A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Ask the Expert: Making Weaning Positive

By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA

Fan Question:

“My daughter is 20 months and I want to wean. She nurses through the night, several times a day, and I just feel like it’s time. How should I do this so I don’t upset her and it’s a smooth transition?”

Congratulations on meeting your breastfeeding goal!  A positive weaning involves planning, as older babies and toddlers usually have strong preferences about all aspects of daily life. As you wean, respect her preferences. Think about foods, drinks, and activities she might consider better than breastfeeding, and offer them as much as possible before she asks to nurse. If certain nursings are more important to her, let her to give them up last. During weaning, breastfeed when your child asks but don’t offer when she doesn’t ask. Here are more tips:

  • Provide enough meals, snacks, and drinks so she doesn’t ask out of hunger or thirst.
  • Plan interesting activities so that she doesn’t even think of nursing.
  • Change your routine in ways that remind her less of nursing (i.e., avoid your favorite nursing chair).
  • Get your partner involved with drinks and snacks during the night and breakfast first thing in the morning.
  • Allow several weeks to wean fully and be flexible. If your child is ill, go back to weaning when she’s feeling better.

For more weaning tips and info on all other aspect of breastfeeding, download my Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app for Android and iPhones at this link.

unnamedNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA is a board-certified lactation consultant in the Chicago area who has been helping breastfeeding families since 1982. Her books for professionals are used worldwide. Her books for parents include Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, which she co-authored with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, and her tiny problem-solving guide, Breastfeeding Solutions  In 2013, Nancy released her Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app (available for Android and iPhones) to give mothers a quick, go-everywhere source of breastfeeding help. Nancy speaks at events around the world.