I have an underweight 2-year-old and we've been recommended to wean (or at least night wean) him because of tooth decay issues and also in hopes that it will help him gain weight. I'm not sold on the idea that this will help with weight gain, but we're giving it a try. Also, I think he's ready - all of his 2-year molars are in and he's close to being able to sleep through the night.
The first midnight without nunus was predictably rough, but on the second night we didn't even get out of bed (still co-sleeping) and I thought all was going well...
Then he didn't want to eat all day, and now he has a low grade fever (100.4). I don't want to backtrack on the nightweaning, but if there's ever a time when a kid needs nunus, it's when they're sick. Still nursing before bed, first thing in the morning, and at naptime.
And I'm just curious how your doc's theory of weight gain on decreased caloric intake works? Seems counter to what I understand:). Am I missing something?
And maybe someone else can give you a link to a good thread that explains the whole dental carries/night nursing dilemma. Also from what I understand, please feel free to correct me, it has not been shown to be necessary.
Anyway, blathering aside, I hope you can figure out a good way to solve your problem and that your babe is well again soon!
Just wanted to add that I'm not trying to dispute your reasons for nightweaning - I totally understand the need for more sleep and it does sound like your babe is ready to handle it -
Yeah, I am also not totally sold on the dentist's idea that the night nursing causes cavities, which is why I haven't pushed it until now. The doctor even supports me on that. But these cavities are really bad, and my daughter had them, too.
I agree that cutting out night nursing doesn't make immediate sense for weight gain, but we are desperate here, and two things I read make me think it might be worth trying. One is that sleep plays an important role in weight regulation, and while we hear more about this as a factor in people being overweight, it could also be a contributing factor at the other end of the spectrum. Another is that breastmilk can act as a laxative some of the time, and he does have runny poos about half the time. So it could help there. Further, I read about a study (don't have time to find the link now) which showed that 1-year-olds who nursed gained weight more slowly than their peers. That's not a bad thing in general, but when you're at the bottom of the charts and your family isn't all that tiny...
Anyhow, we nursed some last night but there was also once or twice when he went back to sleep off the nunu, so it's all OK for now.
My instincts tell me that in a situation with a tiny toddler I would nurse on demand as long as possible. Since you're concerned about sleep, partial nightweaning could help - nurse say 8 hours after bedtime or so. About the laxative effect, unless he's having watery, hard to contain poop, it sounds like normal toddler poop. My DD has all sorts of different poop depending on what food she's into at the moment and how much she's been nursing. Absolutely follow your own instincts but don't make drastic, difficult to reverse choices lightly. Nightweaning is not a silver bullet and doesn't guarantee he will stay asleep. Gotta run, good luck mama!
I'll chime in, feel free to disregard anything I say, I know each child is unique :) This is just our experience.
My DS will be 3 yo next month, he is still nursing at night. And he does have some significant decay in his front teeth (he is actually getting some dental work done in two weeks, after trying to heal his decay for over a year we finally give up) His dentist does not think nursing has anything to do with the decay, and there is actually quite a bit of information out there that breastmilk actually improves the teeth. That is ONLY if the teeth are totally cleaned though. Before going down for the night, we brush DSs teeth really well, and wipe his mouth out with a xylitol wipe to make sure we kill all the bacteria. I know quite a few toddlers that are still nursing, some with lots of decay, and some with none at all, it really mostly comes down to genetics and enamel formation in the womb.
Also, FWIW, DS nurses at night, and very frequently during the day, and he is as big as some of his friends that are 5 yo. I would really question the theory that your DS might gain weight from NOT nursing at night, because I know with my DS the exact is opposite. He always nurses more at night before he hits a growth spurt. He gets a little chunky from the extra nursing, and then shoots up taller almost overnight.
Hope you get something figured out Mama :)