Toddlers and Breastfeeding Weaning
Whether you are ready to wean or your toddler is losing interest, there will come a time for your breastfeeding journey to end. Let’s talk all about toddlers and how to handle breastfeeding weaning at this age!
My Breastfeeding Weaning Experience
Just like all moms, I have had a different breastfeeding journey with each of my children.
For example, I nursed my first until he was two years old. We started weaning on his 2nd birthday.
However, with my second, I breastfed beyond two years. I was pregnant while breastfeeding him and ultimately made the decision to wean because I was dealing with a lot of discomfort, nipple pain, and my milk had basically dried up. I honestly don’t know how long I would have breastfed had this not been the case, but we began breastfeeding weaning around 2 ½ years.
I’ve had a lot of experience nursing toddlers, and I can honestly say that it can be a struggle!
Children will get more aggressive while breastfeeding as they get older… which usually means more pinching, pulling, biting and mom feeling touched out!
Weaning is a completely personal preference! Whatever the mother and child want to do is always the right choice.
Tips To Breastfeeding Weaning
Weaning a toddler comes with its own set of challenges. Although some moms opt to let their children take the lead and wean when they are ready, there are some instances where you are ready to wean first.
Personally, I believe in a natural weaning process, which means I do not follow harsh weaning methods that cause you to stop breastfeeding abruptly or stop you from meeting your child’s needs. There are many ways you can go about breastfeeding weaning over time.
For example, I practiced a lot of redirection. I would introduce different snacks rather than offering breastfeeding as an option.
I also would wear higher-neck clothing and allow for less access to my breasts. It makes it more difficult for a child to pull at your clothes to nurse when you’re covered up more.
The La Leche League also shares some great weaning tips. For example, you could practice only breastfeeding when the child asks. Often referred to as the don’t offer, don’t refuse method. Another way is to gradually shorten the nursing sessions before removing them altogether.
With my kids, I used a very slow breastfeeding weaning process. I cut the middle-of-the-day feedings first, then worked up to removing the morning feed, and finally ended with the right before bedtime feed.
Breastfeeding Weaning Pain
You may find that weaning is painful, especially if you move too quickly!
Moving away from breastfeeding can lead to engorgement. You can tackle this pain by using cabbage leaves to reduce the pain and swelling. Or, you could also use a manual pump to express some milk and find some relief that way. It’s extremely important NOT to stop abruptly or you risk getting breast infections such as Mastitis!
Another important factor is having a comfortable bra while weaning. You still need something that is easy to breastfeed in but that can get you through the weaning transition since you aren’t back to your normal bra size yet. The Logan bra is my go-to for weaning! It is super comfortable and has an athletic fit, making it more supportive for sore breast tissue and also giving you the ease to nurse when you need to!
Choosing to Wean
One of the big reasons I decided to wean was because my skin was literally crawling when it came time to nurse! It became so uncomfortable that I couldn’t deal with it anymore… and that’s okay! I always like to end a breastfeeding journey on a positive note rather than negatively wishing it was over.
Many moms also struggle with toddlers who feel the need to move around a lot while nursing or start biting, pinching, and grabbing them while breastfeeding.
Making the transition away from breastfeeding is a bittersweet choice for many moms, but remember that you are the only one who can decide when you are ready! And whenever you are ready to wean, make sure you take some time to honor your breastfeeding journey and recognize all that you have accomplished as a breastfeeding mom!
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