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Weaning Toddlers From Breastfeeding

breastfeeding toddler

If you want to wean your toddler you’ll have more success if you go slowly, changing your child’s routine gradually over weeks or months. Even if toddlers are still having quite a few breastfeeds every day, this is only a small part of the nourishment they’re getting from other foods and drinks.

  • Gradual weaning tends to work best.
  • Give your toddler something interesting to do when she’d normally be feeding.
  • Break the link between feeding and sleep.

Because the end of breastfeeding is a significant change for a toddler, avoid weaning when other major changes (such as toilet training, starting child care or moving house) are taking place.

Here are some different ideas for how to go about the weaning process. Start with the one that you think will suit your toddler best; use a few if that suits you both.

  • ‘Never offer but never refuse’ is a good way to start the weaning process.
  • Introduce a few limits, such as not breastfeeding when you’re out, or only feeding after lunch during the day.
  • Remove breastfeeds one at a time, taking weeks (at least) before you drop the next one. It will also be easier on your breasts, which may become engorged if you stop suddenly.
  • Introduce lots of activities and outings into your daily routine so that your toddler is too busy and distracted to think about breastfeeding.
  • Replace breastfeeds with novel snacks, or provide drinks with a straw. An exotic drink at a café when you’d normally be at home having a breastfeed is likely to be greeted with enthusiasm.
  • ‘Out of sight, out of mind’: this principle can also work well. Perhaps leave her with someone she’s comfortable with at those times when she would normally have a breastfeed, as she will be less likely to miss it if you’re not around.
  • Try to organise for her dad or someone else to settle her with a cup of milk or water if she wakes for a breastfeed at night.
  • Try to avoid dressing and undressing while your toddler is around, and wear clothes that keep your breasts out of sight.

If your toddler is breastfeeding only before bedtime at night and when she wakes in the morning, it’s a good idea to stop the night feed first. Again, distractions such as a sleepover at her grandparents, or someone else reading her stories, can help to break the old routine. If your toddler is used to being fed to sleep this will be tricky. You can break the association between breastfeeding and sleep by feeding in another room, and by not feeding just before bed. Give lots of cuddles at bedtime to compensate for the usual breastfeed.

If you decide to stop the early morning feed, try to be dressed before your toddler wakes up and then distract her with a cup of milk and breakfast.

This article was reproduced under licence from the Raising Children Network.

 

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Jan 06, 2011 | Category: Breastfeeding, Raising a Green Baby | Comments: none | Tags: , , ,

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