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20 September 2012

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Jenny

I am assuming that by night nursing you mean waking up in the middle of the night to nurse. This is fascinating to me. None of mine have nursed during the night for nearly that long and I had nothing to do with any of them nightweaning.

My first nightweaned at 7 weeks. For real. And completely weaned at 20 months all on her own.

My second nightweaned at about 17 months by herself and completely weaned at 24 months with some help because I was pregnant and UGH.

My third nightweaned at about 14 months by himself and is still nursing at 26 months.

I'm not sure I could handle night feedings beyond about 18 months. It is so draining after awhile.

Barbara C.

This is one of the few actually helpful writing on parent-led weaning that I've seen. Almost everything out there either beats you to only do child-led weaning or is just very vague in it's suggestions.

Usually somewhere around 14 months I start having this overwhelming need to have my body be my own again. I'm afraid that night-weaning is what I do first, because I put a high price on sleep. (Although the last thing I do is cut out the bedtime nursing session.)

I do try to wean gradually over a period of two to three months for their sake and mine.

Bearing

"I am assuming...you mean waking up in the middle of the night to nurse."

Yes and no. Until this "I sleep in the little bed!" thing started, my child slept next to me, and neither of us really had to wake up to nurse. I couldn't have told you, ever, whether I had nursed the child one or four or six times. I know it isn't that way for everyone, but it always has been for me, with all four kids.

Except when I am pregnant, because nursing is uncomfortable-verging-on-painful for me during pregnancy. I can handle it when I am awake, but it tends to wake me up at night in a way that it doesn't when I am not pregnant. Which is why I night-weaned every time I was pregnant and nursing.

Jenny

We generally follow the routine of baby starts in the crib and then comes to bed with us if he wakes up. I would rather the baby start in the bed so there is no major sleep disruption, but my husband would rather the baby not come to bed at all. So it's a compromise.

bearing

Bedsharing always involves compromise... whether it's with babies or with husbands :-)

Christy P.

My 38.5 month old didn't nurse at night for a while between about 30-37 months, but he still wanted to sleep with us. Recently he has been nursing at night more, and it is hard for me to welcome this change, but I recognize that it is similar to how nursing intensity changes when they are younger. Nursing more or less or just differently as they learn new skills like sitting, crawling, or walking. He's recently started preschool, and I expect that once the newness of that routine wears off he will be back to sleeping all night again. In the meantime, I go to bed a little earlier and treasure the fact that I can still offer comfort to my little guy even if he isn't sure why he's asking.

Christy P.

Never planned on active nightweaning because as a mom who works outside the home it felt like that would be more like active complete weaning. BTW

Bearing

Christy, that is an extremely good point. When we are available all the live-long day, the additional availability at night can seem like a chore -- but it is really easy to see how in a different situation, the night nursing would be a cherished part of the day. Perspective!

Monica

Okay, for some reason I NEVER THOUGHT of having my husband offer something else in the middle of the night! Genius! I'm on baby #4, and while I'm not ready to think of night weaning yet (she's only 13 months), my other night weanings looked a lot like yours, without the ice cream. I'm going to have to tell my husband about this. I think he'll prefer it to simply soothing a sad little one who wants to nurse in the night.

Bearing

Well, I am not promising that you won't end up with a midnight ice cream addict, possibly two -- but I expect that it may help. After. While you can wean off the ice cream, or turn it into a bedtime snack with daddy, or whatever...

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