7 answers

HELP With Night Time Weaning

I need to stop breastfeeding because I have a medical condition that requires a non-breast friendly medication. And I really do need to wean, I am a la leche league leader in training and have exhaustively checked-- the meds are not safe for baby, as they affect the brain, and he is already predisposed to having this particular brain problem-- I don't want to mess with his brain development and make it worse. I am really upset to be weaning and it has been really difficult to get this far.

For daytime feedings, I've offered him chocolate rice milk as a substitute (not so healthy, but good for a short period) and he loves it and it has worked!

We are also co-sleeping, which I don't like as I am a horrid sleeper, and he won't settle down unless I nurse him in bed. We've gotten him to do partial nights in his crib but he wakes up a lot and wants us-- I don't know for milk or comfort? But I don't know how to wean him from milk at night, and from sleeping in our bed. Does anyone have any advice on either or both of these topics?

What can I do next?

More Answers

I also had to start taking medication that made me stop breast feeding. And I did not have the option of having my husband help, because he NEVER woke up with the children. I would make it a point to remove your son from your bed, but he does not need to leave your room all of a sudden, if he has more problems sleeping in another room. My daughter was a preemie and we had to wake her for mid night feedings for a long time. She started waking on her own, multiple times, even after she should have been sleeping through the night. After a doctor's suggestion, we moved her to her own room, and she would wake, but when she saw she was alone, would go back to sleep. My son, on the other hand, would only sleep through the night, if he saw or felt me. Even after he stopped nursing at night, I would just put my hand in his bed, next to me. I did not bring him into our bed. If I had, ofcourse he would want to nurse. You can also offer him water, but do not give in to nursing. It may seem mean, but you know that you could be physically hurting him by letting him nurse. Giving him comfort does not have to mean breast feeding. He is going through 2 changes at once and doesn't know why. Go slowly with the removal of him from your room, but just cut off co-sleeping and breast feeding. He will know that you are there, and will probably wake less. You can slowly move him into his own room. Does he nap in his room? Start doing that during the day. No Mom sleeping with him. Also if Dad is home at bedtime, you try saying goodbye and leaving the house. If your son knows that Mommy is not home, he will not expect to be nursed. He may be upset at your leaving, but he will be fine in a few minutes of playing with Dad! Dad can rock him, sing to him, read to him, whatever. Then lay him down with the light off, except for night light or door cracked, and sit in the room quietly for a short time. You can do this too. Start a new bedtime comfort. It does take time, and crying, but you're the adult and know why you need to do it.

C.- Try having your husband or someone other than you feed your son. Our pediatrician told us that by this age, they need to get their nutriants from their solid foods. I think with the sleeping thing, just put him in his crib and let him cry it out. It will take 3-5 days, but he will get adjusted. I had to do this with my 15 month old twins and now they fall asleep on their own. Even let him fall asleep on a fold out coach and then move him when he is in a heavy sleep.

To help you with the weining. Place cold cabbage leaves on your breasts. It will help dry up your milk. Also sage helps reduce the milk from coming back in.

Hope this is helpful.


Hi C.- Although I din't cosleep after 6 mo- All of my little ones had a hard time dropping those night feeding. Here is what worked with my 9 mo olds (not the same as 13 mo but wirth a try)
Step 1-put them in their crib to sleep-use a special night only song- when and if there is crying look at the clock- time it.
First time at a crying jag give it 5 min. (the clock is critical!) Go in pick up baby hug- sing same song and then leave. If continued crying give it 8-10 min go in sing same song but don't pick up the baby- you can hug at the crib or pat his back. Keep upping the time intervals-I never had to go past 15 min.

Use this routine every time and by 3-5 days he will learn to soothe himself. This worked with my 4 kids and it is hard to hear them cry but they are testing limits and I really wanted them to sleep well on their own- and now they all do!
Good Luck with whatever route you take.


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Assuming you actually have to wean him (I'm so sorry! This is very sad for both of you) the easiest thing is to send your husband in to comfort him at night instead of you going in. If you're firm about having him in the crib then he will learn this in a couple nights - kids are really amazingly adaptable. Same with the night-time feedings. Right now he nurses partly for comfort and maybe partly because he's used to having something in his tummy at that time. Your husband can give him the comfort part without him being reminded that you're the one with the boobs. I agree with the other posters though - double check about whether you actually need to do this or not.

I would say...first, make ABSOLUTELY SURE that it is for sure not safe to nurse on these meds. Alot of docs will just say that to cover their butts cause they aren't sure. Call an LC, they can find the latest info for you to help you find out, then if you decide to go ahead and continue, no need to mention to your doc unless some issue regarding it comes up.

With the night weaning, I used a method from the "No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. I would nurse him down like normal, and put him to bed in his crib. When he woke for a feeding, I would bring him to bed with us like normal, but only let him nurse for a very short period of time. Then if he started fussing for more/wasn't satisfied, I'd nurse again, but again for even a shorter time. After a while he just completely stopped waking cause he knew he wasn't REALLY going to get what he wanted. You have to remain somewhat awake and alert, but it doesn't take too terribly long. I kept a log of the wakings and the amount of nursing and you can see the improvement over time to help keep you motivated.

Good luck!

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