When I went back to work Dylan was 7.5 months old and started nursing all night long. She wanted to nurse from the moment I got home until the moment I left in the morning. My first weekend home I nursed on demand thinking it would give me a break at night but instead she nursed for about 48 hours straight. I was miserable, she wasn’t all that happy and everyone was tired. I made the decision to go to a schedule where I would nurse when I got home around 4:30/5pm and then at bedtime. After that I would get her back to sleep without nursing at any wake-ups before midnight. By midnight I was exhausted and would just let her nurse all she wanted which resulted in constantly. It was not ideal but I wanted to compromise and make sure she felt okay. I kept this schedule up even on weekends for the most part.
I need to stress that ideally I wouldn’t have weaned her yet. I longed for a wonderful breastfeeding experience that would end when we were both ready but it did not exist. I really disliked it and I was spending a lot of time feeling negative thoughts. I didn’t think it was healthy for us or our relationship any longer. I’m proud that I pushed through as long as I did and I’m happy to have been even the tiniest bit more successful this time around.
A week and a half ago after a bout of mastitis and some really terrible nursing sessions I decided I was done forever. In all honesty, after I made this decision I tried to have one more time with her to lock in a good last time memory and she bit me so hard I cried. Not the memory I was looking for. We have been bed-sharing since birth and I read a few things that indicated this would make night weaning/weaning more difficult but I didn’t want to abandon her or make her think I didn’t love her so I wasn’t willing to change this yet. I put a shirt on before I climbed into bed with her around midnight and shortly after she awoke looking to nurse. I tried rubbing her back with her lying next to me but she got more and more upset. I decided to lie on my back and I pulled her on top of me (in a similar position to being in an ergo) and I sang to her and rubbed her back and kissed her little head. She whimpered and I cried intermittently but we got through that first night.
On the second night it I ended up in bed with her lying on top of me around 10pm and lasted through the night with the same soothing techniques grabbing whatever minutes of sleep we could get. She was trying to figure out a way to get to the boob still but the armour I was wearing helped set the boundaries (it was really just a t-shirt). As I rubbed her back he would rub my shoulder. I really felt like we were getting through it together.
The next three nights were more of the same EXCEPT she stopped trying to nurse. We were both still sad and my hormones were a wreck but it felt like we were just trying our best to make the change together.
On Friday night Daniela and I went out and left Dylan at home with my mom. She had previously been waking up 1-2 times between her bedtime and my bedtime and sometimes it took a half hour of soothing and singing to get her back to sleep. I went out unsure how she would do with my mom going in to soothe her and I was half expecting to have to run home to a distraught baby. When we returned home around 11:30 my mom said Deej had woken up once only to fall back asleep as my mom was climbing the stairs to go to her. I climbed into bed that night and my baby girl slept beside me, occasionally wrapping her hands around my arm until 5:30. At 5:30 she woke up and curled up into me with her head on my chest and went back to sleep. It was mind-blowing.
Saturday night wasn’t quite as wonderful but I think it was because I put her to bed too early. She ended up awake from 8:30-11pm but then slept alright.
Sunday night I decided I would let her tell me when she was ready to go to bed. I played with her in the living room waiting for her to rub her eyes or let out a big yawn but instead she played and played until about 8:30 and then set her toys down, crawled over to the stairs and headed up. I followed behind, went over to her bed, held her in my arms and she fell asleep within 5 minutes. I laid her down in her own bed right beside mine and she slept until 5am before calling out to get in my bed. We’ve now had 3 nights of this. She is such a peaceful sleeper. I lay there looking over the edge of my bed at her, part of me hoping she wakes and I need to pull her in with me. That being said, I really love being able to sleep on my stomach and/or curled up with my wife.
Overall, I’m very happy with my decision and I feel like it has worked out best for us both so far. I know there will be moments that every ounce of my body aches, but I’m sure we will get through it together.