The time has come.  I’ve weaned my toddler.  No more breastfeeding, no more magic wand to cure all ailments and discomforts, no more being a superhuman mommy.  I thought I was ready, then I thought I wasn’t, and now I don’t have a choice because once I started it just happened really quickly.

So, to all the other moms out there that are breastfeeding a toddler and wondering when (and how) they’ll wean them, this post is for you!  Here are all the things that surprised me as I weaned my soon-to-be 2-year old.


Weaning a toddler is no easy task - emotionally or physically! Some things were easier than I thought, and others harder. Here's what surprised me about the whole process!


I was really, really sad.

I knew this would be a sad moment for me, but I was totally caught off guard by just how emotional I became.  I mean, he wasn’t a little baby and it wasn’t out of my control – I was making the decision to wean him. But it was still really hard and there was a part of me that thought I would lose the close bond we had (which is  Luckily, I’m not totally crazy – I did some research and you actually do experience somewhat of an endorphin crash that can result in a mild depression.  BUT I got over it within a week and it certainly didn’t change our bond at all.


My son adjusted immediately.

I don’t know if this was a relief or part of what made me emotional, but my son had very little problem with the plan to wean him.  He was a little confused at first because this was part of our bedtime routine, but I just moved on to the next step in the routine and he went with it.  It was shockingly easy.  Which sadly made me realize that…


He didn’t actually need it.

For a 2-year old, there’s really no need for breastfeeding.  There are some great perks and it definitely pacifies them, but at this point they’re not hungry or thirsty or nutrient-deficient.  It’s just something that they’re used to (and that you’re used to).  It’s a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have.


Bedtime became really nerve-racking.

For the first week after deciding to wean him I had so much anxiety leading up to bedtime. I was afraid he would get upset or that I wouldn’t be able to get him to sleep quickly.  This had been part of our routine since DAY ONE, so I honestly just didn’t know what I was doing.  I think I was actually more thrown off by the switch in routine than he was.  But then an interesting thing happened…


Bedtime became way easier.

Like, way way easier.  After a week, he forgot about nursing altogether and we would just hop right in bed.  He’d flop around for a bit and then just go to sleep.  It was literally that simple!  Then an even more amazing event occurred – my husband put him to sleep without me.  I realize for many families this is par for the course, but for us it never happened.  Nursing had definitely put the kibosh on that, so this was new territory…and it was WONDERFUL.

Related post: 10 Tips for Transitioning a Co-Sleeping Toddler to Their Own Bed


My nights became more relaxing.

Needless to say, my husband’s new found ability to put our son to sleep without me had a drastic effect on my nights.  But it was more than that.  When I was nursing him I had to be making a huge sacrifice – that beloved night cap or extra long happy hour just couldn’t happen.  I’m not saying I didn’t drink, but basically everything had to happen (and end) with enough time for it to get out of my system.  Without nursing, I could theoretically have a glass of wine while sitting right next to him.  This was pretty amazing.


I actually was producing a lot of milk.

This was really surprising for me because I rarely felt engorged, but I’m guessing that was just because our routine had become very predictable.  I couldn’t believe how much I had to pump just to relieve the pressure!  The first day without nursing I had to pump almost 10 oz. just to be comfortable.


It only took 3 days for my body to adjust.

This was quite a relief because (as I just stated above) I was seriously engorged at first which was really, really uncomfortable.  Thankfully it was only a matter of days before it wasn’t excruciating to give someone a hug and I no longer needed to pump.


I gained weight.

I wish I could tell you otherwise, but the sad truth is that my body immediately gained weight.  Not only had my son been draining me of calories, but my body had been working hard to make that milk.  Now all of a sudden I wasn’t burning the same amount so it just started to build up.  Luckily I was watching pretty closely so I was able to get things under control, but this was not a fun effect!


Quitting cold turkey was best for us.

There’s no right way to do anything and every parent (and child) has their own system that works for them.  It’s just a matter of figuring that out.  For us, quitting cold turkey worked really well.  I’m not sure I would have ever truly ended things if I had let myself slowly wean and I also worried that it could have been even more confusing for him to do it slowly.


Bottom line?  We’re still our happy selves and it’s as if nothing changed!  The process was definitely more of an adjustment for me than him, which was funny to realize.  No matter when you wean, breastfeeding is an emotional process so hang in there!  Just enjoy being with your baby (or toddler 😉 ).  Good luck. 🙂


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Breastfeeding a toddler is a wonderful thing, but as they say - all good things must eventually come to an end. Weaning my toddler, however, had some surprises I wasn't prepared for! Here's what surprised me about the whole process.

7 Comments on 10 Things I Didn’t Know About Weaning a Toddler

  1. HI there! Thanks for your input but you lost me at: He didn’t need it. Um I am sorry to disagree with you, but yes they do…There are antibodies and nutrients. Comfort and Security. Reassurance and calming. I don’t think it’s right to tell mothers this. I usually keep reading and pass on the comment sec but I find that this hard enough on mothers as it is. Please rethink this paragraph…much love to you and yours <3
    Mother of an almost 4 and almost 2 year old.

  2. Thanks for this! My son will be 2 in July and I have been really worried about stopping my nursing journey! Also, in our home my husband cannot put our son to bed either or comfort at night, so I am reassured that maybe that will not be the case always!

  3. I can sooooo relate! Even now, 3 months later, my toddler will occasionally point to the rocker (from her crib) and say, “feed you”. Like your son, she’s cool with the change though. It does make bedtime a whole lot easier. It sounds like you are doing a great job of finding the bright side to weaning!

    • I loved this post! My LO is 12 months and breastfeeding. I am in need of Some advice for night time weaning. We co sleep, lately it feels like there is not a lot of sleep happening on my end. He wakes 4-5 times at night to nurse. Through the night I am able to get him to go back to sleep without nursing, and just a lot of rocking and singing, one time out of the whole night if I am lucky. I want to keep co sleeping, just not waking.
      What worked for you?
      Any recommendations is appreciated

      • That is so tough! My daughter is about the same age and I’m struggling with the same thing. I will tell you though, they do become better sleepers! But here are some things to try:
        1. Make sure they are well fed before bed. This will definitely decrease the amount of time they spend nursing.
        2. Try to move away from them if you can (even if they’re still in the bed with you). They can actually sense when breastmilk is near!
        3. If you sleep cuddled up, do everything possible not to wake them. It’s likely that your LO is nursing to get back to sleep, even if they’re full.
        4. This is a bizarre tip, but it can work in some instances! To get a little extra sleep, right before you go to bed (assuming they’ve been asleep for a bit already), gently wake him and then nurse him/put him back to sleep. This will reset his sleep cycle so that your first hours of sleep are maximized (it’s something!).
        One thing I will say is that at this age they do not “need” the milk throughout the night (as far as food is concerned). So it is more of a comfort thing and it is likely that the 4-5 times he nurses is just the natural sleep cycles and he is nursing to get back to sleep. It won’t be long before he naturally sleeps longer without waking though! Good luck. 🙂

        • Thank you for the advice!
          Now that he is over 12 months we are experimenting with giving him a sippy cup with milk right before bed to make his belly full.
          I will be attempting all theses tips, specially where I wake him just to nurse to reset his sleep clock and maximize my sleep.
          Again, thank you!

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