Everything you could ever want to know about night weaning.
After some great tips and lots of support from PSP members, I weaned my 13-month-old daughter. I saw several other posts asking that this info be shared, so here is a summary of what I learned:
- Cut out one nursing session at a time. For example, cut out daytime nursing first, then either the morning or nighttime session next.
- Anticipate when your child will be hungry and offer a healthy snack or a cup or bottle of milk before s/he is frantically wanting to nurse. If your child signs for nursing, try signing back for food and offering something yummy.
- Involve your partner as much as you can when cutting out the morning and/or night nursings. For example, if you're working on getting rid of the morning nursing, have your partner give the baby a cup or bottle of milk as soon as s/he wakes up, then offer breakfast. For the nighttime nursing, try to substitute something else in the bedtime routine--an extra song or snuggle time, etc. Our pediatrician recommended not offering a cup or bottle of milk during the bedtime routine since we'd just have to break that habit later on when toothbrushing became an issue. Other parents said they did offer milk, then switched to water at some point later.
- If you're alone in the morning, one creative mom suggests getting up a half hour before baby to prepare a breakfast-on-the-go. The first week she stopped morning nursings, she whisked her son off to the playground as soon as he woke up and gave him milk and finger foods once they got there. By the end of the week he'd forgotten all about nursing in the morning.
- Taking care of your own discomfort will be key. Trying to stop gradually certainly helps and your body will adjust fairly quickly, but I'm still finding after two weeks that my breasts are tender. Cabbage leaves seem to work well, especially during the first few days you give up the nighttime nursing. (I found putting cold cabbage leaves in a sleep bra overnight really helped alleviate the fullness and pain.) If you get too full, try hand expressing some milk in a warm shower and take some Tylenol or use warm compresses (try a flax pillow heated in the microwave or a warm, wet washcloth.) You may have to pump a few times to avoid getting engorged, but for the most part try to let your body readjust and take care of itself.
- Most people who responded found that their children adjusted very quickly. This has been my experience, too. I was afraid that I would regret it or that my daughter would be really thrown by the change, but we both seem to be doing just fine!