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Thread: Dr Jay Gordon sleep method - did it work for you?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Dr Jay Gordon sleep method - did it work for you?

    Have you tried Dr Jay Gordon's method to get a toddler to sleep longer? I'm trying it but boy, our first night was tough. I feel unsure if it is going to work and I'm wondering if I should leave it for later.

    My daughter is 18 mo and still wakes 7 times/night, sometimes more.

    Yesterday I started Jay Gordon's method. Since she still pees in the potty once during the night, I didn't go for the full 7 hours of sleep but just 5 hours, from 11 PM to 4 AM. In the first night of this method you still nurse the toddler when she wakes, but not all the way back to sleep.

    Well she went to bed late, around 11, and woke for the first time at 2:40. When she was almost back to sleep I removed my nipple from her mouth and she started fussing and asking for "na-na". I tried to calm her with back rub and whispered to go to sleep (she understands the word sleep) but she just cried harder for "na na". It escalated into screaming, and she was not going back to sleep just fighting me as I tried to walk around with her, bounce her, rock her, all she did was scream and try to get under my shirt. By 4:00 AM she had stopped the full-on screaming but was awake and crying intermittently. We listened to some quiet music, she was still asking for na-na and crying....finally at 5:00 AM she fell asleep lying on the bed while I rubbed her back. So it took 2 h 20 min.

    So now of course we were beyond our 4 AM time period. She woke up two or three more times to nurse, and I nursed her all the way back to sleep. We both slept in until 11:00 AM.

    So now, it's 12:50, a time she'd normally be napping, and she's up playing with her gramma, although she is a bit cranky. I'm really tired and my head feels about to explode, even though I did get quite a bit of sleep if you add it all up.

    Is it supposed to be this hard? Have I picked the wrong time to do this? Should I have woken her at her normal time in the morning (which I will have to do tomorrow as we have plans in the morning)? Should I push through a few more nights of this? I don't think she is having teething pain at the moment, but then sometimes its hard to tell.

    Did you have success with this method?

    I did not really feel bad about denying her the na-nas last night while she was screaming, after all they are my na-nas, and I can decide who gets to suck on them and when. But to go on for more than an hour!!! She's never cried that long before, ever, and I just couldn't seem to calm her.

    I know some people get their husbands involved - that is not an option for me. We will end up divorced if I try to get him to do this. Also, there have been a few other occasions I refused to let her nurse and my husband was also unable to calm her. He would just undermine my decision bringing her to me saying "she's choking!" as if it's my fault she cries so hard she gags because she wants na-na.

    I hope one of you ladies might be able to give me some perspective. Should I keep trying this method? Will it really work?

    Background - Why I want to reduce night nursings: Last week I had horrible flu, conjunctivitis and coughing and I was only getting about 2-3 h of sleep per night, because if I eventually did get to sleep DD would just wake me to nurse and I couldn't get back to sleep again. It mutated into some kind of insomnia and we were supposed to fly home from my parents' house on Sunday, very stressful, long story short we postponed our travel for two weeks, but I am determined to resolve our night-wakings before July because this is just not tenable for me in the long-term any more. In July we will start extended camping trips for work, and nursing at night really keeps me up in the tent. Last year it was horrible but I didn't have the stamina to deal with the night-wakings at that time and I felt my daughter was still very young. I am ready to reduce the night-wakings and I guess this is a good time for me as I don't have a strict work schedule or major deadlines at the moment. Is it the wrong time for my daughter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Dr Jay Gordon sleep method - did it work for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*pteroglossus View Post
    I did not really feel bad about denying her the na-nas last night while she was screaming, after all they are my na-nas, and I can decide who gets to suck on them and when.
    EXACTLY!!! At this age, it is okay to set limits on when your LO gets access to the na-nas. If she throws a tantrum over the limit, that is not a sign that you need to give in. It's a sign that your toddler is pulling out all the stops in her effort to get you to do what she wants. If she was throwing a fit because she wanted a cookie, would you feel like you were being a bad mommy by denying her that cookie? No!

    The thing about nightweaning a toddler, particularly one who is strong-willed, is that it's not going to be instantaneously successful nor is it going to be drama-free. You should expect some battles over the na-nas. When I nightweaned my first daughter, at age 2, I moved into her room for a few weeks. She would wake up and start demanding "pupple", and I would lie there telling her "no, shhh, sleep-time, we'll nurse when the sun is up," etc. During that period, I got even less sleep than I had been getting, and of course nap-times and wake-up times were a mess because of the epic wake-ups in the night.

    Only you can judge whether or not your toddler is REALLY ready to be nightweaned. If you decide to back-track and try again at a later date, that's okay. But I don't think you need to second guess your decision, if you decide to push ahead.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: Dr Jay Gordon sleep method - did it work for you?

    It worked for me when my daughter was about 19 mos old. I didn't stick to his time frame though, we did it over the course of about a month and a half to two months. Don't feel like you have to be absolutely strict about following 'the plan.' Be flexible and make it work for you and your family. It's the basic concept that gives you a good starting place (IMO). You're definitely going to have some tears and drama. For me it helped to make the decision ahead of time that I wasn't going to give in to fussing. The only times I backtracked were I think twice when she was sick I went ahead and let her nurse.

