how to wean a toddler and stop breastfeeding - experiences with my 2-year-old - mom's blog

How to wean a toddler and stop breastfeeding? – My experiences with our 2-year-old

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Do you also love real stories of real mothers, stories which can help others, give advice or show that different situations are normal? Without adding below the story a forum for mutual attacks of opposite motherhood options? Well, for today I have the topic of how to wean a toddler who do not want to stop breastfeeding.

Weaning a two-year-old – my story

Because the Younger is not my first child, and I was already tired because of months of breastfeeding his brother, I wanted to wean the Younger when he was one year old. He was not ready for it, but I would very much like it then. I was tired of it. I was tired of everything. Among other things, the sleepless nights were so difficult (between the first night when the Older slept well and the next pregnancy with getting up to pee in the night I had maybe a month of sleeping normally through the night). Tired of the fact that I am the person who is always needed, I can not freely give my child to my husband or parents.
But it failed. The younger Son was stronger than us and he was able to scream longer, being carried on our hands than we could bear carrying him and listening to shouting.

And so I weaned him every month. But actually I gave up thinking of carrying him at night.

Three times, I even tried to give him formula milk and replace breastfeeding with it, although I’m absolutely not an advocate of formula. But he didn’t let me to solve it this way.

When he was about a year and a half I managed to teach him to fall asleep without breastfeeding. For the night sleep and for naps. How did I teach him? One day before the nap, I lay down with him on the bed, on my stomach, in clothes covering me up to my neck and he could rebel as much as he wanted. I could cuddle, stroke him, sing. Already after two or three times he knew he was falling asleep without a breast and he was falling asleep! I still fed him when he woke up at night (maaaaany times).

And with time, unfortunately, I returned to breastfeeding him before a nap, to fall asleep for the night, for some time I even came back to feeding him whenever he wanted during the day. Why? Because of mother’s fatigue. I was choosing the easiest solutions, if they work, they calm down, they help my baby to fall asleep.

It happens that you do not have strength. It can be like that. It happens. It can happen. It’s normal.

So he was one and a half years – the age in which I weaned the Older Son.

Then the second birthday…

And my husband and I knew that we were not ready to carry a stubborn child at night, to bear the scream and tear that would accompany us after weaning until the Son got used to the new rules.

Build systems and step by step achieve your goals, even as an initially overwhelmed and tired mom.

The breakthrough in our weaning journey

And one evening, as usual, I breastfeed the Younger to sleep. I took the phone with me, I was texting with my husband, I read something. After a long time, still feeding him, I looked at the clock. And I looked at the time when I sent a message that I remembered that I was writing when I was already breastfeeding the Younger. It was 40 minutes ago, and he was still sucking and not letting me go away! I left the Boys’ room after 50 minutes of breastfeeding.

And that was this moment. I realized. 50 minutes a day every day, not to mention breastfeeding before a nap and after waking up from a nap, and after waking up from a nap after a nap…

And it was probably the last breastfeeding.

From the following day, for naps and nights, I was carrying him, singing or we were listening to Brahms’s lullaby. Not without rebellion. Not without wrestling, shouting, crying. Not without asking for breasts, because I unnecessarily taught him that word.

During days and for the nights I dressed up unprovoking 😉 Which means, a sports bra that has survived since the times even before the Older Son. I did not find much tops covered up to the neck in the wardrobe of a mother who was nursing for so long.

Somehow we survived helping him to fall asleep and carrying the Son after the nightly wake-ups. I had to be brave because I was already conscious of these 50 minutes…

How is it after weaning?

After a few days, the Younger Son got used to the new situation. I could even carry him less and less. I began to hold him in my arms, rocking, while sitting or stroke him and cradle him delicately as he lay. After a few (maybe more?) days, I had the first night without waking up in almost five years (not counting the month mentioned above)!

The Older Son, after weaning, almost immediately began to sleep through the night or wander to us in the morning and lie down with us without engaging us.

The Younger Son still, after less than a month since the last feeding, can wake up screaming at night. Usually, stroking, singing or lying down with him is enough. (However, I would prefer to sleep though the nights, please).

And how does the mother feel?

Excellently!

A huge plus is the absolute lack of breast ailments. I do not count light ache I had for one day, because compared to how my body teased me when I left my Older Son, it was nothing. After weaning the Older, I had big, full of milk breasts, painful (and I still were holding him and carrying him to sleep!), I had to shower several times a day, put on cabbage leaves to feel some relief, and I felt bad.

It was extreme, but it passed quickly. Ten days? Two weeks maybe? I remember that beautiful day when I woke up and did not have tits. They disappeared, the milk went away one night. Such lightness, such a relief!

Now it is different. Nothing hurts, but after almost a month I still have milk and I do not yet have that divine feeling of not having breasts. I am waiting. I hope it will not be months, how many mothers report. (Update: after more than half a year I still have milk in my breasts).

Anyway, I already gained a lot of freedom:

  • I’m not the only person who can put my kid to sleep.
  • Nobody looks at me suggestively. I know that Son’s love is about love, not about the breast.
  • Well, I can get dressed up to my neck. I got used to wearing tops allowing access to my breasts, that’s true, but I have at least one dress without the easy access and now I wearing it day after day after day.
  • It is also a relief that in the case of trips, family gatherings, and other emotions, the rest of the family will not propose, give him the breast, as a quick solution to Son’s weaker humor or irritation.

I needed it 🙂 And the Son slowly learns other forms of soothing when he needs it.

Do you feel stressed and overwhelmed as a mom and homemaker? I did. What helped me to structure my days and build systems and strategies such as for weaning, teaching the Older to ride a bike on two wheels, keeping toys and kids’ clothes uncluttered or planning family trips which the adults enjoy, too, is planning. Knowing my priorities and our family goals, breaking them down to smaller tasks and planning my weeks based on this.

The main help on this way from a stressed, (not so) free spirit to the organized and satisfied woman which I’m becoming, is Phylicia Masonheimer and her course Driven Women. Grace Based Productivity for Christians. For a limited time, this course, which normally costs $120.54, can be bought together with 44 other resources (ebooks, ecourses, videos, printables and even planners), for only $49.97. Details are here and here.

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