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Thread: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

  1. #1
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    Default Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    i didn't know where else to put this post. I don't think my son is a toddler anymore lol

    My dear son just turned 4 in December. At this point, he still nurses occasionally.... mostly before bed time, but not every night. Maybe every 2-3 days at bedtime. If we're home all day, he'll want to nap and nurse.

    I'm at the point where I feel done with this nursing, but I feel guilty. I told him at Christmas that he wouldn't be able to have milk any more and Santa will bring his presents. He was great on Christmas! Didn't ask for milk once! Once the holidays were over, he asked me for milk. He misunderstood, thought he would just not have milk on Christmas and then go back to it once Christmas is over. Of course, I gave in.

    So tell me how you weaned your child.
    First baby Thanos Liam born on 12/20/2009... we are and since birth and still going strong!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    I weaned my son this past October/November, he turned five years in October. He had beed nursing to sleep only for almost a year, since he turned 4, missing some days and sometimes adding a night nursing when he hada bad dream but mostly only to sleep.
    During this past spring/summer I felt I was done, and would like him to stop when he turned 5. There were in fact quite a ew times I thought he had weaned himself - several times he would not nurse for about 5 consecutive days. But he always started again, I suppose I could have said no but i was ambigious and also felt that he needed it. But by the end of the summer I was sure I wanted to stop by his birthday, and as I had been talking to him about it before that I felt nursing should end, I now increased our conversations about how nursing would end soon, and when he turned five. I felt a nursing party was not an option as virtually no one beside my husband knew we still nursed.
    I told him that while nursing would end soon, cuddling up to me in bed and hugs and kisses would not end, only nursing would end. Sometimes he replied that milk would still come but I said, no I would not produce any more - now this was not fact but how I felt. What happended was that I cold still feel milk in the left breast (he only used the left one for the last 2 years) and some slight engorgement I suppose but it was not painful and went away quickly.

    I considerred offering him an incentive to wean but decided against it - as we do not use incentives in other situations either.

    I think though, that what did really aid the weaning was that he contracted hand mounth foot disease, and it was so painful he could no longer nurse. This happened right around his birthday - so we spent a lot time in bed with him sleeping in the crook of my arm ( he was quite ill) but not nursing - he would try and find it too painful. After his mouth healed, he tried once but found he had lost his latch - we both cried. And that was it. He is not sentimental about it. some nights he puts his cheek right beside my breast and falls asleep there, but most nights he just goes to sleep, after short cuddle and kiss.

    I think what I can recommend was to talk with him about how when nursing stops it will nto stop our cuddlig and being physically close, and that we can alsways find new expressions of our love - I often thought during that last year his main reason for nursing was the physical closeness itself not event the sucking and only to a lesser degree the milk.
    Last edited by @llli*mammi; January 6th, 2014 at 02:30 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    Hi lavenda. What a sweet little guy!

    my oldest son nursed until he was just turned 5.
    I cannot remember now, what exactly was the final nudge that led to my oldest weaning. But here are some of the things I did to move him slowly in that direction.

    With my oldest, I think the weaning process really got going when we stopped bedsharing when he was about 3.5. I do know it is possible to wean while still bedsharing, but in our case, that is not how it happened with either son. Once my oldest could fall asleep and stay asleep 'all night' (or a whole nap) without nursing, then it was much easier to set more limits on nursing.

    One limit we set was we had set nursing times that I made very clear to him. Morning, nap and bedtime. (And, secretly, emergency only.) But around the time we stopped bedsharing, I stopped nursing him TO sleep. Instead, we nursed, and then, at night, my husband rocked him when he needed comforting to sleep. At naptime, I told him it was quiet time and he had to lie down in his room with the light out and the noise machine on and be quiet for a few minutes. (Mentioning 'sleep' or 'nap' caused a tantrum.) This way, he almost always fell asleep quickly while i took a nap myself with his little brother.

    Another limit was how long he could nurse. I would agree to nurse when asked, but only for a count of “10 on each side.” Then I would let my son decide if we would count 10 dinosaurs or 10 trains. Or I would say “How long do you want to nurse? For count 5 or 10?” Or "OK, for the time it takes to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or Ba Ba Blacksheep, you decide which." I found it really helped to give a choice of two simple options, both of which options I could live with.

    Another thing I did was offer choices. When my son asked to nurse, instead of a firm “no,” I would offer a choice “we can nurse or we can play trains” or “we can nurse or we can go for a walk” or “you can nurse for 10 on each side or have a some juice!” (a rare treat) or “How about a super cuddle instead?” For my son, having the feeling of some control over the situation really seemed to help, and offering choices does that. Again, it had to be a choice where either option i could live with. If nursing was not an option at that moment, I offered a choice of two different things to do INSTEAD of nursing.

