Nightweaning a 6 month old? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-23-2003, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there,

I'd like to know what you think of nightweaning a 6 month old.

I have a 6 month old baby girl. She starts the night next to me in a co-sleeper, and then transfers to the bed after her first wakeup. Then she stays in bed with me for the rest of the night, feeding whenever she needs/wants to. Naturally, I am not getting much sleep, but I don't mind doing this right now.

I was talking to my sister about baby's sleep habits the other day. She has a 2 3/4 year old and a 17 month old. She told me that at 6 months old, my baby is probably only nursing at night for comfort, not because she really needs to eat, and that I should wean her from night-nursing. I should give her a blanket or a sippy cup with some water in it, and that should give her the comfort she seeks.

What is wrong with her wanting to nurse for comfort? Do you think my sister's assessment is correct? My gut tells me no, but I'd like to hear other opinions.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 04-23-2003, 06:28 AM
 
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Is your sister's assessment correct? No! And my opinion is not humble at all here

You're her mom, of course she prefers to get her comfort from you!! Why is "needing to eat" more important than "needing comfort"? How the he!! is a 6-month old going to use a sippy cup anyway?

And if you start not bf-ing for long periods of time, like a whole night, at this stage, your supply is going to go down. Which will only start to spell trouble in the near future.

I bet your sister's children didn't nurse long. And I bet you didn't tell her what to do, either. You sound like an awesome mama
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Old 04-23-2003, 06:38 AM
 
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What's wrong with nursing for comfort?? Why would your baby's body tell her to do something that's wrong? Anyway, my dd is almost 5 mos and she has has been nursing for food at night since she was born. Once her newborn eat every 1 1/2 hours thing stopped she was interested in stuff during th day and so she didn't eat as much. Now she does power nursing at night. I ahve oveactive letdown and she actually eats better while sleeping. MANY moms of 4-9 m/o babies have told me similar stories.
ITA that nightweaning will decrease your milk supply. I'm studying to be a breastfeeding counselor and I can tell you that to keep milk supply up to nourish an infant you have to nurse often. Everytime milk isn't emptied from the breasts it sends a signal that they need less milk. Your nilk supply can establish a lunar cycle, but what I've learned form others' stories is that when you mess with the natural process you have problems, kwim? The natural process is doing it your dd's way.
I would seriously discourage you from nightweaning your baby. If it isn't a problem for you, then it's not a problem. Why is it a problem for your sister? She doesn't have to get up and feed the baby at night. I would just tell her that the way you do it is working for your family.
Good luck,
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Old 04-23-2003, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the opinions. My sister weaned her first son at 9 months and the second son at 6 months because she said he wasn't getting enough milk from her. Wonder if that had to do with the nightweaning? She told me that she wasn't that interested in breastfeeding anyway. Something about that it was a lot of work or something. At the same time, she seemed disappointed that son #2 weaned early. I can't figure her out.

Anyway, I LOVE nursing! I feel very useful, like I finally figured out what my body was made for. So I'll keep on going!
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Old 04-23-2003, 11:34 PM
 
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If you want to get more sleep, then, yes, night weaning is the answer. If you like it, then keep doing it. Keep in mind that it is very likely that your daughter will not night wean on her own, and at some point, you may want to sleep more. THEN, you can night wean.
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:00 AM
 
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Night nursing does keep your milk supply high. I would not night wean until later if you feel that it may compromise your milk supply. I would say wait until at least one year of age, but I waited until after my son was age 2, but I was working full time and that was important nursing time for us.

If you need more sleep, maybe you can go to sleep earlier (I know how hard that is!!). I notice that babies sleep best the first 4 hours of the night - if you can sleep then, you will probably get in 7-8 hours over the course of the whole night even if you wake to nurse later...

Good luck.
Kathleen
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Old 04-24-2003, 04:32 PM
 
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I have heard numerous times from many sources that a baby gets almost 25% of their needed milk at night-so I would discourage nightweaning at this time. Generally speaking, around the toddler years is a more appropriate time to night-wean, as by that time a child can sleep a full 8-10 hours without needing any extra nourishment. Here's a good article by Dr. Sears that might help for easier night nursing http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/t031600.asp

it can be difficult being with an all-night nursling. Give yourself a pat on the back for responding sensitively to your baby's needs.

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Old 04-24-2003, 07:27 PM
 
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No offense to your sister, but she's hardly the person to get breastfeeding advice from.

My DD is 9 mo old and still does a substantial amount of nursing at night. It's not comfort nursing, it's EATING. I think six months old is Waaaaaaay too early to start regulating how much they eat.

Keep the following in mind:

-It could be a very difficult, lengthy, and traumatic process to wean a baby so young. do you really want to go through all that?

-It could definitely hurt your supply; do you want to risk your breastfeeding relationship and end up having to supplement her with formula?

-Trust me on this next one: time goes by sooooooo fast. Before you know it your daughter will be nursing at night less and less. I know you are tired, but hang in there mama...this too shall pass. And in the meantime you are doing the very best by your child.

-Finally, your daughter may nightwean all on her own one day, maybe sooner than you think. It's wrong to assume that they "never will". I don't know many teenagers who are still nursing at night, do you? And you know what? Even if you do get to a point where you want to nightwean, at least your child will be old enough to understand what you are doing, and will be physically able to handle it. I would be so worried that a 6 month old would lose out nutritionally if you start depriving them of feedings so early.

Good luck to you, and way to go for trusting your instincts on this one!

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