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Breast Feeding

Weaning 23 month old baby

10/23/2006

Question:

I am breastfeeding my baby whenever she asks for it (7-10 feedings a day). I aim to end breastfeeding by the end of September when she will be 2 years old. A few days ago I started by not breastfeeding her when she wanted but gave her 3 hours later, for one feeding a day. I tried to do the same for another feeding today, but she resisted a lot by crying and asking for it. I realised that she is cutting her last 4 molar teeth and is having hard time, in which case I thought I should stop weaning activities for a while.

As I think breastfeeding after 2 years causes other problems: - If this situation lasts long what shall I do? - Also if this situation ends and if she still continues to resist decreasing feedings what shall I do? (All my friends who breastfed this long had this problem and cut breasfeeding suddenly)

Answer:

Your toddler apparently loves both the nutrition and the comfort of breastfeeding.

First be sure she is getting plenty of solids, a well rounded healthy diet consisting of 3 solid meals per day plus snacks of healthy, solid foods.

Offer the breast only after some solids have been offered.

Time the breastfeeding sessions so that you know how long they last currently, then begin to shorten them by 2 or 3 minutes every other day. The frequency can remain the same for now, that is, let her have it as long as her solid intake is first.

This will decrease your milk production gradually, leading to a decrease in your child's interest in the breast.

By 2 to 3 weeks, she should be willingly getting off the breast sooner or decreasing the number of times per day that she wants to breastfeed. Be sure to offer her other beverages in a sippy cup.

Expect that she will still want to nurse at nap time and at bedtime for a while, but she will outgrow that need as well.

This is child-led weaning with parental guidance.

Cutting off suddenly is hard on both mom and baby.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati