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.