weaned when he was just about 3, so maybe if you give her a few months she'll come to it on her own. (I am not usually with him all day however, so he was already used to that.) It was very painless with him - he just decided one day he was "too big" and stopped.

    I think if he hadn't done that, I would have tried RCW's way.
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali



  • SigiSigi Registered Users Posts: 2,379
    I'm going through this with Soren right now. When he asks for nu-nu, I tell him "not right now" and I get him his sippy cup (he doesn't always take it though). I think me getting up and moving away from him helps rather than sitting there and trying to swat him off me.

    Mostly, he wants it before sleep and when he wakes up. So I'll nurse him before he goes to bed, and when he wakes up in the morning. I'll nurse him for his nap if he asks, but not when he wakes up from it. He night wakes one time and I nurse him then too.

    I weaned my 2nd son a week before his 3rd bday because I was getting tired of nursing him. I pretty much had to make him go cold turkey. I told him that nursie-nursie was all gone and when he cried, I rubbed his back. It took less than a week, but I think it's because he understood that there's no milk for him anymore.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Registered Users Posts: 5,656
    If I decided to initiate weaning, I'd probably start out with the "don't offer, don't refuse" approach. Don't offer to nurse, ever, even if she hurts herself and that's how you'd normally comfort her. Pick her up and hold her, but don't offer to nurse. If she asks, don't refuse. In order to get her to ask less, I'd start with redirection/distraction. If I can sense that Solomon's going to ask to nurse soon but I don't want to for whatever reason, I'll distract him with something else exciting BEFORE he asks. If I wait until he's asked, it's too late.

    A friend of mine established a special nursing chair, and every time her daughter wanted to nurse they had to go to the chair. Sometimes the daughter would be too consumed with playing that she'd decide not to bother if it meant she had to get up and go someplace else.

    Another woman I know always held a glass of water/drink for herself while she nursed, and eventually her babies/toddlers would reach for the glass and want that instead of nursing. This would never work with Solomon, but I already can't drink while I nurse Abram because he tries to reach for my cup (he's only 8.5 months and while I don't mind sharing my smoothies with him, they can't replace breastmilk at this age).

    Sigi's suggestion of getting up and moving when you say no is a great one. I can't imagine the battle that would ensue if I told Sol no but then stayed within arms' reach.

    Lastly, I'd offer frequent snacks/drinks, so you're certain she's asking out of comfort/habit and not out of genuine hunger or thirst.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • geekygeeky Registered Users Posts: 4,995
    I think Nadia and Iris are pretty close in age.

    My situation was a little different because I work outside the home. After age 2 she had a few overnights without me and did not ask for milk, and was also used to being put to bed by my husband once a week while I was out. But still very into it whenever I was around.
    First, I decided that she would only get milk at bedtime and first thing in the morning. I reminded her of the rule whenever she asked at another time and I would definitely have to get up and move someplace else and initiate an activity or offer a snack (or tickle her).

    Then when she was 27 months I went away on a trip for 6 days. She still wanted milk when I came back but my supply definntely dropped. One day I'd just had enough. I told her milk was all gone, she drank it all up, and offered her a mix of cow milk and soy milk in her Dora straw cup (she liked drinking cow milk and soy milk already and loved her Dora cup). For a few days she asked for milk and got a little upset but I reminded her it was all gone and she took the cup. After a few days she started just asking for the cup.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.

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