Weaning at 12 mo
Hello mamas!! :) So my ds just turned a year. He weighs 23 pounds and he is very healthy and happy. He currently nurses 3 times a day (2 naps and bedtime) and nurses maybe 4 to 5 times at night. I am so proud of myself for nursing for a year, because I had many many issues with bfing and stuck it out when almost everyone around me was telling to just go to formula....even my dr because I would constantly get thrush. I am ready and wanting to wean him completely but really want to try to make it less traumatic for both of us. We co slept until he was about 9 months. He sleeps in his crib now and when wakes up I just pick him up out of crib at night nurse him to sleep and lay him back down. He rarely ever falls asleep on his own, Im lucky if he even naps in the car. He is starting to become a terrible napper and is fussy because he will wake up to any little noise and if I dont get to him right away to nurse him back to sleep his whole sleep schedule is ruined. It also usually takes a very long time to get him to sleep. I usually have to rock and nurse him at the same time and sometimes it takes over an hour. I dont want to obsess about his naps anymore :( I dont know if I can handle any sort of CIO method, but I also understand that when weaning crying is inevitable right?? I read the no cry sleep solution and am thinking about trying that. My only question is...which should I do first? Can I do sleep training and weaning at the same time? if not, which should I do first. I would appreciate any advice or even just someone telling me about their experience weaning. THanks!!!
Re: Weaning at 12 mo
congrats on making it a year! just a couple random thoughts, nothing systematic here -
- i think weaning goes best when it's very gradual, over a period of months rather than days. if you can do that, thing's be a lot easier on baby and on you (don't forget there's a major hormone shift when you wean, in addition to needing to reduce your supply in a controlled/gradual way so you don't get plugs or mastitis)
- the sleep issues may well be totally independent of the weaning. don't expect weaning to solve the napping problem :)
- crying is not inevitable when weaning, especially if done gradually, wiht a lot of distraction & replacement.
- what's that book that LLL recommends? How Weaning Happens? I recommend it highly. it has different sections for different age babies.
- nursing condtinues to be really good for nutrition and as a parenting tool for the 2nd year, so you may find that if you're able to get the nursing down to an amount that seems reasonable to you, you will end up feeling ok about continuing. i am sure glad that i did. (i weaned ds from about 20-24 months).
Re: Weaning at 12 mo
:ita with the PP. If you're thinking that weaning will make your baby sleep better, time to let go of that expectation. You have a lot of teething, colds, and developmental milestones to get through in the next year, and that all makes sleep erratic. And since your LO is currently so difficult to get to sleep, I'm thinking that there's a strong probability that he's teething right now- maybe his canines, maybe his 1 year molars?
Is your LO still double-napping, or has he transitioned to a single nap? If he's still double napping, now might be the time to experiment with just one nap per day- it's possible that the reason your LO takes so much effort in order to nap is that he's not really sleepy when you are trying to put him down.
You can definitely try the No Cry Sleep Solution techniques while weaning, or while contuing to nurse. It's up to you.
I personally found that once I eliminated the very draining nighttime nursing sessions, daytime nursing became a lot more fun. If you keep on past one, nursing turns into your ace-in-the-hole mothering technique- it soothes tantrums, it helps with naps and bedtime, it is the best balm for a bumped head or skinned knee.
Re: Weaning at 12 mo
Kudos for making it to a year, despite your issues and pressures! That is really great.
So, if you are ready to wean your baby, you can wean gently by approaching weaning gradually and with love. But don’t wean due to anyone else telling you should! This is your choice.
Exactly how you will want to do this depends on you and your baby, and how quickly you feel you need to move things along. Some moms find that only nursing when asked, not offering –aka "Don't offer, don't refuse" is a first step.
Another is to limit the length of some nursing sessions. Another is to choose a session you want to eliminate, and eliminate it, using distraction, substitution, or other comforting measures. After several days or a couple weeks, if that is going well, choose another session to eliminate. This process can start with nighttime or daytime sessions. I think this last is what you mean by the Pantly "No Cry Sleep Solution" method? But iirc it is not a firm one size fits all method, just one suggested approach.
But I would like to point out a couple things.
