Is it time to stop nursing at bedtime?
Nursing your baby to sleep can be a beautiful, joyous time. You know your baby is going down in a peaceful comforted state. Everything is right in the world. And with their warm-cuddly body snuggled in, it can feel like a dream.
But not every family experiences the same relationship with nursing to sleep. Some women feel a bit claustrophobic – knowing they are the only one who is able to put baby to sleep. Other times it is not going as planned. What used to take 10 minutes is now taking an hour or two, and mom and dad are considering that it might be time for a change. And some babies outright refuse - showing another preferred way of going to sleep after their tummies are full!
Ending the nursing to sleep relationship is a HUGE decision to make. It is really not black and white, as so many people might make it out to be. When a family works with me and they are considering ending this way of putting their child to sleep, these are some of the questions I ask them to reflect on.
Through reflection, conversation with friends, family, and especially your partner, my hope is that you will decide if it is the right time to make a change or not.
1. What do you love about nursing to sleep?
2. How do you feel majority of the time you are nursing your baby at night?
3. Are you the only one who can put your child to sleep at night? How does that make you feel?
4. Are you getting the rest you need to be the type of parent you wish to be?
5. Is there a part of nursing your child to sleep that you don’t enjoy?
6. Are there people in your life who are supportive of nursing your child to sleep? Of your breastfeeding journey?
7. Is there pressure from your partner, friends, or family, to stop nursing your baby at night?
8. What is your number one reason, or motivation, for no longer nursing your baby to sleep at night, or in the middle of the night?
9. Are there parts of nursing in the middle of the night that you sincerely enjoy?
10. What do you wish your nighttime sleep looked like?
11. What is the feeling that would come up for you if you woke up tomorrow and could no longer nurse your baby to sleep?
12. If your baby rejected nursing at bedtime, or in the middle of the night as a result of changes you initiated – how would this make you feel?
Just because you’re weaning nursing to sleep at bedtime does not mean you need to end nursing in the middle of the night, wean daytime nursing sessions, or even stop nursing to sleep at nap time. There are many different ways that you can go about this transition, in order to make it a success for both you, and your entire family. And honestly, if you need more support on weaning breastfeeding a great person to reach out to is a board certified lactation consultant, or a breastfeeding educator. If you’d like a referral, I know a couple of great ones worth talking to.
Thank you to Stacie-Lynn Photography for the beautiful photo featured here.