BabyRoX, Family, Leah, Parenting

Wednesday by Leah: Night Weaning While Co-Sleeping

16 Jan ’13
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For the past several months, Jonah has been nursing at night for comfort rather than to eat. While I’m always willing to comfort my child (duh!), I’m definitely ready to comfort with cuddles instead of nursing all night. He’s started nursing way more frequently than he did when he was younger – he really just wants to use me as a pacifier all night, and I’m sorta over it. I’m also dropping weight like crazy, and it’s directly a result of breastfeeding. I’m gonna disappear if my son keeps nursing so much! So we have begun the weaning process around here.

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We also co-sleep, which makes night weaning extra tricky… the snack bar-pacifier combo is right there, Jonah doesn’t even have to get out of bed, and who wouldn’t take advantage of that? So Mark and I discussed how to approach this. We could transition Jonah to his own room to expedite the process. He already naps there. But we didn’t like that option. We really love co-sleeping, most of the time, and we are just not ready to stop…plus Jonah’s room is alllll the way upstairs and that’s too far away for our liking. So the other, more palatable option was for Mark to comfort Jonah when he woke up at night, and for me to sleep in the other room for a few nights so Jonah got used to falling back asleep without nursing and without being too tempted. We actually briefly tried the whole night weaning with me in the bedroom, and that just made Jonah ANGRY. He knew what he wanted was right there and he couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t let him have at it. The boobs, they are too hard to resist!

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Night weaning with me out of the room was definitely the best option. And it’s actually been much easier than I thought it would. Sunday marked 4 nights of weaning, and I was back in bed with my boys. Now *I* can comfort Jonah at night with cuddles and he doesn’t expect to nurse. I put Jonah to bed last night around 7:30 and he woke up 3 hours later and I was able to get him back to sleep without any fuss OR any nursing. He started to wake up again at 3 am but he rolled over and went back to sleep, snuggled against daddy, and didn’t try to claw my shirt off me or anything of the sort. This is huge progress, y’all!

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He still nurses around 4 times a day, and I’m not ready to cut those out yet, but I’ll gradually drop a session at a time over the year. There are aspects of breastfeeding I love, like always having a free, nutritious snack on hand, and there are aspects I don’t love, like leaking – still! – and milk stains and Jonah pulling my shirt down whenever he wants to nurse. I’m so thankful we have been able to breastfeed but I’m definitely ready for Jonah to start weaning. I knew nighttime would be the toughest, and I’m glad it’s going smoothly so far. The first 2 nights were the roughest, with Jonah waking up about every hour and needing rocking and singing to fall back asleep, but 2 sleepless nights are definitely worth it to me and Mark in order to have many many nights of peaceful sleep. This process has actually strengthened the bond between Mark and Jonah, too. Jonah loves cuddling up to Daddy at night now, not just Mommy. And Mommy gets lovely, uninterrupted sleep. It’s fantastic.

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And can I just say how much I love watching my boys sleep all snuggled up together? It’s the bestest.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Elizabeth Weirauch Haley 16 Jan ’13 at 2:02 pm

    Leah, Our children are leading parallel lives. We co sleep with Dylan and she is back to nursing all the time at night. I really need to night wean her and have been researching the last few weeks looking for a gentle way to do this. Leaving the room. Brilliant. I will try this. Thanks.

    • Reply Leah Tioxon 16 Jan ’13 at 10:17 pm

      Oh yay, I'm glad I could help! Hope it works for you, too.

  • Reply Chris Blais 16 Jan ’13 at 3:08 pm

    That picture at the end is worth a couple of rough nights of interrupted sleep.

  • Reply Meagan Thomas O'Neal 16 Jan ’13 at 3:23 pm

    That is an incredibly sweet picture. 🙂

  • Reply Jenn Tice 16 Jan ’13 at 3:34 pm

    I can relate. I love nursing my boys, and knowing all of the fab goodness (and like you said, uber convenient snack), but after back to back babies, I dream of pretty bras that don't clip down, and cute shirts without milk stains.

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