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4 Easy Steps How to Wean From Breastfeeding, Gradual and Painless Weaning

Updated on June 22, 2011

How to stop breastfeeding and how to wean from breastfeeding gradually

If you decided to stop breastfeeding your baby, mixing the milk formula with breast milk can be one way to start.

But, if your child is over one year old, this approach is not helping you much? Your child is probably eating almost any food you are eating and breastfeeding has not only nutritional benefits, but is a special way to connect with your child and express mutual feelings. Breastfeeding at this age represents love, special relationship with mother and bonding.

If you returned to work and you don’t see your child for the whole day, breastfeeding is a way to spend some quality time with your child. How to wean from breastfeeding in that case is something completely different, because you’re not weaning your baby only from breast milk. You are weaning your child from your touch, physical closeness and special moments with you.

I agree with already stated fact, which says that only you and your child know when the right time to stop breastfeeding is. The right time to stop breastfeeding is when both you and your child are ready for the next step. Many mothers think only about their child and her feelings. At the same time, they forget that they also have feelings and enjoy breastfeeding their child as well. This is why it is very important to know that whatever you decide to do, you should do it when you are both emotionally and physically ready.

There are always some special situations, when you have to stop breastfeeding immediately due to some health issues, and you will have no other choice but to adjust as better as you can.

But, if this is not the case and you can make your own decision, be sure your timing is right.

Need a plan to stop breastfeeding?

Children usually accept new things without any problems if you let them adjust during a period of 10 days. Sometimes it’s 12, sometimes 15, but 10 days period is a minimum during which your child will adapt on the new situation without tears.

I found this period of days perfect for painless wean from breastfeeding. It is perfect for any other change your child might be going through.

So, the best thing is to make your own plan for weaning from breastfeeding. Take 10 to 12 days for every step. Use a distraction method when your child asks for breastfeeding. Distraction method worked for me pretty well and every time my daughter asked for breastfeeding, I would show her something else and kept her mind busy with it.

Generally, try to avoid places and positions that remind her or invite her to breastfeeding. You probably have some favorite places when you breastfeed your child, such as bedroom or sofa. You probably hold your child in a specific way that she associates with breastfeeding. Don’t do any of that during the whole process of weaning from breastfeeding.

Step1 – How to wean from breastfeeding in the morning. If you breastfeed your child during the night, weaning from breastfeeding in the morning can be a good place to start. Start getting up from the bed before your child does. When she wakes up, hold her and play with her for a while and she will forget about breastfeeding. Try to avoid cuddling with your child, instead make it quick, dress up and continue with your usual day activities.

Step2 – How to wean from breastfeeding in the afternoon. Children enjoy afternoon breastfeeding, because they like to have a rest in the afternoon. In case you work, afternoon breastfeeding is something your child probably can’t wait long enough. Play with your child, hold her, carry her, and feed her. Again, use a distraction method to let the breastfeeding off her mind. It is good if you can spend more time than usual together with your child. That way your child won’t spend so much more time thinking about breastfeeding. Over the period of 10 days, she will forget completely about it.

Step3 – How to wean from breastfeeding before sleeping. Breastfeeding before putting your child a sleep is very special. Breastfeeding is very strong sleeping association. Instead of breastfeeding, try carrying your child for a while. Sing to her, tell her that she can relax, you are there and she can go to sleep. There is a great possibility that when you start weaning your child from this breastfeeding, she will wake up less during the night, which will make it much easier to stop breastfeeding during the night.

Step4 – How to wean from breastfeeding during the night. Children have different sleeping habits than grown ups. When they wake up, they search for the same conditions during which they fell a sleep at the first place. That’s why you need to breastfeed or rock your child to sleep every time she wakes up. When your child falls a sleep without breastfeeding, she will not wake up during the night asking for breastfeeding so often any more. And, when she wakes up, sing the same song you used to put her asleep. Touch her back, hold her tight or even carry her during the first few nights. Eventually, your child will learn that she doesn’t need breastfeeding to continue sleeping during the night. And you will finally be able to say that your child sleeps perfectly.


Even though you may think it will be difficult to stop breastfeeding, with a good plan it can be very simple. Gradual wean from breastfeeding is a key to painless and successful process. But, whatever you decided to do or how many steps you decide to follow, the most important thing is that you chose to do what suits you the best. And, when you decide to pursue with one step, don’t go back. Don’t decide and then undecided. Solid attitude is important here, because your child will sense your ambiguity. When you decide to stop breastfeeding, do it properly and don’t go back. Give yourself time to adjust and you will feel ok. Introducing a gradual wean from breastfeeding, will help your child not to notice the decrease of number of breastfeeding she’s been enjoying. You won’t have a problem with breasts engorgement and milk supply. It will actually be a pleasant process, during which you and your child will grow and mature in a special way.



How I managed to wean my child from breastfeeding easily

I was breastfeeding my daughter for 16 months. When she was 12 months old, I still couldn’t imagine that I would ever stop breastfeeding her. She adored my breasts. She enjoyed it so much, that she would laugh every time she would see my breasts and nipples. She couldn’t wait for me to come back from work and the moment she saw me, she would jump on me, asking for breastfeeding. Our nights were a party too (but I enjoyed them, because it was also our special time, when we could be close to each other). I was breastfeeding her from 4 to 7 times during a longer period of time.

But, when she turned out 14 months, I felt it was the right time to start weaning from breastfeeding and eventually stop breastfeeding. I have been working for 2 months at the time and the adjustment period for new routine was in my opinion over. When I looked at her, I saw a big girl, who communicated with us very well, who walked and played like the real child. I decided she was old enough not to need that king of comfort and help to fall asleep.

I was never fond of solutions that include endless crying or various cry-out methods. I learned during my motherhood that gradual changes were the best choices for both my child and me. When I introduced new things very slowly, there was minimum involvement of emotions and crying. This is why I made a plan for a gradual wean from breastfeeding and it worked perfectly.

This doesn’t mean that it will work perfectly for you. Every child is different and every mother is different too. Some children will be ready for this step sooner and some later. I asked some of my friends to apply this method on their children and they were very satisfied.

So, in any case it’s worth to try.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      exercise helped lot

    • EmmaMedu profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thank you girl4god for reading and commenting.

      I don't like any cry out methods and I remember this breastfeeding wean as a very nice time. There were no stress and I never felt that my daughter was sad or that she missed breastfeeding so badly. It happened gradually and I was content how the whole process went by.

    • girl4God profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Thank you. This was very informative and since it is personal, I think it might just work. I am trying to wean my 17 mo. old and I do not want to do the crying out method.

    • EmmaMedu profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thank you cbris52!

    • cbris52 profile image


      9 years ago

      Very nice hub!


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