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It is a great thing if your child is still breastfeeding even as he reaches his 3rd year. However, s/he will soon start school, or you will resume your work, so it might be a good time to initiate weaning. Weaning older children might be difficult than weaning smaller ones, since older children are more emotionally attached to the process. Read more on how to wean your preschooler from breastfeeding.
Weaning is a natural developmental stage for every child, and you need to wean a child once he starts feeding on other food items as well. Sometimes, it can be a bit frustrating when you have been trying to wean a child for a long time. Every child is different. You must try to understand your child’s needs and behavior as he grows for he will keep changing his preferences.
You need to also understand that there are no rules, and there is nothing right or wrong about it. You have to use the ‘hit and trial’ method. Weaning should be a gradual process where your child is not feeling left out. Weaning older children can be quite stressful. Here are few tips to help you
How to Wean Your Preschooler?
Weaning your preschooler needs some planning because it is not a one-day process, and you might have to do it repeatedly so that your child is convinced about it. Sometimes, you might have to explain it repeatedly to your child. You have to let a child understand, and come to terms with it. Many kids can understand that they are growing up, and they need to wean breastfeeding, but for those who don’t here is what you can do:
You might get to hear a lot of tantrums, fights and regressive behavior; this means that you need to schedule carefully and keep weaning slowly.
2. When to stop
Do not initiate breastfeeding, do it only when he asks for it and stop immediately. Avoid prolonged feeding.
3. Changing roles
Let your partner or some other member of the family takeover during the time to sleep so that the idea of breastfeeding takes a back seat.
4. Shifting routine
Change routines, instead of making yourself available for nursing throughout the day. Offer distractions and substitutes; let your child pick up something he likes.
Weaning off Morning and Night Feeds
Your child is most used to breastfeeding at these times of the day, and getting him out of the habit is toughest. In the morning, you can get ready before your child wakes up, and serve him milk in a cup with some breakfast. To drop the night feeds, get the child’s father to read to him and cuddle him more. You need to break the association between feeding and sleeping, so don’t feed just before the bed. You can also try feeding in another room. Start with reading stories and putting your child to sleep with happy dreams.
Your weaning schedule and experience totally depends on how both of you choose to do it. Once your child has weaned he might ask for breastfeeds occasionally, but keep avoiding with some distraction. Most parents feel anxious about the whole process of weaning, and they fear the emotional drain they may face. Remember, you have given a great healthy life to your child, and she is moving to another level of growing up.