7 Easy Tips on How To Stop Breastfeeding A 2-year-old
Doctors recommend that babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. This is because breast milk has a lot of benefits to a baby that extends beyond basic nutrition. Packed with disease-fighting components, breast milk plays a significant role in boosting your baby’s immunity to offer protection from several illnesses.
Some mothers may want to nurse their babies until they are past their first birthday. However, it’s good to set limits when you are breastfeeding your baby so that it is realistic for the two of you. Here is a quick guide on how to stop breastfeeding a 2-year-old so that he or she may get attached to their bottles.
When Should You Stop Breastfeeding?
Doctors and breastfeeding experts recommend that the weaning process should be baby-led. This means that you should only stop when your baby feels like she has had enough of your breasts.
However, if you leave it up to your baby to decide when to stop breastfeeding, you may end up nursing a 3-year-old baby! This is because to a baby; breastfeeding is more than just food hence she is unlikely to give it up anytime soon. It is thus up to you to make the decision on when you think is the best time for both you and your baby.
Reasons You May Want To Stop Breastfeeding Your 2-year-old Baby
He or She is Getting Adequate Nutrition From Other Sources
A 2-year-old toddler is old enough to eat solid food and is, therefore, ready to wean. However, your toddler may want to continue clinging to your breasts for as long as he or she wishes to. However, if you will be okay with continuing with the breastfeeding episodes, then you can continue breastfeeding.
Your Toddler is Slowly Cutting Back on The Number of Suckling Sessions
Once your child has reached her 2nd birthday, though she may still want to have a taste of your nipples, the length and frequency of nursing sessions will gradually reduce. This should let you know that your child is now ready to wean.
You Are No Longer Into It Anymore
As your baby gets older, you may reach a point where you feel like you want to stop breastfeeding. Breastfeeding a baby for two years can be a little exhaustive considering that you have to balance between work and nursing your baby. At some point, you may feel like you don’t want to continue anymore.
How Long Will It Take To Stop Breastfeeding?
The weaning process is different for everyone. For some, it can take a week, especially if the baby is bored with breastfeeding. For others, it may take as long as 6 months especially if your baby was not ready for it.
While you are executing the plan to wean your baby, make sure that the process is gradual. Putting a stop to breastfeeding abruptly may upset your baby and may also leave you with some discomfort to deal with like engorged breasts. A gradual approach will give your time to adjust and will also give your body time to reduce your milk production slowly.
Putting A Stop To Breastfeeding
Now that you have made the decision to stop breastfeeding your baby, here is the proper way to which you should go about it.
Take It Slow
Weaning a toddler requires a lot of patience. This will help you and your baby to adjust to the change. The best strategy you can use is to start by eliminating nursing sessions during the day. This is because, during the day, your toddler is likely to be very busy with play and other things that will keep her distracted. You will realise that your baby will slowly start to lose interest in breastfeeding and within a few months, he will be completely weaned.
Don’t Offer, Don’t Refuse
If your 2-year-old doesn’t ask to be breastfed, then you should never offer it to her. However, if she asks for it (most likely she will) for the first few days before you give in to her demands, try to offer her other alternatives like juice or a special snack. If she insists on suckling, then don’t refuse her. With time, she will gently learn to wean.
Communicate to your toddler
Since babies thrive in routines, they are likely to resist any attempt to introduce some changes in what they are used to on a daily basis. To ensure that the transitioning is smoother, you can try talking to your toddler to let her know that you are going to stop nursing her. This will give her the time she needs to process this information.
Reduce the need to feed to sleep
Sometimes breastfeeding may be a sleep crutch to your toddler such that without it, she can’t go to bed or go back to sleep in the middle of the night. The best way to break away from this routine is by creating another routine. You can introduce singing or read a story book to your baby if that can help her to go to sleep without having to be nursed.
If she wakes up in the middle of the night and refuses to go back to sleep without a feed, then you can try soothing her with a cuddle or offer her a drink of water. You can also have your partner do the soothing since you could be reminding your baby of feeding.
Wear different clothes
Clothes that allow your toddler to have easy access to your breasts can make it difficult to stop her from breastfeeding. You should consider wearing clothes that make it difficult for her to reach your breasts.
Discourage long feeds
If your baby likes to feed until she falls asleep, you should consider changing tact by taking control of her feeding. You can introduce an interesting activity and encourage her to finish up quickly so that you can engage in that activity.
Spend some time away from them
When your baby is 2 years old, it means that you must have introduced him to solid foods since it will be difficult for them to live on breast milk alone for two years. Your toddler will be mostly breastfeeding when he needs comfort from you or when he or she wants to take a nap.
To make your child lose interest in breastfeeding, you should try being away from them regularly without having to pump or bottle feed. This will give your child the opportunity to navigate the world around him without your nipples in her mouth.
What If Your Baby Still Wants To Continue?
Since weaning is a mother’s personal choice, if your baby refuses to give up breastfeeding, then whether you stop or continue will all depend on your choice. If you still feel like carrying on, then you can go ahead with breastfeeding your toddler.
However, if you feel exhausted, then have a look at the situation to find out why you feel like you can’t continue with nursing and practice a lot of patience with your baby.
No matter how much you love your baby, you cannot nurse him or her forever since at one point you will have to stop breastfeeding him or her. You should therefore not feel guilty when you want to start weaning, but the child is not yet ready. To make you feel better, a 2-year-old is able to eat solid food and is, therefore, capable of going without breast milk.
Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that once a baby is more than 12 months old, then it is safe to wean him or her. It is, therefore, safe to wean a 2-year-old.