Weaning for good…?

Weaning is on my mind again. Since 18 months we’ve only nursed to sleep at nap and bedtime (with the exception of a couple of bad sicknesses that required extra comfort and hydration). Now Avery’s coming up on 22 months and I’m trying to find the motivation to wean her completely. It’s not that I mind nursing her to sleep still, but the occasional night where someone else puts her to bed is filled with tears and I feel terrible for stepping away for an evening. I figure if she’s fully weaned it’ll be hard for a short time and then infinitely better at bedtime.

But what if it’s not. What if it’s harder for the next however many months because she really, really loves nursing and she’s not ready to have it taken away? Ever since we cut out the 5am nursing when she’d cuddle back to sleep until 7, she has woken for the day at 5am. Unhappy.

And although she often sleeps completely through the night now (from bedtime till 5am), once or twice a week she’ll wake in the middle of the night and be unable to fall back to sleep, constantly asking for milk in a tired haze, whimpering when I say “no milk, let’s cuddle back to sleep.” She usually drinks her water when she’s turned down for milk, so I know she at least has that, but she would still benefit so much from being able to nurse back to sleep when that happens.

So why did we stop offering it through the night? Because night weaning really did change our nights for the better. When she knows milk is an option, she won’t settle for anything else. So I’m wondering, hoping, that completely weaning her will open doors for her in self-soothing (a term I use lightly, recognizing it’s not an ability that all young people should be expected to have). But it’s a hard transition to make, and this may seem silly, but I feel like I don’t know how to wean her. I don’t know how to stop doing something we’ve done for her entire life, and our entire lives together. I feel like it deserves more thought than just deciding to say “no more milk” one night and just expect her to get it and get over it.

Any advice from those who have fully weaned is welcome.

9 thoughts on “Weaning for good…?

  1. Ansel still nurses a small amount in the mornings most days, but otherwise is weaned. I started with don’t offer don’t refuse, then started setting a timer for nursing sessions (10 minutes, 5, 3) then cut down anything other than nap and before bed (although we had stopped nursing to sleep a while back), then cut out nap, then bed. I would tell him a few days in advance. Not nursing him at bed time changed my life, though he was able to go to bed without nursing before. I’m sending love. I know what a difficult decision it is, and often how needed. I’m still sad on the days when he doesn’t nurse in the mornings!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I weaned off my son completely when he was 20 months.
    I couldnt take it any more, my relationship with myself was deteriorating more than that with my husband. I was constantly tired, cranky and catching every damn daycare bug found on earth through him. Needless to say, bedtimes were also long drawn out and a constant power struggle. one day I told my husband, thats it and weaned him off cold turkey.
    My husband had to step up and handle all bedtimes and calming him when he cried. There was some blouse tugging and epic tantrums for milk , but when he realised its ovr, he was okay and didnt really aks after that. That phase of tantrums etc lasted 1-2 weeks, but my life really turned around. I find it easier to calm him, holding him, snuggles etc and i love my full nights sleep.

    Now he wakes up at night and asks for water, not even milk in a cup.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Its never an easy decision, it was easy for me because I was exhausted and couldnt handle it anymore, which i know is not your case. Also, meal times were a power striggle with him, he would prefer to nurse over eating actual food!
      Good luck wth whatever/ however you do it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. No advice here, because we’re stuck in the same place. I just nurse at bedtime, though she likes to draw that out to 20, 30+ minutes. When it gets to be too much, I pull my shirt down and tell her the boobs need to sleep, then I lay with her until she falls asleep – usually that’s pretty fast. I also offer her something else – water cup, cheerios, or if it’s really bad, a pouch. I know these are terrible habits, and I’m probably ruining her teeth, but I’m hoping it’s a temporary crutch. I’m torn between fully weaning for my own comfort (it hurts now!) or just riding it out a little longer, because she loves it so much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I should add that when I cut her off, she reacts with something between a whimper and rage, depending on how tired or close to sleep she is. It usually only lasts a few minutes, but it’s pretty sad.

      Liked by 2 people

      • 😢 it’s so hard to deny them when they don’t understand why they can’t have something they’ve had their entire lives. But eventually, it has to be done. Part of growing up……..

        Liked by 2 people

  4. She understands a lot of language. Talk to her about it. That nursing ends and love remains and…
    BUT I AM NOT voting or having an opinion on when you make the change. My body decided because the children became too distracted and wanted other things. Snuggles in place of boob worked. Talk about that too.
    Do think about what routine you all want to use at bedtime; talk about that a lot too. When you have to ‘stay in/on bed for child to go to sleep’ as part of routine it is one of the “today’s solution is tomorrow’s problem” proofs. Have a clear plan, occasional rare deviations from normal then are life happens.
    At some time in life and the world you want children to be able to go to bed and to sleep on their own by themselves. How you get to that end point varies by family and each child, and each time the right path to that end may vary.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s