So I have decided to start researching night weaning and I'm looking for some support/advice...
I've started reading the no-cry sleep solution for toddlers and was pleased that she brought up one of my biggest hesitations: that it will lead to actual/early weaning. She mentions that she night weaned her 13mo baby and he still nursed during the day til after his 3rd birthday, which sounds great to me! I am still concerned though since my 12mo baby pretty much only nurses at nap times (2 still), bedtime, and all night. This isn't always the case, there have been occasions.. but pretty much.. she just doesn't have a lot of time for me other times.
Have any of you been through this? What age did you night wean vs when did your baby fully wean? What methods did you use and/or what books did you read?
Re: Night Weaning
I'll be honest, I think you are right to be concerned about night weaning a child this young. Especially if she pretty much does the bulk of her nursing at night.
But there is night weaning, and there is night weaning. Night weaning is basically 'partial' weanign, You can decide how 'partial.' Maybe eliminating one session or getting one longer stretch would be enough?
Also full on weaning is not likely to happen wham bam. If you move into the night weaning very gradually, stay in tune with your child and aware/responsive to her, you will probably know/have warning when you are moving to fast or pushing night weaning too hard. You can always chose to back track or back off the weaning entirely.
Also, nursing patterns do typically change over time, and your child may well wish to start nursing more during the day and less at night just on her own. And all childen do eventually wean entirely, even if thier moms do nothing to promote it.
Here is my personal experience: My oldest was a very frequent night nurser. I night weaned him when he was 17 months old because I wanted to get my period back so we could work on conceiving number 2, and back then it was said that a 6 hour stretch at night of not nursing would do it. (Not sure if that is still the thinking now or not) Anyway, getting that 6 hour stretch was a chore and led to much less sleep for all of us and I (and my husband) were so relieved when we could start nursing at night again. Since then I have never even considered night weaning even when the kids have a difficult night or series of nights. Too much trouble!
Re: Night Weaning
I am just researching right now. Honestly, I haven't even managed the 'sleep log' that the no-cry book suggests because past 11-12 at night I am too tired to find a pen let alone go back to my own bed. And I understand that it's a challenge, I would have to actually wake right up enough to try getting her to sleep without nursing, which also seems like it would disturb her sleep!
But the promise of a 6 hour stretch, or even 5, EVERY night, could probably motivate me if I felt confident about the method I would use. So to answer your question, yes, definitely, one long stretch would be enough for me.
The idea that she could change her nursing patterns to nurse more during the day is helpful, that would be great.
I'm curious, how long did night weaning take with your 17 month old?