Weaning the Reluctant Toddler

When Bugster’s 1st birthday hit in March, I couldn’t believe that I was still nursing her.  To be honest, I was really ready to be done with it all. But, it was clear that she was showing absolutely no signs of stopping.  She wouldn’t take a pacifier and wouldn’t go to sleep any other way (except for the car, but that’s not incredibly convenient at 3:00 in the morning).  I even asked the pediatrician for ideas.  His response?  “If you want to stop nursing, just stop nursing.”  I didn’t see it as being nearly that easy. 

Now, she’s almost 18 months old.  I’m preparing to leave the girls for a long weekend with Dear Hubby in a couple weeks and was going to wean her that way.  But, all of a sudden, on Saturday night, I decided I was done.  I nursed her for a few minutes, stopped, and then looked at her and said, “I’m done.  That’s the last time you’re ever going to do that.  Sorry.”  I hadn’t planned on it stopping so suddenly, and I hadn’t discussed it with Dear Hubby.  But, upon hearing my proclamation, he didn’t try to talk me out of it.  Instead, he took Bugster from me and attempted to put her to sleep, because she wasn’t all that pleased that her human pacifier suddenly called it quits.  She really wasn’t happy with me at all.  She fell asleep for him, and it went pretty well.  Bugster woke up in the night, and that’s when the real temper tantrum began.  I refused her attempts to nurse to go back to sleep, and that was a serious lapse of judgment from her point of view.  However, I am happy to report I stood strong.

I think she held a grudge for a couple days.  There have been a lot more requests for Daddy in the middle of the day than usual, and she pretty much gave me the cold shoulder in to Tuesday.  But, the hard part is over.  She occasionally still tries to get me to cave when I’m putting her to sleep, but never for more than a few seconds.  Bugster also still likes me rocking her to sleep, and we’ve already fallen in to a new routine. 

I have no regrets.  I think she was actually ready, or it wouldn’t have gone so well.  I felt bad at first, because it was such a radical change in her life.  And, she also had a cold this weekend, making me think it was really rotten timing on my part – but I then realized there is no such thing as the right time to do something like this.  However, I suppose some of my mommy guilt was probably erased by the kahlua I have been drinking this week. . .

I honestly didn’t think she would ever wean.  But, it turns out that her pediatrician really is a wise man; it was as simple as just stopping.

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3 Responses

  1. I also stopped at 18 months. I had been feeling guilty because he was a preemie but it got to me when he was presenting me with the boppy pillow and lying down on it. I was done. It took only a few short days to cut it down to one feeding and then I just quit. He took his milk in a sippy cup and that was that. So glad I didn’t go on any further, he didn’t need it anymore and doesn’t it feel good to be FREE!

  2. We weaned at 13 months and I regret nothing. She was only nursing a couple times a day at that point but the acrobatics and biting were just too much. I prepared myself for a very gradual approach and expected it to be an utter disaster but she basically went down without her bedtime nursing one night to my huge surprise and so I decided to try not nursing at all the next day. She didn’t care at all, never asked for it (I was prepared to give in if she really wanted it). I mean this kid was the biggest booby baby ever a month prior and she basically gave it up cold turkey of her own volition. I knew then that I made the right decision and she had been totally ready. The sudden freedom was amazing but bittersweet. It seems like I had a full-blown toddler overnight. She walked soon after and time has been flying by. I’m glad to have nursed as long as we did but when I look at her now, I can’t imagine nursing her at this age – she never stops moving!

  3. I am dealing with this exact issue right now. K is 15 months and still nursing at night and at the middle of the night. He wakes up sometimes 3-4 times a night and has to be nursed back to sleep. I’m just ready to get something close to a night’s sleep again. I know that it;s going to be a battle – here’s hoping my transition goes as smooth as yours!

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