    All that said, keep in mind that if your LO is teething, especially molars (you may be dealing with two year molars), it is probably not a good time to try and night wean. I'm not saying it won't work, just saying it's going to be more difficult than it might otherwise be if you were trying to do it when she isn't dealing with the pain and frequent wakings that molar teething seems to cause. I didn't start until my daughter was done getting her molars and I really think that made it easier for us.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Dr Jay Gordon sleep method - did it work for you?

    I successfully night-weaned my daughter using Dr Jay Gordon's method, though I went more slowly at first. I started when she was around 16.5 months and we were more or less done when she turned 18 months. She was waking up x3 nightly, sometimes more. First I moved her to her own sleeping surface: twin mattress on the floor next to our bed. Then I got her to fall asleep not nursing (nurse, unlatch her while she was still fully awake, then sing/talk/pat until she fell asleep, but nurse like I always did at night. To my surprise she dropped her first night feed with minimal fuss. Then we moved on to the second one, and it was rough, temper tantrum screaming, the whole deal, but I was just so tired that I stood my ground. The first night she screamed on and off for about 2 hours. Then took another hour to fall back asleep. Second night it was under 30 minutes and third night it was just some whining. The last night nursing (early am) nursing went away by itself after the big 2 am battle.

    She occasionally wakes up upset in the middle of the night, but that's usually because something is bothering her: too hot, too cold, teething. She doesn't even ask to nurse anymore, so I consider it a successful night-weaning at this point.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Dr Jay Gordon sleep method - did it work for you?

    No book worked for me. Both my kids were entirely different.

    With my daughter, me being present with her at night was basically teasing her. She would have been happy to nurse in her sleep all night until she was at least 3 years old. When night weaning her at age two, I finally realized it was better for me to stay away and let dad be there for her if she needed anything. She didn't want daddy. She sent him away. But he was there for her and she knew it, so if she needed water or a tissue or whatever, he could get it for her. But mostly she cried for mom. But a lot less than she cried when I tried to sooth her back to sleep without nursing her. I attempted gentle night weaning using various methods from No Cry Sleep Solution, Jay Gordon, etc. every couple months for probably a year before successfully night weaning her. Doing it that way was awful and I always gave up after 1-3 days. Trying to hold her or rub her back at 3am when she wanted to suck on me ticked her off so badly, she'd gag and choke from crying so hard. CIO would have been less traumatic, really. Which is basically what we did at 2, except that she knew daddy was available. My daughter slept through after night weaning... for a whole two weeks. Then she went back to waking once or twice a night for another year, but settled for cuddles. She eventually stayed quiet in her own bed all night alone, but there was this whole "Big Girl Fairy" thing we did and was a bit of a process. She's nine now, and she kisses me goodnight, goes upstairs to pick out tomorrow's clothes, changes into pajamas, sets her alarm clock, reads a chapter of a book, turns out the light, sleeps all night, and now I'm often the one waking HER up in the morning. And if SHE can get to that point, anyone's kid can.

    With my son, I can just cuddle him and say not until the sun comes up. He expressed his disappointment with that - rather loudly a couple times- but got over it when I told him his choices were; mom can cuddle him back to sleep, or mom can go sleep somewhere else. He chose a cuddle. And now he always looks out the window before even asking to nurse. Most nights he still wakes at night and calls me in for cuddles, but I think once he's been night weaned long enough that will fade away. If not, we'll work out something with him. "Big Boy Fairies?" I night weaned him a little later than his sister, but he was also 2.

    With both kids, the successful night weaning was established in two nights. By the third night, the kids acted like they'd never nursed at night. It took me longer to learn to sleep through without my nightly doses of calming breastfeeding hormones. It's a little frustrating when the kid finally stops waking so much but you still find yourself awake at the usual times. But eventually my sleep cycles adjust as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Re: Dr Jay Gordon sleep method - did it work for you?

    Hi everyone,

    We made it through the 6 days of Dr Jay Gordon method and the only major tantrum was on the first night. Later there was some fussing and crying but almost half-hearted. She would not let me comfort her in other ways when crying and would just push my hand away when I tried to rub her back. But she learned to go back to sleep on her own, sometimes coming over and cuddling up to me right before she did. There were also some nights she woke up and wanted to have a toddler party at 3, 4, or 5 AM. Sigh. But, last night was Night 7 and she slept from 10 PM until 5 AM without asking for milk (even though my time frame was actually just 11 to 4), and then nursed every hour until 8 AM when she woke. So not bad. I was pretty happy to have such a long chunk of sleep from 10-5 - the longest she has gone ever I think. Let's hope it continues this way. Tomorrow we're on a plane all night so I'll just let her nurse if she wants to, hopefully that won't derail the whole process! Thanks for all your advice and it really helped me to stick with it after the first tough night. If we are derailed I will try it again. A friend of mine told me that her toddler nursed every hour or two all night until he was finally weaned at 2.5, and I just cannot face another year of that. I think this was a good time to do Gordon method for us.

    I also think it really helped to make the book that Mommal suggested to another mom. DD pays very close attention when we are reading the book, and seems to understand that now she's a big girl who can run and play, so at night time we all go to sleep, na-nas too. It's like the book tells her what we expect of her, so then she can do it.

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