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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weaning a toddler

I asked Lactation Services a question on facebook, to help with day weaning for little Garrett...he is out of control!  I really appreciate their response, and I thought I would share the information they gave me.

Lactation Services of Northeast Oklahoma: I'm sorry you're having a frustrating time, it's really hard when you don't get good sleep too! 15 months is a hard time for them because they have this budding independence that is exciting but yet scares them at the same time so it's very... common that he would increase his nursing because that's his "normal" in a very quickly changing world.

There are ways that you can encourage him to find comfort in something other than nursing. And, it is possible to do it in a loving gentle way. Each little bump in the road is a new opportunity for both of you to practice seeking an alternative to nursing. Offering a snack or a drink, reading a book or taking a quick trip outside can often be distraction enough to help him through the situation. Over time he will learn that he can rely on you for comfort in other ways than nursing.

It's a process though and more often than not, does not happen over night. But, just as he has learned over these past 15 months that you do respond to his needs, he will learn in time that you still have the same ability to meet his needs in ways other than nursing alone.

As for bedtime, some of your solution relies on your night time routine (or lack of one if applicable). There are many options to choose from luckily. You could make a palate on the floor for him to sleep on, or bring his crib mattress in your room, or if you have an extra bed, you could let that be "his" bed. In all of these situations, you could nurse him to sleep or lie with him until he falls asleep in his "bed" and then be able to sleep in your bed alone, for at least until he wakes up. ;-)

Night weaning has been known to be the most difficult time to accomplish but I promise you can get through it. I'll give you some links to follow up with and let you decide what you think might work best for you and your child. But please, if you have more questions or want to continue the conversation, feel free to do so!

I hope that you can find a solution that works for all of you!

I've tried to day wean before, but I never stick with it...that boy's pleas are irresistable!  But yesterday, I was strong, and I only nursed when he was going down for a nap, or going to bed.  The rest of the day, I offered snacks or a cup as an alternative, and he didn't ask for 'booby' as often as normal.  Today I hope for a similar outcome!

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