Breastfeeding Nathan for 18 months was one of my biggest accomplishments and something I am so proud of. It’s been almost two weeks since we officially stopped, and I feel like we are over the hump.
Wean when YOU and baby are ready. Not when society or family or anyone else thinks you should. This is your choice! A few months ago I had a breakdown from not being ready to wean, but by 18 months I was ready. There are so many benefits to extended breastfeeding and the World Health Organization actually recommends breastfeeding until the age of two! I would have continued if I felt that I had any sort of supply. But again, it’s a personal choice!
Here are five tips for weaning your toddler:
Figure out if you are truly ready. I started having discomfort when Nate was nursing because he was sucking so hard, and nothing would come out. He would pull on my shirt and get extremely frustrated. I knew it was time.
Once you decide you are ready – pick a method. Some of them include…don’t offer, don’t refuse. Cold turkey. Gradual. It’s all about what you feel comfortable with.
Give yourself time and grace. Remember that there will be tears. From you and your weaning child. It’s totally normal! It’s such a strong bond created that it can be hard to break this time that they are used to. Give extra cuddles and love. Try and stay busy those first few days, especially during times they are used to nursing.
Utilize help and your spouse to really takeover on typical nursing times. For bedtime I had my husband completely takeover so that I was not involved and it truly helped.
Remember the physical aspects of weaning. I wasn’t producing much anymore anyway, but I still used diluted peppermint essential oil around my chest to make sure I didn’t get any bad side effects from weaning. If you’re still producing a lot, you may want to take the process a little slower and use cabbage leaves, peppermint tea and oil to help you along!
I thought I would also mention, Nathan was never into milk alternatives. We tried ALL of them. He has issues with dairy – so we tried Ripple, oat milk, almond, etc. and he didn’t care for any of them. I just make sure he eats a balanced diet to make up for it.
If you’re going through weaning your toddler, my thoughts are with you. It can be hard, but once your heart is ready it’ll be much easier. It was a few hard days, but now Nathan doesn’t pull on my shirt or ask anymore. It’s all so bittersweet, but 18 months I’ll cherish forever!
Let me know below in the comments any tips you have for weaning or your story of weaning. We’re all in this together mama friends!