Weaning Through Persuasion
I have graduated from breastfeeding more than one year, so I am not sure if my memory still serves me well.
Many mothers think when they start breastfeeding, when this is gonna end. Well, don’t worry, it will end eventually. Your children won’t breastfeed when they’re in college. It will take its course naturally, that’s my belief. Hence I didn’t feel the need to force it to end. I heard from other mothers how they push for weaning, such as by putting medicinal herbs on the nipple or lipstick to dissuade the children to feed. I myself was too lazy to do that, besides I was really enjoying breastfeeding very much. When Noe was 3 year old (and Kei 1 year old) I wasn’t in the rush for weaning.
Until my parents and inlaws come into play. They are just not used to seeing kids more than 2 year old breastfeeding. Hence they persuaded me to wean Noe as soon as possible. I didn’t know what to do: I mean, I read a lot of article on weaning but it just doesn’t feel right yet. Arguably, I could continue breastfeeding for as long as Noe wants (I saw in a documentary a child as old as 8 year old still breastfeeding), but I was also considering other factor such as planning to go back to full time work and pressure from the people around me. Nevertheless, I feel there is nothing wrong with extended breastfeeding considering the physical and psychological benefit, as
long as the child still wants it.
So I decided to do it slowly and gradually – instead of showing up with red-lipstick colored nipple and shocked my kid. I decided to go through slow persuasive process. The process that I experienced could be summarized as follows:
1. Find or create a milestone
Noe was entering kindergarten. He was so enthusiastic with the new school and I used this opportunity to emphasize that “You are a big boy now”. Then I proceed to define what big boy means, i.e. putting on clothes by himself, feeding himself, taking a shower without help, and.. not breastfeeding anymore. He was eager to see himself as a big boy and with this persuasion he decided that breastfeeding ain’t cool anymore for a big boy like him.
2. Distract him away from breastfeeding
The kid who is so focused on breastfeeding may cry or beg to get what he wants. The key is to distract him away from the breastfeeding impulse with other activities. Alternatively, confine breastfeeding to only take place in the bedroom. A child as old as 2.5 are able to understand the concept of “later”, which is different from 3 year old baby who needs to be fed totally on demand.
3. Offer alternative
Offer the kid alternative when he asks for breastfeeding, like hugging, caressing, scratching the back, drinking fresh milk from glass, or reading bed time story. When Kei decided to stop breastfeeding, he wanted to touch my belly instead, to help him sleep at night. Basically, that was just shifting his breastfeeding habit into belly-squeezing habit (I’m yet to wean him from that).
In sum, my breastfeeding career stretches for around 6 year continuously for my two kids. Noe was breastfed until he’s 3.5 year old while Kei, 2.5 year old. When I asked Noe if he remembers the taste of mummy’s milk, he said, “It’s sweet!”.
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