Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: Night weaning--when?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Night weaning--when?

    So I just got back from my pediatrician's office for our 9 month visit. LO is growing great, near 50th percentile in weight and between 50th-75th in height and developmentally on track or ahead of schedule. My one concern from the visit is that my pediatrician thinks I should be looking at night-weaning my son sooner rather than later. I'm not sure this feels right to me, but she was telling me that the older they are, the harder it gets to wean them off night feedings and teach them to sleep through the night. She told me about one of her patients, a 20 month old, whose mother is just now attempting night weaning and the toddler becomes so upset when Mommy doesn't come to feed him that he cries until he vomits. She recommends that I start night-weaning soon because it will be easier now than once he's a toddler and more willful.

    The thing is, I work during the day so I don't have as many opportunities to nurse during the day as a mom who stays home. I enjoy nursing him once at night, and he certainly seems to enjoy it too. I think it's partly about being hungry, but also about getting extra cuddle time with Mom. At the moment he's waking 3+ times a night which isn't great but I attribute it to teething. If we could go back to 1-2 night wakings, as it was before the latest bout of teething started, that would be great in my opinion. I'm a bit reluctant to give up all of our night nursing sessions because I enjoy the closeness and I know he does too. But I'm worried about whether I'm creating a monster down the line when I do eventually want to night wean? Should I night wean now, or a couple of months from now, to avoid a bigger problem later? Or will he eventually outgrow the need to nurse at night and start sleeping through on his own? What has been your experience night-weaning a toddler?

    I'm a bit confused by her advice because I thought you were supposed to BF on demand for the entire first year. This would include nighttime too, right? She says that nutritionally, he's big enough that he doesn't 'need' to nurse at night anymore. While he probably doesn't absolutely need it, he prefers nursing over the bottle so he tends to eat less during the day while I'm gone, so I do think he wakes partly from hunger at night (and partly from a desire for time with Mommy). She is also encouraging me to start more solids--he gets 1-2 solid meals a day right now and she's encouraged me to start 3 solid meals a day. She seems to think most of his nutrition should be from solid food by about a year. I don't agree with that. I think she also thinks I'm planning on weaning around a year, and I'm not. I plan to nurse until 18 months-2 years at this point, and after that we'll see. So I'm not in a huge hurry to get him onto more solids unless there's a good reason to do so nutritionally. He only has 2 teeth at this point and the amount of solids he eats is tiny so I don't see how he's going to get half of his nutrition from them by a year, unless a lot changes in the next few months.

    I like this pediatrician and trust her medical advice, but I think our approaches to parenting are quite different. I'm trying to separate out here what is just her advice based on her own parenting style, from solid medical advice. Thanks in advance for your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    2,584

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    I thought it was pretty easy night weaning at 27 mos, I was ready, she was basically ready (I was pregnant and it was too painful to nurse while partially asleep and she had slept through the night a few times without any prompting anyway). It took us 3 or 4 nights from when we decided to night wean (While still co-sleeping) until she really realized she wasn't going to get to nurse in the middle of the night so she may as well not ask. She would get up for a drink of water or a snack with my husband and that was OK. She did cry and it was hard on us, but really it was 3 or 4 nights.

    I wouldn't night wean now just because you anticipate it will be harder to later if you wait. If your child isn't ready then he's not ready. I know my daughter was no where near ready to night wean at less than a yr. I would keep nursing through the night.

    Doctors are great for medical advice, but I wouldn't count on them for all your parenting advice, I agree with you. I think you are doing a great job and just need to trust yourself and be confident that night nursing is really working out well for you and your son.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    The Armpit of the Universe
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    My son is a couple weeks younger than yours and he's in just about the same place, night nursing all.night.long with those darn teeth, though when we get a break from the teeth, he starts sleeping a little better. I know I'd probably get a lot less sleep if I were to try to night-wean now. My DS is also tasting (and only swallowing a milli-fraction of) one meal a day, but I'm in no rush to push him into solids or night-weaning, either.

    You're right that breastmilk should be baby's primary source of nutrition 'til a year. Her telling you you should be stepping up solids sounds fairly medically unsound to me. But I don't want to bash your ped if you like her otherwise, maybe you could just smile and nod for the helpful parenting advice.

    Honestly, it sounds like what you're doing is working for you. So whatif some other lady is having a hard-time night-weaning her toddler, it may never even be a problem for you guys. Why not cross the bridge of night-weaning once you get there (as in when you and your son feel ready)?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    My doctor wanted me to night wean starting at 6 mos. I didn't listen at all and now he only wakes us once a night. (He is 9 mos and 2 weeks old) Just do what the mommy-dare is telling you.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    The thing is, I work during the day so I don't have as many opportunities to nurse during the day as a mom who stays home. I enjoy nursing him once at night, and he certainly seems to enjoy it too. I think it's partly about being hungry, but also about getting extra cuddle time with Mom.
    Exactly. I agree that your pediatrician telling you to night wean & push solids is parenting advice, which you can take or leave. But it is also imo kind of not fantastic medical advice, assuming that you want to nurse at least until the AAP recommended "at least one year" mark.

