Note: How I weaned my milk-addict toddler and a few surefire tips to ensure a smooth sailing.
Baby G was 20 months old when I successfully weaned her off. Up until then I had tried hard to reduce feedings but all my efforts were met with absolute defiance. She’d kick up a storm at not being given milk and I would eventually cave in. And we were stuck in this cycle for quite some time. Finally, we managed to scale this mountain too . Phew!!
Although my breastfeeding journey was not an easy one (is it ever?), I’m proud to have accomplished it. Mastitis, bleeding nipples, puss filled ducts, waning milk supply, lots of tears (LOL!)- you name it , I went through it all. But I decided to exclusively breastfeed Baby G for at least 6 months and then continue on till she was 2 . I never gave her the bottle. I must admit I was quite tempted to; when she cluster fed non-stop but held onto my resolve strongly. And as soon as she turned 1, I began to give her cow milk in a cup which she flat out refused to take at first. But as we know: perseverance, thy name is motherhood and slowly, her resistance waned and she began having half a cup daily.
How I weaned my toddler:
Weaning is a very difficult period for both, mommy and child and so, I’d like to share a few tips with my readers that helped me and would hopefully help you too:
Take it slow:
Slowly reduce the duration and number of feeds over the course of weeks and months. This will help prevent engorgement as your milk supply will naturally drop. The first and last feed of the day will usually be met with the most resistance so start off with replacing mid-day feeding sessions with some snack or a proper meal and engaging the child in some activity later. You can also offer your expressed milk in a cup to get the baby used to a cup or bottle. Avoid initiating weaning when you or the baby are unwell – it’s better to wait until you both are healthier and things are less stressful.
If your child is old enough to understand, then do try explaining it to your baby. Yes, they might not care about what you say and won’t obey immediately but it helps. Do let them know that they’re old enough to drink from cup , bottle etc or try postponing feeds and letting your child know that they can have a feed later while you distract him/her with an activity.
Some people apply something bitter or smelly ( garlic juice) to their nipples which puts baby off from feeds. I was advised by many women to do this as it was successful for them but i didn’t want to scare my baby away- I wanted to do it gently, with care, understanding and trust.
Change in routine:
It helps if the baby is kept away from things that remind him/her of nursing- like a particular space in the house or the nursing chair or mommy herself! LOL, that’s a joke!. Some babies, like mine, feed less when they’re outdoors- so you can go out for a walk to avoid one of the sessions.
Do not try day and night weaning at once. Tackle one first and then move on to the other.
Night weanings are the worst!! It helps to have someone help you- maybe your husband could try putting the baby to sleep or reassure him/her back to sleep. With you being around, the child may resist all efforts to give up and all those screams and tears will force you into submission again. Also, replace the last meal of the day with something filling like warm oatmeal, rice etc which will help the baby sleep better and longer.
I hope these help you and if you would like to add to the list, do comment below. Happy weaning!!