Anyone Nurse A Toddler At Night? We're Night-Weaning!Naomi Odes
Fuzz is thirteen months. From the time that he was about, I dunno, seven months, he has co-slept for most of the night. Therefore he’s continued to feed for a few minutes, several times a night. It really didn’t bother me that much. In fact, at one point I was singing the praises of co-sleeping because I really felt it saved my sanity since it helped me to get more sleep.
And then suddenly, sometime around a year, it started to bother me. Fuzz started waking up a lot more. Although my sleep was only interrupted very briefly, it was interrupted often, and that was finally starting to wear on me. The toughest part was that he woke up more often at the end of the night, which is when I tend to get my best sleep. So he’d sleep for four hours in the beginning of the night (when I’d do all of my work), then I’d finally get into bed at midnight and he’d start waking up every hour for the rest of the night, or more often. I did that for a few months. I mostly follow the advice of Dr. Jay Gordon when it comes to nursing. He is a big supporter of co-sleeping and feeding all night as long as the baby (or toddler, or pre-schooler) wants it. He says:
Don’t get me wrong. I love the family bed, child-led weaning and cuddling all through the first, second, third year or more if it’s working well and if the family is doing well. Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a harmful choice or that there will be “no way” to get him out of your bed if you don’t do it now. Don’t believe anyone who says that babies who cuddle and nurse all night long “never” learn to self soothe or become independent. This is simply not true but it sells books and the myths stay in our culture.
Well, about two weeks ago, when Fuzz turned thirteen months, that whole part about “…if it’s working well…” came into question. I’d officially had enough with the night feeding. It wasn’t working for me anymore. So, we switched things up a bit. I started sleeping in another room while my husband slept with Fuzz. When Fuzz awoke, T soothed him back to sleep and gave him some water in a bottle. Did he scream?
FOR MANY NIGHTS.
NOT JUST THREE.
But T was there with him so he didn’t have to go through it alone.
Now, I feed him at bedtime, and then again when he wakes up at 6am. It was a bit of an adjustment for everyone, including my breasts, but I feel like we’re over a big hurdle. Even if he gets sick and we feed him at night, it will be easier to do it again. At least I hope it will be.
How about you? Did you continue feeding through the night when your baby was one? When did you stop or when are you planning on stopping?