How To Wean Or Stop Breastfeeding a Toddler

You must be appreciated about the fact that you so successfully breastfed your infant all through those difficult times and now have entered into the toddler years. That is a feat that should make you feel proud as prolonged breastfeeding takes plenty of dedication and devotion on part of a mother.

But now you feel that your baby is older and you should put a stop to breastfeeding. How can you accomplish it?

Toddlers are known for throwing tantrums every now and then and their relentless attitude when it comes to doing what they want to do. So, it is probable that you are anticipating the weaning process to be filled with lots of crying and tantrums.

Fortunately, it is possible to stop breastfeeding your kid without creating a drama. Let’s see how to do it!

Things to know before you stop nursing your child

Before you initiate the actual weaning process, there are a few things that you need to be aware of regarding your child’s diet, factors relevant to a toddler’s developmental stage and the physical ramifications of weaning on your own body.

Effects of weaning of the child’s diet

Diet is the primary thing that you should be worried about before initiating the process of weaning. It is not possible to determine the amount of nutrition that he or she is extracting from you regularly as some mommies may be producing nothing while others may be producing quite a lot of milk.

Having said that, you should ensure that you are able to give your child tons of additional calories throughout a day when trying to stop breastfeed him or her. According to experts, prolonged nursing provides a toddler with lots of calories, fats and nutrients. As you stop breastfeeding your baby, you need to ensure that the nutrition he was getting via your milk is supplemented via the diet that you are going to offer in replacement of your own milk.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that you become fussed about monitoring your child’s food intake. Toddlers do not consume the same quantity of food on daily basis. On some days, it would seem that they had consumed nothing while on other days, they could have eaten as much as a fully grown adult. Keep in mind that this variation in consumption of food is a norm and not an aberration and you should not expect your toddler to sit down like adults and have a well-balanced meal each and every time he or she feels hungry.

As a matter of fact, your emphasis should be on a balanced nutritional week. Children tend to have wonderful bodies and they will eat what they need. You simply need to ensure that you put a wide array of foods at their disposal regularly and they will decide whether they want to eat it and how much they want to eat it.

Implications of weaning on the child’s development

According to experts, when it comes to toddlers, routines and rituals tend to create a sense of security and anticipating as they go through the day. For your breastfed toddler, nursing must have become a part of the daily routine and is essential to their sense of security.

Therefore, it is imperative that as you make an attempt to stop breastfeeding, you need to find out a compatible alternative to strengthen their sense of security after nursing has been taken away from them. This can be accomplished by a replacement for breastfeeding. The substitute can be either oral or a comforting activity. Here are a few ideas about the replacement:

  • Offer them milk in a unique and versatile sippy cup that they picked out themselves.
  • If your child has been using a binky, then it could be a pretty good substitute. However, do not think of introducing a pacifier to your child at this stage of his development
  • Offer him a bottle of water
  • Read him a story
  • Make him listen to comforting music
  • Snuggle him for a few minutes

When you have dropped certain breastfeeding sessions or stop breastfeeding altogether, and your baby asks to be breastfed, offer him a replacement. You are acquainted with your child’s proclivities so choose something that they will be entertained and soothed with.

According to researches, distracting a child can also come in handy at this point in time. This means that when your child is ready to throw a tantrum at not being breastfed, distracting him via a suitable alternative can be a pretty handy way to pacify him.

Physical ramifications on your own body

As you stop nursing your child, keep in mind that while it will put strain on your baby. Similarly, it will also put strain on your own body. By now, your breasts have transformed into a well-organized factory producing milk for your toddler on a regular basis. As the milk is consumed from your breasts by the child, more is supplied to meet the demand.

As you reduce the duration and frequency of your breastfeeding sessions, your body will react to this change and will start producing lesser milk. Having said that, weaning all of a sudden can result in breast inflammation, choked milk ducts which can hurt you a great deal and mastitis if they get infected.

Here are the symptoms that you might come across in case of choked or clogged milk ducts:

  • A tiny or hard spot in the breast
  • Inflammation or bruising
  • Breast tenderness in a localized region
  • A hot sensation in the breast region

If you have a choked milk duct, massage it and try to get the milk out, compress it using a warm cloth and continue to nurse from that side until the clogged duct has been relieved.

