for my DCs (2.2 and 2.3) cold turkey worked. The did cry at night a bit but I was so bloody sick of bfeeding all night I could tolerate it, and I gave them loads of cuddles, warm drinks, read stories, any old shit really until they fell asleep exhausted. It took 3 nights with DS and 2 with DD. Because they were both demand fed I couldn't gradually wean because I didn't have set feeds that I could gradually cut out.
It really was fine, because I was totally ready to do it. If I hadn't been sure then it would have been hard.
re the TTc thing, DS carried on feeding all the way through pregnancy, even though for about 10 weeks in the middle there was absolutely nothing there for him to drink. persistent little bugger.
good luck! When I stopped I had been breastfeeding for 4.5 years in total and I have never once regretted weaning, except for a little tearful hour or so after couple of days which I think was hormonal.
Cups can be a bit of a problem here - he just loves to tip the contents out. I last tried a few weeks ago, outside. Immediately - whoosh!! But I could have a go with a beaker.
The looking at pictures thing is a good idea; he is fascinated by little babies at the moment. He keeps getting a book called Babywatching of the shelves, which has dozens of pictures of feeding babies in it. I'll try that strategy this afternoon.
The bit I dread the most is tears during the night. And screams and howls! We had a chat earlier about how in the night and very early morning, it would be Daddy bringing him into bed for cuddles, not Mummy with milk (I can escape to the sofa). I also told him that we wouldn't be having milk in bed anymore, and that we could have milk at mid-morning snack instead. An hour or so later I asked him if he could remember what I'd said about feeds, and he said that there was no milk at wake up, just cuddles and kisses and hugs with Daddy, the milk later after Mr Tumble. Fingers crossed he remembers that at 5am!
I bought mine a special 'big boy' cup to drink milk out of and explained that it was really time to stop. Slowly does it, lots of looking at books with pictures of tiny babies and explaining they eat only milk from mummy, then you grow a bit bigger and have some food in high chair with bib, etc etc. Welcome to come into bed at night for a cuddle if have a bad dream, but just a cuddle. And first thing in morning make sure you present milk in cup with a big cuddle and book to read together. Good luck!
The plan/hope was that DS would self wean at some point in the months running up to age 3, but there's no indication that he has any intention of doing so, and I really, really want to stop now.
We were down to just one feed, before his bath. Then, a couple of months ago, he asked for a feed on waking in the morning. He had a cold at the time, and I'm happy to increase feeds during illness, but now it's all escalated, and DS wants to get into bed with us and feed at around 3 or 4am, only for a minute or two, then a few other minute-long feeds until he properly wakes at somewhere around 6.30am and has a huge feed.
At night, he is a terrible wriggler and kicks around a lot, so DH and I wake so many times, and I'm just fed up with the situation and the sleep deprivation. At least when he was a little baby i could sleep while he fed - now he's a whopping almost three year old, I find it impossible to do so. I don't want to start really resenting breastfeeding, as I've loved the feeding relationship we've had, but i just want it to draw to a close.
What worked for you when encouraging a toddler to wean? Bribery? Cold turkey? I've even (not entirely seriously) thought that bringing forward plans to TTC might work, in case the colostrum setting in may put him off...