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Monday, March 21, 2011

Tips for weening a one year old

I am writing this blog because when I went searching for one out of desperate need for info, I could not find one! There were thousands of blogs on weening a 4-6 WEEK baby, and many more urging me to continue nursing until she is three YEARS old (just not my style), but none giving me tips on how to ween my one year old daughter who is fighting me tooth and nail over it.
My first child swapped effortlessly between breast and bottle, my second skipped the bottle stage and at 11 months decided he was ready for a sippy cup. Esme... well the 1st day went well. The bottle was new and exciting (she'd had a bottle before, but only when a babysitter came). But days 2-10 included refusing to eat, crying, stiff arming me, throwing the bottle back at me, screaming, and the ever so entertaining...spit the milk back at me.
Here is what helped me:

1. I put my game face on. I was going to win. But I knew it would take time.

2. Baby steps, dropping one feeding at a time, both for my body to adjust slowly and Ezzie to make the change gradually. I tried the quick method, hoping for her thirst to win out and it just made me too uncomfortable. She went 20-ish hours with a dry diaper from refusing to eat and I decided that approach wasn't going to work for me...

3. I offered her the bottle at least one feeding a day, often waiting for when my husband was home so he could try too. This worked better as she was less inclined to take it from me.

4. I always gave the bottle to her BEFORE solid food.

5. In the end- I went for the distracting method: I held her facing out (so she could watch my other two kids) and asked them to play in front of me so she'd be distracted. Then I pinned her arms down so she could not grab the bottle and throw it. And while she was distracted by the siblings, I would put the bottle in her mouth. And she just suck it down. 3 days of this and she yielded to the bottle and 3 weeks later? I am free from nursing (though a little sad too) and she LOVES her bottle.

The biggest thing I realized? Taking a bottle, for her was a little like trying a new food. You know how they say you might have to offer a new food 7 times before they like it? I think it was sort of like that...

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