Don’t get me wrong. I am a big believer that breast is really best. When your child is nearing three already however, it feels more like harassment. Truly, it does.
He’s old enough to get his nourishment from real food so I think he just does it more for getting to sleep than anything else.
Last summer, I was determined to work on weaning him and even before school started, I’m happy to report that my youngest is finally off of it.
Here are some tips to help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Do it One at a Time
Cut the feeding one at a time. My son feeds only to fall asleep or to get back to it. That’s at least 3 times, one for his nap, one for the night, and one for when he wakes up in the middle of his sleep. We started with the one before his nap. It was the easiest. It was followed by the one for the night. The hardest is the one when he wakes up in the wee hours of the morning looking for it, waking the whole house up in the process.
Set the Rule and Stick to it
The good thing about toddlers is that you can talk to them already. They may not really follow you but they do understand. I made it clear to him that there will be no more milk before sleeping. I placed a pillow in between us so he won’t be able to “smell” the scent.
It wasn’t a walk in the park, especially when he’s groggy from sleep and wanting his “milky”. I’ve got the husband hammering me to just give it to him so he won’t be fussy. And I did at times, when I wanted sleep so badly. Most times though, I had to stick through it, no matter how hard, or noisy.
Play the Baby Card
Toddlers hate being called babies. At least mine do. I often used it to my advantage by saying that the breast is for babies only. Whenever I ask my son if he’s a baby, he’d adamantly say no. I’d then follow it up with him not needing the breast anymore because he’s not a baby. It’s not full proof but it helps.
Find a Substitute
My eldest has found a way to sleep by holding a certain pillow. It’s his comfy thing, his safety blanket. While it is troublesome to bring the pillow everywhere we go, I was glad for it and had hoped that my youngest will find his own thing too. It’ll take his mind off wanting to suckle. The good news is, he found his thing, the bad news is, it’s my mouth! Ugh!
Show lots of love
To compensate for taking something away from him, I gave my youngest extra hugs and kisses. I showed him lots of love just to let him know that taking away his milky is not an absence of my love. Whenever we reach a milestone in our journey, I also compliment him and remind him of what a big boy he is already.
I don’t know when exactly it happened but he just came off it one day. He was trying to get his milky out of its hiding place (see, I told you it feels like harassment!) and then I asked him what he was trying to do. He replied, “No, I just want to see!” He did see it and he did not ask for it. He later on added “I’m not a baby, that’s only for babies!”