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?