"Need to Stop Nursing & Need Help/Advice"

This is my 1st child...the little <3 of my life. I have been exculsively breastfeeding my son since he was born and he will be 17 months old this month. My son has never used a bottle and he stopped using his pacifier at 6 months old on his own. He has several teeth and eats solid foods for all of his meals. I am still nursing however to get him to sleep for naps and at bed time...and he still nurses for comfort, especially if he gets hurt.

I have been testing the waters as to how to stop nursing with him. I have tried giving him milk in a bottle (refuses). I have tried giving him milk in his sippy cup (which he has been using since 9 months) and he also refuses this. Not only does he refuse, but when I have attempted these tactics he gets angry and will throw them down and cry as he reaches to find my breast. I have also tried nursing him for a few minutes and then genltly taking him off and snuggling him to try to get him to sleep without nursing for the full amount of time he usually does. This also makes him angry and he will cry non-stop until I give in and give him my breast.

I am concerned about 3 main things: 1) His emotions- I don't want him to feel like I am rejecting him as I wean him off the breast. I am afraid he will feel hurt and not understand. 2) His age- my little bear is almost 17 months and I am afraid that I have waited too long to wean him off the breast. (People have made me feel like I am doing something wrong for nursing him this length of time, very critical of me). And I am afraid of continuing to nurse him longer than 18 months because it is only getting harder trying to wean him. 3) My pain- I know it will be painful as I stop nursing: the leaking, swelling...and all that b/c my friends have gone through it and shared with me. I don't know the best way to do this: cold turkey or gradually.

I hope that helpful mothers will respond to this post because I feel lost in the woods on this one. Thank you.

~Mommy Bear


Re: "Need to Stop Nursing &amp; Need Help/Advice"

  • First of all, do you want to wean? If the answer is no then don't. Your child will wean when he is ready! There is no cut off time when it is wrong to nurse-unless it is not working for you. There is no time when it will be impossible to wean-actually the opposite. The older your child is when you wean the easier it will be to explain the process.  Those others need to shove it.

    If you do want to wean there are some great suggestions on how to do so gently here:


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  • You do it slowly.  If you've been nursing for 17 months, it will probably take several months to wean.  But you don't have to push to wean right now, right this minute.

    Normal age of self-weaning is 2-5 years across the world.  Most US babies are weaned before age 2, so it's harder to find kindred spirits.  You may have luck on the attachment parenting board to find some women who are going thru this the same time as you.

    Offer a sipper cup of milk, watered down juice or just juice every meal.  I had better luck with success of drinking certain liquids with a straw sipper cup or just a straw cup.

    start nightime routines, trying to move nursing a bit earlier in the routine every month.  Make sure the routine is about the same every night, and is a bit longer and drawn out than you may need so they are pretty tired by the time it's over--so it's nurse, snack, bath, pj's, brush teeth, rock, books, prayers, sing songs, nurse again for a bit.  when almost asleep try stopping the nursing and just rocking and holding and singing songs to finish up the all the way to sleep part or putting in crib for pat the bum or whatever is closest to working for your child.  be patient.


    I nursed mine for 22 and 29 months.  weaning was sad and emotional even at that point.  Both of mine stopped taking daytime naps when I weaned them from nursing to sleep from naps.  in many ways, I wished I hadn't weaned them from nursing to sleep for naps cause man, having little guys that don't nap is really HARD.  although one was easier to give up the night nursing because he'd get really tired and conk out without nursing.  and the other was a bugger to wean from night nursing.

    there is helpful advice I believe in the no cry sleep solution book that may apply.

    advice for nursing thru the day is don't offer but don't refuse.  at least at first.  then it's don't offer, don't refuse but distract and change the subject if you can.  and then a bit of never sit in your nursing chair, wear restrictive clothing, and don't sit down with a side of go and do a lot of things for a couple weeks so you and he are always on the go and too busy to sit and nurse much.  ;)



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  • I unfortunately have never breastfed (yet!) so I don't have much advice to give. I am responding more to praise you and say I admire your resolve and dedication. There aren't a lot of moms who still breastfeed long term and as one of three kids who was breastfed past two years old I commend you for sticking with it. I do agree with the idea that your child will wean himself when he is ready and that if you aren't ready to wean, then don't. I think it will actually get easier as he gets older as he will probably nurse less and less with the introduction of new foods, things to do, etc. I also agree with doing it gradually. You don't want to distress your son or your body. Good luck! 


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