    As far as saying your baby does not "need" nighttime feedings. Huh. I guess it depends on ones definition of ‘need,’ as nursing is a relationship, a way of providing comfort and basic connection, and not only a feeding method. And in any case, nighttime feedings well into the toddler years are entirely normal & healthy, and are part of the process of making sure a baby gets enough milk overall and keep moms supply appropriate. This last is particularly vital for moms who are "missing" nursing sessions during the day due to work, even if also pumping.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 25th, 2012 at 09:08 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    Thank you all for confirming my initial feelings. You're right it doesn't make much sense to stop what is working well now in order to prevent a potential future problem, which might not even happen. There's no particular reason to think that just because this one lady is having trouble night weaning her toddler that I will have the same trouble when the time comes. Meg, that's an interesting point about nighttime nursing and supply. I guess I hadn't thought about it because a)we're at 9 months so I think of my supply as pretty established and b)I do still pump during the day (and have good pump output) plus nurse 4 or 5 times during the day. You're right, though, that in general night-weaning is probably not good for supply if you want to make it to a year--which I absolutely do, and beyond. I don't think my pediatrician knows that much about breastfeeding (though she nursed her own kids, I think) but I like her in general.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    NAK

    It sounds like your pediatrician is basing her idea of "night-time nursing is unnecessary" on how bottlefed children behave. And how terrible of her to make an example out of one mother's struggle and use that as her basis for advice.

    None of my three LOs night weaned by 9 months. In fact, they often woke more (average was 1-2x, more meaning 3-4x) due to a myriad of reasons: teething, new developmental strides, growth, etc. Often nursing at night allowed them to catch up since they were SO busy during the day and since we co-slept I barely noticed how much they woke up.

    I don't work now but I did when my other LOs were young so I understand the wish to "catch up" them them through the night. I agree w/PPs, if your schedule works then I wouldn't bother changing anything.
    Punk-rock luvin mate to DH and mama to DD1 (born '03) , DD2 (born '08) and nursling DS (born '11) who survived infant botulism.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Shakedown St.
    Posts
    1,176

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joshuas.mommy View Post
    She told me about one of her patients, a 20 month old, whose mother is just now attempting night weaning and the toddler becomes so upset when Mommy doesn't come to feed him that he cries until he vomits.
    But who's to say that he would not have had as much, or even much more, difficulty with night weaning at 9 months? To say that night weaning would have been easier if it had been initiated during infancy seems like a completely baseless assertion to me.

    Teething can also be pretty horrible at 20 months. My son is 20 months and has been having a terrible time with teething. I probably could night wean him. It probably wouldn't involve too many tears. However, it would mean that I would be up longer trying to comfort him in other ways. I can nurse him and he falls immediately back to sleep; so why mess with a good thing?

    I think personality plays a larger role than age. My son isn't terribly sensitive nor it he terribly picky about most things. Thus he will accept most forms of comfort as long as he is comforted. Other children are more particular and/or more sensitive, and may only accept nursing (or something else for that matter).

    There are so many other factors, some that may not even be identifiable, that come into play too. Your doctor seems to be completely ignoring a huge number of variables that determine a child's response to night weaning. There's much more to it than age.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    Phi, I think that's a really good point that personality probably plays at least as much of a role as age in how night-weaning goes.

    This thread really crystallized for me one of the things I like about this website: you guys generally share the same parenting philosophy as I do. I was thinking about my parenting philosophy today. I didn't really go into the whole parenthood thing with any particular philosophy, but rather have gone with what's worked for me as we went along. I do have a parenting philosophy now that I have a 9 month old. It's basically that I think about how I would want to be treated if I were small and relatively less powerful than the people around me (plus didn't understand what they were saying) and then I try to treat him as I think I would want to be treated under those circumstances.

    There's a poster here who has a quote in her signature that sums it up well. It's something along the lines of, you have to remember that with a child, you're not managing an inconvenience, you are raising a human being. So much child-rearing advice seems aimed more at managing kids as an inconvenience, such as the premature emphasis on sleeping through the night even with very young babies.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: Night weaning--when?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joshuas.mommy View Post
    The thing is, I work during the day so I don't have as many opportunities to nurse during the day as a mom who stays home. I enjoy nursing him once at night, and he certainly seems to enjoy it too.
    This is exactly why I never night weaned Joe. I day weaned him before I night weaned him, and his last nursing time, which I dropped when we weaned entirely, was the early morning (4-5 a.m.) nursing. My pediatricians said the same thing, but I just ignored them. In our last year of nursing, Joe was slowly night weaning, going longer between nursings, etc. But it happened naturally and we dropped one feeding at a time over a long period. So in that sense, it was slow but very easy. IME, nursing is a really handy tool to have while babies are teething, too, so since you still have a lot of teeth ahead of you, I think it's even more reasonable for you to want to continue nursing at night.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •