What is the best way to wean an 18-month-old off breastfeeding?

First, congratulations on breastfeeding your child for 18 months! Your investment in your baby’s health and well-being is commendable. To answer your question, the best way to wean an 18 month old is to do it gradually. Reduce feedings one at a time so your body has time to adjust to the amount of breast milk your child will need as you wean. This should help to reduce the risk of you becoming engorged and developing problems related to engorgement.

I generally recommend saving the times that your child seems to care about most for weaning last. That may vary from child to child, with some cherishing nursing in the morning and others as a part of their bedtime routine. Sometimes it helps to replace that feeding time with another interactive activity that you can do with your child instead, like reading a book or playing together.


Sahira Long Sahira Long, MD, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician and lactation consultant at Children’s National. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and serves as the Medical Director for two Children’s Health Centers in medically underserved Southeast Washington, DC, and for the Children’s National East of the River Lactation Support Center.

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