If the situation prevails and the following symptoms begin to appear, then it might have transformed into mastitis and you need to contact your physician. Remember, this is an infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.

  • Fever
  • Pus being discharged from the breasts
  • Chills
  • Flu
  • Feeling sick

How to stop nursing your toddler

Now that we have discussed all the scientific facts related to weaning a toddler, here are a few tips that you can employ to stop a toddler from being breastfed.

1 – Stay dedicated despite what it takes

The first step is for the mother alone. Keep in mind that weaning will certainly get rid of the physical exhaustion that you have to go through every time you nurse your baby, it can also turn out to be an unanticipated sentimental journey for you as soon as the reality dawns upon you that the moments of profound physical connection with your baby are reaching their closure.

Get yourself ready and make your mind up that you are committed to accomplish it. If you initiate the process of weaning and then yield, it could be harder the next time you make an attempt to wean your toddler. So, beware!

2 – Interact with your toddler

By the time your child has become a toddler, he can comprehend a number of things. And if they are slowly heading towards pre-school years, then they can be talked to in a logical manner.

Discuss with your child that how breastfeeding is meant for little babies as they are growing up and on their way to becoming bigger kids. Let them know that a time is fast approaching when they will not be able to get breastfed and they will have to live with it.

3 – No on-demand breastfeeding

The relationship between every mother and child varies. By now, a number of toddlers will have got acquainted with a set pattern and will expect to be breastfed according to a configured routine (probably after getting up from sleep, before taking a nap and at bedtime).

Having said that, if this is not the situation in your home and you nurse your child irregularly on his or her request, it is the time to put an end to this practice.

If your toddler asks you to be breastfed on occasions that you consider other than normal, gently tell them that it is not possible any more. However, offer them a replacement that you think will be able to appease them and reassure them that they will be breastfed when it is time to take a nap.

4 – Reduce the duration of breastfeeding sessions

Your body will not be producing large amounts of milk by now. However, weaning your toddler gradually is a handy idea both to ensure that your baby can handle it well emotionally as well as your body is able to take it well physically.

Keep in mind that based on how much milk is produced by your body, it needs to slowly reduce the production of milk to prevent inflammation, irritation and clogged milk ducts.

Start reducing your breastfeeding sessions by one minute per day until you achieve a scenario where your toddler feeds for no more than three minutes per session. If your child show displeasure at the premature closure of the nursing session, offer him a replacement that you feel would placate him or her.

5 – Drop breastfeeding sessions gradually

Start dropping your breastfeeding sessions one by one. Drop one breastfeeding session per week to allow both your toddler and your body to get accustomed to it. This step depends on an individual mother. While some mothers may still be breastfeeding their child five times a day and others only twice a day. There is no certain rule about it!

Typically, the breastfeeding session at bedtime is the most difficult to let go off since children utilize it to get comforted before they venture off into the dreamland. Drop this session at the very end of the weaning process.

If your child insists on being breastfed at a time when you have already dropped off that nursing session, offer them a replacement.

Be relentless and do not yield to your child’s fussing since that will strengthen a feeling in their mind that pleading is effective. This will make things a more difficult the next time you try to wean your baby.

6 – Get help from your spouse

When you are ready to drop off your final breastfeeding sessions, it is time to get some help from your spouse. Ask your spouse to help you make the toddler go to sleep. A number of toddler won’t even remember breastfeeding if they do not find their mommies around them.

Ensure that your spouse is also willing to wean your toddler and won’t give in to the child’s pleading. Moreover, they should also be acquainted with the replacements that are to be offered to the toddler in case they ask to be breastfed.

The Upshot

Here is a gist of the steps that you need to take in order to successfully wean your toddler:

1 – Stay dedicated despite what it takes

2 – Interact with your toddler

3 – No on-demand breastfeeding

4 – Reduce the duration of breastfeeding sessions

5 – Drop breastfeeding sessions gradually

6 – Get help from your spouse

Stopping a toddler from nursing seems to be intimidating but it really is not. If you adopt a formidable strategy to wean your toddler by doing it slowly and offering a placating alternative to your toddler, you can make things easier for yourself and the baby.

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