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I have a 18 month old baby girl who has been breastfed on demand from birth. I would like to reduce her feeds now but it seems to be impossible.  She still feeds like a newborn,every couple of hours day and night.  I already have 2 children so should know ‘everything’ about weaning but my boys weaned themselves at about her age and never looked back. It was a slow process but totally led by them. She seems to be very different, no signs of getting tired of mummy’s milk, if anything she gets more demanding and requests to be fed no matter what we are doing.  We are busy, do lots of things but nothing would distract her from her food.
Has anyone been in a similar situation?  What did you do?  I know that at night, I will have to let the husband take charge when the time comes but it’s the daytime feeds that bother me.  She eats other food but in very small portions, I think that’s because she is never hungry.  I try to offer her food instead of the breast but she will absolutely not have it…..
She drinks cows milk, but again, only a little bit a few times a day.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, short of running away and hiding for a few weeks I am not sure what to do:-) 
Thanks for reading.
Karolina xx

Sounds like you could be talking about my daughter. She is now 6 and if she hadn’t lost her latch would still be feeding. I choose to wean her when she was 3 as I was at the time feeding her 18 month old brother too and the constant demand for breast feeding was driving me insane. My boys all self weaned at 11 months, 2 1/2 years and 18 months. The bonus of her personality is she won’t run off and I am not worried about her getting herself into danger. They boys have all run off and don’t care where I am !! She still stays very very close. It is ok to still be feeding her like a newborn but I understand the frustration. She just likes being close to other people she feels safe with . It was and is a trust thing with her. No real advise other than an understanding nod to say I know how hard it is.

when life gives you a rainy day play in the puddles !!!
mum to 4 sons 13,7,4 and 2
a daughter 8 years ,
and always in my heart my angel xx

my son is 17 months and i have to say…very similar to what you have described.

my daughter self weaned at 19 months but my son is showing no signs of readiness.

My situation is slightly different in that i am not actually too fussed for now and still quite enjoying it. we co sleep so i dont have far to go to get him to the breast and i wished my daughter had fed until 2 anyway (the recommended age of weaning by WHO). I know that doesnt help with your scenario, but just wanted you to know that you are not alone. i think it helps to remember they are only for such a short time that eventually she will wean. I have a copy of No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and preschoolers which i havent read much but has some advice for gentle weaning techniques. You are welcome to have it if youd like? (pm me later about the trousers and we can discuss this !) xx

I have just weaned my 17 month old daughter, a choice that was made between the both of us I believe. My daughter was only feeding for comfort and whilst this in itself would not have been a problem at all for me, my breasts had become Incredibly sensitive and I was beginning to dread our feeding times. She had pretty much weaned herself off in the day, it was just night time comfort feeds, so my dh had her for a few nights while I slept in another room. To be honest she has been totally fine and has not cried or been upset at all, which makes me think she wAs eady for weaning but needed a little help to get over the breast attachment. I did talk to her many times during the whole process, explaining that all her ‘doodoo’ was finished and she seemed to take this on board, even joking with me now by touching my breast , asking for milk before saying no and laughing and smiling!!

For getting her off daytime feeds I think you may need to keep distracting her and if she feeds to go to sleep maybe try and exhaust her before nap time, even if that means she will fall asleep in a pushchair or car seat? My daughter only drank a little cows milk at first but has now adjusted abnd is drinking lots more from her cup now the breast milk has gone.

Good luck! I know it’s an exhausting process for the whole family!! Xx

Unschooling Mama to River (7), Rain (4) and Blossom (2) xx

Forgot to say, I found my local breastfeeding support group to be really helpful for weaning advice. Mine is run by the association of breastfeeding mothers and on their website they have a list of their support groups. The NHS close to you usually run them too. It’s worth going to one just to get a bit of extra support xx

Unschooling Mama to River (7), Rain (4) and Blossom (2) xx

I don’t have an enormous amount of experience, but in my limited experience (my first child and a few other children whose mums I know well), 18 months is often the PEAK age for breastfeeding.  I don’t know if this has to do with increased mobility and independence—perhaps they look for extra comfort and security because their new independence is a little scary to them.  But my older daughter fed constantly at 18 months, and my younger one is now approaching 17 months and is often latched on all night.  Two nights ago she fed every 20 minutes for 12 hours.  I am like Gem—I manage to sleep through it, for the most part—but I understand how it must be exhausting if you can’t.  I don’t have much to add to others’ recommendations other than this: talk to your child, explain (repeatedly if you have to—I think repeating the same thing over and over again does help with little ones) how you are tired and need a little space.  A phrase that worked for me: “Sometimes Mummy’s body is just for Mummy.”  When DD1 was 2.5 and I was trying to get pregnant, I did have to reduce her feedings a little, and I found I’d been underestimating her capacity for understanding.  (I don’t mean I just explained and it had a magical effect!  We still needed a lot of help from DH, and there were still hard moments, but by and large, she was impressively understanding.) Of course your LO is a bit smaller, but I’d still try and see.

Thank you ladies for very useful advice and reassurance.  It’s nice to know that I am not alone:-)  All of our friends’ babies who are of my daughter’s age have been weaned for ages so it’s very nice to hear from you who are or had been in the same situation.  I don’t really mind the feeds as such ( we co-sleep too), it’s just that lately she has become really demanding during the day (as well as the night) and I also worry that she is not eating enough other food.  It is very interesting what you said Preets about the age and the need for the extra comfort. I think you are right. Thanks for suggesting the breastfeeding group RiverRain:-)  I feel better know, thank you again.

I would not worry about her not eating enough other food—I think at that young age, they know what they need.  Barring extenuating health circumstances, you can trust them to eat what they need.  My DD1 ate almost nothing until 18 months, and then her appetite gradually picked up, but she is still a small (though enormously varied) eater, and yet she is one of the healthiest children I’ve ever encountered, and has loads of energy grin .

Thanks Preets, nice to put things into perspective:-) xx

Hi there,

I can totatlly understand where you are coming from. My son was still feeding at 17 months and feeding constantly, as you say, like a newborn almost. I felt absolutely “drained” and I wonder if that is where the phrase comes from. My body started falling to bits - I suppose due to the amount of calcium he was taking - achy joints, nails splitting, etc., and I had permanent back ache, and just felt exhausted. After some external advice I was encouraged to stop feeding quickly and get it over and done with - I had some more gentle advice from this forum, but decided to just stop it (I had been trying to reduce it slowly but with no perceivable change). Anyway, I tell you all this because it was just the worst thing I’ve ever done and I intensely wish that I had not done the “cold turkey” thing. In the day it was fine, because little one was distracted and happy enough but at night I was in the house for the first night, so could hear how upset my little one was and just sat there crying my eyes out while my husband comforted him and got him to sleep. I then felt that I just couldn’t go back on my decision because I didn’t want to go through it again, ever, and it did get better night two and was then ok night 3. BUT it was just heart breaking. My little one then transferred his comfort needs onto my moles, on my face and and neck, and he uses these to get to sleep and co-sleeps, and I don’t feel I can ever stop that because I don’t want to go through the whole horror weaning scenario again. I am also convinced that the sudden bf stopping brought on about 6 months of depression and have since read that there is thought to be a link. So, I tell you all this in case you are driven to just stop because I regret it so much. Having said that, I have no advice on the gentler weaning approach because I failed miserably, except that you should be true to yourself, and perhaps get some good local friends to help. Good luck with whatever you do, and I hope it goes smoothly for you.

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