Weaning a toddler

I’m sitting here nursing Lenny after he’s had what seems to be a rough day at daycare (he threw up part of his lunch, but that’s all I know–somehow the details of this were fuzzy by the time they got to me), and it seems right now that we are very, definitely NOT weaning. But, on our better days, I am giving it a shot. 

I’m proud to be breastfeeding for as long as we have, going on 21 months. Yet more days than not, I’m ready to be done with it, too. I’d much prefer that Lenny magically wean himself so that we can avoid the tears and tantrums that are sure to come with a weaning process led by me, but I simply don’t see myself nursing a two year old, so the process has begun nonetheless.

I’ve been considering the idea of weaning for a long time now, but could never commit to an approach. I still have no clue how to proceed. Lenny has already weaned from the overnight feedings, so there are only three nursing sessions we have to tackle–first thing in the morning, nursing to sleep for the night, and after I get home from work. Of course, there are some weekends where we also nurse to sleep for a nap, or he will ask to nurse all morning if we are just hanging out around the house, and it’s those times especially when I feel ready to wean.  Yes, I’m ready to be done.

But, how to proceed?  We’ve tried don’t-offer-don’t-refuse, but we end up nursing quite a lot by not refusing. I’ve tried distraction with a toy, or ticking or kissing the feeling to nurse out of him, but this boy is as stubborn as his momma. We can avoid nursing successfully by staying out of the house, but there are times when we simply just need to be in the house. Cow’s milk has become a common request at bedtime, but only sips in between latches.

Beyond those approaches, I’m at a loss. I know I want the process to be gradual, and slow enough to be healthy for us both. I know, despite the sometimes overwhelming urge to be done with breastfeeding, that there will be times I will miss it once we are completely done. I know that I’m hoping he’ll find other times to wrap my arms around him for a hug, as he’s recently taken to doing while he nurses. I know I’ve done a good thing for him by nursing him this long. I know these special nursing snuggles have been pretty good for me, too. I know we will figure this out together, somehow.

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