How to Get Your Toddler to Stop Nursing: Weaning Baby from Breastfeeding

Should our blogger continue nursing (her toddler’s two), or is weaning on the way?



At lunch recently my friend struggled to keep her cool as her 22-month-old son thrashed at her screaming “mocha” (that's “nurse” in toddlerese). She had long given up on eating her lunch, but was wearing a high front, non-stretchy sundress that didn’t offer easy access and was at a loss as to how to calm him down. Finally she got up and whisked him inside the restaurant. Five minutes later she came out, sunk down in her seat and said “I just sat on the bathroom floor with my dress pulled up so he could nurse. I can’t do this anymore.” I jumped all over that: “We could wean them together!” I suggested with a little too much enthusiasm. “We could do it at the same time and then we can all be miserable together.” I think she thought I was kidding — I think I thought so, too. But tonight, I’m thinking that sounds like an awesome idea.

The World Health Organization recommends nursing for at least two years, though some lactivists argue that human mammals are meant to be nursed until the age of four. Now that Coraline’s second birthday is just around the corner, the nursing finish line is in sight — and I feel guilty for that. I’ve been saying for ages that if Coraline could just be satisfied with one or two short nurses a day, I could last another year. But that's not her. A few of my friends still happily nurse their three-year-olds and I think "If they can do it, so can I" — but they’re not me. Maybe it’s because, lately, I could sleep standing up (if I stood still long enough), or because I’ve been an on-demand milk machine for 721 straight days. But I’m ready to be done. I’m also really scared to wean her. Will our bond suffer? Will I not know how to soothe her anymore? Deprive her of the balanced nutrition she needs to grow smart and strong? Will I emotionally damage her because I’m the one who's ready (and not her)? I realize that most of these are irrational, narcissistic, and overly dramatic concerns, but to me they’re larger than life. It’s one call I just can’t seem to make, despite feeling like I’m one bathroom floor-feeding away from the looney bin.

Got any words of wisdom or advice for weaning a young toddler? (Or can anyone convince me why I should keep nursing?)

Green Living Tip of the Week:
Check out this blog post by my friend Derrick Mead of Mead Orchards in Tivoli. Just some food for thought next time you head to the grocery store (or local farmer’s market).

» Read more weaning posts from Mama Greenest
» Read more breastfeeding posts from Mama Greenest
» Read more from Mama Greenest, our health and parenting blog
» Read more on Hudson Valley Health
» Read more on Hudson Valley Kids

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One mom's plan to raise a kid — without raising greenhouse gases

About This Blog

Shannon Gallagher

Shannon Gallagher
Rhinebeck, NY


Dutchess County native Shannon Gallagher is a contributing editor for Hudson Valley Magazine. An erstwhile thrill-seeker, these days she courts disaster of a different variety wrangling a spirited toddler, honing her vegan baking skills, and chasing the ever-elusive work-family balance. She teaches Pilates and does fascial bodywork, and lives in Rhinebeck with Coraline, a cat named Otie, and Sushi the Fish (named, of course, by the toddler).

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