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Thread: night weaning question

  1. #1

    Question night weaning question

    For many reasons, I have decided that I need to night wean my 3.5 year old in the next few months. She is very resistant to the idea. When I even mention that sometime she won't be able to nurse at night, she almost starts to cry. If I didn't have serious health problems impacted by my lack of sleep, I would have no problem continuing, but I do.

    My question is whether in this case it might make sense for me to go away for a couple of nights and leave her with DH. I have a feeling that if she knows I'm not home that's she'll accept comfort from him fairly easily. But if I'm home, she'll scream her head off.

    Then there's the question of what happens when I come home. Is it possible that she'll continue to accept DH? That would be great!

    The other thing is that I've been cosleeping with her in her room since she was 10 months. I think it's probably better to transfer all night time needs to DH for a while and he can sleep with her. Does this seem like it would make the transition easier?

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: night weaning question

    HI Isabellesmama, I think that sounds like a good plan to try. In our case, one key was to find what language 'worked' for my son. For example, I told him '(Nursing word) goes to sleep when we do. You can nurse at bedtime and again when the sun comes up.' Basically I focused on what he could do, not what he could not do, which upset him.

    I also suggest the book The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Pre-schoolers by Elizabeth Pantley.

    Long ago I wrote down our nightweaning/move to own bed story because so many moms asked me how I did it. You may find ideas in it for you? -It's long.


    When my oldest child was 3 and a half, I found it too much to have both him and his then-8 months old baby brother in the bed. We transitioned my older son to his own bed and he began sleeping through the night on his own. This is just what worked for us because once we had two in the bed it got to be too much, not due to nursing but due to them waking each other up too much.

    Here is how we did that:

    First, I stopped nursing my son to sleep. or rather, he stopped nursing To sleep and we needed a different routine. I nursed him at bedtime, but my husband took the rest of the bedtime routine while I cared for baby.

    We worked hard on setting the stage for sleep, starting right after dinner. After dinner, we had no electronics on, and especially no screens.-no TV, no computer games, no radio. Nothing stimulating. I even tried to limit roughhousing with Daddy and really active play, or just tried to have that done as early as possible. We kept lights low. My son would have a bath, but sometimes I actually did that before dinner as I thought it was too stimulating for him sometimes.

    We got my son into his PJ's, brushed teeth. Then we read to him or told him stories, then I would nurse him, then my husband would take him into his room and sing to him, rock him, or tell him a quiet story until he fell asleep. We tried to keep the routine similar from night to night. If he woke up during the night, I would usually let him come back into the bed and sometimes not. It depended why he wanted to. If he was scared, like from a bad dream, or if it was close to morning, or If neither my husband or I just could be bothered to get him back into bed, he stayed. But often he had just woken up to pee and just needed to be led back to bed again.

    A big breakthrough that led to my son accepting going to his own room at night for me was figuring out how to get him to sleep without nursing for his nap. Previously we had co-slept for naps but I was finding he would not sleep well with the baby and me there-and he definitely still needed a nap-as did I!! I put very dark curtains in his room, we use them at night too, and bought a cheap noise machine from Babies R Us. It was $25.00 and the boys have it in their room to this day & use it at night. I put it on rain. This hushes out the ambient street noise (or us watching TV at night) I have found fans also help with this. Any white noise source can really help. Some moms I know use quiet music.

    We also made his bed a more awesome place-all it took was a Thomas the Train pillowcase.

    At nap time, we would nurse. Then I told my son he needed to "lie down for quiet time." He screamed if I said "nap" or "sleep" so I did not say that. I assured him I was right outside but that it was quiet time. Then I went out and closed the door. The first day he wimpered for about 5 minutes, which is the closest I ever came to having one of my kids cry it out. Then he was out (asleep) for the next hour at least. I never had much of a problem with naps after that.

    I think once he figured out he could sleep alone during the day, that helped him feel more secure about doing so at night. By this time I also was limiting his nursing sessions to morning (wakeup), naptime, & bedtime, with 'as needed' sessions for owies, frights, and hurt feelings.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; September 2nd, 2013 at 11:24 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: night weaning question

    Thanks, Meg. It's great to hear what has worked for other people. That makes sense about his learning to fall asleep on his own for naps first. Napping for us is problematic. DD won't fall asleep for me until 4 or so, and then she's up until 10:30 - 11 (but she falls asleep at day care two days a week at noon without a problem.) So I've been discouraging naps.

    I like Pantley's books...I have at least 3 of them!

    You say in your story that your son stopped nursing to sleep. So you mean that he lost interest on his own?

    Thanks again!

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