Updated: Sep 8
On June 8th, I decided to stop breastfeeding at night in an effort for all of us to GET MORE SLEEP. I was always reluctant to do it before because Stella didn’t seem ready & I wanted her to give her as much #liquidgold for as long as possible. Well, now she is ready & SO AM I.
When I started my BF journey, I was prepared to go as long as Stella wanted. My goal was one year. Once we reached that benchmark, I felt like I was in the wild wild west with Stella as my guide. Well, mamas, we made it to 15.5 months (and counting)! Yes, those two weeks count to every breastfeeding mother.
While she is thriving, I've been sleep deprived because of the on-demand nursing that continued each night every 2-3 hours. You read that correctly. I had been waking up every 2-3 hours for a year and a half while working while breastfeeding while raising my tiny human and everything in between. It hasn't been easy. So, how did I know she was ready?
she started popping off a lot at the breast
she started playing a lot more at the breast
she started pushing my breast away or refusing to take it
at night she was comfort suckling & not nursing
my supply dropped significantly
Your baby’s journey might look different than mine, but they will show you when they are ready. You have to do what is best for you. I was told so many times to stop cold turkey & let her cry it out by sleep coaches. What’s wrong with that is I didn’t want my supply to drop & there are numerous pediatric studies showing the damage CIO causes developmentally #researcheverything.
It's important to know that I stopped breastfeeding her right before bed a few months ago. There is always something in between nursing and bedtime. That helped with the transition into no BF at night. Our bedtime routine starts right after dinner at around 7. She goes straight into the bath, PJ's on in our room, breastfeed in our room, go to her room and read two books, turn on sound machine, pacifier in mouth, blanket in hand, and then place her in her crib and say goodnight. I recommend leaving water in her crib too.
So, if I didn't let her CIO then how did I do it? At first, I went into her room when she cried. I didn't pick her up anymore which, indirectly, told her no more nursing. Instead, I pat her head, stroked her hair, rubbed her back, and shushed her. If needed, I would say, "it's okay, baby" and kissed & hugged her over the crib and offered her some water. Once she calmed down, I would say "paci" and she would open her mouth. I then grabbed her favorite blanket and put it in her arms. She plopped down and went back to sleep. I did this for the next week. Here is what it looked like.
Day one: asleep at 8:30 PM and woke up at 7:30 AM with two wakeups.
Day two: asleep at 7:20 PM and awake at 7:20 AM with two wakeups.
Day three: asleep at 8:10 PM and wake at 7:00 AM with three wakeups.
Day four: asleep at 8:20 PM and woke up at 7:25 AM with one wakeup at 3:30 AM.
Day five: asleep at 7:50 PM and woke up at 7:40 AM she SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT
Day six: asleep at 7:45 PM and woke up at 7 AM with one wake up at 3:30 AM. (Eric put her to sleep that night)
Day 7: asleep at 8:30 PM and woke up at 6 AM with no wakeup.
Note that the later sleep times reflected her later than usual nap time. This is what I am doing and it's working! We are all getting more sleep, finally. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out or DM me on my IG.
To see some of the items we use for helping Stella get to sleep, go here.