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Last week, I shared our family nightmare story how our Disney vacation was pretty much not what we intended and how I relied on my natural medicine cabinet to get us through.  Unfortunately, the severity of my symptoms combined with the fact that I was determined not to have what was in my chest, move to my head, convinced me that I had to also resort to a Mucinex tablet.  Ugh.  I was bummed.

Ironically, I was praying and wondering about when would be the right time to remove my 21-month old toddler from his last weaning.  I just didn’t think it would be during vacation.  At least not the way it did.  There were a few nights in the month where he had gone to sleep without nursing.  So I knew the time was coming near.  I realized that there was really not much of a nutritional benefit for him to keep nursing, he just depended on the time to get drowsy.

Being sick in a hotel was not the time I was thinking about completely ending our nighttime routine.  I was sad because he was sick too… and wanted his only nursing to help him get better.  The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I would be suffering and would delay my recovery.  Sigh, if mom is not well – it delays the recovery of everyone else too.  What a vicious cycle.

So I felt I had no choice.  This it how it went.

On the first night, I nursed him for 3-5 minutes when I was due for my next Mucinex dose.  By the second night, I found that the same instrumental music that helps my 7-year-old to sleep, might soothe him, if I bounced him on the bed.  (This is dreamy music folks, and a lot of it is in Latin.  Ties in well with the Latin with our Classical Conversations community, but anyone would love it.)  Surprising though, was that not only did he like the music – he was SINGING along with me in his Latin toddler mumble until he drifted off to sleep!  It was BETTER than nursing!  He even slept all night long in the hotel without waking up… something he doesn’t do at home.

If you are having difficulty weaning your baby, don’t panic.  I had never planned to nurse this child past 13 months.  With my daughter, I planned to nurse through one year old and succeeded in going to 13 months.  However, my son LOVED nursing.  I didn’t mind because he is my last baby.  But by the time he turned 18 months, with no signs of him weaning… I started to freak out.  Family started questioning why I was still nursing, which didn’t bother me.  But when I could feel the health of my thyroid begin to suffer, I knew.  It was time.

If you are wondering how to begin weaning your baby/toddler, here are…

My Top 6 Tips:

1. Understand there is no rush.  Your toddler won’t be nursing until college.  Just like you knew that nursing was the best source of nutrition for your child, you’ll know when to stop. Don’t feel pressured by family who do not understand your extended nursing.  It is perfectly normal to nurse into toddlerhood.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.  If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800,000 child lives would be saved every year.

2.  To Wait or Not to Wait.  Deciding when to start weaning can be tough.  Until your family schedule is free from major trips, holidays – anything that is stressful in your life – wait – so that you can be consistent with your decision to wean.  For me, I would find that if something stressful was happening in the week and my son’s very loud cry increased my stress, that I would cave in and nurse him just to make life calm for me.  Due to my son’s overpowering personality, I knew I had to be ready to get my game on and be ready to stick to my guns no matter how he acted.

On the other hand, perhaps you have a child who is so easily distracted that a weekend away may make the whole process easier and quicker for you.

You will know what is best for the personalities of you and your child.  One sign my son gave me was that he was able to point to himself and say his name.  And then point to me and say, “Mommy.”  This showed me he understood we are two separate beings.  He is not another part of my body.  He is his own person.  He is a big boy.

3.  Take One Feeding out at a time... even if it is over a period of months.  I recall that around April 2013, when my son turned one, I was still at five feedings a day: Waking, Morning Nap, Afternoon nap, Bedtime, and Middle of the Night feedings.  I actually thought he wouldn’t notice if I just cut out the first three and just kept bedtime.  Oh boy.  He was not happy.  Neither was… *ahem*, my body.  We naturally moved to three feedings after his morning nap phased out.  How to cut the others was harder for me.

4.  Replace missing feeding with a Shaklee Meal Shake or a Shaklee 180 Smoothee.

I realized the main reason why I was having a difficult time was that I didn’t know WHAT I would use to replace my son’s nursings.  I found out that my daughter was lactose intolerant when she was 2.5 years old.  I did not want to even try to wean him with cow’s milk.  I was able to get him to like Almond Milk if I flavored it with vanilla extract.  But I was bummed that the Almond Milk was nowhere near the calories for the amount of breastmilk he had at a feeding.  There was no way I wanted to use formula from the stores.  The amount of protein they offered was laughable. It was also unlikely he would take to it because breastmilk is so sweet.

