Monday, February 25, 2013

Weaning 2.0

After thinking about it and wondering about and worrying about... I'm suddenly there. I've arrived. I'm ready to wean.

It's funny how it was very sudden -- all of the sudden I was just over it.

I had originally, pre-baby, thought I might go as long as two years old but... the romance is over.

Calliope's growing well, if still on the skinnier side -- 20 pounds, 6 ounces and just over 32 inches tall at 18 months -- but she's eating a decent amount and anyway, I'm not convinced that breastfeeding is adding any calories. Probably she would make up the difference with solid food if she wasn't nursing.

So. The challenge now is that my increasingly opinionated toddler -- like, seriously, in the last week, she's becoming way more hard headed about pretty much everything -- is very attached to her neh neh's.

Right now I'm trying very hard to limit it to just twice a day. Up until now, it was supposed to be twice a day, but was more often three times a day (morning, bedtime, and right when I got home) and sometimes four times a day (on weekends -- before nap and late afternoon as well as morning and night). So now I've got a whole bag of tricks up my sleeve to distract her.

Someone on the SMC Forum gave me the following pearl, "Don't ever say 'no' to nursing. Say yes, but right after we do x. And then conveniently forget." This is brilliant advice. Saying no to her request is sure to cause melodramatic wails expressing pure heartbreak. Saying "yes, after" works much better, and at least half the time, she does get distracted. On Friday, I had a new toy for her (coincidentally). Today, the nanny had a couple of crackers at the ready. 

I'm hoping that if we can get through an entire seven day period without that late afternoon nursing, I can heave a sigh of relief and stop being quite so nervous about that habit being broken. 

Then I will have to figure out which to tackle next, morning or evening. I'm thinking morning, because I reckon I could scoop her out and rush her into the kitchen to find a banana. Maybe that would be distraction enough? I tried it once, a couple of weeks ago, and it was pretty much an epic failure, but I reckon I have to keep trying.

Do you have any brilliant suggestions? I'd love to hear them!

ETA: I just googled "weaning a toddler" and all the suggestions seemed awful. Everything from "paint your nipples with lemon or vinegar and your toddler won't want to nurse anymore" to "can't you just let your toddler wean herself when she's ready?"

It seems terribly unfair that BOTH alternatives -- weaning or not -- bummed me out.

Ugh. Have I just lost all the ground I had gained?


  1. I could never conveniently forget. J doesn't forget and would never let me. I had an easy time telling him that we would nurse but just at a certain time. He knows nap time (when he took one) then bed time and now its just shorter at bedtime. And yep always with distractions.

  2. I envy you. I am just not at the point where I am ready to stop breast feeding and I will need to if I stand any real chance of getting pregnant again!

  3. I just weaned my daughter (20 mo) over the past two weeks.

    Not sure how universal these tips are, but here is the process that has worked for me:
    * slowly cut down to 1 feeding per day prior to the full-on weaning (we had been at 2/day, + more on weekends, so I did exactly as you are thinking and first just toed the line at keeping to 2/day on the weekend days, then slowly took it down to 1/day all the time)
    * distractions, distractions, distractions! Mostly used food substitutes...For Millie, it was a first thing in the AM bottle, and then her oatmeal, and in the PM when I pick her up from school i have some snacks I know she likes at the ready
    * Lots of comfort and loving and was very hard for me to see her being so sad a couple of times when I think it really sunk it that saying "nurse" wasn't going to bring what she wanted anymore.
    * The main thing for me was being very clear when my last time to nurse was, really acknowledging that and feeling that loss, and then being very firm that no matter what, we weren't going backwards.
    * She is doing great with it, but still asks "nurse?" in tired/hungry moments. I think it'll be another few weeks before we're all done with the double-checking.

    I hope that helps you! Good luck.


  4. Annelise weaned herself. My milk was getting low and one day she just refused. And that was that. Of course she switched to a bottle and I haven't even attempted to take that away yet. We're down to one 8 oz bottle first thing in the morning while we cuddle in bed. I figure I would still be nursing her if I was able so I'll let her have this a little while longer. In the summer a morning routine will change because she won't be in school and I figure that's a good time to transition away from that.

  5. Good luck Abby! I found weaning to be much, much easier than I had anticipated --both Rowan wanting to nurse and my body readjusting. I hope you find that Calliope is ready too!

  6. I don't have any great advice. But, I will say that weaning my kids was always harder on me than it seemed on them. They seemed to get over it in like a day. Seriously. So, my only advice would be that if you are ready, your child will probably be just fine!! And paint your nipples??!!! Now that's just taking it too far. -Meredith