For a number of reasons including my sore back, my schoolwork demands, and our childcare schedule, I’m getting more proactive about weaning. (And, I think I read heard imagined that toddlers stop breastfeeding and start walking about the same time. Since our girls are almost 18 months old and still not walking, maybe this will speed thing up).
For the last couple of months, I’ve shifted more and more to the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach to feeding during the day with scheduled feedings first thing in the morning and at bedtime. A couple of weeks ago, I cut out the morning feed. Now, they are usually just feeding at bedtime, though sometimes if I’ve been working all day and dinner is going to be later, I feed them to address both their hunger and need for mommy-time.
I’ve been convinced for a while that R is ready to wean. She is most interested in breastfeeding when her sister is doing it. She does not initiate or expect to feed nearly as often as her sister. When I cut out their morning feedings and went straight from bed to breakfast, and she didn’t even fuss. In the afternoon, I can distract her with tickles or by looking out the window. At bedtime, she is often too distracted to really feed. She is more interested in what her sister and brother are doing, or in watching the ceiling fan, or “honking” my nose. After two or three interruptions in as many minutes, I give her a hug and kiss and put her to bed.
My other girl, S, is on her own weaning schedule. When I started the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach, she was wanting to feed on the same schedule as before (after meals, before and after nap, in morning and at bedtime, at least). She comes looking to breastfeed way more often than her sister, and she is hard to distract. When I cut out the morning feeding, for a few days, I had to sneak in and take her to the other room to feed her before R woke up because she was so upset about not eating. Even after a couple of weeks, she still wants milk first thing in the morning, though I’m not feeding her. When she sees me after a day of work, she wants to feed and a bedtime, she feeds without interruptions, and often asks for “more.”
I was hoping to phase out evening feeds in the next week or so, but I don’t see that happening. S is still very much interested in breastfeeding and R wants the same attention as her sister. With their big brother, we changed his bedtime routine so Daddy put him to bed with a story instead of breastfeeding with me. But, our schedule right now won’t support that change. So, unless the girls wean themselves, I think we’ll continue like this for another month or so.
How did you wean your children? Did they wean at the same time? If not, how did you deal with it?