Stopping BF at night - advice welcomed!
I posted this in Breastfeeding too - but there is more traffic in here and as the LO's are older it might be that more Mums have done this in the past and can pass on their experiences and advice
Caitlyn is nearly 13 months and since a nasty virus a couple of months ago has reverted to feeding more at night (before then we were getting to 1 night feed only) - she isnt eating much in the day (its a struggle to get 3 small meals into her) but can feed on average 3-4 times a night, although not all of those are proper hungry feeds and she can wake and want the breast as many as 7 times in a night! She has dropped on the weight scales from near 75th percentile (from birth to 10months) to well under the 50th at 12 months and Im concerned - my milk should not be her main source of nutrition now and I need to readjust this. Not only is she getting too much milk it means neither she nor I are getting a proper sleep. For me, being back in work, this really matters now - its beyond exhausting and frankly half the time Im probably not safe in the car I am that tired.
My instinct is that she should be having a morning and a bedtime feed (she feeds to sleep) only now.
So - dropping the night feeds - Caitlyn is a boob monster - she has always loved her milk so she will NOT be happy. HV advice is to just stop, and get the stress out of the way in a few horrible nights. Im aware that the first night at least she will be actually be hungry and from experience in other areas she is perfectly capable of screaming for hours on end if she doesnt get what she wants.
Are there any ways of making this easier? I cant do this over several months - im at the point of exhaustion now and honestly im this close to refusing to feed her at all because im so tired and I need a nights sleep - Caitlyn has never slept through but she is much worse now than at, say, 8-9 months.
Sorry for rambling post -basically - how can I do this so its the least stressful on Caitlyn, me and my DH (for whom C will not settle at night)
All help appreciated
:hugs: We were in exactly the same situation when Harvey was that age. We started giving him a bottle of expressed milk at bedtime to get him out the boob at bedtime habit. It also meant he was fuller as he'd drink more than if would from the breast before falling asleep. After that we had to just refuse the breast during the night. It was tiring but we noticed a difference the next night. By night 3 he was doing great and I managed a good sleep. He's been fine ever since. One tip is to get your OH to go to LO in the night as LO will know he doesn't have milk. Good luck!
thanks Kiddo - Caitlyn has never been fond of the bottle but she will drink water from one now so that is worth trying thanks. Also its useful to know that it can get better quickly!
I'd definitely try giving either expressed or cows milk from a bottle or cup - you might find that she's not actually that hungry, but just wants the comfort of breastfeeding when she wakes in the night?
I night weaned Thomas at 13.5 months. I just fed him as normal at bedtime and told him no more milkies till morning. When he woke up I cuddled him and comforted him whatever way I could but no boob. He wasn't happy at all and cried for two hours or maybe a bit longer before going back to sleep. I didn't leave him to cry, I kept going in and out to him cuddling him and telling him sleepy time. He was angry more than really upset I think. Anyway that first night was really awful and I felt like giving up so many times but I stuck it out. The second night he slept through and he has pretty much slept through ever since unless he's sick. It was definitely worth doing for us and I couldn't believe it only took one night!
thanks ladies - its good to know how others have done it, and that others HAVE done it IYSWIM!
When LO was around 7 months he took to waking every hour wanting a feed. I'm sorry but I just couldn't do it any longer. I got DH on board and picked a weekend that suited. We walked him, patted him, rocked everything and anything to get him back to sleep DH took him the first part of the night and I dealt with him the second part. The first night was really really hard going but I knew we needed to keep going.
For me it worked for a few weeks he slept 8.30 - 5.30 but then 5.30 became 4.30 became 3.30 etc etc so I'm still up with him at least once during the night. I'm trying again not to feed him but it's easier said than done.
What tommyg said - enlist someone else to help! We weren't super strict on it, but we did set a 'not within 3 hours' rule, so if LO woke less than 3 hours since the last feed, my husband went in first to try and settle him.
This was a few months ago now, and it certainly did make a difference.
If you search for night weaning techniques, you might find some pointers. Good luck, and hopefully you get some more rest soon! :flower: :coffee:
Thanks patch I wish I'd tried the 3 hour rule the last time at 7 months it might have been easier to stick too.
This time I'm getting temper tantrums to deal with too. But he's starting to go back down easier than he was, think he's slowly getting the message.
I've just realised its after 5am and i've not fed him all night whoo hoo, can't say i've not been up with him hence i'm awake but as i said he is getting better.
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