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Thread: Thinking about night weaning...advice?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    256

    Default Thinking about night weaning...advice?

    DS is 19.5 months old. He has always been a "frequent waker": he's gone through long periods of waking every 45 minutes to an hour. With RARE exceptions (like ear infection, stomach virus, and random other instances), he always wants to nurse back to sleep. He'll have nights now and then where he's only up 2-3 times, but they are the rare exception, and I can count on two hands how many times that's happened since he's been born (with fingers left over). We co-sleep, and we co-nap on weekends (I work during the week). His bedtime is around 8pm, and he falls asleep around 9. We've tried an earlier bedtime, but for some reason, that seems to wind him up and then he won't go to sleep until 10.

    I work 5 days a week, and DS is in full time daycare. He nurses when I pick him up, as much as he wants at night before bed (usually another 2-3 times), then to sleep, and then at every wakeup. He also nurses first thing in the morning as he's waking up. He is a picky eater, and sometimes he won't eat dinner at all, even if we are having something that he really likes.

    We have a consistent bedtime routine: brush teeth, etc., pjs and diaper, 3 books, singing, then listening to the crib soother while nursing to sleep. I've read NCSS and we've implemented as much as we can. I try back-rubbing or shushing or cuddling or singing when he wakes, but most of the time he won't have it. I am so tired, I am considering trying night weaning, or partial night weaning. I have no idea if that would make any difference at all, but I think it might be worth a try.

    The only time we did any kind of "sleep training" was mostly an accident when I had food poisoning and DS was almost a year old. I was so sick that I couldn't sleep with DS. I slept outside the bathroom that night. DS was up every 45 minutes, like usual. DH got him back to sleep as much as he could. I ended up nursing DS at midnight and then again at 6 am because DH really thought DS needed it. After that, DS would sometimes sleep in 2 hour blocks. I have no idea if it was because of that night or if it was something else.

    I am afraid of night weaning because I am afraid that then I'll have a night weaned kid who still wakes up every hour to two hours most nights, and it will take way more work to get him back to sleep. Plus, his 2 year molars are not completely in yet, and I remember how rough the 1 year molars were. Since he's not a great eater, I wonder if he is really hungry. Usually, the 12 am and 5 am nursing sessions are long-- about 60 minutes. The other ones are usually comfort nursing and are 30 minutes or less. He will sometimes go back to sleep by himself if I unlatch him, but not always.

    DH is completely on board for this, and he knows that he will be the one handling DS at night. I know I can't be there or I will just give in because I'm so tired.

    Am I nuts to try this? If we did a couple nights and DS clearly wasn't ready, I'd go back to what we're doing now: nursing all night on demand. My original plan was to just let this go and let his sleep evolve by itself, but I need a break! I just want one 5 hr stretch a night, and it doesn't even have to be every night, but more nights than not. Is that too much to ask for at 19 months, do you think?
    First time mom to DS, born 2/21/2011.

    due with #2 6/26/2014

    Currently , .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Thinking about night weaning...advice?

    It sounds like you have somewhere else that you can sleep? And your DH is on board? My husband took over Lilah's bedtime routine at that age. She did not like it and there were tears. But after about 3 nights she was resigned to it and not long after that she started falling asleep faster than she did nursing, and she started sleeping in a 6 hour block.

    In your situation, I would split the night in half. Then you get a good solid chunk of sleep, he gets to nurse and DH gets a good solid chunk of sleep. I wouldn't worry to much about the nightweaning and still waking. If that happens, you could always un-nightwean.

    Sorry. I know it's tough. Lilah was the same way. I'm thankful that Trixie is more on the waking 2 to 5 times a night spectrum and not on the 5 to 8 times a night.
    Tracie

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Thinking about night weaning...advice?

    I do have a separate sleep space: our bedroom is on the top floor, and we have a guest room on the main level. DH is on board, too. I think splitting the night in half is a great idea. I will run it by DH and see what he thinks. At this point, I think he'd be willing to try almost anything to help me get some sleep, at least for a while. I get grumpy and crabby when I'm really tired!
    First time mom to DS, born 2/21/2011.

    due with #2 6/26/2014

    Currently , .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Thinking about night weaning...advice?

    That's tough. I haven't gotten any particular advice. Do what you need to do and go to bed earlier yourself if you can. It's OK to set limits at this age.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Thinking about night weaning...advice?

    You've got a good husband there.
    Tracie

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Thinking about night weaning...advice?

    So far, we've done a big fat nothing. DH is still willing, and he's even said that I need to be more selfish with my sleep! But we've had visitors, and now we're going on an out of town trip for the weekend. I keep thinking that, if I wait until the 2 year molars are in, it's got to get better! But I just don't know.
    First time mom to DS, born 2/21/2011.

    due with #2 6/26/2014

    Currently , .

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