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Are you mom enough?

That was the title on the cover of Time in May 2012. It was about a mom who practiced attachment parenting and was breastfeeding her three-year-old. There was a picture of her doing just that, for all the world to see and react to.

And react they did. They lost their minds over it.

Caucasian Female toddler with arms crossed looking angry

While some moms enjoy nursing well into toddlerhood, other moms are interested in the best ways for weaning a toddler.

Can a baby really breastfeed until they are three years old???

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked about an older child breastfeeding, I’d be writing this, semi-retired in some warm, tropical location.

They can, and they do. If you want to get picky about it, a three-year-old is not really a baby.

I have written about weaning before where I talked about weaning in general.

This article is for the mom weaning a toddler.

Sometimes weaning is child-led, when a mom lets her little one wean on his own. Sometimes weaning is mother-led, which is when a mom decides when weaning will happen.



A mom might have planned to let her child wean on his own timetable, and then gets to the point where she is ready to stop breastfeeding, and her little one is not showing any signs of slowing down.

Mom decides a change of plans is in order.

She may find that little Junior is not interested in this new plan and weaning a toddler is not as easy as she thought it would be.

young caucasian boy with sad expression
e boy

Here’s a fun fact, the average age of weaning worldwide is 3-4 years. My guess is though, you are not looking for fun facts. You are looking for answers to your problem.

You are reading this article because you have a toddler who you are ready to wean and he is saying, “Nope, mom, not gonna happen.”

As parents, we make choices for our children that they may not like or agree with, all the time. This is one of those instances.



Some people will encourage you to determine what your motivation for weaning at this time is. If you think that would be helpful, by all means, do it.

It might help to write one of those pro and con lists.

drawing of a checklist with list of pros and cons and a pencil in the corner

I’ve had conversations with mom about weaning a toddler while I was putting gas in my car about this. I have been messaged on Facebook about it. Moms have called me on the phone to talk about it.

My perception is that some moms are just done.

It’s no one’s place to question them any more than it was anyone’s place to question why they do anything. It’s a decision that is made by them and really no one else’s business.

If you need help weaning a toddler, I am here to help you accomplish that.



Pregnant Asian woman breastfeeding a toddler

Some moms will be told that they must wean if they become pregnant and are breastfeeding.

The vast majority of the time that is just not true.

There may be conditions that put a pregnancy in a high-risk category and make it unwise to continue breastfeeding.

A mom may decide pregnancy is a good time to wean, especially if she doesn’t plan to tandem nurse.

The nipple tenderness that occurs for many women during pregnancy can make breastfeeding uncomfortable.

But pregnancy by itself is not a contraindication to breastfeeding for most moms.



Weaning a child who does not want to stop breastfeeding can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Although it is an option, you don’t have to leave town for a few weeks to make it happen.



To help you wean peacefully and successfully I created a printable weaning log and included eight tips.


Weekly Log

Monthly Log

8 Weaning Tips


The Reluctant Weanling-Weaning a Toddler

Click the button to purchase now.



There’s an old saying, make a plan or plan to fail. Or something like that. This is no different.

There are a couple of different ways for weaning a toddler:

  • Cold turkey
    • Just say no
    • Take a vacation
    • Expect some tears. From you and your toddler
  • Gradual Weaning
sad boy holding onto his mother

What Is Your Starting Point When You Begin Weaning?

When I am coaching a mom who wants to gradually wean a reluctant weanling, I first ask how many times they nurse. It will be a whole different course of action if the answer is 2-3 times a day than if it’s ten times a day, maybe more.

If the answers is “Lots!” then a log is definitely needed.

If your child definitely, or even maybe, nurses more than 2-3 times a day, keep a log of how many times he’s nursing and what those times are.

This can be tedious when your toddler breastfeeds 20 times a day. Trust me; it is an essential step in the process.

Only when you know where your starting point is will you know if you are making progress.



African american mother holding and kissing her toddler son

Even a younger child often understands more than a lot of people think.

Tell him what is going down. Say what is going to happen at each step.

