This blog post is aimed at helping mommas who are practicising extended breastfeeding (2 years and beyond as WHO recommends) and are now ready to wean their baby.
It's indeed a great blessing that you're able to do extended breastfeeding. If you and baby are not ready to wean you could continue until the baby self weans when he or she is ready. Please don't feel pressured by what others say. Its you and your baby anyway. My daughter is 2.5 yrs. She never took the bottle and she has been exclusively breastfed. She used to be breastfed to sleep too. There were times I was exhausted and wanted her to stop. But the next moment I knew in my heart that I wasn't actually ready for that as I always loved that moment and bonding with my daughter. I also thought at one point if she will ever outgrow this. But as she grows she started dropping the number of feeds by herself and the duration too. When she was around 2 years and 3 months I noticed that she was nursed before bed time but then she started to fall asleep on her own. So what I did was I set the timer for 5 minutes. When the alarm goes off she stopped nursing. I offered her hugs. We cuddled and snuggled and she fell asleep on her own. Your baby will outgrow you when they are ready . The understanding comes as they grow.
But if you really want to wean your baby these are the gentle methods you could follow;
1. Start introducing fresh milk. Get her used to the taste. It takes some time but be persistent. My daughter takes her fresh milk when we read books before bed. Make sure you brush baby's teeth before sleeping as milk has a lot of natural sugars and acids and can cause tooth decay (same goes for breatmilk) Use a sippy cup - there are lovely, no leak ones in the market which you can get your child used to.
2. To reduce the day time feeds you could distract the baby by taking her out or engage in the activities she is really interested in.
3. Talk to the baby and say that she is growing up and she can have fresh milk now.
4. You could also tell her after the night feed that the next feed will be when the sun is up.
5. When she asks for milk try to offer her some healthy snacks.
Weaning takes time and patience but try to do it gently so as not to traumatise your baby. Babies are amazing and in their own time they will outgrow the breast.