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Night weaning and daytime feeds?

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  • Night weaning and daytime feeds?

    I am going to have to start weaning my 14month old. I don't have a choice, I need to be in hospital for about a week leaving her with my husband and my mother. Currently we are bed sharing and nursing on demand, sometimes up to 3-6 times a night. During the day she doesn't really nurse any more except before her nap or if she is very grumpy but I still nurse her to sleep at night. She sleeps sometime in the stroller or in the backpack without nursing. I have never been able to put her in bed without nursing her.

    Am I better to stop all the nursing cold turkey? Or still nurse her during the day, nurse her to sleep and then nothing during the night. She will take a bottle during the day but she flat out refuses everything except breast I offer her at night. Dad can help, but he also has to work so it's better if I can do most of this myself as I can sleep during the day.

    Also, if she is up half the night she is obviously going to be very tired during the day. Should I try to keep her up or just let her sleep. I'm not sure if she will sleep better at night if she is very tired or not??

    Any tips for making this transition any easier for her?

    Sorry, lots of questions. I really appreciate any advice you have. Thanks, Sarah

  • #2
    this is a challenging situation for all parties. if you have no choice in the matter, could you take something to dry up your milk and offer a bottle instead when the baby gets frustrated with your lack of supply? i've heard sudafed dries milk up, and i think they used to actually give a shot of some kind in the hospital if women didn't want to breastfeed.

    would it be possible for you to pump in the hospital and just resume breastfeeding afterward? i'm so sorry you are facing this challenging situation.


    • #3
      My experience with night weaning

      I night weaned my son when he was 18 months old because I was 7 months pregnant and did not want to be nursing two babies through the night. First I weaned him of nursing through the night. To do this I nursed him to sleep and then left the family bed and slept on the couch. When he woke up my husband gave him a sippy cup of cows milk. He did not want it and cried for probably 10 minutes. My husband rocked him back to sleep. This happened probably every 45 minutes all night that first night. It was horrible, I hated hearing him cry but he was not alone, my husband was there to comfort him and he did not cry for that long. after the first time he probably only cried for a few minutes each time. The next day we were all really tired. I nursed him during the day to make up for the lost nursing the night before. The second night I nursed him to sleep and left the family bed again, but only for the first few hours. he did wake up and my husband gave him the sippy and he cried for a few minutes but took it. Then when I returned to the family bed he asked to nurse but I have him his sippy and there were tears but I held him and he went back to sleep. By night three I was still nursing him to sleep but if he woke in the middle of the night he just asked for his sippy cup and has not asked to nurse in the middle of the night since.

      Then I started a night routine of bath/brush teeth/ story/ nurse to sleep. After a week or so I just switched out the nursing to rocking to sleep and he was surprisingly okay with that! eventually I was able to just lay next to him after reading him his story and he goes to sleep. The whole process probably took a month, maybe six weeks and the only really hard night was the first one.

      Now he is 25 months old and I have a four month old baby. He is still nursing once a day most days, usually before nap time but he can nap without it. Sometimes he goes days without nursing and he is fine if I am not around for nap time.

      If you have some time before you have to leave you could try a slow approach to weaning.

      Good Luck, Hope that helps.


      • #4
        Here are some comments on night weaning from the API Facebook page...though not necessarily speciifc to your hospital situation, night weaning in general is definitely a common issue!

        Comment 1
        Dr Jay Gordon method worked will for us for DS1.

        Comment 2
        ‎13 month old still nurses 3-4 times at night, i don't think she's ready to night wean, but ive read some good tips on dr. Sears webpage!

        Comment 3
        don't wean just wait and see if he resumes when you get back? I had to be away for a few nights before and baby did fine with dad. The nights where she falls a...sleep with daddy only and I am gone she sleeps just fine. We are comfort and it is normal for us to be comfort. I think before 3 is too early to start night-weaning. I don't think it is good for them to wean so early in the second year. You can draw boundaries in the second year like "ok, only 3 times tonight" or stuff like that, but other than that it is not developmentally appropriate or nice to take away their comfort.And remember--one day these nights will be the thing of your dreams and you will long for them to want to cuddle with you.

        Comment 4
        We slightly modified this for my 22 month old, but I was surprised at how well it worked. We co-sleep, and she still nurses to sleep and first thing in the morning, but otherwise after onl...y a couple of weeks, no longer night nurses. She does sometimes wake in the night, still, but usually just rolls over and snuggles back to sleep. ♥

        Comment 5
        My daughter weaned herself at 24 months. We had moved her to a toddler bed months before so the "during the night" feedings had already stopped. She was down to one feeding a day, the one to get her to sleep at night. Then she caught a c...old and was sleepier than usual. She fell asleep on her own three days in a row. So I figured after three days of not nursing, I should let go. The next night she tried to nurse and I said "no honey, you're a big girl now". She was okay with it. She didn't even fuss. She just rolled over and went to sleep.


        • #5
          When I was working the overnight shift for a few months, my husband said our 2yr old mostly slept thru the night. We didn't try anything leading up to it, I think she just knew I wasn't in the bed and so it wasn't an option. It was very surprising, because I felt like she woke me up and nursed every 30mins all night. I also really needed some extra sleep during this time so I spent some nights sleeping on the couch, with the same positive results for DD. This could work for you, especially if you're interested in nursing again when you're out of the hospital.

          A friend who was diagnosed with cancer as her baby turned 1yr ended up stopping cold turkey and it worked well for them. She made sure to offer lots of hugs and touch.

          Oh, and for our family I've noticed the sleep is much better if DD napped that day. A few times I thought skipping the nap would make her sleep longer/heavier all night but it really didn't work out that way!