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Stopping breastfeeding at 16 months. How?

(2 Posts)
goodname Thu 22-Sep-11 13:29:33

I am begining to think about stopping breastfeeding my DS who is 16 months as I am now 8 weeks pregnant and most feeds are hellishly painful ( he is also teething). He is also still wanting fed in the night so hoping getting him off the boob would help reduce wakings. However he absolutely loves being fed and I do now know how I can possibly do this. Also is it terribly cruel to stop him feeding just for my sake? Does anyone have any experience / tips they could share with me.

RuthChan Thu 22-Sep-11 19:24:21

It isn't cruel to stop feeding him for your sake.
You have fed him for 16 months, a long time by all accounts and it is fair for you to think about yourself and your new baby.

Personally, I found it best to stop feeding gradually, by cutting out feeds one at a time. That way the child learns gradually that they don't actually need to feed as much they thought they did and it also reduces the pain for you because your body gradually reduces its milk production.

I stopped night feeds first.
I did that by offering drinks of water and then cuddling through the inevitable crying. In general it seems to take about 3 nights of a child to get over the shock of no longer being allowed to feed. The first night is not much fun because they cry quite a lot, but you can comfort them. The second and third night they cry less and you might well find that he doesn't bother waking up after that. He has to learn to self-settle without the breast.

For daytime feeding, I cut out the middle of the day snacks first.
I replaced them with other things, depending on the reason for them.
If my child was hungry I offered a snack, if thirsty a drink, if bored a game, if tired a cuddle etc. Again after about 3 days, they usually stop asking.

Finally, I stopped the two most important feeds of the day for my children, the first and last feeds of the day.
The first feed is not hard to drop. You can simply offer a cup of milk followed by a prompt breakfast. Getting on with the day soon allows it to be forgotten.

The final feed I dropped was the bedtime one.
Actually, although it was most important for my children as they both fed to sleep, I was surprised to find that after dropping the other feeds, they realised that they didn't actually want to feed anymore and dropped it themselves. A cup of milk on mummy's knee, a cuddle and a book was suddenly enough.

Using this method, I weaned each of my children in about 2 weeks.
I hope this helps.

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