Our solution was a combination of Dr. Sears' list of night weaning alternatives, in particular his "Just say no!," "Nummies go night-night," and "Let baby be the barometer." I would talk to her during the day and before bedtime about how the boobs have gotten so tired; how they need some rest and sleep at night now. Then I made up my mind as to how many of the nighttime nursings I wanted to end, and at what time she could have free rein to nurse on demand again. Finally, I told my husband to sleep in another room. We'd been enjoying our family bed up until then, but I had begun to feel crowded out in bed. I realized there might be some whining, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stay committed to my goal if I were to worry about my husband (who's as opposed to her crying as I am) as well as her.
The first night when she asked for the boob, and I said no, she did cry. Right away and almost before I had a chance to respond, knowing already the answer. And in an angry manner, not despondent or despairing. I used her daytime behavior to gauge how she was dealing with this new nighttime situation; and she seemed fine, just a bit more mama needy perhaps, and even more physical, with which I was fine.
Within a few days, the nighttime weaning was accomplished, quite the feat for someone who'd been nursing frequently throughout the night up until then.
Nights have been good since then. And her first morning nursing has been pushed back too, from around 4 a.m. first, then 5, and now not until 6 or 7 a.m. when it's time to get up.
A year or so after my boobs got to sleep at night, I began using a distraction method when I didn't feel like nursing, or offering her other food if she seemed hungry. And now within the last couple of months, she's started asking less for it, which has brought us down to three nursings a day: in the morning, before nap, and before bedtime.
The boob still holds the power to soothe in the morning and help me bring her to sleep at nap and bedtime. At times I wonder what power I will seize once the boob doesn't interest her anymore. Sometimes I feel like she'll enjoy our nursing relationship for years on end, other times she seems she might drop it any day.
|Lilly at Catleton College: big girl looking ahead|
I am excited about the prospect of more freedom to write every weekday morning for three hours. And I am slightly nostalgic about the baby and toddler stage that we'll be leaving behind us as she's turning into a preschooler. I picture the years just spiraling away from me; in two years a Kindergartener, then a first grader; she'll be in college before I know it.
So I hold on to the power of the boob. At least for now.