mummyonmymind breastfeeding weaning

Weaning Little Z off Breast Milk: We did it!

Little Z was completely weaned off breast milk this summer (July 2019) and as promised I’d like to share my experience, not only to remember the milestone we reached together but also in the hopes that it helps out any other mamas out there going through the same stage of their toddler’s life.

Disclaimer:
Please keep in mind that although this is my second child I have weaned off breast milk, no two children are the same, and therefore any tips I offer in this post may or may not apply to your own child. I am simply sharing what worked for us. I had also written a post after weaning off Master Z back in 2015, so feel free to have a read of that too here.

mummyonmymind breastfeeding weaning

Things I kept in mind before I started the weaning journey:

1) Gradual weaning

The process of weaning off breast milk took a few months, because instead of going cold turkey, I began cutting off one feed at a time after Little Z turned 18 months old. By doing this, your milk supply also decreases gradually and when YOU feel the time is right. Once all of Little Z’s day time feeds were replaced, it was time to tackle the night time feeds… the hardest ones to wean off in my case because Little Z would awaken every 2 hours most night to feed for comfort.

2) Breast Milk Substitute

Replacing the day time feeds with regular cow’s milk (or any other substitute of your choice) which he drank in a cup with straw. This again took plenty of practice. I first let Little Z get a taste of full fat cow’s milk whilst I drank from my glass, just a few sips here and there. After he got used to the taste, I gave him some milk to drink with a straw, slowly increasing the amount little by little as each day passed. There were days he drank the entire thing, and there were also days he refused to touch his cup. That’s fine, just keep trying. 

3) Happy Baby and Introduce Comforter

Before weaning off completely, make sure your child is not teething, sick or undergoing any massive change. This is to ensure as smooth a weaning process as possible.
Also, introduce as alternate comforter prior to weaning such as a stuffed toy. We bought Little Z a stuffed cat because he loves cats and he got very attached to it quickly. I made sure he had it around him at all times, especially bed time. 

Weaning Little Z:

I chose to start the weaning process on Sunday night, so there are enough days of a set routine, because my weekends are usually not normal routine orientated.
Also, let your partner help out. With Master Z, my husband had a great hand in helping settle him to sleep during the weaning stage. Little Z however was the opposite, and only wanted to be in my arms. So Mr Z had to make himself useful in other ways instead, but I was glad to have him there with me all the same. If your child allows themselves to be settled by your partner, do so because they don’t smell as fragrantly of breast milk as you do!
For day time feeds, I replaced the feeds he was awake for with solid snacks. I then weaned him for his single afternoon nap that he had daily. It roughly took him a week for him to get into the new routine, as I consoled him with plenty of hugs and kisses instead of giving him breast milk. I captured the nap time weaning over on my Instastories so head on to @mummyonmymind on Instagram and click on the “Weaning” Highlight tab to watch his daily progress.

mummyonmymind breastfeeding weaning

Night Time Weaning:

Since night time weaning is always the most difficult for us, I decided to take notes for the first couple of nights so you can see the progress we made each night. Here’s how it went…

Night 1- Lots of tears. Hung on to necklace. (Little Z puts his finger around my necklace when going to sleep, as a comfort thing, so he was doing the same thing here.) Woke up every hour, took ages to settle. 
Night 2- Wanted to be rocked all the time. Less frequent wake ups in between. Still crying.
Night 3- Broke habit of rocking. Cried a little. Very few wake ups in night and settled back to sleep within 5 minutes, without having to pick him up- only patted him on his side as he fell asleep.
After night 4, Little Z gradually realized that he was not getting any more milk from me. There are a few hiccups now and again in terms of fighting sleep, and that may be down to teething or reaching developmental milestones, but Little Z has been completely weaned off breast milk and no longer asks for it either. *Hooray!*

Now for the emotional turmoil that YOU will go through during weaning…that’s a whole other story! But here’s a few emotional lines I wrote about on my Instagram post here.

There you go! I hope you found this post helpful, and if you are currently in the process of weaning yourself, I wish you all the very best!

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