Weaning a child from the breast, especially one old enough to make her preferences for this type of feeding known, can be a very emotional time for a mother. You may feel guilt, anger, anxiety, frustration and much more – sometimes all at the same time. However, when you know your own preferences you can’t allow these emotions to get in the way of your ultimate goal.
First off you must remain strong. Your daughter’s tears are her way of expressing her preference for breastfeeding, but ask yourself if she is being hurt by being weaned. The answer is likely no. As long as you remember that, it will easier to remind yourself that though your daughter enjoys feeding from the breast she will soon enjoy a diet of solid foods and liquids from a cup as well.
You may decide that you can not bear to stop breastfeeding all at once. If this is the case, work on cutting out one feed at a time. Start with the least important feed. For example, stop the first feed or the last feed of the day first and then slowly cut out the others as well.
With a child of two years of age there is little use in weaning her to a bottle, so instead wean her from the breast and introduce a cup immediately. It may help to allow her to select her own special cup and to congratulate her each time she uses it successfully. You may also find that you want to replace the skin-to-skin contact and quiet time that used to come with breastfeeding, so make it a point to include lots of kisses, cuddles and snuggles into your daily routine with your daughter.
Weaning a child who wants to continue breastfeeding will never be an enjoyable task, but it is not impossible. Be prepared for your daughter’s tantrums, but recognise that they will not last forever. Stay positive, stay patient and stay committed to your weaning plan. If you do have worries that your daughter is suffering by being weaned or that she is being adversely affected from cutting breast milk from her diet then consult your GP immediately.