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Talk to me about Self Weaning please

(14 Posts)
GirlInTheGreenhouse Tue 07-Mar-17 11:26:37

DD 18 months has, with a little encouragement, cut down her breastfeeds massively to a feed first thing in the morning, feed to sleep for a nap and feed before bed. Occasionally a feed in the night still, but she's sleeping longer and longer chunks without.

Her morning feed is getting shorter and shorter then she has her beaker of cows milk so I can see that one going eventually. Her nap time feed is more laziness on my part as it's the fastest way to get her to sleep (DH can rock her off if I'm not there). Night feeds, well, they are what they are! Am sure they'll eventually go altogether.

My question is around her last feed before bed. She feeds to sleep- I'm fine with this, she's fine with this and it hasn't stopped her sleeping through. For those of you who's babies self-weaned, was this the last feed to go? How did they drop it? Did you replace it with anything else? I'm not in a massive rush to be it as I don't want to 'train' her into anything and would rather let her get there in her own time but am just wondering if I'll still be feeding her before bed when she's five?!

littledinaco Tue 07-Mar-17 20:25:08

There is quite a lot of information on kellymom about self weaning.

A lot of what you describe sounds like parent let weaning, so giving her milk in a cup, using 'don't offer don't refuse' is all parent led weaning rather than self weaning. Nothing wrong with either of course.

Are you on any of the 'extended breastfeeding' groups on Facebook? 'Feeding older babies and beyond' is good, loads on there for complete self weaning and weaning with encouragement.

If you did let her self wean for the bedtime feed, you probably wouldn't need to replace with anything as if she chose to drop it herself, she may just be happy to go to sleep or might ask for a drink of milk/water before bed.

You could still feed her to bed at 5 (if you wanted to), some self wean later. You can stop anytime it's not working for you though so maybe just take it month by month for now and see how you go. Sounds like how you are doing it is working really well for you both at the moment.

GirlInTheGreenhouse Tue 07-Mar-17 20:52:00

Thank you, I will definitely check those groups out.

I guess I am curious as to what people's experiences are of their baby dropping the night time feed themselves if they've previously always been fed to sleep. I'm wondering if she will start asking to go in her cot awake and we'll drop it from there perhaps.

littledinaco Tue 07-Mar-17 21:25:34

FB groups are really good, it can be good to know how a lot of 18 month olds feed as you probably don't come across many in real life!

I think a lot drop the bedtime feed gradually so some nights have a bit of milk but not fall asleep, other nights no milk, then feed to sleep. My 3 year old goes through phases of feeding to sleep so might feed to sleep for weeks on end then go a week with only feeding to sleep a couple of nights, etc. He did go through a long phase of not feeding to sleep about a year ago and I probably could have pushed to drop it if I had wanted to but I think he got poorley and I was happy to feed to sleep so started again. I prefer it when he does feed to sleep as he's spark out in 2 mins, when he doesn't want to feed, he messes about, singing, talking, etc!
This is good.

GirlInTheGreenhouse Tue 07-Mar-17 21:54:17

That's a really useful thread, thank you.

I'm not in a rush to stop it while it works but I'd just like to think I will eventually be able to go out of an evening again without having to wait until after bedtime! Although I do suspect if I wasn't here for any reason that DH could get her to sleep. He can certainly settle her in the night much better than I can as she wants boob as soon as she sees me!

Nottalotta Wed 08-Mar-17 05:43:03

Ds dropped his bedtime freed with encouragement. Feeding to sleep stopped working so I needed an alternative as he'd never gone off to sleep on his own. I started offering a sippy of milk at bedtime, still bf, but he'd alternate between the two. Within a couple of weeks he just went for the cup not the boob. I started putting him in the cot awake and did gradual withdrawal.

His last feed to go was the early morning one. He used to wake 4.30 every day and bf in bed sometimes got him back to sleep or at least gave me a bit longer to lay down.

CheersBigEars1 Wed 08-Mar-17 09:14:31

We were in a the same pattern of feeding until a couple of months ago and have now stopped. I am pregnant again so was ready to stop (DS is 19 months) but I think he self weaned and there was certainly no crying or upsets. Morning feed was the first to go, too keen to get up to bother with feeding. Then it was the before bed feed, like previous poster said feeding to sleep stopped working so daddy took over for a while and barring a few occasions he never asked again. We kept up with the pre nap feed for a while but then that stopped working too. Naps went a bit haywire for a while (probably 3 weeks) but now DS will nod off beside me on the couch when he needs to. He's never asked for a feed and been refused which I feel good about so it was much easier and smoother than I imagined!

Nottalotta Wed 08-Mar-17 12:26:43

Agree it's much nicer if you can not refuse. Ds slept through one night and I took that as a sign that he was ready to night wean. Instead of getting bed and feeding, I just cuddled instead, and it worked. No crying, no asking to be fed. The right timing helps a lot! Ds actually dropped his last feed at 18 months, a week before I gave birth to ds2. He sees me feed ds2 and though he looks and watches, he doesn't ask. I actually offeredonce when he was very upset and a but poorly. He just laid his cheek on my boob and looked happy.

savagehk Wed 08-Mar-17 12:31:14

Last feed before bed was the last one for us, it lasted until just shy of 2.5 years. It gradually faded away as daddy did some of the night-time routine (and obviously didn't have the necessary equipment!). No tears or complaints, I think he just forgot (fairly rapidly!)

littlewoodentrike Wed 08-Mar-17 12:40:35

I'm guessing from your last update that you have never tried leaving her with DH at bedtime, to see how they get on? My DS (almost 2) feeds in exactly the same routine as your DD, and wouldn't go to bed without being fed if I was here, but I have had the odd night out and my DH has always managed. Sometimes he has played up, other times he's gone to bed really easily. He is often now still awake at the end of his feed and goes to bed awake, with no problems, so I think your DD will get there soon.

glitterglitters Tue 14-Mar-17 11:05:58

My dd self weaned at about your dc's age. I was pregnant which I think affected the taste of my milk. The final feed to go was the bedtime feed and even now I still climb in her bed for a cuddle to sleep. TBH I think that's more for me though 🙊

glitterglitters Tue 14-Mar-17 11:05:58

My dd self weaned at about your dc's age. I was pregnant which I think affected the taste of my milk. The final feed to go was the bedtime feed and even now I still climb in her bed for a cuddle to sleep. TBH I think that's more for me though 🙊

BertieBotts Tue 14-Mar-17 11:10:47

Yes last before bed was the last one to go. DS was four. At the end he wouldn't ask for it every night and when he did he'd suck for a couple of seconds then pull off - that went on for weeks and I didn't feel like i even had any milk left.

I went out in the evening from when he was about 1 or 2 with no issues smile

sherazade Thu 16-Mar-17 12:38:14

@GirlInTheGreenhouse you might find it won't be long now - dd was a hugely different feeder at 18 months . 20 months and 2 years when she self weaned in her second birthday despite being fed to sleep at 18 months .
I might weaned her at 20 months by saying no gently , shushing and patting her till she stopped waking up for it - took around 3 nights and no crying.
She then was allowed to feed whenever she asked for it during the day but this just tapered off by itself .

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