Just as breastfeeding itself doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing (in cases of low milk supply or difficult life circumstances, many mothers breastfeed and supplement with formula), I have discovered that night weaning doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing either.
Currently, 2-year-old Ewan rarely nurses unless he is going to sleep. Occasionally, he will nurse for comfort for just a minute or two. I have had alot of success nursing him to calm him down when he's throwing a tantrum.
Unfortunately, my nipples are not interested in nursing anymore. I only have 8 weeks until my due date. I figure that we've made it this far, we can find a way to make it work through the end.
I can nurse Ewan for maybe 2 minutes on each side (sometimes less) and then my nipples become too sensitive and I get this "get off of me!" feeling.
Apparently, this is very common in pregnant women. Some women go ahead and completely wean, but I am not interested in completely weaning Ewan, so I was looking for other options.
I didn't pre-plan to partially night wean him. It just happened in the moment because I couldn't do it anymore.
One night last week, Ewan had nursed to sleep as usual but in the middle of the night, he woke up at about 4am and climbed in bed with us. He cuddled up to me and nursed for a few minutes, but I just couldn't let him do it any longer. It was too uncomfortable.
I made him stop and told him to just lay down and cuddle with me without nursing. This did not go over well. He cried and threw a fit. For at least an hour.
During all of this, I would allow him to nurse for just 30 seconds or so and then tell him that "mommy's nipples hurt" and he had to stop.
He pawed at my shirt. He thrashed around in the bed. He ran back to his bed. He sat on the couch in the living room and demanded to watch Sesame Street.
He was in tears. I was in tears. Daddy was getting frustrated, too. He was offering suggestions and trying to help Ewan, with no success.
Honestly, I wasn't sure it was going to work at all, but there wasn't much I could do.
I told him that I really wanted to nurse, but that I couldn't because it hurt. Perhaps telling him that I wanted to nurse made the difference, or maybe he was just exhausted, but he stopped crying and laid down with me in his own twin bed in his room. I turned on the "Ocean" sounds from the Sleep Sheep and told him to "listen to the ocean" with me.
Then, he fell asleep without nursing!
We had been awake for at least an hour, maybe longer, and I had to wake Ewan up at 7:30 so he could get ready to go to preschool.
The next night when he was going to sleep, I let him nurse for just a few minutes and then made him stop and just "listen to the ocean" and cuddle with me. He went to sleep without nursing again! This time, with no protest.
And when he woke up in the middle of the night, he climbed in bed next to me and fell asleep without asking to nurse at all.
Now, I will nurse him when he first gets into bed, but only for a few minutes, and then he has to just lay down and cuddle with me. He knows that if he wants to nurse, he can, but only for a few minutes, and then he has to stop. But, he knows that he's not cut off completely.
I guess it's a partial night weaning.