Q: Reader Kshirja Rohan Naik writes:
Hi, I’m a mother of a two year old boy. I am still breastfeeding and I want to stop. We co-sleep and he has milk through the night. Please give me some advice on how I can stop.
A: This is such a common question! Let’s dive right in and I’m sure a lot of readers will identify with your struggle.
What you can do:
- Talk about it – First things first, tell him what you intend to do. Explain that it’s time to breastfeed less and less and eventually not at all. Communication is important and the gradual approach is also important for him and for your breasts.
- Bigger meals, extra snacks – We need to remember when we’re nursing our toddlers, they’re getting extra calories from the breast milk so when we intend to stop, we need to make sure they’re getting extra food throughout the day.
- Keep it brief – If he nurses throughout the day, I would start by shortening those feedings. Distract him with something fun to do and give him something else as a snack or drink. If it’s you that he needs, encourage a snuggle session or read him a book. Give him a stuffed animal or blanket to hold. This item can become his new security object (whereas your breasts were his prior security object).
- Put a wedge between you – For nighttime, put something physically between the two of you. A pillow, his new security object, whatever works for your situation. Hug and cuddle when he wants to nurse and offer him some water.
- Positive reinforcement – If he’s got a good attitude about being told “no” when he wants to breastfeed or is subjected to a much shorter session, be sure to praise him for being such a big boy. Positive reinforcement will work wonders here.
- One thing at a time – I would make sure that the weaning is the only big change he’s trying to adjust to right now. It would not be wise to attempt this as he begins a new school or a toilet training adventure.
Have patience with him and forgiveness for yourself if you give in. He won’t breastfeed forever and it’s an adjustment for both of you. Just don’t give up and you’re sure to be victorious. Give these tips a shot and let us know how you do. Good luck!