09 May 5 Tips for Weaning A Toddler
5 Tips for Weaning A Toddler
My 16.5 month old and I both love breastfeeding. The bonding, the special quiet moments together, the nutritional value, the benefits for me, the list of your typical reasons are nothing new. I could go on and on, but most of all, it worked for us.
We recently came to a point where I knew it was time to start weaning him off. Not only was he constantly trying to rip my shirt off, but a couple weeks ago I caught a nasty stomach bug, and that was the day I realized how much of a toll it was taking on my body.
I lost 5 lbs in a 24 hour period from this bug. I couldn’t even keep water down, yet I had to continue to nurse my son whenever he asked for it. We were in a vicious “don’t offer, don’t refuse” cycle, and I didn’t know how to get out.
Here are some tips that worked for us:
- Substitution: we were nursing 3 times per day when I started weaning. Once in the morning, once when I got home from work at 5pm and again before bed. The first one I want to remove was the 5pm feeding. I started by having my nanny feed him 8oz of sweetened almond milk at 4:30pm in a bottle so that when I got home he was satisfied. It worked.
- Make it a Treat: My son was already used to unsweetened almond milk in a sippy cup every day, so to make it something special we added a tsp of honey. He loves it! The key is to replace with something sweet that they haven’t had before, it will keep them asking for more! For the morning feeding, I leave a bottle in his crib and he drinks it as soon as he wakes up. He has a newfound love for lemon slices, so I added those to his usual breakfast fruit bowl and he is so excited about the lemon that he forgets all about nursing in the morning now. I offer it to him as soon as I get him out of the crib and change him.
- Change up the routine: sit somewhere different in the living room, take him outside to play when I get home at 5pm, or have daddy put him to bed. Anything you can do to change up the usual routine will help to kick the habit. I think of it as any habit adults have to kick, and changing up the routine always helps.
- Distraction: toddlers are very easily distracted. Every time he asks for “mimi” I offer him the bottle. If he doesn’t want it I don’t push it on him. The last thing I want is him to boycott the bottle because I forced it on him when he didn’t want it. So at times like these I distract him. Read him a book or put him in the swing outside. Once he is into the next thing he’s fine…at least for a while.
- If All Else Fails, Just Nurse: seems like lame advice, but this is not a cold turkey weaning. If nothing seems to work, I give in. We are down to 1 to 2 feedings a day after only 9 days and I’ve given myself a month timeline to wean him. He may only want it for a minute, but he’s at the age where he knows what he wants when he wants it and sometimes all the distractions in the world just don’t work.
This is the closing of a new chapter and will take time. If none of these tips works for you, don’t give up. Take couple weeks off of trying, and then start again.
If you’ve successfully weaned your baby or toddler, what were your tips and tricks?
(post by Blogging Babe: Karen Knowles)