Weaning a Boob-Obsessed Toddler — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Weaning a Boob-Obsessed Toddler

Hi Ladies!  My question is for those of you who have breastfed your toddler and then dealt with weaning.  My daughter is almost 19 months and addicted to the boob.  Shortly after 12 months we had a few days where she only nursed a few times and I was real excited.  Then she went back to wanting to nurse throughout the day.  I have loved nursing and did not anticipate how much I would like it.  I am incredibly thankful it's gone well for me.  I'm happy to continue nursing in the morning and at bedtime, but throughout the day can get frustrating.  I know she does it for comfort, but she wants it when it's just us at home, not only when she's stressed.  Currently she nurses at least 6-8 times a day, including morning and night (just at bedtime, she sleeps through the night).  I've read that weaning is a lot easier with a willing child, so I've sorta been waiting to for that to happen.  I've tried wearing clothes that make the boobs less accessible.  She will often pull on my clothes so much I'm afraid she will rip them.  And I've definitely tried distractions.  To make things a little interesting, I'm actually 12 weeks pregnant now.  I had thought maybe a decrease in supply would lessen her interest, but now she just nurses on both sides each session instead of one.  If you've gone through something similar, I'd love your encouragement and suggestions!

Re: Weaning a Boob-Obsessed Toddler

  • I'm looking to wean my 14 month old now.  I work full time, so he only nurses morning and night, but he starts asking for it as soon as he wakes up or we start our bedtime ritual.  I tried skipping the morning nursing session last weekend, but he pitched such a fit that DH guilted me into giving in.  I told him this weekend we're doing it even if I have to stay with my parents for the weekend so nursing isn't an option.  I hope it doesn't come to that, but I don't know of any way to make this easier.  Hopefully someone has some advice
  • Thanks, Nackie.  I know morning and night are usually the last sessions to go, so good luck!

    I wanted to post because I tried something new yesterday and it worked!!  I was reading in Janet Lansbury's book "No Bad Kids" about discipline and how to talk to young toddlers.  When it comes to discipline I think I've used "please" a little too much.  At this stage, my daughter just needs firm directions.  Yesterday, after we nursed first thing in the morning, I got showered and ready for the day and then came downstairs where my husband was with our daughter.  Tatum immediately wanted to nurse again (after already nursing for 20 minutes).  I said "I won't nurse you right now, it is time for breakfast".  I may have had to repeat that a few times, but she ended up throwing a massive tantrum where she ran around the house crying.  Eventually she calmed down and she said in the highchair and ate!  We had an OB appointment right after and then I ran an errand.  When we got home it was time for her nap, and I was ok with nursing her then.  In the afternoon there were a few times she asked to nurse, and each time I said "I can't/won't nurse you right now, you may have some milk/water/snack".  It worked!  I'm still shocked that it worked.  Yesterday we nursed 3 times total, including wake up and bedtime.  So far today I have denied her a few times and she did tantrum when I said no the first time and then daddy wouldn't let her grab 25 spoons to eat with.

    Interestingly, Lansbury also says that using distractions to get your kids to cooperate isn't good because it doesn't teach the kid that a certain behavior is not ok, and if a behavior annoys us we need to properly teach them not to do it.  I thought this was funny since "distraction" is one of the biggest things suggested when it comes to weaning.  It's worked a little bit in the past, but usually not for more than 15 minutes.  I think Lansbury (and others) suggest the "connect and redirect" approach, where you say "I know you're angry, but it is not time to nurse (or whatever).  You may do this instead."

    I'm only a day and a half into this, so who knows.  I'm thrilled to have seen some progress and feel more in control.
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  • So far we're on day three of no nursing in the morning.  DH gets up when he wakes up and takes him straight down to breakfast.  I hide in the bedroom so nursing doesn't occur to him until after eating and then he's much more OK with being told no.
  • I weaned DS at 19 months when I was 18 weeks pregnant. I actually did it cold turkey which can be rough, but your child should understand and respect your limits, so stay strong! Before weaning, DS would feed before bed, most mornings and 4-6x/day on weekends and holidays when I was home with him. I stopped BF'ing because my boobs were getting too sore from being KU and it was getting annoying having him pull at my clothes and expose me in public or cry/fuss about it.

    Not going to lie, it was hard the first few days with weaning, but use your partner to keep LO distracted during times you usually feed. Also, it really helped for me to hold DS close to me and show him love and hugs that way he knew we could still have that closeness and bond without the BF'ing aspect. 

    Me: 31
         DH: 34
    Married 11/09/2013
    LO#1: LMP 09/14/2014  BFP 10/15/2014  EDD 06/24/2015  DS Born 06/14/2015
    LO#2: LMP 09/18/2016  BFP 10/19/2016  EDD 06/27/2017 DD Born 06/27/2017
    LO#3: LMP 05/16/2018  BFP 06/18/2018  EDD 02/20/2019

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