Gentle toddler night weaning

Leah Jade on parentingUp until now, I have been happily breastfeeding my little girl full term without any restriction “on demand” as some call it. Having thought about it for a while, I recently felt ready to night “wean” and then cut back the day feeds to just nap times.

While I notice there is a really strong lean towards distractions, for many areas of parenting and mothering…I have discovered I am not drawn to this as a way of getting what I want as a mother.

I am really thrilled that last night was a few nights in, preparing my daughter for not having milk through the night. I have begun bringing a drink bottle to the room with me at night and offering it to her the last couple of nights, instead of allowing her to feed.

She was at first a little upset a few times she woke, however I kept reassuring her that she could have milk in the morning in the day time…that I was sleeping. Only a few nights in, last night, she asked for a “drink”…not milk!

I was stoked. So happy! All it took was a couple of nights, explaining to her, leading up to the night time wind down, that there was no more milk when I was sleeping. Only in the morning and for naps and in the day time.

It’s just one of so many things that I find parents lean towards “distraction”, rather than facing something head on, honestly with their children. I see it after a child injures themselves (when parent’s say, “your ok, it didn’t hurt” or “shhhh, don’t cry.”, instead of acknowledging their feelings), and often when a child “can’t have” something.

Often I will notice people distracting children from something rather than explaining respectfully what the boundaries are. I find this such a missed opportunity around helping a child understand and experience whatever emotions they naturally have around this.

It is as though people are afraid of such emotions a child might have, and have little trust in the child’s ability to feel, experience and process these emotions. The thing is, if we don’t start allowing children to have these feelings now, how will they ever learn to face them without being afraid of them?

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