When you do decide to night wean, you lose the breast-feeding hormones overnight. These hormones are Prolactin and Oxytocin.
Prolactin is produced as you breastfeed, its production also brings a feeling of well-being, calmness and relation, (helping you get back to sleep after a night feed). You won’t have this hormone present when you try to get back to sleep after re-settling during night weaning.
Oxytocin is also released as you breastfeed day and night, and it is a hormone commonly referred to as the love hormone, the decrease in both the prolactin and oxytocin when you drop night feeds can negatively impact your mood for a few days or a week as your body adjusts.
Some mothers feel quite tearful, or struggle emotionally with this decrease in hormones, which in turn makes them question the thoughts around night weaning. If you “cold turkey”cut all night feeds, you will likely notice this change more than if you gradually cut the feeds down over a few days.
Dropping night feeds can also mean encouraging your baby to re-settle themselves if they have previously been relying on your breast or bottle to get back to sleep. This can be stressful or at the least difficult, especially at 1am when you are exhausted and just want to get back to sleep ASAP! This is why it is so important to be committed and completely ready to night wean when you decide to start.
Some other mums won’t feel ready to night wean even though their baby is “ready”, as they are back at work, and the night feeding allows them to continue that quiet bonding time. This is 100% ok and you will know when YOU are ready to drop those night feeds.