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Alright, People, Let's Hear It: How Do You Wean a Breastfeeding Baby?

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Sleeping baby
Shhhh...don't tell her I'm preparing to turn her world upside down

Baby Peony is 8-months-old and I’m still nursing her exclusively. I even stopped the little pumping I was doing in early January, which mean she hasn’t taken a bottle in months, and all is well. (Although in order to avoid the mistake I made with my older daughter, who used a bottle until she was 15-months-old and then freaked when we switched her to a sippy cup — she’s now almost 4 and still hasn’t had a single drop of milk since that day — Peony is now attempting to learn to take water from foreign vessels).

I don’t want to be a mom whose kid has to stand on a ladder to breastfeed (ahem), but I’m not 100 percent sure I’ll stop totally when she turns a year at the end of August, which has been my revised goal ever since I decided to keep going after my original goal of nursing for three months.

While I’m still at least a few months away from thinking about weaning, I want to be all Boy Scout-y about this and be prepared. And since this will be my first time weaning (my older daughter only nursed for two weeks before I gave up), I have no idea how it’s done. Do you?

Peony is a total breastfeeding champion. She loves it. The second she sees some skin she goes nutsclapping, panting, squealing. I kind of get why strippers and porn stars might love what they do. They attention is very flattering. And, of course, I just adore the literal and forced closeness with her several times a day.

But what I don’t get is this: Unless she self-weans, which I hear is possible, how will I ever detach her from my boobs? I’m already sad enough when she wants it but I won’t or can’t give it to her because it’s not according to the rough schedule we’ve kind of carved out or some other inconvenient reason.

How do you wean a child from the breast without scarring her for life? I can imagine the confusion and despair a baby must endure when denied one of the only constants in her life. I want to start thinking about it now so it doesn’t come as a shock (at least to me) when one or both of us decides the time is right.

I’m prepared for some amount of heartbreak, but I’d like to keep it to a minimum, if possible. Which is why I’m seeking some good advice from moms who have been there, done that.

So, what say you? How do you wean a baby (or toddler) from breastfeeding?

Photo credit: Meredith Carroll

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