Weaning and Co-sleeping

by Sophie
(Bristol)

Third time round we promised ourselves we'd get better at being strict about routines/falling into co-sleeping habits/being strong in knowing what was right for our baby and not being bullied by him. However total infatuation of our new bundle coupled with exhaustion meant that our best intentions were always set to fail.

I was lucky with my breastfeeding - all three of mine took to it happily and easily and I rarely had problems. After a year however, my husband always said enough, they're old enough now, and I was inclined to agree.

However, weaning proved more difficult with each child, as we got more tired and had less energy to do things properly. As we co-slept, our number three would squirm around and latch on to feed as if I were a dummy that he couldn't sleep without. Initially I found this easier as I wouldn't have to get out of bed and when he finished I would wind him and fall back asleep again. Some nights I might not even wake or wake to find that he'd latched on happily sleeping in a snug cocooned by me. It was all very lovely, and warm, and easy.

However when it came to stopping we had massive problems. As he'd worked out how to effectively help himself whenever he wanted, whether I was awake or asleep, I couldn't stop feeding him without stopping co-sleeping and he had never slept in a cot/bed by himself. It felt too unkind to wean and to stop co-sleeping all at the same time. So we came up with a plan. My husband would wean him by sleeping cocooned with him on the other side of the bed.

After nights of screaming blue murder that he wasn't allowed his midnight feast(s), swapping sides, wearing sport bras in bed, lots of midnight sleep deprived annoyance, we decided that I would just have to go and sleep elsewhere and my husband would just have to battle it out.

The first night was awful. I could hear screaming as if he were being tortured (he was a year old so there was no physical need to feed at night) knowing all the while it was our fault for setting up awful habits. So guilt was thrown in to the mix with blind love and increased exhaustion, plus two other littlies that were being woken on a nightly basis by there screaming brother.

I suppose my reasons for sharing this story as breastfeeding tips is as a warning about being weak! and as my mother used to say - being bullied by my baby - and how it hurts them more in the long run. And how if in this situation, the only solution for me to stop breastfeeding and continue co-sleeping was actual physical separation.

It worked, and after a week of the best nights sleep I'd had in a year, we all bunked in together again. Anyway, that's how I managed to continue to co-sleep and wean, a thing at cold moments in the night I had started to believe to be impossible!

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