Re: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?
"With what do I replace it?"
Breastmilk or formula should provide the majority of a child's nutrition up to the age of one. That means if you cut back on nursing before a year you will definitely need to supplement with one or the other. You will basically just be replacing nursing sessions with bottles, whether they have expressed breast milk or formula.
"What if he cries and screams?"
To be honest with you, my answer to this would be to nurse him. But if you are absolutely sure you want to wean it is something you're just going to have to deal with. To your baby, nursing is not just food. It's a connection to you. It's safety and love and comfort. That need is not just going to stop for him. If weaning is something you are absolutely sure you want to do, the best way to deal with his unhappiness is to love him through it. Don't hand him a bottle and walk away, hold him and feed him. Give him extra cuddles to replace the contact he's not getting during nursing times. But really, you should just expect tears because he is not going to understand why he suddenly can't have something that has been freely given his entire life.
You may have considered this, but is daytime nursing something you might be willing to continue with if you can get more control over your nights? If so we might be able to help you come up with ways to get more sleep and nurse less at night and you might feel better overall and more willing to keep going at least to the year point. I know lots of moms get desperate when they reach that breaking point with sleep and 10ish months is a prime age for it because that tends to be when teething gets really bad.
“We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”