Weaning and stop co-sleeping: what to do first?

Weaning and stop co-sleeping: what to do first?

If you want to stop breastfeeding at night, you might wonder if by doing so, you will also end co-sleeping at the same time. Every family is different, and both can happen: some families want to wean and stop breastfeeding during the night but don’t want to stop co-sleeping with their children, and some want their children to sleep in their own room as well.

Is it possible to wean at night and continue to breastfeed? And if I want to stop breastfeeding and put the child to sleep in his or her own room, how can I achieve that?

Let’s take a look at the first option, families who want to sleep a little longer at night and not breastfeed but don’t feel like stopping to co-sleep. Firstly, it is possible to achieve this; but you just have to know how to do this.

You can achieve weaning during the night with the “father/partner method,” which is the practice of weaning where the partner takes care of the baby or child during the night, and the mother disappears for a few days until the child begins to fall asleep without feeding at the breast. Once the baby sleeps without asking for the breast and knows how to fall asleep quickly, the mother returns to the family room. Usually, the baby asks for the breast again when the mother comes back to the family bed. But we can consider this normal within their logic: “If mommy is here and she’s back for the night, then she can breastfeed me.” Therefore, it is more than likely that there will be a certain setback in what has been achieved so far.

The child will wake up, ask for the breast, and be more or less insistent. Here it is important to stay by the baby’s side in their frustration, to remind them that there is no more breast at night, and to try to get them to fall asleep again, which they already know how to do by then. The first few days can be a bit stressful, but since the child has already learned how to fall asleep without suckling at the breast, in a few days, the pattern of sleeping without asking for the breast will be established again easily.

On the other hand, there are families who want to do both: weaning from the breast at night and stopping co-sleeping. So how do you do this? Should you take advantage and do it all at once? It might seem like a good idea, but it tends to complicate both processes. Here’s why:

When you carry out adult-led weaning, in most cases, the child is going to make it difficult because they do not want to stop breastfeeding. Therefore, there will be resistance to change, and weaning from the breast is already a complex enough process to add to it. Just as trying to wean from the breast is not recommended to happen together with other milestones such as getting potty-trained and leaving the diaper or starting kindergarten, moving house, being on vacation in a house that the child does not know and so on, it is not recommended to do two of those things at the same time.

Weaning should be done in the bed in which the child is used to sleep, whether it is the family bed, a side-sleeper bed, a co-sleeping crib, or so on. Once one milestone is achieved, we will try to go for the next one, which will not be easy either.

Whenever possible, the child needs to be involved in this change: they can help you to decorate the room (which, if they have been co-sleeping for a long time, may have become the junk room), you can make a big thing out of the fact that they will be sleeping in one room with another sibling, encourage them to take decisions about where to place their toys or books. By involving them, the change of room will be more attractive to them. And remember that it is likely that even if your child agrees to sleep in another room, they will still look for you at night and sneak back into your bed for some nights.

Maybe this article on weaning without the help of a partner could also be useful for you. If you need more help with weaning and stopping breastfeeding; there is more information in our LactApp app, free to download for iPhone and Android.

2 thoughts on “Weaning and stop co-sleeping: what to do first?

  1. Do you have recommendations for someone who wants to wean and stop breastfeeding during the night but doesn’t want to stop co-sleeping with their children and does not have a partner to help?

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