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Thread: Night weaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    168

    Default Night weaning

    Hello all,

    My baby is nearly 9 months old (20 pounds, 1 ounce). He has been waking quite a lot at night and I do know some night waking is normal. We co-sleep and that used to work great, but now he rouses, nurses and then has a really hard time settling back in. If my husband walks him, though, he goes right back to sleep. We spoke with our Health Visitor today who suggested that we start night weaning. My husband is very enthusiastic about this, but I have mixed feelings. While I'd love some more sleep (I am really exhausted and have gone back to work and am finding that I am increasingly emotional and having a hard time coping due to fatigue), I am also SO, SO committed to breastfeeding and to meeting my baby's needs. Anyway, I'm leaning towards trying it and seeing what happens with the understanding that if he is crying and not settling then I will nurse him. One thing that does worry me, and what I'm wanting some feedback on, is this: I have always been told that nursing between 1am-6am (ish) is really important for supply. Does this cease to be true after a certain age? I'm worried that if he does actually stop nursing at night that it could adversely affect my supply. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: Night weaning

    Night-weaning may adversely affect your supply. It doesn't for everybody but there's certainly the potential. This is particularly likely if you do most of your nursing at night and primarily pump during the day. Since you are still your baby's main food source at this age, you want to avoid jeopardizing your supply. If you want to attempt night-weaning, I wouldn't recommend cutting out all feedings at once, abruptly. Instead, try to decrease the number of feedings--let your husband comfort the baby sometimes and you nurse him other times. Go on like that for a week or so and see what happens to your supply. If it's unaffected, try to cut out another feeding. And so on. Better yet would be to wait for night-weaning until after one year, but as a fellow working mama I understand it's hard to nurse multiple times a night. You have to do what's right for your family.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    miles from nowhere
    Posts
    11,108

    Default Re: Night weaning

    I wouldn't necessarily recommend night weaning either, but if it works to let your husband walk him back to sleep...do that. It guarantee it won't work every time, but when it does SCORE.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Night weaning

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*still.here View Post
    I wouldn't necessarily recommend night weaning either, but if it works to let your husband walk him back to sleep...do that. It guarantee it won't work every time, but when it does SCORE.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Night weaning

    Thanks for the replies, ladies.

    Honestly, I am just feeling really confused at this stage with what we are doing and how to know if it is working. I really, really want to breastfeed until a year and after that would like to follow his lead and wean when he is ready. And, I'm so worried that what I am going to accidentally prematurely wean him. I just seem to get so much conflicting information and my husband and I are not on the same page.

    I keep reading that BM should be the primary source of nutrition until 1year, but also that from 9-12 months is a transition time from milk to solids as their main source. The health visitor suggested to my husband that we start increasing the solids, but Jack is already decreasing milk feeds (or so it seems, hard to really tell).

    Just now, we give him lunch and dinner most days (sometimes he misses lunch) and usually a snack or two (a bite of a piece of fruit we are having, a rice cake if we are out, etc.).

    I am working three days a week (and feeling SO guilty about it, but it's the only option right now). I work at or near home two of the days, so feed him myself on those days. On the third day, I feed before I leave and right when I get home and am away from 8:15-3:45. Often he will take only about 80-100mls in that time, though sometimes more.

    He seems to cluster feed in the mornings (5am, 6am, 7am, 8am) and then doesn't seem terribly interested the rest of the day. I can probably get 2 more good feeds in, when I am home and 2 more short feeds.

    He wakes a lot at night, but really I only think he is actually hungry around 3am. The other times he gets on the boob and is asleep and not sucking REALLY quickly.

    My period just returned (started a week ago, really light bleeding every day--barely enough to soak 1 pantyliner/day). My breasts don't feel as full and my pumping output has decreased the one day that I do pump. So, I worry a bit about supply (okay, I worry a lot, about everything!).

    Last night, he woke up at 12:30 and I walked him. He never even looked for the breast and fell asleep in my arms. He nursed vigorously for about 20 minutes at 3am. So, I am thinking that he may be happy to sleep from bedtime to 3am but that cutting the 3am feed would not be a good idea.

    I really had no intention of night weaning until after a year but I have just been feeling so tired. I think I could cope with it but suddenly my husband is all worried about how tired I am (not sure why now he is worried, I've been exhausted for months) and he is putting the pressure on to night wean. It doesn't help that he hasn't really read a lot and just got the information from the health visitor who thinks we should night wean.

    This really stresses me out.

    Any thoughts?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,005

    Default Re: Night weaning

    Oh lord. Health visitors.

    I am all for the HV system. It is such a great idea, and it helps so many families. However, if I had a dollar for every time someone came to this forum in a panic over some piece of loony breastfeeding or parenting or solid feeding advice from a HV... I'd buy myself a nice pair of shoes. No waiting for the sale!

    As joshuas.mommy said, how a mom's supply responds to night-weaning is very individual. Some moms will be just fine, and go on to produce plenty during the daytime hours. Others will struggle, and unfortunately a much higher proportion of those moms will be the work-outside-the-home moms. Because they aren't always home with their babies, responding to their babies' demands, they must rely on their pump's demand to generate sufficient supply, and pumps don't always do the job. You're only working 3 days a week, so I think chances are good that you could night-wean and still provide plenty of milk. If you were working 5 full days, I'd say your chances weren't so good.

    9-12 months is a time when many babies spontaneously begin to eat more solids and consume less milk. But a baby's primary source of nutrition should continue to be breastmilk (or formula) up until the 1 year mark, and many babies remain predominantly breastfed well after the first birthday, having little interest in solids until sometime in their second year. So you're not doing your child any sort of disservice by continuing to feed him lots of your milk and only small quantities of solids- in fact, you're doing exactly what you ought to be doing!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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