Some mothers prefer to abruptly
wean their toddler (1 to 2 years of age) from the
breast or the bottle. This approach may be best suited for a toddler who nurses
fewer than 3 times a day. When weaning abruptly, choose a time when you do not
anticipate other major changes in your or your toddler's life and when you have
extra time to spend with your child.
In an abrupt approach for weaning toddlers from the breast, some
mothers just say "no" and offer distractions, such as reading a book while
holding the toddler on her lap (which provides the close contact the child
wants) or suggesting a walk or ride on a tricycle or a trip to a playground or
Another technique is to make the breast less available by forgoing
nursing bras and wearing layers of clothing.
Separating a breast-feeding mother from the toddler for a few days is
another way of abrupt weaning. The child should stay with a trusted caregiver,
such as a spouse, grandparent, or other family member. Since the mother is not
available for breast-feeding, the child adjusts to the other caregivers and
over time comes to accept that breast-feeding is not necessary. If the mother
is gone for less than a week, the child may ask to breast-feed again when she
returns but will often accept a refusal without too much complaining.
When abruptly weaning from the bottle, many parents make it a "grand
and grown-up day." Make a big announcement that "today is the day you'll eat
like big brother [or dad, or cousin]." Celebrate by having the toddler throw
out the old nipples and bottles and by taking him or her to the store to pick
out a personal cup. The bottle may be a comfort object, so replace it with hugs
and attention or another comfort object, such as a stuffed animal.
You can also anticipate feeding time, and when it approaches, offer
your toddler a snack. If this is filling, it may take the child's mind off the
Primary Medical Reviewer
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
November 4, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 04, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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