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Stopping breastfeeding, or at least cutting down. Is it possible with breastfeeding toddler?

(7 Posts)
DuelingFanjo Mon 29-Oct-12 14:26:31

DS will be 2 in December and showing no signs of wanting to give up. I started off thinking I would breastfeed for a year, then for 2...

If I don't do something proactive soon then I think I will probably let him self wean but I am worried that he doesn't eat much plus he wakes several times in the night for a feed.

Can people please explain to me how they started getting their toddlers to feed less? is it just about distraction and refusal? He understands a lot I say but I am not sure he will understand if I tell him that there is no milk. particularly not at night.

EauRouge Mon 29-Oct-12 15:44:41

The amount of solid food he eats won't necessarily increase if you cut down on BF but if you feel like you'd like to cut down then it can be done in a gentle way. If you have a look at his nursing habits you might be able to spot times when he does want to feed and times when he doesn't ask. Distraction works pretty well with a lot of toddlers, if they are faced with a playground or soft play then they are suddenly way too busy to nurse grin

We've recently cut down to certain times of day, although DD1 is older than 2 so she understands a lot more. You'll have the best idea of what will or won't work with your DS.

I night-weaned DD1 at around 19 months, I just told her that the boobies were asleep and it did work fairly well. She just woke up and asked for water instead though! Night-waking is still within the range of normal at this age. Might be worth a go though, a lot of mothers lke the Jay Gordon method although you can just adapt your own way of doing it and see what works for you.

Good lcuk with it smile There's nothing wrong with making compromises- breastfeeding is a 2 way thing and it's also a good way to teach boundaries and respect.

Cies Mon 29-Oct-12 15:51:19

One thing I found useful when getting ds to cut down was to stop associations. So for him, every time I sat down at the computer to check emails or mumsnet, it would be feeding time. I decided to stop those feeds, so just had to not use the computer for a couple of weeks. Instead I would sit on the sofa, read a story, offer a glass of water/snack if wanted. That way I managed to stop all day time feeds.

OneMoreThenNoMore Mon 29-Oct-12 15:52:20

I breastfed my DD for 16 months; I decided to gradually wean from about 14 months as I was pregnant and it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable to feed (sore nipples, ouch).

Initially I tried not to refuse feeds- I just stopped offering them. DD loved the boob though so we also had to use some distraction/ alternative activities. I also offered her lots of snacks and drinks from a cup.

The hardest feeds to give up were the morning and bedtime ones. We stopped the morning feed while DH was at home on annual leave- instead of coming into our bed for her feed as soon as she woke up, DH took her downstairs to give her breakfast, whilst I had a lie-in! A week of this and she had forgotten all about morning feeds.

I gradually reduced the length of her bedtime feeds over a couple of weeks. Sounds awful but I took the opportunity to end her bedtime feed when she was ill- she was so tired that I knew she would not even notice that she hadn't had any boob. She happily went straight to sleep, while I sobbed downstairs! blush DH took over the bedtime routine for a week of so, just to break the association of bedtime+mummy=boob.

We had already night weaned when DD was younger so I can't give any advice on the night time feeds I'm afraid.

It was much less traumatic than I thought it would be though! But, if you're happy and your DC is happy, is there any need to stop? smile

DuelingFanjo Mon 29-Oct-12 16:03:32

Thanks for the replies.

I am happy to carry on apart from the lack of sleep (he can feed continuously as we co-sleep) which I cope with ok but it can catch up with me (I am working full time too). Also he's getting a bit demanding, shouting 'more, more' and sometimes beating my chest!

DH used to be able to get him to sleep but now I do every bedtime as he feeds to sleep or cuddles me until he's asleep which is lovely but wastes so much of my evening.

I am worried about the food issue, though I understand my milk is great for him and so it doesn't matter that he's not eating much at the moment. On a typical day he might eat a few bites of toast, a taste of lunch (in nursery they write 'some' on his form) and then snacks like rasins, breadsticks, cheese. He will eat yoghurt, fruit and those organix snacks and loves mini-sausages - will eat one or two.

Maybe moving him to his own bed might work. DH suggested I put a bed up in our room but I have only just dismantled the cot (Which he never slept in) so not sure it's worth it. I possibly just need to commit to putting him in his own room except I am quite happy to co-sleep for ever grin

DuelingFanjo Mon 29-Oct-12 16:07:27

plus part of it is that whenever I tell people I am still breastfeeding I get 'the look'.
I am not really surrounded by other mums who are doing the same so I feel like a bit of an oddity.
When we go out for family meals or meet-ups I always feel quite self-concious when my toddler starts indicating he wants to feed.

remnant Mon 29-Oct-12 23:06:48

I've been bfing ds who is almost 2.5. We co sleep and he fed on demand up till last month. He didn't seem to miss it while at nursery or if we were really busy, but he'd insist on a feed as soon as he saw me after a break and would happily spend half the evening at a boob. I had noticed that he was no longer using the bed time feed to get to sleep. He'd feed, then sort of settle himself.

Anyway, I'd have gone on like this for a while longer if not for TTC.
I suddenly decided enough and told him one day no more feeds until bed time. He took it badly for 20 minutes or so, eventually lying on the floor looking up at me in disgust, but then to my surprise seemed to forget all about it and got on with his day and didn't ask again. At bed time he didn't seem that bothered so I told him that we'd feed later when I was in bed and he just accepted it.
I would have planned it and worked up to it more gradually but I don't have that much time. I had been telling him for a while that he wouldn't be wanting it forever, that it was for babies etc.

After a couple weeks of that I decided that we'd drop all but the morning feeds and he still wakes a sometimes and gets quite angry when refused. During the day he still sometimes gets upset if we're at home after his afternoon nap. He misses that feed (and so do I sad ) but we're finding ways of dealing with it.

Well, didn't mean to ramble on so much, but to answer the question: is it possible? Yes. Surprisingly easy really, much to my surprise. And although DS gets a bit cross about it sometimes I don't think he's seriously damaged by it. We're both just having to be more creative about bonding and comforting.

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