Re: a reluctant weaner
Welcome to the forum! 48 months of nursing is definitely draining. I've been nursing for 63 months and let me tell you, sometimes it gets OLD!
I think the best way to go about weaning this baby is to pick a time of day when you absolutely don't want to nurse. I'm willing to bet that it's the night-time nursing that is most draining for you, since it's always the most draining for me. I can nurse during the daytime forever, but I need sleep in order to do it! And because babies do like their sleep, night-weaning is often the easiest place to start your weaning journey. Here are some tips on night-weaning:
- Communicate. Tell your LO before bed that "Everyone is going to sleep. Mommy is going to sleep. You are going to sleep. And the nursies (or whatever your nursing word is) are going to sleep. Everyone sleeps ALL NOGHT LONG. In the morning, you can nurse again". After a successful night of no nursing, reinforce the lesson. "Good morning! You slept Ll night long and so did mommy and so did the nursies! The sun is up now, so let's nurse!"
- Keep a sippy or bottle of water available. A night-waking toddler is often genuinely thirsty.
- Wear restrictive tops. If your LO cannot gain easy access to your breasts, she may be more inclined to give up.
- Review your sleeping situation. If you're sleeping with baby, now might be a good time to move her to a crib in your room, or to her own room. Or it might not- it's very individual!
- Enlist help. Let dad or grandma or someone deal with some night wakings. Babies often don't demand to nurse when the caregiver is not mom.
- Expect things to get worse before they get better. A dedicated night-nurser is not going to give up without a struggle! You may be facing a period where you're getting even less sleep for a while.
- Be consistent. Giving in one night but not the next prolongs the process of night-weaning.
- Be flexible. If your LO is truly in severe distress, don't be afraid to prolong the process by giving in!
- Start the night out right by putting baby in bed drowsy but still awake. Nursing baby all the way to unconsciousness sets the pattern for the rest of the night- she's going to expect to be nursed back to sleep every time she wakes.
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!"