How I Weaned My Toddler Suddenly and Gently

One of the last pictures I have of Peanut nursing is while getting kicked in the face.

Peanut is weaned. It’s actually been a two months since she nursed.

I’ve flip flopped back and forth about this decision about a dozen times. I felt so certain that we would wean that I wrote a post about it. Felt so certain I’d made the wrong decision that I wrote another. In the end, I was feeling more resentful by the day. More resentful by the nursing session. I was beginning to really not want to be around my daughter.

It was our time to stop.

I think a big part of my problem was trying to play within the rules. Everything I’ve read has highly discouraged sudden weaning. Do it slowly and gently. In a way, we did do that. It’s taken us almost 3 years to fully wean, considering that she started having something besides my milk at 6 months. I’d call that very gradual.

It’s just this last step that’s been sudden, and that’s okay. We tried all of the delaying and shortening ways to wean and she just fought it. She’d get more and more upset that I was denying her and I’d get more and more resentful that she was upset. It was a downward spiral.

In the beginning, she still asked to nurse, especially when Twig was nursing. Generally though, her need was satisfied with some cuddles or table food. More the latter, actually, which I didn’t expect. We also talked about it a lot. I hate the term “big girl” so we steered clear of that, but we talked about how old she is and how when you grow up, you don’t drink mama milk anymore. We talked about people who are older than her who don’t nurse, like her friends and family members. Even Mama and Daddy.

There were times where she would get upset. She’d ask me “Mama milk for just one hour?” It was heartbreaking, but I didn’t want to take a step back. Though I did end up having her nurse a few times when she was really sick (of course, she didn’t vomit for the first time until about a week after she weaned). When she would get upset, I held her close and we talk about how it’s hard to give up mama milk and mama loves her so much. We cuddled and read books. We would get her a special treat.

Amazingly, it went pretty smoothly. There were those rough spots where she got upset, but they were actually not that common. Even when she did get upset, it wasn’t that upset. We just talked and cuddled and she was okay. There was an immediate relief for me where I felt more able to handle her being upset. Like the irritation of her constantly asking to nurse until I finally give in was over, so I could just focus on helping her through the way she feels.

There were rough spots for me too, but my husband, along with my awesome Twitter friends, have been a wonderful help. Even those who are doing child-led weaning tried their best to support and help me. And I’m amazed at how many of them have been in my situation. It feels like weaning is such a taboo topic in the breastfeeding world. I had no idea how many other moms have pushed it along too, even some ending it suddenly like me.

I miss nursing Peanut. Over the first week, I cried about it multiple times. It just feels like she’s so much bigger now. I will always miss that closeness. It’s like the end of an era. But this was the right choice to make. We’re both happier now, even if it does get tough sometimes. I’m finding new ways to connect with her and I’m actually enjoying her more.

So while some may say that weaning suddenly isn’t gentle, I think otherwise. I think that you can wean your child suddenly and with love. It’s alright to take that last step if it’s what you need. You can wean suddenly and gently.

How did your weaning story go? Were you planning on child-led weaning and ended up doing otherwise? Or did you stick with your original plan? Were there any hiccups? 


5 thoughts on “How I Weaned My Toddler Suddenly and Gently

  1. I enjoyed reading this as I decide to wean–I have a lump in my breast they cannot properly assess if I don’t wean–and I’m ready after more than two years. He nurses twice per day now and even tolerates once a day unless he is feeling congested or sad for some reason, then he wants to every hour. I’m glad I made it this far and really feel the benefits have been enormous. He’s thrown up only one time in two years on this planet, as compared to other kids that seem to do it weekly or monthly at his age. And he’s never had dry skin, or ear infection, or anything else. I just hope the super powers don’t wear off so fast that he starts getting all these things at once!

  2. Thank you so much for your post. I think i may have weaned my 2year old abruptly. he has not nursed for 3 nights in a row as i have been away to see my family for two nights without him and daddy looked after him. i have put my LO to bed tonight and he didnt ask as i didnt sit in the same position i normally do. I have done it as gently as i can as we can have a volatile relationship and i give in to his pestering and to guilt but feel resentful about it! he has been chewing and biting on my boobs recently and i havent been enjoying nursing for a while but been putting up with it. i have wanted him to self wean as i feel it is the best way for him emotionally etc but i was shouting at him to suck not bite and not pick my spots on my arm (!) each nursing session but he was ignoring me and i was resenting it so it was turning bad. i am feeling guilty and like i have given in to peer pressure from everyone i know who have been telling me it is time for him to wean and if i let him wean himself he may never wean (yeah right!). I am angry at myself but feel relieved at the same time. i miss him and want that nice closeness back but need to find other ways of mothering him…. thank you for your post. x God bless you and your family x (sorry for the ramble i needed to get it off my chest! thanks again) xx

    • I completely understand! I had a lot of guilt about stopping nursing with my first, but I too was feeling resentful and needed to stop for both my sanity and our relationship. Now, two years later, we’re in a much better place. I hope you find the same to be true soon!

  3. My son is 2 years and 4 months old. I am going through sudden weaning right now. I have not produced any milk in 2 days. I just dried up suddenly. I was not expecting to have the choice to wein forced on me by my un co-operative breasts. The first night I was still able to give him the breast but it was clearly unsatisfying for him and getting painful for me, but last night was absolute hell, he screamed for hours and hours with short breaks brought on by sheer exhaustion. He is so tired and angry with me because there I am laying with him, snuggling him and my breasts are still attached to me, still accessable but I just won’t let him have them. He is still so little and he doesn’t understand that the mama milk is just not there. I feel like we’re going through some 12 step program and he’s stuck in the denial stage, warm milk in a sippy cup is just an insult to him. My husband and I are both so tired, I do not have the patience for him that I would if I was a well-rested mommy. Sleep deprivation is also making me more emotional and I burst into tears last night. I don’t know what I need, I guess this is just one of those things we have to go through. I just wish I knew the right things to say and do to make this very sudden process easier for all of us.

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