I’ve shared some night weaning tips, my seven-day plan, and my seven-day night weaning journal this week. But, what happened after the night weaning? How did our lives change? Personally, I was very curious to see how this would change our lives. Here are some things that happened as a result of introducing a new nighttime routine….
1. Sleeping through the night. Obviously, this is one of the main reasons for night weaning, but it doesn’t always happen. I was super worried that I would take away my child’s only source of comfort/sleep aid and she’d continue to wake at night and require more work (i.e. even less sleep) because providing alternative comfort feels a lot more exhausting to me than a quick nursing session while partially asleep. But, within days we were inching very closely toward STTN and on the seventh day it happened. Hallelujah! I’m still waiting for ME to STTN, but that may never happen now that I am a mama bear.
2. My milk did not dry up. I was also worried that this would happen, and I wasn’t done with nursing. I still wanted that connection and nutritional source to be available to my child during the day. Well, after three days of some serious engorgement when I woke after a night of not nursing, my milk supply shifted. I produce more during the daytime now and Emerson seems to still be getting a sufficient amount of milk.
3. Less nighttime clinginess. While the immediate reaction to night weaning was for Emerson to cling very tightly to me, and lie on top of me with her cheek against my cheek ALL NIGHT, what happened in the weeks after night weaning is that she got better and better at self-soothing (and continues to today). She was able to finally experience that I can be there for her without nursing and she became more and more relaxed and comfortable with independent sleeping (though we do still co-sleep). It now feels possible to teach her to sleep in her own bed when I feel ready for that.
4. I am no longer on nap and bedtime duty. It felt like the world’s greatest miracle that my child could (happily) go twelve hours without nursing and STTN, but it got even better recently! All of the self-soothing practice, and realizing that she can let go of me while sleeping and everything will be okay has resulted in Emerson being able to put herself to sleep! I mean, wow. That is the best. I have spent an average of one full hour every night, and a half hour at nap time, every single day of her life just patting, nursing, singing, bouncing, and lying next to my girl hoping and praying (and sometimes cursing in my head) that she would fall asleep. She just had so much anxiety wrapped up in the whole sleeping process. Now, we nurse while reading bedtime stories, I put her in her crib (attached to our bed), talk to her a little and leave the room. My life just improved times a million.
5. I feel like my old self again. Well, a slightly different version of my old self, that is. What I mean is that my old energy level, enthusiasm for life, ability to be productive, and way I take care of myself has been restored. I am happier and feel healthier. When you are sleep-deprived you know it doesn’t feel too pleasant, but once you start to get some rest you truly realize all the areas of your life that were really affected.