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I need some help with trying to wean.

I am needing some help with trying to wean. My daughter is 17 months old and is an avid comfort nurser. She has only nursed, would never take a bottle or pacifier. The only way she will take a nap or go to bed is by nursing and still wakes up multiple times at night and only goes back down by nursing.

She is very strong-willed, so when I try to not nurse her she will get very upset and keep getting more mad and not really ever calm down until she is nursing.

I have loved our time together, but am ready to have a break before we try for another baby. If you could give me any good ideas and help on how to wean her that would be great. I am just kind of stumped on what to do and really don't know where to start.


Catie Van Gestel | Other Provider

Catie Van Gestel

I want to applaud you for breastfeeding your baby! It sounds like it has been a great bonding experience for you both, but you are worried that this will be a difficult transition for your daughter. Weaning brings out lots of emotions in both mom and baby. So take a big deep breath!

When I talk to moms about weaning, I always start by saying, “take it slow,” to avoid becoming uncomfortably full and to avoid the risk of mastitis.  Plan to take several weeks to find out what works for you and your baby and for the weaning process to finish. Also, be flexible! There are many approaches to weaning an older child, so I suggest you try some of these approaches and see what works the best for you and your baby.

A common approach is, “Don’t offer, but don’t refuse.” If your child asks to breastfeed, try shortening the time that they are at the breast. Continue to shorten these times and the days as nursing sessions go on. Sometimes coupling this with distractions or cuddle time can help. Offer regular meals, frequent snacks and drinks to minimize breastfeeding out of hunger or boredom.

If you are the one putting baby to bed, it may be helpful to change up the bedtime routine. If there is a partner at home, get your partner involved. Have your partner begin putting them to bed and have them get up with them in the middle of the night and to calm and cuddle.

It will probably be tough, but give it time and give yourself grace. After all, you did breastfeed for 17 months and that is a wonderful feat in it of itself! Good work!

Read more answers by Catie Van Gestel