I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who was at her wit’s end with her one-year-old nursing. This is her third child and in her mind her last child. She believed that she “HAD” to wean him. She needed the sleep. She was moving and had to take care of the move plus her two older children. She felt that her sleep deprivation was because of her nursing at night. She was determined to sleep train her youngest. She had done this in the past but went to visit family and to deter him from crying, fell back into the same routine of nursing at night.
She dreaded the training. She felt that having him cry was just heartbreaking. So I asked her, why not just co-sleep without nursing? She loves to cuddle with her children. She loved to have her one-year-old beside her, it was just the nursing. I pointed out that the nursing was his comfort. His way of settling down. If she took the nursing away but slept with him, she could teach him to settle himself in other ways. Weaning is a delicate balance. Nursing/Breastfeeding is not just for nutrition but for bonding and comfort. The hardest for most moms is to find that a replacement for something that started from day one of their relationship with their child.
Co-sleeping, like breastfeeding, is a choice and it is not for everyone. But for those in this situation I point out that weaning and sleeping by yourself (your child) are two separate “battles”. You won’t win either if you fight them both at once. I have the parents/moms pick which one is most important. Then go from there.
It takes longer but like most things in life there is not quick fix without some serious emotional struggles.