Night weaning. It can be scary, it can be difficult, it can be necessary. So many moms have a million different reasons why they might chose to night wean. If you’re thinking this is the right thing for you and your baby (and your pediatrician agrees) then read on and see how I night weaned my daughter in just 2 weeks!
When my daughter was 10 months old I got the OK from her pediatrician to night wean. He actually said I could have done it much earlier, but 10 months felt like the right time for us. You see, things had been going fine- she was nursing then going to bed around 6:30 pm, waking up once a night around 1-3 am to nurse and then slept again till 7 am. She even had many nights where she wouldn’t wake up to nurse at all, but then we did some traveling and it all went to heck. She started waking up every 2 hours wanting to nurse, and since we were sleeping in the same room it was next to impossible to get her to go to sleep without it! I was exhausted and so, so done. After talking to my daughter’s pediatrician and getting some great advice from him I started the process of night weaning.
We had gotten the night nursing back under control once we got back from all our summer traveling. I went in to dream-feed her just before I went to bed (so that I wasn’t waking up twice) and then she would wake up around 1-3 am to nurse again. I chose to wean her from the wee hours nursing session first and the dream-feed second. I did this by timing her sessions. We always nursed longer on the first side then shorter on the second, so in the weaning process I cut down the time on each side by 2 minutes each night. It looked like this:
Night 1: 8 min. one side, 6 min. other side
Night 2: 6 min. one side, 4 min. other side
Night 3: 4 minutes one side, 2 min. other side
Night 4: 2 min. one side
Night 5: No nursing
Y’all, it was seriously that easy. Now, your kid might react differently than mine, so don’t come back and yell at me in all caps if it doesn’t work that way for you! But she weaned like a champ! If she did wake up, I didn’t go in her room. If she got past whimpering to full on crying my husband went in to soothe her back to sleep, not me; I didn’t want to confuse her.
After a week of nursing before bed and doing just the dream-feed I started the process all over again, this time weaning her off the dream-feed. We did the exact same thing we did for the early morning feeding- cutting it down by 2 minutes on each side for 4 nights until the 5th night when we didn’t nurse at all.
It worked like a charm. If she did wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason, I was able to go into her room and hold her or rock her and then lay her back down to go to sleep. No nursing. It was awesome.
I will say this- we had a relapse when she was 15 months old- but that was because we were traveling again and sleeping in the same room again. If I didn’t nurse her it was full on hysterics and I needed some sleep. But once we got back home and back into our routine the night nursing stopped again and we were back to our usual cycle of nursing before bed and when she woke up – no nursing in between.
Night weaning doesn’t have to be a battle of wills. Going cold turkey didn’t work for us but this method, as recommended by my pediatrician, worked really well. If you’re wanting to night wean I would highly recommend that you talk to your pediatrician. Bring up this method and see if they think it’s a good option for you!
Have you night weaned? Do you have any tips or advice for moms who are trying to wean off those late night and early morning feedings?