I highly encourage a celebration when the weaning process is complete. This makes it a positive thing for your child.



There may be a particular feeding or time of day that you are most interested in weaning from first. Morning feedings are easier to drop because you just get up and begin the day instead of nursing. It may be earlier than you wanted to get up. However, that can be easier than trying not to nurse.

Some moms love the night time feedings. Seriously, I have heard moms say that. I know some nurses love working the night shift. All I can say to those night owls is, I bow down to you.

For the rest of us, it’s time to formulate a plan to stop night time feedings.

If your child doesn’t nurse during the night but nurses right before bed, try another bedtime ritual. My first child would have a cup of warm milk with my husband, and I would go into another room.

If you are trying to eliminate feedings throughout the night, and if you have a partner, they are going to have to help with this. Weaning from night nursing will be easier if you don’t co-sleep, either in the same room or the same bed. It can be done though, even if you do.


Related Post

How To Appreciate Nighttime Breastfeeding

Caucasian baby with blonde hair trying to climb out of crib and crying


  • Go back to your log.
  • Define what a night time feeding is. What are the hours that you consider night time?
  • How many times does your little one breastfeed during those hours?

Tell your toddler that there is no nursing until the sun comes up. Be consistent. It’s important to keep your end of the bargain and let him nurse when the sun does come up.

When he goes to sleep the first time of the night remind him, you can nurse when the sun is up. If he wakes up and wants to nurse, just remind him, he can when the sun comes up.

Talk about when he can. Don’t say that he can’t. Offer a cup of water. Remind him that this is sleeping time.



  • During the day make sure you have written a list of distractions to offer when he asks to nurse.
  • Decide on what the time periods will be between nursings.
  • If he is used to nursing anywhere, anytime, say that nursing only happens at home.
  • Once you have that established, make where you nurse a boring place.
    • Do not nurse in front of the TV.
    • Don’t talk or sing during nursing sessions.
  • Don’t let him get on and off the breast. Once he is off, the nursing is over. He has to wait until the next time that he can nurse.
  • Don’t get into discussions about why he wants to nurse just talk about when he can and what he can do until then.
  • Be lots and lots of fun and do lots and lots of cuddling when you are not nursing.
Caucasian mother playing with her biracial toddler son, both holding a toy steering wheel
Woman playing with baby


  • When the frequency of nursing make it realistic, get a wall calendar and decide on a date that nursing will end.
    • Circle that day or put stickers on it.
  • Write on each day how many days until nursing stops.
  • Cross off each day that passes and talk about how many days are left.
  • Talk about it in a very positive way.
    • Say it will be so exciting!
    • When that day arrives, say that today is the celebration!
    • Talk it up.
  • Have balloons and make cake or muffins or whatever celebratory food you eat.
  • Serve his very favorite food.
Caucasian woman sitting next to caucasian toddler outside on a bench


A toddler should definitely be using a cup by this time, so this really shouldn’t be an issue.

He can transition to cow’s milk or the alternative milk of your choice.

Related Post

Baby Led Weaning And Breastfeeding – Answers To All Your Questions



You might think at first, “I’m glad that is over!”

Then you might feel sad.

There may be moments where you miss it.

There may be times when your toddler asks if he can nurse “just a little.” It’s usually best to say no. Otherwise, you might find yourself going down that slippery slope.



Weaning can happen in many different ways. Be flexible but be firm if you have decided that this is the best thing for your family. Have a plan and follow it. There will be setbacks. Keep moving forward.

Related Post

Weaning – How To Stop Breastfeeding



To help you wean peacefully and successfully I created a printable weaning log and included eight tips.


Weekly Log

Monthly Log

8 Weaning Tips


The Reluctant Weanling-Weaning a Toddler

Click the button to purchase now.



