Sorry for the long thread! I've a few questions but want to explain first how we got where we are.
We decided to nightwean our all night nurser at about 14 months. We were using Jay Gordon's method as a guide, and decided that LO wouldn't get fed between 11:00 and 6:00 am. After the first night we saw an improvement, and quite quickly he was starting to spend from bedtime (about 9:30pm) to 5:00 am without feeding, which was GREAT. He'd start the night in his crib and come into bed with us when he'd first wake, accepting comfort from my husband instead of me. But when he woke at 5:00 he'd be really restless and would cry, and generally none of us got sleep until the 6:00 feed. So we figured that as he wasn't feeding from about 9:30 every night, we should probably move his first morning feed forward to 5:00. At that point, things deteriorated quickly! He basically started to wake earlier and earlier each night and would be inconsolable. We'd hold out until 5:00 and feed him then, but I think this only exacerbated things because from his perspective, he cried for a long time, and we fed him, thus leading him to think that crying = feeding.
Last week we regrouped and started again, but this time decided that as LO doesn't have a clock and can't tell the difference between 6:00 and 4:00, ie all he knows is that he wakes and at some point, after a certain amount of crying, he gets fed, we should just try to not feed him at night at all. That way, hopefully, he'd understand that nighttime was for sleeping! We set an alarm for 7:30 and when that goes off, we open the curtains, say 'good morning!' and he gets his first feed.
We've had a lot of progress since we started this on Thursday night. Basically, he's back to sleeping without feeding until after 5:00 - yay! BUT from the time he wakes up after 5:00, he's restless and cries until 7:30, which just leads me to think that he's genuinely hungry and can't get back to sleep because of it.
So, to get to my questions:
1) Is it reasonable to expect a 15-month-old to sleep from 9:30pm to 7:30am without feeding?
2) I've heard of the concept of 'dream-feeding' but don't really understand how it works or when I would do it? Might it be a solution to get him through until wake-up time in the mornings?
Any other ideas are very welcome!