Both Health Canada and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months then continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary feeding for up to two years or beyond, for as long as is mutually desired by mother and baby.
While some moms continue to breastfeed until their baby naturally stops on their own, many mothers aren’t willing or able to choose this route due to health concerns, employment, scheduling challenges, family planning purposes, or for many other reasons. When breastfeeding is no longer mutually desired, it’s time to wean.
Weaning – whether from nighttime nursing or from breastfeeding entirely – is a significant rite of passage for both mama and toddler. This transition can be stressful and confusing for many families, so I’ve put together this list of books that might help you and your nursling cope with all the emotions that can arise at this time. The first three books focus on night weaning, and the rest address weaning in general. I hope you find one or more of these to be helpful in your weaning journey. A mother’s love and caring might change its form over time, but her love never ends.
Read more: I Am So Done: Night Weaning in a Week
Click on any book cover to see it on Amazon.
1. Nursies When the Sun Shines by Katherine C. Havener
Beautiful watercolor illustrations and a sweet, lulling verse help young children understand the concept of night and day. Night time, the book explains, is for sleeping. “Nursies,” on the other hand, happen when the sun shines. In Nursies When the Sun Shines, a tousle-haired toddler is snuggled up in bed with mom and dad, ready to go to sleep for the night, the family’s grey striped cat snoozing soundly at their feet. When the toddler wakes at night for nursies, mom shows her baby that it’s dark outside, and assures baby that she’ll have nursies when the sun shines. Later, with brilliant sun streaming through the window, the toddler knows it’s time for nursies.
2. Sally Weans from Night Nursing by Lesli Mitchell
A book for older babies, toddlers, and children that colorfully details what a child might experience in the process of weaning from night nursing. Sally Weans From Night Nursing encourages the gradual process of weaning without absolutes or judgements regarding when a child “should” wean. This book helps to validate the child’s feelings associated with change and leads mother and child through to a new phase in their relationship.
3. Milkies in the Morning by Jennifer Saleem (paperback)
Milkies In The Morning presents a gentle story of one toddler’s night weaning journey. Designed to help ease the transition of night weaning, this beautiful book empowers mothers and supports their nurslings in transition.
4. Loving Comfort: A Toddler Weaning Story by Julie Dillemuth
Mama’s milk has always been a part of Jack’s life, but that’s changing now that he’s a toddler, and that’s hard. But Mama’s cuddling arms, lullaby voice, and thump-thump heartbeat won’t change, even when the milk is gone. The end of breastfeeding can be a deeply emotional transition for a mother and child. This book addresses the psychological aspects of weaning, focusing on the mother-child relationship and additional ways a mother provides comfort.
5. Everything Changes Including Me by Brett Hillary Aronowitz
Bright, colorful pages illustrate this picture book told in verse from the perspective of an older child. This delightful poem and semi-realistic watercolor illustrations aim to introduce the nursing and weaning toddler to the concepts of growth and change as tied to various activities during different seasons and weather, including a time when mommy’s milk is gone.
6. Bye-Bye Nah-Nahs by Rosamond Rice
Join little ones across the globe as they learn to say “Bye-Bye” to nursing and “Hello” to the fun that awaits! Bye-Bye Nah-Nahs tenderly supports mother and child through the emotional and exciting experience of weaning with a simple multi-language text, diverse characters and colorful illustrations. This book was created by a nursing mother for nursing mothers and their beautiful, growing babies/toddlers/preschoolers. Written primarily in English, the characters in this book represent diverse backgrounds that reflect our global community and how nursing connects us all. Simple phrases in Spanish, French, Hawaiian and Japanese are included along with their English translations.
7. A Time to Wean by Marlene Susan (hardcover)
A Time to Wean is a picture book for babies and toddlers who are weaning from nursing. Follow favorite animals as they too, grow, discover new things, and nurse less, all with the comfort and reassurance that love and hugs from mama never change. Even our favorite animals have a time to wean.
8. My Very Breast Friend by David and Mutiya Vision
There’s a precious bond that develops between a mother and her baby, during nursing. It’s a special time, dedicated only to them, as they discover one another. This book shows a young child’s transition from being breast fed, to eating food, in a loving way.
9. Mama’s Milk Is All Gone by Ann P. Vernony
Mama’s Milk Is All Gone is an illustrated book for parents and babies/toddlers/children to read together. The book recognizes the breastfeeding relationship that the child shared with their mother and how after weaning they have many different ways that they fill their physical and emotional needs in place of breastfeeding. It is meant to help ease the emotional transition that occurs alongside the physical transition.
10. Ready to Wean: The Return of the Dangling Red Earrings by Elyse April
Ready to Wean is a children’s picture book, designed to empower mothers in the weaning process. The friendly text reassures and prepares the child, in a confident way, for this new stage of growth, and bolsters mother’s confidence that she will continue to grow with her child, beyond this particular form.
11. I’m a Weaned Kid Now by Kristi Patrice Carter
Join Chloe and her family as they journey through the weaning process. See how fun-loving, sensitive 2.5-year-old Chloe deals with the challenges of the mother-led weaning process. See how her caring and patient parents validate Chloe’s feelings with extra doses of love and understanding. Experience firsthand the joys, frustrations, and real emotions Chloe experiences as she navigates this big life change. Celebrate her pride, as she triumphantly makes the transition to weaned kid.
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