Re: Help! Weaning my 2.5 year old...
Wanted to share our story as my son is 33 months and just completely weaned 2 weeks ago (so far). Up until about two months ago he was nursing also 1-2 times at night, wake up, and nurse to sleep. I had been the human pacifier until late last fall, when at bedtime I told him he that he could nurse, but had to say "night night" to nummies. It definitely took some practice, and he was upset, but usually he was okay with it as long as he could rest his hand on "nummies" instead.
Let me say that my we cosleep, and my son didn't eat much solids until he was a year old, is an allergy baby, nursed A LOT until just last fall, was a high need baby, etc... I didn't really plan his weaning in these last 2 months, it just happened. I am also 15 weeks pregnant, and lost my supply almost immediately after I got pregnant.
So this is high we nightweaned, and I was pretty flexible if some nights he competely protested, other nights he was fine not to nurse:
-can't believe this worked, but one night while he was nursing to sleep (out of desperation and exhaustion myself being newly pregnant and night nursing) I asked him what was his favorite? Nursing at night during sleep or nursing in the morning when he woke up? He answered "morning" so I explained the whole not nursing til the sun comes up, and I couldn't believe that it worked! He was okay with it! Now we had LOTS of "morning wake ups EARLY at 5:30am when he's usually a late sleeper. But I tried to be positive and let him nurse when he'd waited all night long even still night waking but going back to sleep just resting his hand on "nummies" or taking a sip of water and going back to sleep.
We did this for a long time, 5 or 6 weeks until nursing first thing at wake up and at bedtime was a routine. I also started limiting the time he nursed from 10 minutes to 5 minutes, then finally just to a couple of minutes. I started to really not enjoy nursing anymore, the whole skin -crawling feeling and really getting frustrated at myself for feeling that way. I had been talking to my son for several months about the idea of a weaning party, but finally one day about a month ago, the idea stuck. He is really into dinosaurs and started to get really excited about a big boy dinosaur party.
So one day a few weeks ago I asked him again the same question about his favorite nursing time and when he told me morning, we cut out the bedtime. As long as he could "put a hand" he was okay with that. I waited a week, thinking I would wait another month before trying to completely wean him, but he was getting so excited about the party, I decided one morning to ask him if it wasy okay to say "goodbye" to nummies and plan our party. He sat up it bed, sang a little goodbye song that we had sung before when dropping the previous nursing sessions, talkied about how it was okay to miss "nummies" and how big boys can gets hugs, kisses and do fun things that babies can't do. He was okay with it! And we planned a big boy party just about as big as a birthday party for him, invited some friends, and some family (even the ones that weren't supportive of EBF, but they came and were happy to be there). He told me who he wanted to invite, we shopped for party supplies, made the cake, he got a big boy toy (a bucket of dinosaurs), played lots of games, etc. He was SO excited. He only asked to nurse a couple of mornings after that, but after gently reminding him, and when he was obviously mad with my answer, reminding him that it was okay to be sad or mad about nummies, he was okay. We play Mommy dinosaur, baby dinosaur now when we wake up instead, nudging and hugging and getting eskimo kisses instead of nursing.
I first wondered if letting him put his hand on my breast would just be replacing then nursing. But since his intensity for wanting to do that has lessneded a several times he has even forgotten, too excited about something else to do when he wakes up. I am so proud of him! And a little selfishly so glad to have my body back until the next baby comes!
I know this was long, but I wanted to share what worked for us. BELIEVE me, I was prepared in thought and mind for him to nurse well into the next baby's time, thinking a lot about tandem nursing. But for whatever reason and with some gentle encouragement he did it by himself! I won't lie and say that he hasn't cried, been really mad and even hit/bit me a few times. That's when I backed off and allowed him to nurse being flexible, trying to understand that he was trying to process it as a only a 2 year old could and that he really needed to know that he was still my baby and that it would be okay!
I hope that this helped and I wish you the best for your nursing journey as well!
SAHM to Ethan 7/22/2005
married to my best friend Matt since 2/12/2000