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Thread: Night weaning 8m old

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Default Night weaning 8m old

    I need some advice. Some nights my 8m wakes every two hours. Some nights he sleeps a 5 or 6 he stretch then a 3 or 4 hour stretch. Some nights in between. No routine. Always varies. And his naps arent regular. And he is nursing less during the day in general I feel like. I offer him 1 to 2 table food meals a day (blw).

    So I don't wanna wean all together. And he goes down to sleep super easy. We have a good night time routine. But the waking middle of the night thing is getting me. I'm okay with one even two but I feel like more than that he should be eating more during the day instead.

    How do I night wean? I've read to "cut out one feeding at a time". Which is great advice for a scheduled bottle fed baby but not for nursing. Idk what I'm doing. I'm sure there's gonna be some crying. I really feel like if he was more regular at night hed be more regular during the day. And I do think routines are important.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Night weaning 8m old

    I laugh when people say that to wean you "cut one feeding at a time." Ha! If only it were that simple!
    There are many ways to approach weaning, or rather, partial weaning. That is what night weaning amounts to- a partial weaning. The problem with night weaning is that to do it, you have to do the same things you would do for any other time weaning- do not offer, avoid taking nursing related "positions", delay, distract, substitute and shorten. These are proven and effective means of gradually weaning and reducing milk production safely and without undue trauma and upset. The problem is, these strategies tend to be much, much harder to do in the middle of the night when you are trying to sleep, than during the day! If you want to night wean, it is going to be much easier if you have a parenting partner or some other help for comforting and soothing your child overnight.

    A concern particular to this age, just to be aware of, is this is prime time for nursing strikes. Weaning attempts at this age in particular seem to trigger strikes in some babies.

    I would also suggest that night waking/nursing at this age is only partially triggered by hunger and thirst. That is certainly part of it, and why the substitution strategy (offering food and water) may help even for night weaning.

    But lots of what is going on at this age is that sleep patterns are changing. Every human starts out sleeping about 80% of the day, and ends up sleeping about 33% of the day. What is less clearly understood is how and when people get from one to the other, especially as a person moves from baby patterns (sleep stretches extremely frequent but very short) to older child patterns (much less frequent, but longer.) The problem is, this progression is NOT a linear "child sleeps longer and longer at night and more regularly and more regularly naps.) Rather it is common to see more nightime wakefulness and erratic napping for several months, sometimes even right through late baby hood and toddlerhood, as the child requires less and less sleep overall, but is not yet consolidating sleep. At the same time, the maturity required for a person get back to sleep after waking is not yet there, so the child requires being comforted back to sleep.

    This is why a baby in later babyhood and toddlerhood will often be said to be "sleeping like a newborn." But in fact, they are sleeping much less than a newborn (as is normal) yet are not able to consolidate sleep yet, leading to frequent waking, and in the case of a breastfed child, frequent nursing even overnight.

    The two books I think have the most reliable info on weaning strategies and the weaning process is How Weaning Happens and The Nursing Mothers Guide to Weaning.

    In particular for night weaning, the book The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley is probably your best bet. Now, I have to caution about that one, because moms on here have said that this book is a 'sleep training' book, and recently one person said that the book says "parents are doing a disservice to their children if they do not get them sleeping X amount by X time," and other things that would not be consistent with LLL philosophy nor the science of sleep.

    Now, I would never recommend a book that said such things. In my opinion, it doesn't. So then I have to wonder why some moms get that impression when they read it! And I think it may be because they are used to "by the book" type sleep training manuals, where everything in them is a "rule" that must be followed precisely (or else!) rather than a suggestion based on what has worked for other parents, that may be tried, or not, as you wish!

    I think that it is important to read Pantley's introductions and explanations of method of research and purpose of her book so you understand that it is not nor is it trying to be a dictatorial "you must do this or else" type sleep training book, and that you can take what works for you from it and leave the rest.

    Another truly excellent book about sleep is Sweet Sleep from LLL. Since it is based so firmly on the known science of sleep, and is also by far the most up to date sleep book (being originally published just three years ago- July of 2014) I would only recommend that book in most cases. But when a mom specifically wants to move weaning (or night weaning) along, it may not give as many suggestions for approaching that as the others I have listed. -Although it certainly does give some and offers good sleep lengthening ideas with or without focusing on weaning.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; May 20th, 2017 at 11:49 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Default Re: Night weaning 8m old

    Wow this is so much great and non judgemental information. Thank you SO much. It's so hard to get any help cause very one thinks you shouldn't or they just let their babies cio. I will look into the books you suggested. I really really appreciate your thorough response. Thank you

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