This has been one of those topics that I’ve been avoiding to update for a while. Since E was born she was always breastfed. Only when I went back to work did she have expressed breast milk from a cup. Now she has a mix of breastmilk and cows milk. We were lucky to be able to skip her using a bottle and went straight to a cup which she took to quite easily.
now that she’s 16 months old, we’ve been wanting to wean her off breastfeeding completely as she’s been starting to comfort suck at night. Teeth and comfort sucking do not go together! The hubby works mornings so trying to find the time to have her cry it out or trying other forms of sleep training was never convenient.
Over Christmas and New Year we’re abroad on our family holiday. The only time we both don’t have work the next day. So, going against all advise forums/blogs/books/professionals we decided to go cold turkey and stop breastfeeding/comfort sucking while on holiday. 😬
Our first night in Hong Kong was when we decided this was going to happen. We hadn’t spoken about it, we just decided tonight is the night. She cried for 45 minutes, eventually learning how to scream with frustration. We cuddled her, sang songs and even ignored her and pretended to sleep. Finally she realised it was not happening for her. So she laid her head down and dozed off asleep in between us. Both me and the hubby were jumping with joy inside, but on the outside we didn’t speak and just went to bed.
4 hours later (like clock work) she was awake and wanting to comfort suck again. I didn’t let her. Both me and hubby pretended to be asleep. We hadn’t talked about any strategy but we were both on the same page. She cried for a further 20 minutes, cuddling and giving kisses, then eventually back to sleep again.
Another 4 hours later, she was up again looking for comfort with my breasts. Again we didn’t react to her crying and let her wriggle and cry until 10 minutes later she was asleep again.
The 2nd night in Hong Kong there was no turning back. We’d gotten that far we had to keep going. During the day she was drinking cows milk. For her daytime naps she was wanting to comfort suck but we distracted her with relatives and kept her at a distance from me.
As bedtime drew closer, me and the hubby at this point were shattered, she started again with her pulling and tugging at my top. This time trying for a mere 20 minutes before dosing off. 4 hours later, she tried again for 10 minutes. And another 4 hours after that, she repeated her 10 minute cry.
Our 3rd day in Hong Kong felt like the most tiring day of all. Me and the hubby were zombies and really irritated throughout the day. But we both knew, it would be worth it and we would one day get our sleep back. Tonight, she didn’t cry at all!!!!!! She cuddled and listened to nursery rhymes and within 15 minutes she was asleep! HOORAH!! We did it! We couldn’t believe it. She was sleeping with no cries, no pulling at my top, no tantrum! She must’ve been tired herself from previous nights of frustration and touring during the day. That night she didn’t wake up for 6 hours!!! When she did, she cuddled and fell back to sleep again. I woke up 4 hours after she’d fallen asleep not having broken my own routine yet, waiting for her to wake up LOL.
Now she sleeps with ease, no comfort sucking just a kiss goodnight and a cuddle. Within 10 minutes she’s out. If she wakes in the night, she sits up and sees us sleeping then she lies back down and goes to sleep. Only now in the morning when she wakes, she gives us the sign language for milk, which she then drinks sitting up, from her cup. After her milk, she goes back to sleep until she’s ready to wake up for the day.
The 3 tiring nights in Hong Kong really paid off. Jet lagged and all, we made a decision and did it. It may not have been ideal but it worked for us. It just goes to show that whatever works for us, might not work for you, but it worked for us and that’s all that matters. We finally get at least a 6 hour stretch of sleep before she wakes up for a little check on us.
Having the support of each other really helped. Without discussing it, we just knew what we had to do and it paid off in the end. Even our little E is a lot happier in the morning when she’s ready to start her day.
The emotional side of things is quite mixed on my end. I’m happy she’s able to put herself to sleep, but I’m sad that our breastfeeding bond has come to an end.