breastfeeding

Adventures in Gentle Night Weaning a 2 year old

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Even in extended nursing families, the time often comes when families find it necessary to night wean their toddler from nursing all night long.. Here I have decided to chronicle my attempt at gentle night weaning my toddler.

Deciding to night wean

My son turned two in April and we figured at age two we can begin night weaning (this working mama needs a bit more sleep!).  I have to travel to the east coast for work in July for two nights (well three, I’ll likely have a red eye). So two bed times and three nights where I physically will not be present to nurse our son when (it really isn’t an if) he wakes at night. We still nurse to sleep and I don’t have any issues with that and it works for us, but after that then we say that basically my boobs are sleeping until morning time.

Night one of Gentle Night Weaning

Night one was not too much fun. He woke up first at around 11:30 and so I snuggled with him and reminded him that they were sleeping. After around 10 minutes he fell back to sleep (I left my shirt with him and slipped out of the room.  He woke again around 1:30 and was screaming so I came back to him (He was with in the king bed with daddy and I was sleeping in our daughter’s room). I tried to snuggle him, smooth his hair and remind him that “dudh” was sleeping, but he wasn’t having it, so we just talked to him gently while he was upset. Then my daughter woke up so my husband had to run over to her room. She was loud in her talking (first screaming, “I ONLY WANT MOMMY”) and so my son kept listening for her. Finally after around 40 minutes, he fell asleep and I went to my daughter. I explained to her that her brother was being night weaned so I had to talk to him. She said okay and then snuggled and wanted to nurse and I explained to her that she was night weaned too. I told her I needed to brush my teeth (she then told me, you better, otherwise they’ll fall out). I went and brushed and when I came back she was sleeping.

A friend lent us the book “Nursies when the Sun Shines” when we were “re”night weaning my daughter and it was a beautiful book and gentle way of helping those of us “on the fringe” of nursing when we can explain night weaning to our toddler/preschoolers.

From then on both kids slept, but I felt like a zombie in the morning :) Night two to come!

*Dudh is what he calls mommy milk, it is Marathi for milk.

Part two and three
Part four
Part five
Part six
Part seven
Part eight and nine
Part ten
Part eleven
Part twelve and thirteen
Part fourteen
Part fifteen
Part sixteen
Part seventeen
A night weaning update

 

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27 comments

  1. I recently night weaned my 2 year old and am very relieved that it went so well. I had been trying to do it for about a month, just talking to him about how mommies milk needed to sleep. I am pregnant, and the pregnancy fatigue was killing me at the time. Gradually, he started nursing less and less each night, and eventually gave it up on his own. Very much relieved to be able to sleep through the night now.

     
  2. It can’t be easy for either the child or the Mom or the rest of the household for that matter when it is time to “wean” a child. I agree with your policy of as gently as possible.

     
  3. We had a tough time making my son sleep in his own bed. It took months and we had many sleepless nights along the way. But I am happy to report that he is now fully trained :)

     
  4. I don’t have kids yet, but my husband and I are toying with trying for children of our own this year. I hadn’t ever considered how difficult weaning might be, so thanks for sharing some of your own experiences.

     

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