While in our formula feeding society today, 12 months is late for weaning, and quite an accomplishment, biologically speaking, 12 months is a very EARLY age for total weaning. So your 12 month old not showing signs of being ready to wean is entirely normal.
All humans wake up during the night. Adults and older children (over age 4 or 5 or so) wake less frequently and less completely and so they are usually able to go back to sleep without much effort, and may even have no memory of waking
Babies and toddlers do not have the same sleep patterns as older children or adults. They wake more frequently and more completely. It is normal and biologically appropriate for them to wake several times a night, to wake more completely, AND to need help getting back to sleep.
These sleep patterns are dictated by biology. It is not about learning to sleep. It is important to give a child the opportunity to sleep, and help gentle a child to sleep. But not to try to make a child in a way that is not biologically appropriate.
Young children need to be comforted to sleep to some degree usually well into toddlerhood or even preschool years. Especially for toddlers and babies, nursing is one method that works really well for this, and there is nothing incorrect or wrong or not appropriate about nursing a child to sleep. But of course there are other things you can try. Rocking baby, laying with baby, singing or humming a song, "walking" baby down, maybe in a sling or carrier, developing a short and simple bedtime/naptime "routine", etc. to encourage a regular sleep “rhythm.” All these things and more can help gentle and comfort a child into sleep.
Naptimes in particular can be helped with darkening a room and white noise. Modern days are noisy!
How much sleep is needed, and when, changes frequently throughout a child’s life. If naps are becoming very difficult, maybe it is a reflection of a natural change occuring in the timing or length of naps needed.
Your instinct is to avoid cry it out. I suggest listen to that instinct. You have nursed this long, despite the challenges, I assume, in part to help create a very close and loving bond of trust with your baby. Sleep training works by actively eating away at that bond and that trust. That is how it works. Sleep is a natural process and no child needs to be taught to sleep. (If a child has real sleep disturbance there is a physical or psychological cause that needs to be addressed.) Sleep training goes against normal sleep biology. Sleep training is sold as being about promoting a lifetime of healthy sleep habits, but there is no proof to these claims of long term effectiveness. Sleep training is a behavior modification technique that that trains a child to stop asking for their parents at night by teaching the child their parents will not respond to their cries.
Re: Weaning at 12 mo
As a mama to a very easy sleeper (now 3 yr old) and one insanely difficult sleeper who is 8 months old, I totally sympathize!
Originally Posted by @llli*anarevalo1122
First of all, do you want to wean him because of the sleep issue? Because honestly, I don't think that would make his sleep better, I think it will make it worse, if anything. If your baby is used to nursing to sleep and since now he is a year old, I think that habit would be very difficult to break if the baby isn't ready to give it up. Especially if he doesn't already take a paci or isn't used to falling asleep some other way.
I can't tell you how many times I thought to myself, if I weren't breastfeeding my baby would sleep! After 8 months I don't believe that any more. I know moms that did formula and their babies were terrible sleepers. I honestly don't think the two are related. If your son took a pacifier, you'd have to go back in and pop the paci in if it fell out, that's what happened with my oldest. 10 times a night. In her crib.
Anyway, my baby is exactly (and I mean exactly) like yours. I have to run back in and nurse her back to sleep quite often. But, I have learned to accept it. And there is no way I have the energy for sleep training. She sleeps with me, in our floor bed. Every nap and every night. And I'm not planning for that to change within the next few years. I have my nook, I read a lot, chat with friends online while laying there, and I've learned to be happy being in this place for as long as it takes. I have 2 kids, though, so I feel like my perspective has changed from baby #1. I don't have much of a "life", but this is my life so I'm OK with that. However, I totally understand that you are sick of nursing back to sleep, it can be very draining if it's something you don't want to do. That being said, I think it might be a very painful road for both of you to wean him off nursing to sleep unless you can find some other way that he likes to go to sleep.
Also, it sounds like baby is napping when he's over tired, and that may be why every little thing wakes him up. In my experience, it's difficult to put an over tired baby to sleep and also difficult to get baby to stay asleep. My daughter is like that when she's over tired (not for my lack of trying to get her to sleep!!).