You may remember that I started weaning Stella from the middle-of-the-night feedings at 15 months postpartum. Once we tackled that, we stayed there for another 5 months with feedings at night before bed and in the morning. Now that we are at 20 months postpartum, I have started weaning Stella from the feedings just before bed leaving her with just 1 feed per day, which is in the morning. I will confess, I do give her the boob if she asks for it during the day. That scenario is rare, but it does happen and I don't deny her. The questions I get often are: how is it going? How did you do it? Did she freak out? How are you doing? And that's what I want to talk about here.
In a nutshell, it's going really well and she has taken to the change very easily. That being said, there is no way I could do this cold turkey. I love those special moments. This all started because one night she was nursing and my nipples were hurting. Maybe it was her teeth grazing me or maybe it was her strong latch. Either way, I was uncomfortable. So, that night I popped her off (like old times) and said "doe doy" which is "ouchy" but in Portuguese. She got really upset and started covering my boobs. I felt really bad so I tried to tell her it was okay and give her more milk. She wouldn't take it and kept getting upset and hugging me so tightly and covering my boobs. My sweet little angel didn't want to hurt me. That night we hugged a lot, more than usual, and she went to bed. I sat on the couch almost in tears thinking I just ruined this special bond forever and she's never going to latch again. I told Eric immediately and he reassured me that she would take it in the morning. That was the first night I thought maybe we can start weaning and the same night I knew I had to do it gradually.
The next morning she nursed like clockwork. Whew! I was certainly relieved. Needless to say, that was when I knew she would sleep find and would be find without her "boo boo" right before bed. From there, this is what I did:
Night 1: Same routine as always. But, I gave her the paci and instead of facing her towards me to read and nurse, I sat her facing forwards. She asked for "boo boo" and I simply said "no boo boo". She asked for her blanket and laid her head on my chest as I read her night books. Lots of hugs and kisses then down for sleepy time.
Night 2: Same as night 1. She asked for "boo boo" twice and I said no. Lots of snuggles and off to bed.
Night 3: Same as the other 2 nights, but she didn't ask for her "boo boo".
Night 4: Same. She asked for it twice, but was happy with snuggles and lots of kisses.
Night 5: She asked for it once then went right to bed after her routine of books and snuggles.
Night 6: She was tired from an active day and was at her max hours of wake time between sleep so, she flipped through her books for me, said "the end" and she went right down.
Night 7: She didn't ask for it and went right to sleep after her books, hugs and kisses.
It's been a pretty easy weaning journey. I have to say that based on our experience, I truly believe that slow and steady wins the race. There are so many things happening with them through 2 years old that I honestly think giving them that comfort and immune boost is critical for their development in so many ways. I always put myself in her shoes and I would not be happy if someone ripped away my means of comfort and food without notice. Hope this helps!