Nighttime Nursing

Oster will be a year old this week. Andy and I thought it would be a good time to start removing my breasts from Oster’s daily activities  (Well, that and him constantly using me as a pacifier and teether).

Our plan to eliminate the nighttime feedings is going well. Our goal: try to put him to sleep without any feedings so that he could eventually fall asleep on his own.

We know that this will take time, so we came up with the following steps to begin the weaning process:

  1. Allow Oster to drink only one “glass” from me
  2. Give him a prepared bottle of milk to compensate for the other “glass”
  3. Put him in his crib and he’ll fall asleep (he always does this immediately after I nurse him to bed)

We then plan to drop my “glass” and use one bottle for a few days and then eliminate all drinking before bedtime (unless, of course, he would like some water).

I know he just has baby teeth but I really would like to start brushing his teeth after he has had any milk for the evening (not before!).  Plus, as I said before, we really want him to fall asleep on his own.

We’ve been pretty successful removing “myself” from the daytime feedings (I currently breastfeed him when he wakes up, only one other time during the day, and then again at night). This has been a gradual process for the past two weeks. I think I’m finally at the point where I can remove his afternoon “snack” and replace it with a sippy cup.

He’s been hugging his bottles and sippy cups for the past three days. I’ve got to tell you, it’s hard for me to let go and see him so attached to these objects that hold his milk.

In one sense, I’m grateful that he’s on his path to “graduation”; however, in the other I know that these are the last days of this stage in our relationship. It’s funny. I can hear myself saying, throughout the course of the year, how I can’t wait to stop nursing. How I won’t have to wear orthopedic bras, smear lanolin all over me when the air is dry, or finally wear my clothes that have been in hibernation due to them being “inconvenient” for breastfeeding.

I do appreciate and cherish the endless amount of time I have spent (and still do a little of) breastfeeding. It wasn’t until the past two weeks when it really sunk in that it’s going to end pretty soon.  After I see how easy this weaning process has been for Oster, I’m realizing that the reason I’m dragging this nighttime process out is because I am the one that can’t do this cold turkey.  I have grown attached to our routine.  I have enjoyed so much the countless sessions we’ve shared together before we say our goodnights.

Just this evening as he was drinking his one “glass” I thought to myself, “Maybe I can nurse for just one more month”.  Then, as Oster started to fall into a slumber his teeth clamped down. And I finally admit: It’s time.

8 thoughts on “Nighttime Nursing

    • Thanks for the encouraging words. You’re right about my body will be my own again. You really forget about your body when being so concerned with your baby’s. I’m really looking forward to drinking red wine again 🙂

  1. i can’t wait to wean Benji off…for reasons you also mentioned. but I also have a feeling that the day it really happens, I will feel a bit sad and miss the special time we had to bond. thanks for sharing this process i’m gonna read this again in a couple months when i start that process.

    and what a gorgeous photo of oster. looking so serene and adorable!

    • I’m glad this is helpful to you. I just eliminated the afternoon nursing session and replaced it with a sippy cup! Today will be day 3 of it. So far, I’m noticing that he just wants a few more hugs during the day 🙂 I can’t complain about that!

      I am glad that I’m doing this gradual because not only does it help with the emotions attached to nursing, but it also helps with my milk flow. Nothing hurts and I’m not leaking. It’s turning out to be a physically easy process.

      I’m going to start the elimination of the morning one next week. I’ll let you know how it goes up until the end.

  2. I find that it can be helpful to switch the order of things a bit; nurse the baby, then pass him to Dad (or partner, depending on one’s household) for some bedtime cuddles, songs, etc. It helps to separate the feeding association from sleep.

    • Thanks for your advice. He just was diagnosed with an ear infection…so it looks like I’ll be waiting awhile to stop the feedings right before bed. When I am ready, however, I am going to do exactly what you suggest. Thanks!

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