Breastfeeding - My Journey in Night Weaning

I spent my morning at the Big Latch On, spent my evening working on our premier of BREASTMILK, and have been contemplating Mothering's Blog for Breastfeeding event. And now, as the clock nears midnight and my sweet Noam snoozes next to me in a milk-induced dreamy state, my second night of weaning is about to begin.

This has been a hard decison for me. I practice child-led weaning and did not wean my other children, day or night. Noam still nurses around the clock and nurses frequently, at LEAST every two hours especially at night. Today, being surrounded by nursing mothers I felt like this was a secret that I shouldn't discuss. In fact, I did make mention of it to one mother, and as kind as she was I could see that she didn't get where I was. But in truth, this is no less a part of our journey than the moment he first latched himself on or when he finally ate food. And it is done with no less love or gentleness.

Things that have weighed in on my decision:

  • He was exclusively breastfed for 12 mos and 2 weeks and remains and avid nurser. I don't think night weaning will affect his day-time nursing.

  • I am only weaning from 12am-6am. He is old enough (16mos) to sleep for 6 hours without eating.

  • I have been pregnant or breastfeeding, or both for nearly seven years and I'm tired. I could really use a solid six hour stretch. My other children will be grateful for this too!

  • The nights I am with families at births will be easier for both him and my dear husband.

  • I'm not on call right now so I know that I can be with him to nurse any other time he likes.

  • My husband is supportive of my decision without judgement and is helping to comfort him at night. I have written about supporting breastfeeding and the role of the family- having his support on this part of our journey is important too.

I actually began this journey last night and this is what I'm doing. Last night was rough and there wasn't a lot of sleep had for my husband or myself. Our night was filled with lots of waking, screaming (Noam does this a lot in general), lots of cuddles, but never any tears. I am sort of skipping the first step, nursing just a little, because he just won't do that. If I let him begin to nurse and then break his latch he just wakes up. He really wants to just stay latched. He was very happy to nurse this morning and thanks to my husband for gettign up with the 'big' kids, we did enjoy sleeping in. I know Noam doesn't know when it's midnight or 6am, but he does know routines and I know we'll all get more sleep when he learns this one.

And now it's midnight.


Amanda Devereux is co-owner of Nola Nesting, a doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, and mom of three breastfed babes.