I've been weaning my 18-month-old from the breast for six months. Now I nurse only at bedtime, but he still won't give up that one feeding. If I don't nurse, he screams for hours, and I'm forced to give in. How can I get him to sleep without nursing?
Get a New Routine
When I weaned my 22-month-old, I cuddled with him in the living room instead of in his bedroom and played soft music to soothe him. Without his usual cues for nursing, he quickly learned a new way to fall asleep.
Las Vegas, NV
Count Down to Success
Try cutting down gradually. For instance, if you nurse your son for 20 minutes a night, cut three minutes off your time each day. Be consistent, and as you get closer to zero, he'll realize that it's not worth his time to suck for only a few minutes and should be able to give it up on his own.
Cottage Grove, MN
I weaned my 19-month-old son when my husband took over bedtime duty. If my son woke up in the middle of the night, Daddy would be there to help him get back to sleep, so my son wouldn't see me and be reminded of feeding.
Pack Your Bags
When my son was 14 months old, he was still nursing a couple of times a day. My husband and I had to leave him with his grandparents for a week while we went on a trip. Without me around, my son was forced to give up those last few feedings and, with all the distractions of being away from home (and being spoiled, no doubt), he didn't seem to mind. I figured that when we returned, we'd be back to square one, but my son seemed to be doing fine without nursing.
Introduce new items to the routine. My daughter weaned herself after she got a new stuffed animal to sleep with. Try to make the process fun rather than treating it as a loss.
What's the Hurry?
Your child might not be ready to give up this part of his day. Why not indulge him for a few more months? Try to relax and enjoy his dependence for a little while longer.
Introduce a Cup
I started expressing my milk and offering it to my 15-month-old in a Sippy cup before bed. He wasn't sure about it at first, but he drank it because it was familiar. After three days, I switched to regular milk, and he didn't even notice.