Posted in Breastfeeding, Preschoolers

I am trying to wean my 3.5 year old son. Need help! No judgement, please.

Anonymous

My son became really attached to nursing. I have been trying to wean (intentionally) for about a year. I did not actually plan to do it for this long, but tried to go with the flow. Anyway, after a lot of talks, stories, meltdowns, cuddles, and bribes with toys (I know!), he is down to two sessions, one before bedtime and one in the morning. I have been talking to him about having a weaning party (he loves parties and presents), but he does not really seem to be into it. I am now trying to cut down another session before having the weaning party (with just us). He just gets so so so upset when I refuse to nurse (like crying hysterically, red in the face mad). Makes me think he’s not ready. I have been ready though, and worry he won’t get there on his own anytime soon. I think the more I insist that it’s time to “say bye bye.” the more he demands it. Otherwise, he’s very independent and friendly with other children. Anyone else gone through a similar experience? Any advise, encouragement? Thanks!

  • CheerioMama
    Apr 12

    I don’t know much about this. I was only able to nurse for 4 months before getting very sick and things stopped working. But, it sounds to me like he is just having a really hard time letting go. It’s a comfort thing, and he has only ever known this. He’s only 3 1/2 years old, so he doesn’t know how to control his emotions. Maybe instead of bribing him with toys (no judging btw - I totally would try the same thing) you could offer him a different kind of comfort, like try cuddling with him in a blanket or something. Or distract him by going somewhere so he forgets for a while. I think eventually he will learn to deal. He’s just learning how to live in this world, and you’re taking something away that he has since now, used to make himself feel better and safe. It’s going to be a transition, but I think it will be better for you both in the long run.

  • Tiffany
    Apr 12

    Like the poster above, I was only able to nurse a short time. You sound like an awesome mama, very loving and devoted. The only thing I can think would work is quitting cold turkey instead of drawing it out. Give him extra love and cuddles, but no more nursing. Just my idea and opinion. Also, you could ask your pediatrician for advice. Good luck. I know it will all work out.

  • Anonymous
    Apr 13

    I am still BF my child, he’s at 11 months, but I’ve read that some women, with success, have put bandaids on their breasts and said they’re broken. Or put something a bit poor tasting onto the nipple before feeding

  • K
    Apr 13

    So, I had to cut my son off at 2.5 years bc I was pregnant with his sisters (no idea it was twins at the time) and my hormones made it crazy painful, like glass was being sucked out. But, I had been ready fir awhile before that and got him down to just bedtime session that only lasted a minute. It’s all about habit and control. He is 4 now and still nuzzles and pretends, it’s a comfort. It sucks, but you just have to get through the tantrum, it’s the age. Hug him, talk to him, but be consistent in not nursing. Take away the morning first, give him something to eat right away. Maybe a cup of water/milk or a banana. Honestly, one night I had enough, told him no more and had his dad do bedtime for a few nights. I still cuddle every night and that’s enough. You did an amazing job!! Give yourself the ok to let it go. He will be fine.

  • Anonymous
    Apr 14

    Hi! My child self weaned at 2.5 ..I thought there would be no end in sight..haha.. anyway what helped me was I gradually took one side away at a time. I just told her I had a ouchie on one side and so no eating there and so she would only nurse on the other. Also she went to school which helped her figure out for herself alternative modes of comfort besides mommy..which in her case was her bunny. And eventually she lost interest and stopped nursing. Anyway, good luck. You're not alone. You're doing great!

  • Val
    Apr 14

    I breastfed my son till a bit over 2 years. I was ready to wean, and I started to say that once he was a big boy he would not like the taste of my milk. I just kept repeating this over a few months, maybe it was weeks...anyway, one day I was determined that it was the day to be done, so I put some vinegar soaked cotton balls on my nipples, and when he asked for the boobs, I gave them and naturally he stopped as soon as his mouth tasted the vinegar. He said yuck! And I played along, asked what they tasted like, and said you must be a big boy now! And offered the other boob to see if it tasted bad too. And just the smell was enough to make him stop. I did this for a couple of days and boom, no more nursing. I would offer them, but nope, they tasted bad and he chose to stop. I think bc it was his choice he was ok with it. No tantrums. Try it. It’s the best thing I did.

  • Patty
    May 02

    I'm on number 3 but breastfed all of them. It was easy to wean because I got pregnant again and had to stop. It changed the taste and want healthy for my pregnancy. I like the vinegar idea. Some kids just have "strong" personalities. Otherwise I had a similar issue with pacifiers for my 2nd child. She has them until 3/4 and constantly carried/slept with 3-4. The dentist finally told us we had to stop because her teeth were in an overbite. She didn't use them at daycare only at home. Finally I told her that big girls didn't use pacifiers and only babies used them. And the pacifiers would go away on their own because they were needed by babies. Then I proceeded to cut the tips off the pacifiers at random times until nothing was left and she threw them out. It too about 2 weeks. I had to sneak around and do it but it worked. No tantrum (yes). She had no choice and we refused to buy more. She was a big girl. But that personality traits will never go away so you will have to be firm eventually for something. It's painful for you but needed for them to know who's in charge. I'm still struggling with her for dominance. Lol