How I Cold Turkey Weaned My Nursing Obsessed Toddler

What does this have to do with Simpletic Nutrition?!

There is simply nothing more simple or nutritious than breastmilk. SN's mission is disease prevention - and it starts at infancy. I made it breastfeeding until 15 months with my 1st son (self-weaned) and 24 months with this one. This is something to be celebrated. Breastfeeding is hard. Challenging. Can take a toll on your sanity. And your independence. It's not for everyone.

Thank the heavens for formula, because it's saved many a baby, and is a better choice for some families. Formula babies thrive, too. I am a proud supporter of #fedisbest - I know the challenges moms face when choosing how to feed their babies. There is just so little support after birth for the breastfeeding mom. That being said - if you're breastfeeding - I'M HERE FOR YOU.

You know what else about breastfeeding? It's beautiful. There is literally nothing. NOTHING. Like a tiny human staring into your eyes while you provide them with the nourishment they need to grow their little brains, hearts, organs, and muscles - from your very own body. For free. No bottle warmer needed. It's pure magic.

I was a lucky one. One of those moms that didn't have to deal with mastitis, cleft lips and tongues, prematurity, going back to work 2 weeks postpartum, unsupportive families, unsupportive employers, etc. So. many. obstacles.

As lucky as I was, and as beautiful as it is - it is near impossible to find anything on HOW DO I MAKE IT STOP?! So, here's something.

What made me do it?

Ethan’s pediatrician suggested I cold turkey wean him at 1 year old and that if I continued nursing him through the night, it would probably lead to divorce.

Cool doc, thanks for the heads up.

NEXT.

It definitely wasn’t her that made me do it.

When he was about 18 months, I was beginning to become ready to wean, at the very least through the night.

I successfully weaned him through the night around 20ish months.

He was weaned at night for about a week - until we stayed a night at nanas.

Back at square one.

I weaned him through the night AGAIN, only for it to be sabotaged again by travel (being out of normal routine and his own crib & room).

Realized it would have to be cold turkey to ever sleep through the night again.

Cervical cancer diagnosis and impending hysterectomy played a huge part of the decision too.

I wanted to be able to focus on my own healing unencumbered by the task of nourishing someone else.

HUGE kicker - a 3-day weekend was upon me, and nursing through the night had exhausted and aggravated me for the final time.

I guess you could say I snapped.

I guess you could say I snapped.

How did I do it?

I went to Dollar Tree (oh, how I love that place).

I got a gift bag and stuffed it with what was going to be known as a “weaning kit” disguised as a 2nd birthday present.

Bought a cake and bottle of champagne and announced to my bonus family (in-laws), “Ethan has been nursed for the last time - let’s celebrate!”

So, we threw ourselves a weaning party.

I had read about other cultures doing this around the age of 2, and it sounded like a fabulous idea.

This was me..

Party time bitches.

Party time bitches.

This was Ethan..

This is a WHAT party?!

This is a WHAT party?!

What was in the kit?

Many of his favorite things (aka distractions for when he asked for milk):

  • Suckers
  • Play Dough
  • Bubbles
  • Balloons
  • Book with snakes
  • M & M’s
  • A new “lovie” (hated it, this was a fail)
  • A new sippy cup (hated it, fail #2)
No better distraction in the world for a toddler than some bubbles.

No better distraction in the world for a toddler than some bubbles.

Others, with reason:

  • Neon green ACE bandage

    • To wrap my chest up to show him visually that “mommy’s milks don’t work any more” whenever he would ask

  • Clear plastic shot glasses

    • For shots of liquor to cope.

    • Just kidding - I poured liquids into these shot glasses any time he asked for milk

    • I’m so glad I got these, because he wouldn’t drink regular milk out of his new sippy cup, but he WOULD drink REGULAR MILK (hallelujah praise Jesus - because he up to that point wouldn’t drink milk for me out of anything) out of a clear plastic SHOT GLASS - go figure!!! He is his mother’s son.

    • Highly, highly recommend this strategy for a “picky drinker” to get them to drink different things.

  • Ibuprofen

    • In case of engorgement / pain

  • My favorite candy

    • #emotions

What is life?

What is life?

Did we struggle?

These were the worst 3 points:

1. The first time I turned him down when he asked for mommy’s milk. I had the ACE wrap on over my shirt. He looked at me like a complete freak, directly in the eye in disbelief and filled with disappointment.

"There's no way they just stopped working like that." Denial.

"There's no way they just stopped working like that." Denial.

2. The first post-weaning bedtime request for snuggly sleepy milk. Went more like this:

“I HATE YOU MOMMY I WANT MY NAAANNNAAAA!!!!!!!” Anger.

“I HATE YOU MOMMY I WANT MY NAAANNNAAAA!!!!!!!” Anger.

3. Bedtime the first night for me was VERY hard emotionally.

Emotions and thoughts so scattered, from:

  • “I’ve let him down.”
  • “I wouldn’t have to do this if I wasn’t having surgery.”
  • “He hates me now.”
  • “Maybe he wasn’t ready.”
Bargaining with the world. Say it isn't so.

Bargaining with the world. Say it isn't so.

  • “I’ll never nurse a baby again for the rest of my life.”
  • “I’ll never HAVE a baby again for the rest of my life.”
Depression.

Depression.

To:

  • “Weaning needed to happen.”
  • “I’ve been ready for so long.”
  • “It wasn’t a good thing any more.”
  • “I have two beautiful babies and that’s all I need.”
  • “I’ll finally get to sleep through the night.”
  • “I’ll finally get to go on a vacation for the first time in 4 years.”
I CAN DO THIS. Acceptance.

I CAN DO THIS. Acceptance.

After those 3 token breakdowns - we were golden. The worst had passed, and he was a champ. This all happened within the first 24 hours.

Did he keep asking?

He would still ask throughout that first week for milk whenever we faced a new scenario where he’d typically nurse. At this point though, he was easily redirectable with no signs of sadness.

  • His first boo-boo.
  • The first time I picked him up from school.
  • When he saw me get out of the shower.

And he doesn’t hate me for it anymore.

It okay mama, me still loves you lots.

It okay mama, me still loves you lots.

Did I become engorged?

Nope. I always thought I’d have to use cabbage leaves at some point, but after nursing a grand total of 40 months, it never happened and still hasn’t. I used a therapeutic style of breast massage that I’ve picked up as a Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC) that was SUPER effective at easing any “fullness” I had - and I’m convinced this prevented engorgement.

Any pain?

Nope.

Are my boobs like deflated balloons?

Nope, back to their usual pre-pregnancy selves. Although I suspect there is probably still some milk lingering in there. Still TBD.

9.png

Any leaking?

Nope.

How much was I nursing before I weaned?

Five times a day:

  • 12am
  • 3am
  • 6am
  • 5pm
  • 8pm
  • And a lot more frequently on weekend days.

Is he sleeping through the night now?

Nope. He still wakes literally at the exact same times he used to even though I’m not nursing him. Through the first week post-weaning, I still got him out of the crib for snuggles, but am breaking that now.

How we snuggle at night when he wakes.

How we snuggle at night when he wakes.

I have still yet to sleep through a night.

One of the last nursing pictures. I look so. damn. exhausted.

One of the last nursing pictures. I look so. damn. exhausted.

Do you have tips from weaning YOUR nursing obsessed toddler?! Sharing is caring.