How do I wean my baby : 16 month old?
by Sherry (Canada)
I am breastfeeding my little boy. Ever since he turned 16 months old, people have been telling me to stop breastfeeding him because he is too old to nurse. I tried to give him his sippy cup for his nap but he refuses to take it.
I was wondering: what can I do to wean him off the breast and start taking his sippy cup for his nap and bedtime?
It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible
Weaning a baby off the breast can be quite challenging. Your baby has known you and your breast since the day he was born, so to give up such a source of love and comfort can be very hard. Here are some things to try:
- Give him his sippy cup before he is tired. This way, you will ensure that he gets his food. Worry about getting him to sleep later.
- Try a different method of getting him to fall asleep like walking him around the block in a stroller or taking him for a ride in the car. If your child likes to read books, use this activity as a way to initiate the nighttime sleep ritual. In other words, let your child get used to falling asleep with something else and not your breasts.
- Let someone else put him to sleep so that he is distracted by the fact that there is someone new. Perhaps the novelty of having someone else put him to bed may allow him to “forget” about your breast. It helps if the other person is very interactive and fun: your child may be so pleased with extra fun time that he is willing to forgo breastfeeding. Or, you can leave the house while the other person puts the child to bed. That way, breastfeeding is just not an option.
- Keep your child active during the daytime hours By night, he is exhausted and falls asleep quicker. He will probably still cry and fuss because he wants the comfort of your breast, but he will fuss for a shorter amount of time because he is tired and falls asleep quicker. It’s not the best choice, but it works for some people.
- Another way to approach the situation is to let your child breastfeed and then fall asleep as usual. Who cares what other people say? Of all the people who “advise” you to stop breastfeeding, how many of those people have breastfeed children? How many of those people really know what is best for you and your baby? How many of those people are experts in deciding how long a baby should nurse? 16 months old is not too old to breastfeed – it is called extended breastfeeding – and a lot of people do it. Read more about it here.
- Keep in mind that weaning your baby off the breast may seem very hard: how would you ever accomplish this? Rest assured that your baby will not be on your breast forever. Sooner or later, he will be weaned.
- If your child was older, you could try negotiating with him. For example, you can offer to buy him a toy and in exchange, he would give up breastfeeding. Or, you could initiate weaning during a major event like going on a trip, or when someone is visiting your house. Explain that you will no longer breastfeed him while you are on vacation (or when someone is visiting). If he is old enough, he may understand your reasoning. By the time your trip is finished or when guests have left, you just say that breastfeeding is no longer an option. he would have been off the breast long enough to know that he can go to be without the breast.