Night Weaning

So Miss P and I embarked on a project together this week, although she didn’t agree to it and she isn’t happy that we’re doing it,  we’re night weaning.  I know that many of you will remember my post from several weeks back about her turning one and wonder why she’s still nursing at night, others will wonder why we’re stopping.

First, why she’s still nursing at night:

I probably would have worked towards night weaning earlier had Miss P not decided that she no longer liked breastmilk in bottles  around the time she turned seven months old.  She was starting to eat at least one full meal of solids while I was gone at that point so we didn’t fight it.  I was glad that I could stop pumping at work, no more hunting for an available office and no more worrying that someone would walk in on me (super awkward moment when your boss forgets you’re in the office and walks in on you pumping).  That of course meant that she squeezed all of her breastfeeding in during the 12-14 hours a day that I was home, which meant that she nursed at night.  Sometimes just once during my six hours of sleep each night, sometimes 2 or 3 times between 8:30pm and 2:30am, when my alarm goes off and my day starts.  Which brings me to…

Why we’re stopping:

Sure we could continue night nursing until she’s ready to wean all together or until she sleeps through the night all the time on her own.  I actually planned on stopping once she started sleeping through the night on her own, and that has happened once or twice, but she always resumes night nursing the next night.  I thought for sure the 10 weeks that I spent working overnights during the Christmas season would bring about sleeping through the night and an end to night nursing once I switched back to early mornings in January, but no.  She woke once a night for cuddles or solid food (never a bottle she wouldn’t take one of those) but as soon as I was available again she was back to night nursing.  I waited until after one to force the issue which multiple experts suggest as being a good time to night wean.  I finally feel like she’s getting enough nutrition from solid food that if night weaning leads to total weaning I won’t need to add formula to her diet.  I really need my six hours of sleep a night to be uninterrupted at this point because the sleep deprivation is starting to take it’s toll.  I’m always tired and rely way too much on caffeine to keep me going at work.  I know from past experience that my interrupted sleep pattern is a contributing factor in my lack of recent progress in my weight loss journey.  Most importantly, being chronically sleep deprived leaves me too tired to enjoy the afternoons and evenings that I have with my kids.

Why this week:

I chose this week because I’m off work the whole week and I’ll be on overnights next week.  That should give me one week to instill the idea that we don’t nurse at night and a whole week of my being gone at night to reinforce the idea.  That said we’ve done 4 nights so far and Miss P has fought with me multiple times most nights about nursing.  She’s very persistent but I haven’t given in.  I’m making sure she still gets the opportunity to nurse at least 4 times during the day in the hopes that she’ll stop looking for it at night. I’m hopeful that she’ll get the hang of it soon.   There are many things about our nursing relationship that I’ll miss when it’s over, but night nursing won’t be one of them.

So when did you night wean and how did you know it was the right time for your family?

Update 6/1/2016

So P has been night weaned for 2 full weeks now, sort of.  She doesn’t wake most nights and she sleeps in her own bed.  The catch is that if she wakes at night and I go to put her back to sleep or bring her to cuddle in our bed, she expects to get the opportunity to nurse.  I really thought that after 2 plus weeks she would stop looking for it and be content to cuddle with me instead during a night waking, but no.  So for now, Mr. J deals with all her night wakings to reinforce that nursing is no longer an option at night.

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