So I night-weaned Lily.
She was feeding every hour or so and I was feeling utterly exhausted and so I decided that things just had to change. The weird thing is that it really wasn't a terrible experience. She did wake up a lot on the first night and she did tearfully ask for milk, but she also settled very quickly in my arms and went back to sleep once I rocked her and sang to her. What seemed to matter was that she could chose the song.
The second night was a little harder - only in that she was awake from 12:00-2:30am. She wasn't crying or upset for most of that time mind you. She was mostly trying to go to sleep, but she was finding it really difficult and kept asking me to sing "Hush Little Baby" over and over and over again. I thought that my voice was going to give out and every time she asked I kept thinking "this is the last time that I'll physically be able to sing, after that I am going to have to do something else." But the strange thing was that each and every time I found that I was able to sing and then, finally, she was able to go to sleep.
On the third night she woke at 2am and 4am. She did ask for milk, but quickly changed her mind and asked for a "mama cuddle" when I reminded her that there was "no milk until the morning". Both times she was awake for a total of about 2 minutes. She didn't need me to rock her or even sing. It was amazing.
The next few nights were pretty much the same - 2am and 4am, asked for milk, settled quickly for a cuddle and then back to sleep.
Last night was night eleven and for the last few nights she has either slept through or woken only once and gone back to sleep without anything more than a stroke of the head or a side-by-side snuggle. She isn't waking up desperate for milk in the morning either. She seems quite happy to chat about other things first and then will say (calmly) "other side" as though she is just continuing her evening feed with no interruption.
I am just so proud of her.
Sadly I must admit that I am not feeling any better for this shockingly successful process. If anything I feel worse.
I am not sure why this is. I think that part of it is because my body is using the extra sleep to tell me just how exhausted I am and to have a little bit of a collapse on me. Another part of it may be that Lily has picked up several more feeds during the day to make up for the ones that she is missing out on at night (AKA she is feeding constantly) and so I am feel quite drained and a little suffocated. For this part I found this Kellymom article quite helpful. I also just ordered myself a copy of "Mothering your nursing toddler".
Now I think that I need to get a bit more creative about the snacks that I offer Lily during the day in order to encourage her to eat a little bit more food. I am going to try Dr Sear's nibble tray idea, but I may need to expand my repertoire a little.