The Final Step
Many women find that this last nursing session is very difficult to cut. If you experience problems getting through this last step, there many tips and tricks you can try. Dianna Panos posts this helpful advice on the BabyZone Mom to Mom message board, "I nursed my son for 27 months. He never lost interest, no matter what I fed him. Finally, a pharmacist said she'd had the same problem and she put Band-Aids on her nipples. She said they had 'owies' on them. I tried it, and to my relief, it worked."
If you live close to relatives, or if you and your child have a good relationship with a close friend, you may wish to consider taking a "weaning holiday." Invite Grandma and Grandpa for a weekend visit with your child. Slip out of the house before your child heads to bed to "go run an errand" or even to take in a movie with your spouse. Try to leave at a time in the evening when your little one is engaged and having fun. Chances are she'll forget that you're not there and won't even notice that she missed her nightly nursing session.
Many moms also find that this is the best time to call in Daddy. If you are having troubles taking this last step, enlist the help of your partner to do the nightly rituals. Make an appearance early in the routine to give hugs and kisses and then say good night. I know a mother who had such difficulties weaning, that she had her husband step in and put her child to bed; meanwhile, she'd go have a glass of wine, knowing that she then couldn't buckle and nurse her little boy to sleep. It worked—for both the toddler and the mom.
During your later stages, it may take a bit of trial and error to find a new routine that works for you and your little one. Sometimes a combination of things works best, or you may find a bit of advice from a family member, friend, or something you read is the key to finally taking that last step.
I had an especially difficult time weaning my own daughter. Even though she had begun to show signs that she was ready to stop nursing, and I knew it was time to stop, I just didn't quite know how.
In doing some research, I stumbled upon The Old Farmer's Almanac website, where I learned that for centuries, mothers and farmers have weaned children and cattle in accordance with the moon's cycle. The website included helpful monthly charts showing when to wean, plant, and so on; and I decided that I'd give it a try.
Miraculously, it worked. We told our then 16-month-old daughter a week before the final date what was going to happen. We also began incorporating new nighttime routines to help her fall asleep on her own. And on that first night without nursing, my husband tucked her into bed, and she fell right asleep and never asked to nurse again.