How To Start Weaning Toddler: Discontinuing Breastfeeding Older Children

Are you wondering how to wean off breastfeeding, knowing that your toddler gets the best nutrients from mother’s milk? True, breast milk provides the child with the required nutrition and support for their immune system. The benefits of breastfeeding continue even up to toddlerhood. If you choose to wait until toddlerhood to gently wean a toddler from breast milk, you are giving your toddler the chance to outgrow infancy at her own pace and get used to the changes gradually.

Discontinuing Breastfeeding Older Children

Tips for Gentle Weaning a Toddler

How do you plan to wean off breastfeeding? Some women choose to continue breastfeeding until their baby stops asking for it. They stick to a “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach, which means they gradually reduce feeds without refusing their child’s requests for mother’s milk. But there are some mothers who choose to set limits on breastfeeding after their baby turns into a toddler. Well, if you choose to wean your toddler slowly, it’s important to set realistic limits.

If you are planning to start your journey of weaning off breastfeeding, these tried-and-tested tips of wisdom may help:

Allow Time

Starting your weaning off journey on a smooth note is important. Gradual weaning is necessary for both the mother and your baby, allowing both enough time to adjust to the change. It is important to remember that when you prepare to wean, you are still making milk. You may want to feed your baby when your breasts feel full.

To make weaning toddler a smooth ride for both of you, try reducing one feed at a time. Allow your child and your own body time to adjust to the changes gradually. Do not be surprised if it takes months before your tiny tot stops asking for breast milk.

There’s No Rush

It’s a good idea to remind yourself that there is no rush to wean off breastfeeding so soon. Perhaps talk to your inner self that it can be a gradual shift and what worked for your friend many not be the best weaning strategy for you.

Remember, there is no definitive timeline as to how long the process will take. It is not a good idea to set an arbitrary deadline. You may want to start with smaller goals, gradually reducing the number of feeds.

Ideally, it is easier to eliminate daytime feedings, and it is even more important if you are a working mom. It is a good idea to introduce fun projects or anything creative that distracts their attention. Take them for a walk if you feel they may soon ask for a breastfeed.

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You may want to introduce alternatives, such as juice, water, formula, or a special nutritious snack. It’s okay not to offer breast milk every time they ask for it. Instead, work on the alternatives.

Change Your Routine

When you wish to distract your toddler from the routine pattern of breastfeeding, try to change your routine.Have his breakfast ready even before he is up, especially if he is used to getting his morning feeds.

Go for a walk while leaving the toddler with his dad, so when he wakes up, he gets his breakfast instead of feeds. This is a good idea to gently reduce feeds while packing all the nutrients in his breakfast.

A toddler can be a fussy eater. Consider making food fun for your little one and aim for a nutritionally balanced meal time.

Talk to your little one

Weaning off breastfeeding can be a big concern for most mothers, especially those who are doing it for the first time. Be honest with your toddler. Have a gentle conversation about weaning with them. Do not assume your baby is too young to understand how you have been feeling of late.

Children can often understand what moms want to convey. Talk to him in short sentences as to how he will soon be weaned off breast milk. Tell him that the time to stop nursing is drawing closer.

If your nipples are sore, do not hesitate to postpone feeds. Explain why you cannot feed him at the moment. Most children understand their mom’s emotions, making your weaning off breastfeeding journey smooth.

Be smart at sleep time when the baby asks for feed

If you feed your tiny tot to sleep, it is a good idea to change the pattern slowly. Reduce the time at the breast and have the day’s last feed in another room. Return to the baby’s room and put him to sleep showering all your love and warmth. Offer him lots of hugs, kisses, and attention to help her adjust to the weaning process.

Or let your partner come in at this stage to make the baby sleep. When he feels comfortable with his dad singing lullabies to put him to sleep, a change in routine will not hurt.

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This will help change the baby’s routine if he is used to a “sleep feed.”Gradually things will normalize.

If your little one wakes during the night and expects to be breastfed, you may be tempted to feed. One way out of it could be to allow your partner to settle him with a cuddle, lullaby, or a drink of water. Your toddler may not have a hard time accepting this change, because they do not associate breastfeeding with your partner. It’s your presence that reminds them of breastfeeds. So it’s not a bad idea to allow yourself some space.

Here are some more tips to wean toddler:

  • Avoid undressing before your toddler or wearing clothes that give him easy access to your breasts, as this could remind him of They may not hesitate to ask for it.
  • Wean on to a bottle before going directly to a cup, especially if your baby seems to be facing a hard time weaning off breastfeeding. Give a short feed. Then move him to the bottle feed.
  • Make sure the process is smooth for both of you so that he does not become anxious when you wean off feeding him.

It is easy to get frustrated seeing your newly weaned baby behaving differently for a while. But you have got to understand that it is a difficult time for him, and it will be a slow, gradual process until he settles down completely with his new routine.

Ravneet Kaur
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Ravneet Kaur

Ravneet is a proficient author on mindful parenting, child psychology, and pregnancy-related issues. Her practical writing focuses on helping parents develop a compassionate understanding of child behavior and build strong family bonds. She also researches and writes on women’s health, pregnancy problems, relationship issues, teens, and child development and education.
Ravneet also blogs at
Ravneet Kaur
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