Please Note: This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. Read my full disclosure statement. 

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.

Weaning from Breastfeeding: 7 Things for Moms to Consider

Weaning from Breastfeeding 7 Things for mom to ConsiderWeaning from breastfeeding: I have successfully done this with four children. Okay, that’s not true. I have successfully weaned one child.  The first three weaned themselves. Well, maybe that’s not true either. I guess it depends on how you define weaning.

If I remember my La Leche League literature correctly, weaning from breastfeeding technically begins as soon you introduce solid food into your child’s diet.  In that case, I began weaning all my kids around six months of age. Sometime eighteen months to two years later, they competed the process themselves. They simply lost interest over time (maybe with a little encouragement).

Weaning from Breastfeeding: Some of the Steps

Even though I feel like I was somewhat incidental to the whole weaning process for my first three children, I do feel like I know a few things about weaning.  Here’s what I can tell you.

1. Weaning is a process. There was a time when some people, like my great grandparents, believed that weaning was best achieved cold turkey. When my father was about eight months old and his mother a mere 19 years old, my great grandfather, Big Daddy, came to the house and said to my grandmother, “I’ve come for the boy. Your mother thinks it’s time he weaned.” Big Daddy took my father from his mother and kept him for two weeks. Wow. I guess it worked, but even 50 years later when my grandmother would tell the story, I could tell it made her sad. Most experts agree that weaning from breastfeeding should be done gradually. Cut back a little at a time. First skip the mid-morning nursing. In a few weeks try to let go of the post-nap nurse time. And little by little you’ll be nursing just a few times a day—then once every few days. One day you’ll wake up and realize, perhaps with some sadness, your baby hasn’t nursed in a long time. He has weaned himself.

2. Most parents want to start with night weaning. That makes sense. Sometime around 12-18 months of age, we explained to our children that nur nurs (my breasts) needed sleep too. And that as soon as it was morning, we’d all wake up and have some nursey time. They usually didn’t buy it. All my kids talked early, and I vividly remember my eighteen month old daughter demanding nursey in the middle of the night. I calmly explained that nur nurs were sleeping and she could see them in the morning. She was not deterred. “But it’s your job!” She wailed. For the next few nights after that, Daddy took the night shift. When it came to a point that I could not wake up to nurse in the night anymore, my husband would take care of all nighttime wakings. It was rough. Babies cried. Daddy paced and rocked. We all lost sleep. But no one suffered alone. Except me.  I had to endure the whole thing from a distance. The important thing was that our little ones never felt abandoned.

3. Child-led weaning is best (i.e. Don’t offer. Don’t refuse). Once solid foods have been introduced, the weaning process has begun, but that doesn’t mean that Baby won’t still prefer nursey to every other form of nutrition and comfort. When weaning from breastfeeding, it was my experience that it is best to try to entice Baby with his favorite foods, toys, loveys, and other forms of food and distraction before offering the breast. But when push comes to shove, I think it’s best to allow Baby to nurse—at least in the beginning. Eventually there will come a time when Baby actually does prefer what Mommy and Daddy are eating to the breast. And at some point a favorite toy or game will offer more comfort than nursey. If possible, let him or her decide when that time is.

4. Time away from Mommy is time away from nursey. My husband and I are attachment parents, so I am not a big advocate of extended separation between Mommy and Baby. Still, if Baby is happy spending some one on one time with Daddy, grandparents, or aunts, that is a great way for him go without nursey for a few hours. Doing this from time to time is a painless way to get him used to longer periods of  time.

5. Get Pregnant! Well, that is how my first three children weaned. At some point about the middle of my second trimester each of my toddlers would abruptly pull away from the breast and say something like, “That yucky!” or “Nursie gone gone.” From there the nursing sessions were fewer, shorter, and farther between.

6. Bribe. Eventually someone had to be that last baby (at least for now). When number four was about two years old, my husband and I began to wonder how we would wean him, since there didn’t seem to be a number five in the near future. That’s when I remembered one of the great truths of parenting: bribery works. We took Little Man to the store and showed him the biggest, badest, coolest Tonka dump truck in the place. We told him that when he no longer wanted nursey, we would come back and get it. The truth is, I don’t remember the last time he nursed or even when we bought the truck. But there it is in the sandbox, to this day. We call it his Weaner Truck.

7. Relax. I can assure you, your child will wean. Take it slow and let him lead the way. Before you know it, you will be wondering where you baby went and how that Tonka truck got in your yard.


Laura and her husband have been married for 20 years and have four children ages 9-17 – two boys and two girls.  The family lives on a farm in the Ozark Mountains where they raise buffalo, chickens, goats, rabbits and bees.  Laura teaches high school part-time and writes about young adult literature and her adventures in farming.  She dreams of one day getting 10 consecutive hours of sleep.


  1. […] Weaning from Breastfeeding: 7 Things for Moms to Consider […]

  2. […] are several things to consider when you are ready for weaning. Breastfeeding pain can become a real problem if you do not take a […]

Speak Your Mind