Diary of a night weaning mama

Diary of a night weaning mama

By Suze Cooper, our lovely Digital Mum

You would think having done this twice before that I would be prepared, but I’m not. It isn’t just the fact that Emma won’t be within touching distance of me as she sleeps any more. It’s also the practical considerations, which of course, have only been remembered 10 minutes before she is due to go to bed. She is in her pyjamas, flashing me the milk sign and looking at me with bewilderment as I stall at the bottom of the stairs realising that night weaning means I can no longer feed her to sleep in the side-car cot.

 Just one more night?

That’s because the side-car cot (or the makeshift one we fashioned from Ikea’s finest) needs to have the fourth side put back on. Plus, the mattress needs lowering so when the inevitable middle-of-the-night tantrum over lack of milk takes place she will have somewhere safe to thrash it out. It’s already playing out in my mind. Would one more night matter? Could I just feed her to sleep and get through tonight – what difference would it really make. My husband reads my thoughts and strides up the stairs before me purposefully, as I turn back to feed Emma on the sofa.

Roll with it

The boys are in bed. Hubby re-appears to enquire whether I know where the bolts are to hold the cot side back in place. The bolts that will have undoubtedly been tossed aside in our excitement to get the cot set up for the third time. We had gone from having her in our bed, to the Bednest (short lived and more used as a bedside table) to accepting that Emma really was too big to be in with us (and too wiggly and too hot) and that she needed her ‘own space’. Our solution? – to put up the cot with one side down and strap it to the bed. It worked well. She would wake, feed and roll over into her space. I would roll into mine. The issue was the number of times this might happen in a 12 hour period.

 Will this really get me more sleep?

A few months ago we hit the unbearable hourly wake-ups. Every one of my children has hit this point. To be fair, Emma has been the one I have fed the longest overnight. We night-weaned both boys pretty much the day they turned one. For one of them it made a massive difference, for the other, not so much. He still woke up, I just didn’t have the means to easily settle him anymore. And Emma… how will it be for her?

Cot set up and Emma asleep on the sofa I realise my next maneuver is getting her into the cot without waking her. I distract myself and do some Very Important Work while she snores gently beside me. Hubby asks whether I am going to put her to bed “yes, just finishing this” I say, considerate of the fact I am putting it off because I am not ready.

The nights are long…

Because despite the wake-ups that run into one another to the point that I don’t sleep between them and despite the fact I feel like Tarzan leaping from night-time to nap-time and back again some days (and like a zombie in mummy clothes the rest of the time) dare I admit that I will miss it? Well, some of it… I can do without being woken by a podgy finger being inserted into my eye to the backdrop of a cacophony of raspberries… then again…

Top Tips

Kellymom.com reminds us that night waking is temporary and very normal. However, if you want to try and cut down on breastfeeding overnight here are some things to consider…

  1. There will be tears. From you and from baby. It will take time for you all to adjust to a new way of doing things.
  2. Don’t be so available. Get dad or someone else involved nighttime. Get them to go and settle the baby and don’t rush in if baby doesn’t immediately go straight back to sleep. Both baby and dad need to get used to this new arrangement.
  3. Be prepared for more nursing during the day. Often baby will make up for the reduction in night feeds by asking to feed more during the day.
  4. If your child is of an age where you can explain it to them then tell them there won’t be any milk overnight anymore. It can help to associate this with bedtime ie: Milk has gone to bed now too.
  5. Offer water, cuddles, back rubs or introduce a comforter in place of milk if waking continues.

Based on information from Kellymom.com