I Think I’m Ready To Night Wean

IMG_20151109_190648My son just turned 15 months old and I still feed him at night *shock horror*.

Yes, I know it goes against everything the baby books say, but I’m an attachment Mummy through and through, and having made the decision months ago to stop reading baby books due to all the contradictory advice, I’ve really just followed my instinct as to what is best for my little family unit.

My son, too, is an absolute comfort monster. He loves cuddles and feeding and being physically close. Which I adore. Feeding at night has always been something that felt very natural and symbiotic, and it has always helped him stay calm. Until recently.

For many reasons, I have just not been getting enough sleep of recent weeks (maybe months, I have lost count). And after months of trying to keep everyone in my life as happy as possible, I really haven’t been looking after myself properly. I’ve been getting by on minimum sleep, no exercise, and admittedly not the best food. I don’t feel healthy.

One of the reasons I am not getting enough sleep is because my son, whether it be teething, a growth spurt, or just an age related stage, is waking multiple times per night asking for milk. He sleeps between us *attachment parents, remember* and has got into the habit of rolling, and sitting up, climbing on me, and ultimately crying if he is not given boob. My husband will try to calm him frequently, but this more often than not leads to all-out tears and a wide-awake Mummy, Daddy, and baby. Not great. Because of this, I often just cave and give him boob so at least two out of three of us are sleeping (three guesses who is not!)

I tend to lose count of the number of times I wake in the night – I would say it was around 10 last night which is on the extreme end, but baby boy does have a cold and has been very distressed being unable to breathe through his nose. But after months of broken sleep, and the little voice in my head growing louder and louder saying “he does not need milk at night!” something inside me snapped, and I declared to my husband this morning that “I think I’m ready to night wean”.

So we agreed.

Where to start however, we haven’t got a clue. Do we gradually decrease the feeds by having my husband settle him for half of the waking’s (likely no sleep all-round), or do I move out of our room for a week or two and go cold turkey? I think we’re going to go with the latter *sob.

But now we’ve agreed, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I’m worried it’s going to cause a detachment from me and my boy, I’m worried my husband is going to be completely exhausted from all the settling, and I’m worried that my son will be thirsty in the night…maybe he does need milk!

But I’m also aware that we need to start the weaning process at some point, and this is a good place to start. I’m also highly aware that I need more sleep. Period. My son too needs more sleep – he wakes in the morning grumpy and tired after all the night waking. For us both to be able to wake in the morning feeling fresh and energetic would be a godsend and a massive positive in my son’s little active life.

So am I sad? Yes. Am I excited to have a full night’s sleep? Hell yes!

I will keep you updated with how things go, so watch this space. Also, if you have any words of wisdom, I would love to hear them. It would be great to know how you approached the weaning process and how successfully (or unsuccessfully) it went.

Abbey x

P.s. if you related to this post, you may also like:

Baby I Love You, But You’ve Been Exhausting Me

The Knackered Mum Retreat

 

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9 thoughts on “I Think I’m Ready To Night Wean

  1. I completely empathise (18months and still not night weaned here but ready for it!!). I had night weaned no.1 by this age, am sure it was painful at the time but looking back I don’t remember it being too bad. I just offered water instead of milk at night wakings and then did everything other than feeding to get him back to sleep – rocking, singing, cuddling etc. telling him he could have milk later, in the morning. I need to try the same with Missy but am SO tired, just need to build up the strength to get out of bed at night for a few days! Good luck, I’ll be following your progress!! x

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    1. That’s it isn’t it – finding the energy to do it. It’s a bit of a Catch 22 trying to muster the energy to wean so to have more energy in the long run through extra sleep! x

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  2. Do it!! I think maybe the moving out option could work; you’d actually get sleep and he would likely take a boppy from your other half as you wouldn’t be there all snugly and smelling of milk! I know you worry about the cuddles but since we’ve weaned our daughter she has become more cuddly to both me and the hubby. Could be just an age thing, but she’s same as your boy, 15 months. Good luck! X

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  3. I can absolutely relate. I have almost the same story. My daughter is also 15 months old and I had been night nursing up until just a few weeks ago. Like you, I love breastfeeding her, and she loves the closeness and comfort of it too. But about a month ago, I started feeling much the same way as you, where I came to the realization that I was extremely sleep deprived – my daughter wasn’t co-sleeping with us but she would cry anywhere from 2-6 times per night and I’d always rush into her nursery to nurse her to sleep. I also work full time outside the home, and I honestly don’t know how I’ve kept my job this past year while I’ve barely been functioning with such little sleep. I’ve literally taken naps at work in the mother’s room. Along with sleep deprivation comes a lack of self care, which I was really noticing. I weigh more now than I did at the end of my pregnancy, mostly because I have no time or energy to work out, and I make less than healthy food choices. It’s hard to eat well and take care of yourself when you’re constantly daydreaming about sleep. Literally on the night that we had decided to have my husband start bottle feeding her instead of me nursing, he had a stroke. It was a freak thing. My parents ended up staying with us and taking care of our daughter while we were at the hospital for a week. Even though our circumstances were obviously horrible and unusual, my point is that by me being physically gone, my daughter learned to sleep through the night over the course of that week. So I think your idea of sleeping in another room is a good one. Hard as it will be, I truly think I’m a few days your little one will realize he doesn’t need to nurse every few hours. Best of luck to you, I completely understand all of the emotions tied up in this.

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  4. I remember having the same feelings around the same age with my daughter. Until that age I was happy to just go with the natural process and she had organically dropped a number of feeds during the night herself but was still waking serveral times each night and it was killing me. My advise would be now that you have made the decision just stick to it. The first few nights or so will be really hard but stick it out. Lots of hugs and love at each waking. Explain that milk is finished and mummy needs sleep. It may surprise you how much baby will understand. Good luck.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this – it is really reassuring. I like the idea about actually explaining it to him to help him understand. It did not really cross my mind to do that! X

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  5. I totally understand how you feel. My little one is only 7 months though and still feeding at least 5 times a night with wake ups in between also. I am not ready to night wean yet but one day I think we will be going through what you are. I found one article/blog that has resonated most with me in terms of cutting back night feeds.. I don’t think i could do controlled crying so this method seems the most gentle.. Have a read and see what you think… http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html

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    1. Thank you for sharing, I will definitely take a look. Things have been going well and we’ve actually managed to get him down to one feed – he will also accept his Dad settling him now which is a great step! X

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