Weaning Breastfeeding Toddler

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on January 18, 2012

Weaning a breastfeeding toddler can be a difficult task. It is important to remember that the process of weaning is as difficult for the mother as it is for the breastfeeding toddler. While there is still a great deal of debate surrounding the ideal time or age to wean a breastfeeding toddler, the mother is the best judge. Generally, pediatricians stipulate one year as the ideal time to begin weaning, however, mothers may decide to continue breastfeeding a toddler even after a year. However, there are certain kinds of medical conditions may force mothers to wean breastfeeding toddlers.

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When you have decided to begin weaning your breastfeeding toddler, ensure that you carry it out with the utmost patience. An abrupt weaning may cause trauma to both you and your child. Enforce a gradual weaning for your breastfeeding toddler to ensure that he/she is not upset.


Weaning a breastfeeding toddler can be of two kinds – baby-led and mother-led weaning. Baby-led weaning may take longer and is perhaps far more difficult than mother-led weaning. Baby-led weaning allows the child to carry on breastfeeding for as long as he/she naturally desires it and mother-led weaning is the shifting of a baby’s diet from breast milk to cow’s milk or other solid food.

Sometimes, while weaning a toddler from breastfeeding, you may notice that the process has already partially begun if your toddler has been eating any kind of solids or has started drinking cow’s milk. Once your toddler has tasted solid foods, there is a good chance that he/she may lose interest in breastfeeding soon enough. Thus, one of the most efficient ways to start weaning your breastfeeding toddler is by replacing his feeding sessions with either formula food or solid food. Once you start skipping breastfeeding sessions, you can gradually phase them out and simultaneously increase your toddler’s intake of solids.

Ensure that you watch your toddler closely while you are weaning him/her from breastfeeding. If your toddler is vomiting or suffers from diarrhea after switching to solid food then he may not be reacting to solid food very well and should be given medical attention immediately. You should also watch yourself carefully to ensure that after weaning your toddler from breastfeeding, you don’t suffer from problems like blocked milk ducts or mastitis. Another way to wean a breastfeeding toddler is by shortening the length of his/her feeding time. This is another effective way of weaning a toddler gradually.

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