    I will say that with my second son, i never limited nursing at all, except to delay/redirect if it was an inconvenient time and place. And he nursed for the last time entirely on his own at 4.5- a younger age than his brother! So, there is that.

    Hope this helps a bit. We need a 'nursing past 3' forum. But I am sure some other moms will have ideas for you.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    My DS is only 2 so I'm not in a place to give advice from experience, but if he's only nursing once every couple of days right now, he may stop on his own very soon. (Or it could go on like that for a few more months). You may not need to do anything to push it along, if you can wait just a little bit longer. Sounds like he is nearly done anyway.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    Thank you all for your kind words, I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. I will definitely try them.

    Sometimes at night, instead of nursing, he will tell me that he just wants to hold my breast, or lay on it. Or sometimes, he'll nurse for 5 minutes and put his head on my breast to fall asleep. In some ways I don't mind, but in other ways I am feeling done. I feel that he just still wants the closeness and bonding time so maybe redirecting him like you said may help. And have him understand that we will continue to have our "close" bonding time. I honestly don't think I have milk any more, my breasts don't feel full ever and I can't squeeze anything out. The only thing though is that my sons tongue will be white after he nurses...

    I am a single parents, so no one but myself and my best friend know that he still nurses. So, likewise, a weaning party is not an option. Perhaps you're right, since he nurses every few days anyway, maybe he will be done in the next few months.

    We also co-sleep, so it makes it easy access for him... I'd like to have my bed back, my queen size bed is getting too small for the both of us! Which brings me to another issue, co-sleeping. For the longest time, I didn't mind it, but now with my back hurting almost every night --- I need my bed back. However, my son won't even sit in his bed, muchless sleep in it. Any ideas to stop co-sleeping?
    First baby Thanos Liam born on 12/20/2009... we are and since birth and still going strong!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    What size bed does he have? If he had a full or queen size bed, you could start out the night with him and then slip away when he's asleep. Alternately, put his bed in your room, and have him share a sleep space with you but not a bed. Once he's sleeping in his own bed, you can start moving that bed out to another room.

    A weaning party doesn't have to be a big blow out bash with all his friends. It could just be you, your friend who knows that he's nursing, and him- and some special presents and foods.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    I was trying to be done at 4 too. But he turns 4 on Dec 22nd and we went on a trip to Hawaii that year in Feb. And it was too much pressure and I didn't like the way that felt and he still seemed to need it. So...we continued to talk about it. And we dangled the chuckie cheese carrot. We weaned at 4.5 and had a weaning party. He felt very proud. He is 8 now and still remembers that party. I will bump that thread. I think our mind set around it really helped.

    Way too lazy for formula

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    He has a twin size bed, and it's in the same room. I'm a single parent, in a one bedroom apartment.

    Mommal - thank you for that idea about the weaning party. I like that!

    DJs Mom - thanks for bumping the thread.
    First baby Thanos Liam born on 12/20/2009... we are and since birth and still going strong!!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    my DD self weaned at 4 years and 10 days! She weaned when her baby bro was born, she said he needed it now not her. Turns out, she was grossed out by his saliva and spit up...lol. Now he is 9 months and she is nearing 5, and she still loves my breasts. She asks to look at them, touch and smell them. While she isn't asking to nurse, though a few times she has stated she wishes she still did, it still makes me slightly uncomfortable. I have told her a few times when she asks to touch, not right now, or maybe later. It still makes me sad to have to restrict her access but I fel its ok, she is old enough to understand limits.

    good luck with your son!
    Mommy of 4,
    3 who I watch over, 1 who watches over all of us

    J- 8/20/05 pumped breastmilk for 11 months due to his cleft lip and palate!

    M- 10/17/07 my precious baby lives forever in her mommys heart

    M- 3/31/09 my special gift, she helps heal her mommy and daddys heart. Nursed for 4 years and 10 days, self weaned the day her baby brother was born!

    E-, new little miracle born 4/11/13, my BIG baby! Born 8.6 at 38 weeks. At 9 weeks nearly 17lbs, at 12 weeks nearly 20lbs, at 6 months nearly 23lbs, at 8 months nearly 25lbs and all from BREASTMILK


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Weaning 4 yr old help!!

    FYi our weaning party WAS a blowout. We are kind of rockstars when it comes to parties. And he was in preschool. So he had friends.

    Way too lazy for formula

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