It then dawned on me.  The Shaklee Meal Shake would be a great replacement (please also see below about other options as well)!  Coming in Vanilla and Cocoa flavors, they are whey protein and no artificial anything and Gluten Free.  They are as yummy as a McDonald’s milkshake.  And it offers 19 essential vitamins and minerals and 7 grams of protein.

I tried it the next day with his almond milk.  My son LOVED IT!  I then immediately tried having him drink one before his afternoon nap and just sing him to sleep.  Bingo!  It worked!

Now is a great time to try.  Any 50 PV purchase made with The Whole Deel gets FREE lifetime membership pricing AND will receive a FREE canister of the Cafe Latte Smoothee listed below.  Offer has been extended to March 31st, 2014.

5.  Set a schedule.

I was down to three feedings by December.   Waking, Bedtime, and Middle of the Night.  His sleeping patterns were horrible and he wasn’t eating well during the day.  I suddenly realized that this was because he was eating all night long,  so of course he wasn’t hungry during the day!  Middle of the Night feedings were the next to go.  (Stay tuned for this description when I post about overcoming poor sleep habits).

Setting a schedule seemed the best way to cut his middle of the night cravings and prepared for my next elimination:  waking.  If he went to bed no later than 8pm, then he would do better lasting through the night until breakfast.  If he woke up at the same time every morning, he would eat a better breakfast and forget about wanting to nurse.  You may choose to cut bedtime first.  It all depends on your child.

6. Distraction

It took about a week for him to accept no more nursings upon waking.  How I did it was I immediately told him it was time to eat as I changed his morning diaper.  I made him breakfast immediately and he ate an entire egg he was so hungry!  Wow.  Another sign to me that he was ready for this.  So encouraging for a mom.  If he did show signs of wanting to nurse, I would just distract him to look at toys.  Or tell him, “Milk all gone!”

This tactic I also had to use when we cut out our final bedtime weaning.  I explained to him that Mommy had a “boo boo” while pointing to my chest.  He seemed to understand.  As mentioned earlier, music is also a great distraction – especially at bedtime.

My kids love all four flavors of the Shaklee 180 protein.  And it’s great even for kids because it signals their body to build and retain lean muscle.

YOU DID IT!

Now that your baby is weaned, it wasn’t that bad, was it?  Please tell me your stories. If you are confused at the order of my eliminations, I listed clearly at the end of this post.  I am happy to have more energy and feel I can be consistent again in the rest of my life.

ALTERNATIVE MEAL REPLACEMENTS:

We have loved the Meal Shakes by Shaklee to transition from breastmilk.  However, currently, we are transitioning to the Shaklee 180 Smoothees because of their higher protein content and the complete 9 amino acids that our bodies need.  My kids like both the Soy and the Whey.

Soy is a controversial topic.  I am one to agree not to buy soy unless it is completely pure.  It comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Caffe Latte.  Also available this season are Vanilla Chai and Mango.  With Shaklee, you can be 100% sure the soy is safe.  It offers:

  • 24 grams of hunger fighting protein
  • 6 grams of fiber
  • Powered by LeucineTM
  • 23 vitamins and minerals
  • Non-GMO soy protein
  • Low glycemic. GI Value: 37
  • No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives added
  • Gluten free, lactose free

Note: Although this is in Shaklee Weight Management line, there is no need to fear for kids! It is all natural and the main reason it helps you to lose weight is because when you have more lean muscle, your metabolism works better! So if there is no fat to burn, you will just maintain lean muscle. My kids are strong and healthy and this is in no way a “weight loss” or management shake for them, but more of a way to get a high protein and fiber in them that is helping them build muscle – even at a young age!

The Whey Smoothee offers:

  • 24 grams of hunger fighting protein
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • Powered by LeucineTM
  • 23 vitamins and minerals
  • Soy-free, for those who are sensitive to soy
  • Low glycemic. GI Value: 32
  • No artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives added
  • Gluten free, 99% lactose free.

RECAP of the order of my Feeding Eliminations (Yours may differ):

1. Naps.

2. Middle of the Night.

3. Morning.

4. Bedtime.