Weaning doesn't have to be an upsetting, tear-filled experience like so many people imagine. Sure, my son cried a few times, but he forgot quickly when offered his favorite snacks or an enticing activity.
I love breastfeeding my son. He is 29 months old, and an adorable, energetic toddler that livens up my life. When I gave birth to his sister, we tandem nursed, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I will never forget the moment his little body crawled up onto my hospital bed, laid in my arms and nursed alongside his sister. He reached over to touch her, and my heart melted.
Related: Our Adventure With Tandem Nursing
Tandem nursing at home was perfect! He nursed more often than before, but as the weeks went on, he decreased gradually. Instead of crawling up each time his sister nursed, he would come over to kiss her or talk to her.
While I dealt with getting my daughter to sleep at night, my husband took over nighttime duties with my toddler. My husband works a 24-hour shift per week, but the rest of the week he puts my toddler to sleep. Because of this transition, he no longer wanted to breastfeed at night.
Weaning My Son Slowly
I was in no rush to wean my son. If he had a boo-boo, I happily nursed him. During family parties, I would let him breastfeed if he felt upset or overstimulated. Large crowds cause him to feel stressed out.
I noticed over the past five months that the times he would come to me to nurse was decreasing. Then, I realized one day that I hadn't nursed him since the previous day. He was weaning, and I decided to encourage the process.
Over the next few weeks, I offered distractions and substitutes if he wanted to nurse. At times, he would refuse to be distracted and only wanted to nurse. That's fine! I cuddled him up and nursed. Rome wasn't built in a day, and my son, who was used to breastfeeding for his entire life, wouldn't wean in a day.
It worked! He asked to nurse less and less. If he asked, he would turn away and forget a second later. When he watched his sister breastfeed, he mentioned that she was nursing and eating. He talks about his sister and babies needing milk.
Don't Feel Guilty About Weaning
Some proponents of breastfeeding look down upon mothers who wean their toddlers. Let them look down upon me. I could've continued to breastfeed and not offer distractions, but that's not what I wanted to do.
Related: How 'Mom-Shaming' Contributed to My Postpartum Depression
I don't feel guilty about weaning, and neither should you! Before my son showed signs of being ready to wean, I decided to wean before the summer ended. He was ready, but I would've continued with my plans regardless. Sometimes, a mother's mental health comes into play, and weaning is the best decision for everyone.