I think you have 2 separate issues. One you son separating from you and two, night weaning.
Do you have a partner or extended family/friends that your son is able or willing to be with without you around?
your son is really just 2 and a half. that is a difficult age, breastfeeding or not.
my DS1 weaned at that age, and separation anxiety didn,t get better because of weaning (it got worse!)
It is hard right now, but it will get better.
you have 2 different issues as pp said.
you can start with one of them, but it is unrealistic to try to deal with both issues at the same time.
In our family, night weaning happend with dad's help. He became in charge of DS1 at night.
separation anxiety gets better with time, around 3 in our case. (there was a big difference between 2y.o and 8 months and 3 y.o!)
In general, spending a lot of one on one time with my kids helps with separation anxiaty.
Agreed, 2 different issues.
Daycare: you may find a drop-in-child care place where you pay by the hour, or a get a gym membership that has a daycare while you work out. For my neurotypical kids, they all cried for me at that age when trying to leave them. Luckily, we were members of the YMCA, and I talked to them to see if they'd allow me to come first thing in the morning, when they were not busy and sit/play with them for a while and then leave. This got them used to the environment. My boy just got used to it without issues. My daughter did whine when I left and wouldn't play, but only sulk and color. With her, I read, "Llama, Llama Misses Mama." Every time I'd leave I told her that "Mama llama will come back!"
Our son with autism (2.5) will be working with his therapist at the Y soon. Our Y has a policy if they are still crying after 30 minutes or so, they come and get you. As far as behavior therapy goes, this sends the wrong message. It sends the message to the child that if they cry, they will get what they want. My son has learned that if he cries he gets what he wants. If he slams his head on the floor, he gets what he wants. Surprisingly every issue we've brought up with our ABA therapist, they've fixed in a matter of 1-2 days. So, it just depends on the kid. My daughter was just sad and was a whiny cry. My son w/ autism cries out of anger.
Your son is 32 months (?)
With my own son what a change between 31 months and 41 months!
His nursing went from every hour or two all night long to just once or twice throughout the night.
If you are able to let him follow his own pattern, it sure is amazing to witness the whole process.
I am floored that we went from every 1-2 hours through the night at your son's age down to a couple of times in less than a year. Mind you there are some nights that he seems latched the entire night but it's not very often.
Per the separation anxiety, it seems developmentally normal. Throughout the first four years, throughout human history children and mother were not separated much. Even today in many traditional societies, they are still being nursed and carried often. I realize this is usually not possible in industrialized society, but just making a point that it is normal human behavior.
It is not neccessarily a flaw (I realize no one called it that), but actually quite the opposite as it increases survival (being close to mother), it is an instinct.
Would it be possible to have your son home with a caretaker? He might do better in his own environment.
Also if you are more or less seeking a little time to get things done at home (vs. outside employment), perhaps a mothers helper would work out. You would still be available if your son needed you, but the mother's helper could keep him entertained and supervised.
Another thought, you may also gather some helpful info in the working moms forum on tthe daycare subject: http://www.mothering.com/community/f/159/working-and-student-parents