How I Gently Weaned my Toddler from Nursing

Two days shy of reaching 17 months old Caroline nursed for the last time.  It was a bit sad for me because nursing came so naturally for us (you can read my full post on my breastfeeding experience here) but I could tell that it was time.

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How I Weaned my Child from Breastfeeding

I always joked that Caroline was going to nurse until high school because she loved it so much.  I’ve always been an “on demand” kind of nurser because it’s so comforting for them and sometimes that’s the only thing that will make them happy.  As Caroline got older she slowly became less interested in nursing.  She started dropping nursing sessions on her own around 14 months, but I kept offering and sometimes she’d take me up on it.  I never pumped with her because she wouldn’t take a bottle (though I did pump and dump during my week long military duty at West Point when she was 11 months old just to keep my supply up), so I didn’t pump when she didn’t want to nurse.  She’d just push me away and say “all done” without ever nursing, and that was ok!  The nursing strike ended about 2 weeks after it started (she’d still nurse once a day, most days) and she got back to 2 or 3 times a day for nursing.  Mostly just in the morning and before bed.  Some nights Tom would put her to bed without me nursing her first, and there were no issues at all.  This was the sign to me that she was ready.  She would often point to my breasts and say “nurse,” but I could tell she was starting to use it as a power move because she’d do it with a little smirk even if she didn’t really want to nurse.  We finally cut down to once a day, and then on February 2nd I nursed her for the last time.  For a few weeks she’d point at me and say “nurse,” but it was mostly because she thought it was cute and kind of funny to say, even though she knew it was over.  I would simply say “no, we don’t do that anymore” and she’d say “otay” or just smile at me.  She never got upset about it, and even though I was a little sentimental about this phase being over I knew it was the right time and I was ready to have my body back.

Due to the gradual weaning I never had any issues with engorgement, leaking or soreness.  We had just shy of 17 months of breastfeeding, and I’m so thankful for the wonderful experience we had together.  I loved nursing both of my babies even though it had it’s ups and downs I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  It’s not an easy choice, but it was the one that worked best for us and I’ll cherish those precious moments with my baby girl for all of my days.

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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