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Thread: Weaning and night waking?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Weaning and night waking?

    Hi! I've gotten some great help here before, and I'm hoping someone might be able to help me out again. Sorry for the long post, but I think it will help to have some background.

    My son is now 15 months. He was EBF until we started solids around 8 months. No bottles, no formula. We started him on sippys of cow's milk very slowly (one teaspoon at a time every three to four days) at around 10 months and at a year started giving him a sippy to have at his own disposal througout the day. He's gone from drinking maybe four ounces of cow's milk a day to about 12 to 16 ounces a day. He's become a great eater, and has consistently put on weight and grown very well (born at 50th percentile for weight/height, now at 50th and 95th, respectively). About two months ago I started weaning him during the day. Because I've always fed on demand, I went about this by breaking the day up into one or two hour periods and taking them out a week at a time. Now he's only getting BF go to sleep for bedtime, which is a short morning nap, a midday nap, and night time.

    The problem I'm having is with the nights. He goes to sleep beautifully. I nurse him, we read a book or two, then I put him in his crib, awake, give him his teddy and his blanket, and leave the room. He falls asleep on his own quite happily, and always cuddles up to his bear making happy, giggly sounds and blows me kisses as I leave the room. (I know, he's adorable, right?!?!?). BUT, then he's awake four hours later, and every two hours thereafter, wanting to be nursed back to sleep.

    This started about two weeks ago, when he took a spill out of the wagon and banged up his nose and lip. At that time, of course, I nursed him back to sleep to comfort him after having such a bad day and since he was likely in some degree of discomfort (though we did give him tylenol, of course). I just haven't had the energy to try anything along the lines of sleep training or anything else, but I'm now at the point where I need to be getting some sleep again.

    I did use the Ferber method after one year for his night wakings (never needed for putting him to bed at night), as, again, he would start waking up around midnight and want to be nursed back to sleep every two hours after that. I know the Ferber method is not popular in this form, but unfortunately, I just couldn't do the night feedings anymore. I also have a three and a half year old, and as a stay at home mom without family or anything around, the kids are with me almost 100% of the time, and I was just getting too worn out from the night wakings to be the good mom they need me to be during the day. No one wants a tired, cranky mom every day of the week. I will also say that I actually read and followed Ferber's revised book. I didn't just let my baby cry his heart out all night, which some people seem to think is what Ferber is advocating. Sorry if I sound a little defensive on that point. I do have some degree of mommy guilt about that decision. But I was also not feeling good about losing my temper with and around my kids as a result of not getting enough rest.

    So, I think his night wakings are some mix of the weaning and the fact that he's redeveloped his sleep habit of waking every two hours after midnight and wanting to be nursed back to sleep.

    I would love any advice, input or insight anyone here has to offer. I truly appreciate anyone taking the time to help me out. Momma needs some shut eye!!!!
    Blessed mommy of one amazing girl and one charming boy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Weaning and night waking?

    For me, personally, the wakings sound entirely normal. And here is the reason that I personally do not like the cry it out methods - for me - because you have to do it over and over again. It seems like too much work and it would break my heart. I also have a 3.5 year old and I have a 17 month old, and my 17 month old wakes more than your 15 month old does now. Night-weaning does not magically mean no more wakings.

    Is there some reason that you don't want to do the sleep training again? I think you are spot on that it may have to do partially with weaning. Do you have a set goal in mind for weaning completely? Maybe you could add one or two more sessions back in during the day? It sounds like he may be missing his time with mama.

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Weaning and night waking?

    I understand that night wakings are difficult. I have 4 children, including a 16 month old and a 2.5 year old. I'm also 5 weeks pregnant. I would say my 16 month old nurses 3 or more times a night, we do co-sleep so it's not that bad but I have sore nipples from the pregnancy.

    Idk, it could be separation anxiety. In which case having him CIO will make it worse (not trying to make you feel guilty just saying it's logical). My kids that did not co-sleep started waking frequently between 12-18 months which is prime separation anxiety age. My son doesn't really do anything differently than he used to with regards to sleep because I sleep right beside him, but he does get very upset when left with a babysitter or at the gym day care, etc.
    Mama to five beautiful kids- 9, 8, 3, 2 and currently nursing our new baby girl born 1/20/2013

    "It should not be necessary to tell reasonably intelligent mammals to suckle and not dismember their neonates." ~Susan Blustein

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Weaning and night waking?

    Wow! I wish my DD went to sleep that easily! I agree about possible separation anxiety. As an alternative, could there be any new molars or premolars in the works? The horrible teething between 12-24 months is one big reason I'm determined to keep nursing (even at night) my toddler. My 20 month old wakes every 2 hours all night, so I'm with you on how exhausting it is.

    There is a No Cry Sleep Solution book aimed specifically at toddlers and pre-schoolers. There is a chapter on night nursing that could be helpful to you, as well as loads of other information on all aspects of young children's sleep.

    Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, whether you use a CIO method or a no-cry method. I've just resigned myself (for now) to the night waking and nursing back to sleep, because it's easier to hope that DD will grow out of it than to try to force her to change. Not helpful, I know, but you have my sympathy.

    SAHM-WAHM to lovely Lizzie, born at home 9/14/2010

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