Gentle Night Weaning: Finding our own way

I thought, like many mums of breastfeeding toddlers, that it would be totally impossible to night wean my two year old. Any time I read someone's explanation of how they did it, I was hit with a dozen 'but that wouldn't work for us'es. My boy's temparement was different, our sleeping situation was different, his relationship with his daddy was different, his and my breastfeeding relationship was different.

My boy was 2 years 4 months. I decided to tackle night weaning after months of awful aversion, figuring that I might feel totally fine with continuing until he chose to wean, if I could find a way to place that limit on it.
Feeding to sleep, three days into night weaning
I knew that I had done a great job, that we had gone above and beyond all imaginable lengths to be able to have a breastfeeding relationship in the first place, and that being in the situation where I was breastfeeding a two year old was unfathomable -- I was not even sure I'd be able to breastfeed him even once. So to now actively choose to reduce and to limit his breastfeeding, when I had spent the first year of his life doing everything in my power for him to find comfort at my breast, felt awful. I kept getting flashes of the things we had been through... and now I somehow found myself wanting him to stop. 

But this is my body. It was my choice.


Interview with Me: My Fight with Low Supply

It's time to tell my own story. My story is hard for me to tell, but I feel it is important. I have made many decisions throughout our breastfeeding journey, and all of these things have worked together to ensure that I managed to breastfeed him up until 12 months, then to 24 months, and now still at 29 months. So here is my story, with all the foot stomping, all the tears, all the hallelujahs. This is how I got to where I am:

The Beginning: Dealing with the Past
My second beautiful baby was born at the end of 2014. The months leading up to his birth were filled with anxiety, panic and dread at the thought of having to somehow navigate my way through those first three months again, now also with a highly sensitive toddler at my feet, as those months with my first baby were undoubtedly the hardest of my life. I'd had unexplained low supply with my first little boy, despite over forty lactation consultant appointments all over the country, and I had never found any answers or solutions. I spent much of my second pregnancy working with two lactation consultants, a counsellor and midwife, to accept that this was a different baby and that we should take our breastfeeding relationship on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis. After dealing with a lot of past wounds, we managed to be able to bring my baby to my breast after birth, but always maintained my goal of simply not having a hungry baby.


Breastfeeding Aversion, or 'Wanting to Scream, Run and Break Things'

I thought  breastfeeding aversion, or nursing aversion and agitation, was something that only inflicted pregnant mothers. And I'm not pregnant, so why have I had so many moments of hating breastfeeding lately?

My little boy is over two years old now. Considering I was unsure I'd be able to breastfeed him even once, this blows my mind. Two years kind of slipped by unassumingly, actually. I no longer felt that breastfeeding was an active choice I was making, but had simply become a very personal part of my mothering. He stopped breastfeeding in the day at around 18 months, and always adamantly declared 'Nei!' when I offered. Nights, though, have always been a different story. The various pros and cons are changing, and my own breastfeeding experience is continuing to challenge and educate me... and nursing aversion is a big part of that.

For the past 9-ish months, there is usually two evenings every month where I put my toddler to bed in our usual manner -- singing the Long Time Sun Song, lying down together in his big double bed, turning on his sleepy music (Bon Iver -- he has good taste) and breastfeeding him either to sleep or to almost sleep. Nothing is different to the norm, and yet these two or sometimes three evenings a month, I emerge in tears, seething with such intense rage, wanting to scream and throw something that will break into a hundred pieces, after trying so hard not to hurt my little boy for the time that he was nursing, and wishing I could just run out the door and just keep run run running to a dark cave where nobody will touch me for the next year.

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