For the past twenty-two months I have been waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to nurse Baby (Yep, still nursing her). One night I looked at the clock every time I woke up, just so I could have an estimate of how often she was nursing. Any guesses on how often? Every TWO hours. And people wonder why I am tired. Not kidding, my child woke up every two hours wanting to nurse and be comforted. I stopped looking at the clock after that one night. It was too depressing.
Anyway, being a teacher, I get extended vacations (it's ok, you can be jealous). This year my district decided to give us three weeks off for winter break. Since Baby is almost two, and I was really wanting to start sleeping again, I made the big decision to start weaning her at night. I would still nurse her before bed and in the morning, but no more in the middle of the night.
The first night was actually easier than I thought. She woke up a bazillion times, and each time I
told her she would have to wait until morning. She was ok with that (meaning no screaming) and went back to sleep. I thought, "This is easier than I thought it was going to be."
The next nights she woke up a bazillion times and would scream each time I refused to nurse her. Like huge, I'm-dying, screams. I just held her and rocked her until she went back to sleep. Husband says that's how she cries when I am not at home and he is with her. It was awful. She sobbed and cried so much she hyperventilated. Thus, I started offering her water instead of me. After screaming for extended periods of time, she started accepting the water. I had found a replacement for me, I hoped.
Anyway, after a few weeks she still woke up practically every two hours, but was satisfied with water and would then go back to sleep. Shortly thereafter she was sleeping longer stretches during the night, and I felt a little more energized during the days.
She would still wake up around 4 AM, asking for "Mama," but I made her wait until at least 5:30 before she could have her morning "Mama." I would check my phone and tell her it wasn't 5:30 yet. This started a period of time where she would wake up in the middle of the night and yell at me that it was 5:30 and she could have "Mama." I would tell her, "No, it's not time for Mama now." and she would cry and try to convince me that indeed it was 5:30. "Mommy, it 5:30! It 5:30!"
She knew that I checked my phone when she woke up, to see if it was time, so then she started waking up and telling me to check my phone. Thus, we went through a series of, "Mommy, check da pone! Check da pone! It 5:30! Mama now!"
It's really hard to convince her otherwise. However, I stuck to it and didn't let her heart-wrenching cries break me down.
I know there is probably some other method out there where I didn't have to hear my child scream and sob like she was dying, but I don't think anything else would have worked for us. I don't believe she needed it for the nutrition value and wasn't worried I was depriving her of nourishment. I felt awful going through it, but once I started I couldn't stop, or it would only be that much worse when we tried again.