Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nightweaning Two Kids: Two Ways

There is nothing more miserable than going without sleep. Often times, moms do it out of necessity and as a result  you end up with a Mama who is sleep-deprived and mentally fatigued. Who wants to "mom-it" when you feel like crap? I know I don't. 

Have no fear two gentle ways of night-weaning are here! 

My experience has varied greatly with each baby and I'm learning that each scenario has served a purpose and maybe that purpose was to help other mamas. Let me first tell you about each child and their pre-nightweaning eating habits: 

Ella:: Ellabird was an angel and still is when it comes to adhering and respecting boundaries. Being that she was my first baby I was much more gentle in nightweaning her. We began the weaning process at 20 months with Ella and after doing so, I realized that I could have done it a lot sooner! At the time, I was pregnant with Wilde and was having UNbearable nipple pain//aversion while nursing. Ella was nursing about 3-5 times a night--even at 20 months! 

Wilde:: He's such a man cub. He was nursing 3-5 times per night but VIOLENTLY. If you have a violent nurser than you will understand what I'm talking about. If you don't then you wont get it when I say, there was NO WAY I'd be able to be in the same room with him while night weaning. He's like a shark--he can smell me and when he wants it, he wants it. 

The Process. 
Like I said each child has been so different! Here's how it happened for each.

Ellabird:: I have always communicated with Ella through story and play. It's just her personality. If I were to sit her down (even at 20 months) and tell her "no more" she would have been very hurt (she's my sensitive sweetheart). I opted to start the process of "Milky in the Morning". It actually came from the book that we read together "Milky When the Sun Shines" and at night we would tell milky night-night, I would put on a sports bra, and when she'd reach for it in the night I would gently remind her that she could have milky when the sun was up. 
Funny story--
There was only one night that she actually had a difficult time and it resulted in us laying on the coach in the living room. I have a large back sliding door that looks out on horse pastures. Ella saw the barn light on in the distance and screamed, "mama, it's da sun, it's da sun, I has milk now..." Uh..negative. 
About a week to two weeks of this and Ella was sleeping through the night--GO ELLA! 

Wilde:: Remember how I mentioned Wilde being a violent nurser? Ya. The kid is intense in every way. One day it will serve him well but today and in the evenings, it's a pain in the ass. Realizing how beneficial nightweaning actually is, I've decided to wean him earlier than I did Ella by a few months. Maybe it's the age or maybe it's the personality but the book and gentle reminder method is not and WILL NOT be the solution for him. He's more of an out of sight, out of mind kinda guy. We started the process with Nate putting him to sleep and me coming in later--which totally worked until he realized that I was there. It was almost like he wasn't used to sleeping deeply because he was wanting to nurse. Make sense? So we began The current process of me sleeping in the guestroom for a few nights while he acclimates to a full nights sleep. It's working. I came in at 6AM this morning and he was out, he knew I was there, I gently patted his back and he went right to sleep. GO WILDE! 

My Advice
-I would not wean your child earlier than 18 months and even then you really need to ensure they are getting plenty of solids and water throughout the day. 

-Ensure that you have adopted a schedule. Kids THRIVE when there is routine and order. 

-Find a method that's right for them and be patient. Nightweaning is a HUGE milestone and for many littles can be a big deal. Stay empathetic and gentle. This is just as tough for them as it is for you...

-Include your spouse in this process if possible. It has been more difficult for us considering the schedule that Nate keeps but EVEN SO I can see how valuable it is. Your child should be comforted by the other parental figure in the home and in our case it has actually facilitated Nate having unique bonds with each of our children. 

If you have any questions, need any support, or just an ear, I'm here for you!