Pin for 11 genius toddler weaning tips



  • Darlene Dee says:

    Thanks for this article! I think it convinced me to let my 3yo self-wean, with encouragement. We are already on a good path but I really hate the idea of giving her a deadline. We switched to ‘only at home’ at around age 2.5. She only nurses 1-4 times per day. And during the day, we ‘nurse to 20’, which means we count to 20 on each side. That REALLY works, as she reminds me if I forget to start counting. And now she can count to twenty! 🙂

    • bfasshoediva50 says:

      You are welcome. She’s a pretty smart girl if she is counting to 20 already! It’s so important to do what you feel comfortable with. Especially when everyone has an opinion about when a child “should” wean. Thanks for reading.

  • Samanth says:

    I’m weaning my 23 month old son who has been feeding on demand, I worm6as a security guard on permanent 12 hour night shifts. This weekend after moving house to allow him to have his own bedroom I was persuaded by my mother in law its time to stop breastfeeding. Yea it’s very difficult with shift work, and family balance however he seems so sad and has been hiding in the corner avoiding me and hitting me in the face. It’s upsetting me so much I just want him to be happy.

    • Andrea Tran says:

      A move is usually very disrupting for a toddler. Being weaned during that time is probably very stressful for him. It might be better to wait a few weeks before weaning. And I am wondering if you are ready to wean? It should be something that feels right to you, not something that you were persuaded to do by someone else. It sounds like maybe now is not a good time to wean.

  • Renee says:

    I’ve been wanting to wean my almost 1y9m old but timing wasn’t right. Now it feels the right time but I’m concerned that when he doesn’t get night time nursing’s he will disrupt his older sister (4yo) while she sleeps. They share a rm atm. Any advice on weaning with siblings. Thanks.

    • Andrea Tran RN, IBCLC says:

      Could you have your 4 yo sleep somewhere else for a few days? Maybe in the living room. Call it an at-home camping trip!

  • Mandie Lawrence says:

    Thank you for writing this! I’m trying to work toward weaning my two year old (26 months). I’m pregnant with my third baby right now and I really don’t believe I have the grace to tandem nurse again (I was still nursing my oldest when my second was born and it was incredibly hard on me emotionally and physically). I want to give enough time between weaning and the baby being born that he’s not making a negative association with his new sibling, but he doesn’t seem truly ready to let it go. We nurse night and day and I do love nursing him…but truthfully after four consecutive years of nursing with no breaks (neither would ever take a bottle), mama is tired and looking for a little breathing room before the new baby arrives in March. Any suggestions/recommendations would be SO appreciated!

    • Andrea Tran RN, IBCLC says:

      I would set a date, write it on the calendar and talk about it every day in a positive wy. Have a celebration when that day comes. Then be firm. Good luck!

  • Adelina says:

    My little guy is two and a half. The before sleep feeding is hard to stop. It’s like his winding down time. My main motivation for stopping was that I find him extremely irritable the week I have my period. Is that a thing? Or am I imagining it? Thanks!

    • Andrea Tran RN, IBCLC says:

      I can’t say I have heard that it is a thing, but PMS is definitely a thing. It might be that your hormones make you feel less patient with behavior that normally doesn’t bother you.

  • Jenna says:

    I am nursing a 3.5yo and 3mo old, and I’m so overwhelmed! I’ve wanted to wean my 3.5 son for a while now but it’s become this power struggle, he’s very strong willed. He nurses at nap, when he wakes from nap multiple times, bed time, night wakings and morning. I’ve tried to sub cuddles, talking to him about it until I’m blue in the face, etc but anytime I refuse boob he has a huge meltdown, hyperventilating, gagging, throwing himself… I get so stressed out at nap time because I can’t tend to them both, I’ve tried tandem nursing (especially when she was first born) and it’s just too uncomfortable for me. I want to cut out his nap time nursing, because I have such negative feelings towards nursing him now, but his reaction is so extreme, I have no clue what to do!!

    • Andrea Tran RN, IBCLC says:

      Jenna – so sorry this is happening. Sounds so frustrating Have you tried delaying when he asks? You could start with “in 5 minutes” each time he asks and just keep adding 5 more minutes each day. You could give him a timer to watch to give him something else to focus on.