The NHS recommends that you breastfeed your child for the first 6 months and if possible carrying on until the child reaches a year. However when your toddler is approaching her second birthday and shows no interest in stopping. You might begin to look for help.
I did and do you know what I found? Nothing, not a single thing on how to stop breastfeeding a toddler, everything suggested than they would wean themselves. Not Edith.
I absolutely loved breastfeeding Edith and I am huge supporter of breastfeeding and boobs are amazing. To know that I produced the milk that nourished my baby and helping her grow is amazing but I’d been doing it for nearly two years and the time had come when I didn’t want to feed her anymore. I needed to stop breastfeeding.
Edith’s not needed the milk for a good while but it became a habit. It wasn’t even for comfort anymore, it was just because it’s what she had every day of her life. Once I became pregnant with this baby, I knew it was time to stop. Not only for the fact that the baby will need my milk and I didn’t want to tandem feed. But my boobs were so sore from pregnancy that every feed was incredibly painful.
So as the summer holidays were approaching we decided to cut her off from my milk. My husband was off work to help and it seemed like a great time to stop breastfeeding. I wanted it to be gradual not only to ease Edith in but so my boobs didn’t explode and I really didn’t fancy mastitis again.
We began the first week with only letting her have milk in the morning and evening. First thing when she woke up and then last thing before bed. We kept this up for the week, to allow my milk supply to drop and then we started to fade out the evening milk. I found that I had to express every other day as I was still making a lot of milk.
During this time we found that Edith would start asking for milk around 3pm, after waking up from a nap or if she was tired. After all we all get that 3pm slump. We kept her distracted and I tried not to sit down for too long next to her otherwise she would climb on me asking for it.
She started to forget about milk in the day. She would have a bottle of cows milk if she needed or wanted it before bed. The last feed to get rid of was the morning one.
The hardest one. Edith would always want milk the moment she saw me in the morning. My husband came up with a great idea, that we would sit at the table for breakfast straight away as we were waking up later because of the summer holidays.
We would fill Edith up on porridge and a cup of tea so she wouldn’t want milk. Of course she would still ask for milk but she knew that she wouldn’t get it. Now we’re back to waking up earlier we sit on the sofa and cuddle, watch Cbeebies and she will have a bottle of cows milk.
Edith has stopped breastfeeding now for almost a month. She has asked for it every single day, each day it gets later and later before she asks. Eventually she will forget to ask.
Emotionally Edith is fine about not having it now. As for me? I am so happy to have my boobs to myself for a good few months, before a newborn is on them constantly. A lot of people are sad to stop and say they miss the closeness that breastfeeding gave them.
I’ve not felt that at all. Edith has been so full of love. I now get so many more cuddles and kisses without the constant tugging at my top, I can’t remember the exact date of the last feed, I can’t even remember the last feed. What I do know was that I was so ready to stop breastfeeding and I know that Edith was too.
Words of Advice on How To Stop Breastfeeding a Toddler:
My words of advice would be to start the process slowly and when you know that both of you are ready to stop breastfeeding. Chances are you will need to express of some milk, there are ways to do this without increasing your milk supply, it’s not really what you want to be doing. I found that a warm flannel and massage worked really well to ease plugged ducts and shift any blockages. Expressing every other day to begin with was helpful too. It got rid of excess milk.
My breastfeeding journey with Edith was absolutely incredible and I’m so thankful that we both found it easy. I hope that I can do the same with our next baby. But we will just have to wait and see what happens.