I’m so tired at the moment that I’m seriously considering nightweaning my daughter. She’s a little bit over two and a half years old and shows no signs of thinking about stopping breastfeeding. Although it gets a little bit exhausting sometimes, I’m quite glad that I’m still feeding her: when she has a cold, it reliably clears her stuffy nose, when she has a tummy bug, I know it’s definitely the best way to keep her hydrated, and I read somewhere that breastfeeding for two years (not necessarily just one child) reduces my risk of breast cancer by 40%. So that is all lovely, and the snuggles aren’t bad either.
It’s just that my daughter especially enjoys ‘nom noms’, as we call them, overnight. All night. Sometimes she joyfully jumps out of (my!) bed in the morning and proudly declares ‘me having nom noms in mummy’s bed AAALL NIGHT!’
So I have been considering not letting her have any at night anymore.
The arguments for:
- She eats quite a bit of food during the day, so nutritionally, she doesn’t need to be breastfed at night.
- She’s old enough to understand my explanations so that hopefully she wouldn’t feel rejected, and I’d double up on the cuddles.
- Sleeeeeeeep! I’ve not slept a whole night for the past three years (no joke, not one full night). I think it’s catching up with me now.
- That’s it.
- Prolactin levels are highest at night, so feeding then is important to ensure an adequate milk supply, which makes me worried that nightweaning would be the beginning of a slippery slope to full weaning.
- So far I’ve let my daughter take the lead and my parenting approach has been quite gentle: breastfeeding so she could decide when and how much she wanted to eat, ditto with solids (we did baby-led weaning), co-sleeping, letting her figure out her own daytime routine. It’s worked well so far – whenever I’m worried how to respond to a new developmental stage, she usually shows me and it all turns out fine. So I don’t really want to force her to give up feeding at night.
- I might regret it and go back on my decision, confusing my daughter in the process.