Help me wean my 5-year-old. - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy > Help me wean my 5-year-old.
bass chick's Avatar bass chick 11:37 PM 08-09-2011

So, ideally I would love to follow child-led weaning. I have been breastfeeding for 7.5 years and I am soooo ready to be done.

With my oldest, we talked about weaning and he became comfortable with the idea of weaning after his 5th birthday. He talked about trading nursing for some transformers. So what I did was I made him a chart with 28 large squares. Each night he would tell me if he wanted to nurse or if he wanted to get stickers on one of the squares in the morning. It was totally his choice and I didn't push him either way. On some days he would prefer to nurse, and on others he preferred stickers. In the morning he would get out the big sticker box and pick his favorite stickers. I kept it well stocked with special scrapbooking stickers. When the chart was totally full, he got to pick a big transformer. He did the same thing for sucking his thumb when he was 5 years old. It was a relatively easy transition. Once his chart was full he never asked to nurse again. It took less than 2 months.

Now that DS2 is 5, I want him to wean. I am so done nursing and feel annoyed when he grabs my breasts and squeezes them and says "I want to nurse". We have talked about weaning. He says "I will stop nursing! I will tomorrow!" and I know he thinks that tomorrow he will, but tomorrow never comes. I have suggested the chart idea. He is *okay* with it. So I still have to try it with him so he feels in control and gets some immediate payoff for not nursing (fun stickers on his board) and some delayed gratification once his chart is full. He is just not so ready to wean, while I am totally BEYOND ready.

What can I do? How can I be gentle and loving while meeting both of our needs? BTW, he is mostly just nursing at bedtime but sometimes asks in the middle of night. A couple of nights I have simply said "No" when it was 3am.

Lazurii's Avatar Lazurii 02:49 PM 08-11-2011



I'm sorry,  but I couldn't read this and not give you a hug.  It's so hard to be in your position!  My son sounds like yours.  I'm so ready to wean him but he's absolutely not ready yet.  For myself I know it would probably be more detrimental to wean him than it is for me to suck it up for a while longer.


Since the 3am nursing doesn't seem to be that important what if you dropped it altogether and just nurse at bedtime.  Do you nurse him to sleep?  I've found that BuggaBoo sleeps better if I nurse him, sing him a predetermined amount of songs, and have him fall asleep on his own.  Then he doesn't expect to nurse to fall asleep if he wakes up in the middle of the night.


bass chick's Avatar bass chick 05:12 PM 08-11-2011

Thanks for the encouragement!


He mostly just nurses at bedtime. It is odd for him to ask at night anymore. Occassionally he does though.

He stops nursing before he falls asleep. He has an older brother who won't lay still and fall asleep unless I cuddle him, so I usually use that as an excuse. I whisper, "Okay, I have to go tuck your brother in bed...I'll be back later to snuggle you". He is totally okay with that. He is very drowsy at that point. But there have been a few times where he has napped in the day and been unable to fall asleep. He will play quietly in bed while I'm finishing up work, or reading or whatever, and then turn off his light and go to sleep on his own. But this is after I have gone through his bedtime routine which includes nursing him. So he does not rely on nursing to fall asleep. (I don't know how that is a bit of a miracle!)


While I am ready to be done, it's not like I have an aversion to bfing him. I think most of the pressure I feel is that I want to be "fair" to my oldest son, as his father was bent on him weaning as soon as he turned 5, so we really worked on it. Now that the youngest is 5, I feel like if I don't wean him now, it is not fair to the oldest to have had to have weaned early. (I say early, because it wasn't CLW and he would have nursed longer). DH is also bent on the youngest weaning now that he's 5, but he realizes he has little to no control so he just walks away in frustration that he's still nursing. So most of the pressure I feel is not from me or my son, it's from my DH and from my desire to be fair to my oldest baby. If DH were supportive, I think it wouldn't even be an issue.


Anyways, I think I will post in the Child-led weaning section. I didn't post there because we are not CLW even though he is now 5. This is more parent led weaning. But I think I will get more responses there.

lisad1's Avatar lisad1 09:59 PM 08-22-2011
Hey Mama,
Just wanted to say sorry to hear about your situation. We are dealing with something similar - parent-led weaning dd who is 4 because I am pregnant and dry-nursing is hurting me. She is very much not ready either and the guilt over not doing CLW is totally overwhelming. I posted in CLW a while ago and didn't get a single response unfortunately. I hope you find what you are looking for and that things are going well. Let me know if you find something that works for everyone smile.gif
prescottchels's Avatar prescottchels 12:54 AM 08-23-2011

I've heard some mama's say they wean by lessening the amount of time they allow a nursing session to last. Say during the nighttime routine your LO nurses for 15 min. typically so when you want to start weaning you allow 14 min the next night and if that's well tolerated you take it down another min or 2 the following night and so on. If you land on a certain amount of time that turns out to be a struggle say 10 min isn't long enough you could go back to 12 min for a few nights and then start decreasing again as long as the child is handling it ok.

Hope that helps :)