I fully believe in extended breastfeeding and to be honest for a while I didn’t think I would night wean because I wanted my oldest to wean herself including night weaning but it just became too much. I have been tandem nursing for almost a year and a half including overnight.
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How to Night Wean a Toddler
When I decided I would night wean I was overwhelmed on where to even start. I wanted to night wean gently and I didn’t want to have a lot of tears and stress from either of us. We have had this bond for 3 years now and I wanted to keep it positive.
I have bed shared since day one so breastfeeding overnight was like a free for all buffet and as she got older we hardly woke up she just naturally found the breast and I was able to sleep through it.
Why Night Wean?
For me the reason was my toddler had never slept through the night she was almost 3 and never once did she sleep all night. While I don’t feel that is a bad thing we are planning on moving her to her own bed and I want her to be able to stay asleep.
I have had no issues with her needing me at night I continue to feel that way but I know she doesn’t need to nurse at night. She was eating plenty during the day and drinking plenty.
Maybe you want to night wean for the same reason or you are trying for another baby and have yet to get your period back. Or you want to start the weaning process and you are starting with overnight. What ever it may be let it be your decision not someone else.
How to Night Wean a Toddler
This went so much easier than I thought it would go. I think she cried once and it was for about 2 minutes. The key to this was to talk about it. A lot. Now my daughter is 3 and is very verbal making this easier because she could understand what I was telling her and how it was going to work.
We talked every night for a week before I started the night weaning. I told her the same thing:
This is going to be your nigh nigh “meme” (what she calls breastfeeding) and after this there will be no meme until the sun comes up. We will be able to snuggle but when it is dark outside there will be no meme.
She fused the first night saying I want meme but I gave her options.
- She could lay on my tummy
- She could lay on my shoulder
- Or we could hold hands
This gave her the power! While ultimately we were night weaning like I wanted she got to choose how she slept and where she got to lay making her feel in control. This is an important action to take every day with your toddler so they don’t feel powerless.
When she would wake up I would ask her to look outside and she would say it was dark and would know that she couldn’t have her “meme.” The first few mornings when she would wake up she was so excited to see the sun and would yell “mom, the sun is out I get meme.”
It has now been 3 weeks and she is sleeping all night, wakes maybe every other day and just cuddles. She has been up for 3 hours today and the sun has been out for 2 and she hasn’t asked for meme. She is 3 and while I pushed her to night wean I haven’t pushed her to not nurse during the day. She usually nurses when the sun comes up, when her little sister is going down for a nap, and before bed.
If she is tired she will ask for meme and we have already had breastfeeding boundaries in place from when I was pregnant and from after she was 2.5. So she knows she is not going to nurse for an hour and when I say we are going to be done in a minute then we are going to be done.
Related Post: How to Set Breastfeeding Boundaries
Has there been an issues since night weaning?
Nope! We had tears for about 3 minutes because she wanted meme and thought I would cave but I didn’t. I stayed calm and told her I understand she was upset. The truth is night nursing became a habit and not so much something she needed and that became clear when she stopped nursing at night.
And she can fall asleep without having to nurse! Both my kids only ever fall asleep without nursing if we are in the car otherwise they never sleep without their mommy!
You can night wean a bed sharing boob obsessed toddler
This girl has nursed through me being pregnant like nothing ever changed, she nursed more than my newborn for a solid 12 weeks and loves her meme. She has been obsessed with nursing since day one and that has continued. I am not pushing her to fully wean but I do feel that it will come soon.
I am still night nursing my 17 month old who is also in our bed so it is possible to do one and not the other. It has caused no issues as she understands that her little sister and is still younger than her and needs her meme more.
I have been more relaxed at night and upon waking up it has changed so much in my own attitude and I am beyond thankful for that. It can be stressful on your body nursing day and night even if you are asleep through it.
But now that both my kids haven’t nursed for hours my boobs are achy and I am hoping one will ask to nurse soon or I may have to get out the pump!
Have you tried to night wean? Share what has worked and not worked for your family!