If you know Asher, you know he is a very opinionated and demanding toddler. Yes, I know most toddlers carry these traits. They don’t call it the terrible 2’s for nothing. However, my biased self REALLY thinks he takes it to the next level. I should have known it was coming; he gets it from BOTH of his parents. Our kids have no hope!
I want to share my experience of how I gently weaned Asher because if you are anything like me, you might be stressed about the whole experience! When I found out I was pregnant right after Asher turned 2, I began attempting to wean. Actually, I had tried to night-wean about 6 months earlier with absolutely no success. Both Jordan and I tried for a couple of weeks. We had many sleepless nights and cuddles with a crying Asher. I finally decided he wasn’t ready. Even though I was so desperate to sleep through the night without nursing!
I wasn’t too excited about trying to wean again after our first experience. However, I was also not too thrilled with the idea of nursing a newborn and a toddler. I also heard that the majority of women’s milk dries up in the second trimester. I am 20 weeks now and sure enough, my milk dried up at 15 weeks, making it waaaay too painful to nurse.
So how did I wean the rascal?
I weaned Asher very slowly and thankfully with barely any tears! I decided to go in order, first the night nursing, then the going-to-bed nursing, then the daytime sessions, and finally the going down for a nap session. It took roughly 2 weeks for each.
| I weaned Asher very slowly and thankfully with barely any tears! |
For the first couple of weeks, anytime Asher woke up in the night, I’d say, ‘Mama milk in the morning. As soon as we wake up you get mama milk!’ At the age of 2, he was able to understand. He didn’t prefer it, but he wasn’t confused. When I tried 6 months prior, he screamed and cried like he was in so much distress. It was really difficult to hear and broke my heart. This time, his cries were more of a whine and a frustration. I could tell by talking him through it, he was not confused, only irritated. He whimpered the first night, in my arms, for about 20 minutes. I would gently rub his head and continue to promise him milk in the morning. I repeated this every time he woke up and each time got better and better until we got to the point where he did not wake up to ask for milk. Success! As promised, every morning when the sun came up, I nursed him. He loved this special treat!
Once he was sleeping through the night I would take him to bed, cuddle with him and go through the same routine. This one took slightly more time, as he wasn’t quite as tired as he was waking in the middle of the night. A few times I had to say, if you don’t go to sleep mama is going to leave the room. Asher HATES being alone so this always did the trick. Again, each night got better and better, with more understanding and less whining.
I then repeated this for our naptime routine with the same success. ‘Mama milk when we wake up,’ and continued to rub his head. I found the daytime to be a little easier than nights. I would distract him with food, water, a toy, or going somewhere to play. I would say things like, ‘No more mama-milk, why don’t we go play?’ Or, ‘Do you want some water?’ The funny thing is he stopped saying mama milk and would ask to nurse by saying ‘No more, please?’ It was so funny…and sad, and sweet…
He often asked to nurse during the day at first, but each 3-4 days I took away one nursing session until he was down to nursing just once a day. I let this go on the longest as I was soaking up our last few nursing times together! I knew that once we were done, this was a time I would never get back. The thought made me so sad! Although tiring at times, I absolutely cherished our nursing-bonding times. How sweet is it that we can nourish our babies with milk that is designed exactly for their specific DNA and changes over the months and years with them?! You can read more about our early nursing struggles and the health benefits here! This is a sweet time I will always remember but know there are many other ways to bond with your child besides nursing.
Today, Asher is completely weaned. It is a relief to be able to cuddle and hold him without a toddler lifting my shirt every time he sees me. If you are in the same boat as I was, I hope you find this encouraging. It does get easier and there are ways to wean while holding your baby without all the dreadful tears! This is our story. There is no perfect way to wean or parent a child, find what works best for your family and hang in there, mamas!