How to stop Breasfeeding a Toddler
11 March 2021
Congratulations to moms who have made it this far breastfeeding your toddler! However, there comes a time when all good things must come to an end.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months but to continue breastfeeding ( combined with solid foods) until the age of 2 years and beyond.
If you have decided to stop breastfeeding your toddler, you may need to do so in stages rather than going cold turkey. Breastfeeding has not only been a source of nutrition for your child but has always been a warm sanctuary for your child to seek comfort. It is not a surprise then, that , attempting to stop breastfeeding a toddler can be met with much resistance and tantrums . Here are some tips that can help to ease the transition.
- Give your child a few weeks to prepare himself/herself by explaining that he/she is now a big boy/girl and is ready for a new step in his/her life! You can use story books to illustrate what big boys/girls can now do.
- Replace one breastfeeding session at a time with a big girl/boy activity like reading or singing nursery rhymes together. Distraction usually works better then scolding your child or avoiding your child completely.
- Try to avoid stopping the night feeds first as these are usually the hardest to stop as it provides comfort to your child before sleeping
- Avoid weaning during occasions ,such as, starting a new preschool , moving house or the arrival of a new baby. Your child is already going through a major upheaval !
- Do ensure your child has adequate nutritional alternatives, such as fresh/formula milk and regular, well-balanced meals.
- Wear clothes that are harder to access for breastfeeding to discourage your toddler further.
Otherwise, you can always opt for natural term weaning . In other words, let your child slowly learn to let go and stop breastfeeding by himself/herself whenever he/she is ready. This can occur over months as your child gradually reduce and finally, stop breastfeeding completely .