notes from the mommyhood - weaning your toddler

she's not a baby anymore. mackenzie is finally weaned. yep, no more boobie. she is a big girl now, proud of her accomplishment and excited to tell anyone who will listen that she has "no more boobie! i'm a big girl now!". i have to admit it was easier than i thought it was going to be.

for all you out there thinking about weaning or just starting the process here are some tips i found helpful. not all of you will agree with me, but hey, when i went looking online for weaning info all i found was the same old boring mumbo jumbo that i couldn't even fathom reading:

- follow your child's lead. don't rush things, but do start the process if you are feeling ready to be done breastfeeding even if your child is still content to be on the boob. i found myself frustrated and impatient with breastfeeding the last few months and mackenzie was also restless and ill at ease while on the boob. i knew it was time for me to start weaning her regardless of if she still wanted booby or not.

- keep in mind the age of your child. every child is different when it comes to weaning and every mother is different when it comes to the hows and whys of weaning. mackenzie is 2 next month and for us, as a family, we felt she was ready to wean. for others this may not be the right age or they were ready to wean at 6 months. the answers are not cut in stone so don't be hard on yourself. whatever is best for you as a family, is what is best for your child.

- they are going to scream and cry. be prepared if you are weaning a sharp witted toddler - they are going to try every trick in the book to get you to slip them the boob. don't crack under the pressure, don't give in when they set those big, weepy eyes on you crying for booby, it's not worth it. you will only confuse your child more with the back and forth of booby/no booby. stick to your guns just like with all other training. it will make the whole transition a lot easier.

- wean slowly or go cold turkey. there are a lot of tips for either side of the fence. we started out trying the wean slowly process and it just wasn't working. instead we went cold turkey. this worked for us because we had already weaned mackenzie off of bedtime and middle of the night feedings a long, long time ago. she was only feeding in the morning and at nap time. she found it confusing to have boob in the morning and not at nap time, so we just removed both. if you are still doing multiple feedings it may be less traumatic to wean slowly, which is the norm.

- substitute the boob with your love. i miss the cuddling with my baby but new things have replaced that. now when my daughter wants me it's not for food it's for pure love and affection. she now reaches for me and says "i luv you mommy" and hugs me instead of grabbing at my shirt and whipping my breast out saying "booby mommy! booby!".

- distraction works wonders. this isn't a new thing. when you have a cranky or pissy toddler the art of distraction works wonders. mackenzie used to have a long feed in the morning after breakfast while i enjoyed a little regis and my morning cup of coffee, but now we have an endless amount of storybook reading and outings to the park. nap time is now also accompanied by reading. find something your child enjoys doing with you and fill the void of time that they would normally be breastfeeding with fun activities instead. you will be surprised at how little they miss it.

- buy a new cup. this sounds silly, but it worked for us. we picked up 2 new cups, bpa free of course, that had soft nipple style tops. mackenzie loved them as they feel and kind of look like a boobie. she found it easier to transition from no boob to only milk in her cup now that she had her own "no booby" cup.

- make them proud. we hung a chart on our fridge and each day our daughter went booby free she got a big girl sticker. she loves it and counts her stickers everyday. they forget about this eventually and you don't need to give them a sticker everyday till they are 85, but for the time being we found instilling that sense of pride in their accomplishment is a great reward.