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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

A Flexible Baby Weaning Schedule for Toddlers

So, your toddler has been eating table food and drinking from a cup for a while. Maybe you’re expecting your next baby, or you’re just ready to stop nursing, but your little one is still asking for the breast multiple times per day. What does a baby weaning schedule look like for a toddler?

A flexible baby weaning schedule for toddlers.

I have now successfully weaned two children during the toddler years. Both times I weaned because I was expecting a new baby and the pain from nursing was too much for me. I have a very flexible baby weaning schedule that I follow in order to wean my toddlers. I am not strict about weaning, and the process has always been very gradual for me, usually taking a couple of months.

1. Give Baby a Special Nighttime Cup

The very first thing I do before I even begin weaning is introduce a very special nighttime cup to my little one. The night feedings are the hardest to drop and it is important that baby has something else to drink when he wakes up thirsty. Every night I will begin putting my child to bed with the cup and then let him nurse to sleep. Eventually, we will drop the nursing sessions completely. When my child wakes up thirsty, he gets his cup.

2. Use Distraction

With my toddlers, I usually drop all of the daytime feedings altogether. This is easy to do with older toddlers. They are very busy during the day. When my child asks to nurse, I will offer a snack or play with him. The art of distraction is your best friend. The only time I have run into trouble is during nap time. My best advice for this is to be more active. You may need to go out and about a little more often so your child can nap in the car. Another way to cope with naptime is to let Dad or another trusted caregiver handle it. If Daddy is home, let him hold your toddler during the time he would usually nap. You should not be in the same room. This process may take a few days, and I have found my toddlers may not nap every day once we drop nursing.

3. Snuggle, Snuggle, Snuggle

My babies often associate snuggle time with me with breastfeeding, so when I’m weaning them it is important to establish snuggle time without breastfeeding. This can be difficult. When my toddler needs me to cuddle, he often tries to reach for the breast. During weaning, I simply move his hands and tell him, “No. Let’s just snuggle.” Then I hold him close. I may need to move his hands a few times.  I always offer a drink. If he is extremely upset and we are early in the weaning process, I may nurse him for a few minutes and then remove him from the breast once he is calm.

4. Drop the Nighttime Feeds

Once your child has not nursed during the day for several days, begin putting him to bed without nursing. Offer the special nighttime cup and give him some extra special snuggles. If he has avoided naps, he will probably go to sleep pretty easily. If your toddler sleeps through the night, then you have a pretty easy job. If your toddler is like mine, he still wakes up to nurse for comfort. I hold my toddler close and when he reaches for the breast I just tell him no. This is the longest process. Now when he wakes up at night he just snuggles close to my chest and goes back to sleep. I have also found since I weaned him he wakes up much less at night than he did while nursing. You can read more about night weaning here. 

Remember, this process may not go quickly. It took about four to five weeks to wean my youngest child when he was two years old, and he was very attached to the breast. At this age, nursing is more about filling emotional needs than it is about nutrition. Make sure you give your toddler lots of loving through this process! Here are some tips to deal with any guilt you have so the process will be better for both of you.

What are your tips? What does your baby weaning schedule look like?

Joanie Boeckman is an Army Reserve wife and homeschooling mama to three (soon to be four!) beautiful children. She is passionate about living a simpler life, attachment parenting, homemaking, and homeschooling. You can find her blogging at Simple Living Mama where her mission is to empower women in their roles as homemakers, mothers, and homeschool teachers.

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