Today’s guest post is from a mother who is having difficulties weaning her 15 month old from the breast at night. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this and next week, I shall write up my own thoughts in case any of this is familiar to you!
“All of my babies have been breastfed, but all three have been totally different. My eldest would not take a bottle, no matter how much we tried, but she only fed during the day as she slept through the night from a very young age. When we had my son, we decided to introduce a bottle straight away and so he happily swapped from breast to bottle all the time with no complaints. He did wake frequently though, as he suffered from very severe reflux. At the age of four months he stopped breastfeeding and was prescribed special formula. My youngest has been different still, and it is this one I need help with!
I had spent so many long and lonely hours by my son’s bed, stroking his head and willing him to sleep. Many nights I would resort to taking him downstairs for a bottle as it seemed to be the only way to calm him and get him to settle down and sleep. When his sister was born, I really couldn’t face the thought of doing all that again- especially as the age gap between them was so short that it really wasn’t such a distant memory at all! As an aside, he still wakes frequently, but perhaps that is another post…
I decided whilst pregnant that I would co-sleep with my youngest daughter. I had not been able to do this with my son, and I felt that it was the best way for us all to get as much sleep as possible. This has worked wonderfully. Snuggling up with my daughter and allowing her to feed as and when she liked has given me so many precious memories that I shall treasure forever, and I would not change it for the world. Now, though, at fifteen months old we have a different scenario at night.
My daughter goes up to bed in her own room at 7.30pm with no fuss at all. She has a bedtime feed (and none during the day at all) which is more of a quiet snuggle. I am pretty sure there is no milk there now but the act of suckling and snuggling prepares her for bed and I am happy for her to do that. She usually wakes around midnight, as she always has done, and I bring her in with me, as I always have done. Now for the fun part!
She does not feed beautifully as she once did. Probably because my milk supply has dried up. Probably because she is beginning to realise that mummy and daddy’s room has a lot more distractions than her own… who knows? Now, she grabs at me. She pulls, and she kicks. She squirms. She even bites. Oh yes. She bites, and she pulls her head side to side to look around, still with nipple between teeth. Like I said, this is the fun part!
She does not sleep. We spend fitful hours tossing and turning and I lie there waiting for her to fall asleep so that I can return her to her room. It is not the wonderful bonding experience it once was and I think it is time to wean from the breast. But how? And how to do it without feeling immense sadness and guilt? I know that my daughter needs to be able to sleep in her own room now and I know she does not need to feed from me anymore either. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them! ”
If you think that you can help our guest poster, or if you have had/ are having a similar experience, please do leave a comment and let us know. This post shall be followed up next week.