What can I put on my nipples to wean my toddler?

What can I put on my nipples to wean my toddler?

The question “What can I put on my nipples to wean my toddler?” is a common search on Google. It refers to applying something with a strong flavor, such as garlic, mustard, vinegar, or spicy products, on the breast to stop the toddler from suckling.

This being a common query shows us that there is a problem of lack of information in a common scenario. Most of the time, when a mother wants to wean, she is alone in this. And this is certainly not easy in most cases. Weaning requires help and support, the same help and support that is needed at the beginning to establish breastfeeding.

When pregnant women are asked if they want to breastfeed, over 90% say yes. A few days after giving birth, only about 80% breastfeed. Then, women who continue breastfeeding until 4 months account for just over 30%. What do these figures tell us? They imply that the most common type of weaning is mother-led weaning, which is also considered the worst-regarded type of weaning.

On the other hand, a significant percentage of women have chosen to continue to breastfeed beyond the first few months. This usually involves moments of great satisfaction but also of exhaustion and, at a certain point, even frustration. The much-feared breastfeeding aversion may appear, which translates into an urgent need to wean immediately.

At LactApp, we accompany many weaning processes, regardless of the age of the baby. And we are proud of it. We stick to the wishes and needs expressed by the mother to offer her options so that she can say what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. And we know that there are certain types of weaning proposals or resources that some people consider unacceptable.

On social media, there are terrible comments directed at mothers who explain that they want to wean by putting something on their nipples. But generally, these comments only deny the mother’s need or desire to wean, blaming the woman for wanting to use such a method and promoting a slow and gradual weaning without listening to the mother.

Of course, gradual weaning would be optimal, but we are not in an ideal world, and not all women have the time, possibility, and desire to face this type of weaning. The only thing we are achieving with this judgment is that when a mother considers this method, she does it alone and in a “bad” way by having little information on how to do it best.

But at LactApp, we don’t agree. We refuse to leave women alone. We give every mother the opportunity to ask about these methods. We won’t scare her or tell her that she cannot do this. And yes, we offer to help. We explain how to do it and what to do before and after, and we offer to accompany her throughout the process to tell her what will happen and how to manage it.

For all these reasons, when a mother asks for information, we will continue to provide it. If you read this and you are desperate and need or want to end your breastfeeding journey, you can try to apply something on your breast so your child does not want to nurse anymore.

If you have reached this point and this is the first thing you have ever read about weaning, we propose you look at all this other information so you can learn about more options and choose what you want to do.

What should you know about weaning by applying something to your nipples?

This is a weaning method that can be used from the age of one year of your child; in younger babies, it would never be the first option because you can’t explain the situation to a baby:

  • Explain to your child beforehand, depending on their age and ability to understand, what is going to happen: “Honey, milk (or how you call it for them) is going to taste bad,” “Baby, milky is tasting yuck,” “you can have it, but I think it’s gone bad.”
  • Once they nurse, they may cry, get angry, or feel bad. The emotional support you will need to give at this time is crucial. You can ask your child if they want to be held or sang to, or maybe you are going to cry together.
  • You should know that it doesn’t always work, sometimes they still like the taste and it doesn’t work.
  • It is possible that your child will ask for the breast again; you have to remember, like the first time, that the milk has gone bad and that maybe it is better not to do it. If they want to nurse, the same thing will happen as the first time, and you will have to repeat all the emotional support.
  • If you succeed and your child stops breastfeeding, check the development of your milk production. If necessary, remove as much milk as you need to make your breasts feel less engorged and comfortable. You can also apply cold.
  • Make sure you also check your breasts for around a week or 10 days until they stop bothering you.
  • Just because your child stops nursing does not mean that they don’t want to touch your breast. For many children, being able to touch the breast in moments of tension or boredom is a reminder that they found and still find all the security they need in their mother’s body.

We are well aware that this is a controversial topic and that some people may not agree with us, and we respect that. We are clear about what we do and what we want to achieve at LactApp, so we will continue to offer key support and information for every mother to achieve the breastfeeding journey and weaning she wants.

If you want more support in weaning, there is a lot of information in our free app, LactApp, which you can download for free for Android and iPhone.

2 thoughts on “What can I put on my nipples to wean my toddler?

  1. Nice article! However, it doesn’t answer the question in the title 🙂

    I’m currently in the process of weaning my toddler, using a different method (just gradually reducing the feeds by negotiating and putting limits), but I’m still curious about the answer 🙂 I personally didn’t want my child to keep any bad memories about the breast milk after so much effort put into breastfeeding (although taking away something they love so much is hard too), but I heard from many mothers that this method (with the milk “going bad”) is actually very effective and not too painful for the child.

    So what substances do you think could be potentially put on the breasts to make them taste or smell yucky, but do no harm to the child (or the nipples)?

    1. Thank you for your comment. There are different things used in different local cultures, but some of them are:
      – garlic (with care, as it can cause damage to the skin of the nipple)
      – onion
      – something spicy (with care)
      – vinegar
      – natural aloe juice (rub nipple with freshly cut aloe vera leaf)
      – anti-biting nail polish suitable for children
      Another alternative would be putting on a band-aid (or plaster) to symbolize that the breast is not well.

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