Breastfeeding can be an extremely rewarding experience for mother and child, but like most good things, there’s always an end in sight. While some babies self-wean, others are more resistant to weaning, especially toddlers who are older and wiser! Having breastfed all my children well past their first birthdays, here are a few tried and tested tips to help ease your toddler off breast milk.
7. Comfort toy: If you suspect your toddler is nursing for comfort (for instance he uses it to soothe himself to sleep) then try and get him a comfort toy. A teddy or a soft cuddly blanket may help. When I had to wean my son, I got him a toy from one his favourite cartoons and it helped distract him from breastfeeding.
8. Cuddle up: Remember to also give your toddler lots of hugs and cuddles, weaning is an incredibly emotionally tough process for your little one. Imagine being told you can no longer have access to your favourite thing in the world? Let your toddler know that even though she won’t be getting ‘mummy’s milk’ she will never stop getting lots of warm hugs and cuddles.
READ ALSO: 12 Tips On Weaning Your Baby From the Breast
9. Don’t be too quick: Lastly, try to avoid going ‘cold turkey’ i.e. stopping suddenly. Weaning a toddler suddenly is usually very tough on them, may lead to severe engorgement and even worse, could lead to mastitis. Weaning should be done over a few weeks by cutting out the night feedings first, followed by the day time feeds.
If you are particularly desperate to wean your toddler, you can try weaning over a couple of days but only if you must! Also, while weaning, make sure you do the following:
• Wear a firm bra: Do not suffocate your breasts but make sure you wear a bra that gives you good support throughout the weaning process. A sports bra that has a little allowance may do the trick.
• Use cold cabbage leaves: No one seems sure why this works but for some reason, ice cold cabbage leaves (put them in the freezer for a few hours) over your breast will relieve any engorgement you may experience while weaning your little one.
• Drink Sage tea: Sage is a natural herb that has been shown to reduce the amount of breast milk your body produces.
• Don’t over empty: If you do end up getting engorged during the weaning process then express some milk. However, be careful not to empty the breast completely as the body may just think you need more milk and your breasts will keep getting full.
Here’s hoping you and your toddler have a hitch free weaning process!