How we weaned our two year old with no fancy tools or crying it out methods
Hey beautiful mama, I am so happy to share this really positive experience with you!
I am about to share with you the steps we took to quit breastfeeding for good and as a result of that her night time sleeping as well as the amount of her day time food intake have improved greatly.
Like you, I have been stressing about this whole weaning thing, I have scrolled the internet looking for other positive examples that of course DO NOT involve the letting her to cry method and went back and forth in my mind of what might be the best approach… Relate much?
My heart and soul just could not follow the letting her to cry method, no judgement to those who can. It wasn’t for me.
Sadly here in NZ I have been given this answer when I asked the local parent support officer for advice; “let her cry it out, it’s the only way” they said. I left feeling really discouraged and confused as to how we should proceed. It saddens me that in this day and age THIS is still the advice we are given, really?!
Anyway, I am happy to let you know that my husband and I decided not to follow this advice and instead trust our intuition - which is always the best idea - as a result we have managed to go through this weaning process with very minimal tears in just 4 short days. (I am sure there are many other families who have done so too, I am not here to claim some brand new step by step secret!) but it’s always nice to hear the stories. I know I appreciated it.
Before I share our exact approach with you I also want to clearly highlight that I am not a professional, I am just a mommy sharing her experience in the hopes others can feel inspired and encouraged by it. Every child is different, every journey leading up to this point will have been different to ours so please take from this what you want and make it work for you and your family.
A Bit Of Background:
We started what I am about to share with you just a couple of weeks after her 2nd birthday.
We have always been co-sleeping and still are.
When we started, the situation was that we had already cut off the day time feeding for the most part (with some occasional exceptions) this was quite an organic process for us.
She was only falling asleep for the night on my boob tho!
Also we would have had 2 - 5 night time feeds on the regular sometimes more.
She has never had formula or cows milk
She has a pacifier for sleeping, always did
Ok, Let’s Get To It!
1) Leading up to her 2nd birthday we started talking to her about the fact that she is no longer a baby now that she will soon be two years old. We explained that breastmilk is for babies only, she no longer needs it, showing her pictures of baby animals drinking from their mommy’s breasts also… We also talked about the fact that after her second birthday which was only a few sleeps away there will be no more milk available.
2) We knew to make this transition work we needed to address the falling asleep on my boob situation first, (if you have already done this then just skip this paragraph). This process took about a week of Sam my husband taking her to bed, including taking over the teeth brushing and getting ready part. I made sure to stay out of her sight!
He let her choose books to bring to the bedroom along with some warm tea or coconut milk - our bed btw, we are still co-sleeping - he would then talk to her about this no more milk for bed situation, read her the books she had chosen, maybe sing some songs until she agreed to lights out and sleeping. The first two night there has been a bit of protesting and asking for mommy but Sam was able to coach her through it and assure her that I will be there for her in the morning.
After one week this had become a solid new routine that they both enjoy.
At this point she was happily falling asleep without me and my boobs :) but still woke up a bunch of times through the night demanding milk from me, which I allowed her to have. But reminded her of the fact that soon it will be over…
3) I went away!
We decided that it would perhaps be easiest if I am not physically present in our house for a few days and nights for her and Sam to create this new habit of sleeping through with no boobs available. It scared me but it also felt right, I trusted Sam. We talked about this lots and I knew we are on the same page. This is important, both parents must agree on the approach to take and stick to it I reckon.
We picked a weekend that was free of any major commitments assuming that it could potentially be tough on Sam. I booked a lovely Airbnb for two nights / three days and decided to have a mini retreat for myself and really honour me, my body and this time, instead of just sleeping at a friends place. After all, I deserved a good break and so do you!
3.1) Here is how I prepared myself for this:
I belief a big part of why this all went pretty smooth is because both Sam and I had made a decision and stuk to it. I was honestly surprised at how emotional I felt about all this once the truth sank in, I will never breast feed her again, this was it. *I was balling my eyes out !
I journaled on this and what came out was the little tribute to my baby girl that I am sharing with you below:
Note, this felt like a very vital part of me releasing and letting go. I highly recommend you do something similar.
You didn’t know.
Today was our last day of deepest body, soul connection there possibly is between a mother and her child.
We have done well you and I. For two years I have given you my all, including my own body’s nutrients and I have done so with a full heart.
This is a big step for both of us but now the time is divinely right. It’s your time to start growing and nurturing those wings of yours.
It’s time for me to cut that last inch of our physical bond and let you fly.
Fly, fly my little birdie, you are strong now.
My chest will always be your safe place.
I love you, Indigo
3.2) I left on a Friday afternoon and came back the following Sunday afternoon, Sam took care of her 24/7 for this time. Keeping our pretty loose day time routines as per usual, took her for play dates with friends and went to the park for distraction.
The first night she woke up three times asking for me, shedding a few tears while Sam was with her the whole time and managed to calm her down within a few minutes each time. Assuring her that he was staying with her and that he loves her and mommy will come back on Sunday.
The second night she woke once for five minutes! As above Sam coached her through it and she fell asleep until the morning.
As a natural result of her not having milk at night she also eat really well during the day, yeiii!
4) My return.
On the day I returned as well as the few following days I had to be strong and say no when she asked for my milk again. It was not difficult to be honest, I stayed firm in my decision and reminded her that she is now a big girl and that there is no more milk in my breast, she got it. To make it easier on all of us I slept in the guest room for a few more nights…
Honestly I am so happy at how easy and stress free this all went. I think it has largely to do with:
- us making a firm decision as couple
- me doing the emotional releasing work
- also two years old seems to be a good age as we have been able communicate with her about this.
And just like this, a new chapter is opening…
I hope this might provide inspiration for you too, stay strong and trust in your own abilities as parents.
Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear how you go or how you have done it or if you have any additional comments and questions.
Love Sabrina xx