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Thread: Ready to night wean

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    Default Ready to night wean

    Hi all, I am ready to night wean my 25 month old. She sleeps in a cot in her own room and I would like to take the sides off soon, I don't know whether to night wean at the same time as moving her to a bed or night wean first or what, happy for suggestions here! I do not wish to co sleep although this does happen occasionally at present. There is not enough room for a toddler bed in our room. In any case she sleeps fine in her own room and I am happy with the current arrangements. She is feeding usually once or twice in the night but occasionally more. She generally returns to sleep after a feed.

    Now. I have read methods of night weaning but they seem to involve reducing and or stopping feeding to sleep. The removal of nipple prior to becoming drowsy / falling asleep and that is fine. Except my daughter does not feed to sleep or even to being drowsy any more. She is always fully awake when I lay her in her cot and happily puts herself to sleep with no complaints. Same during the night except she may possibly be more sleepy but definitely still awake. So, how do I night wean?!

    I have thought of a gro clock type thing?? She is very averse to my OH at night and only wants me plus he would not have the patience to deal with her so I may have to do this alone! I do not want her to become distressed and would not be happy to leave her to cry.

    Any thoughts most welcome and appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Nokia, Finland
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    12

    Default Re: Ready to night wean

    I have no personal experience of succesful night weaning (my first one didn't agree it was a good idea), but if I were to try it with my second baby (1yr 5 mths), I'd re-read some of Elizabeth Pantley's books. She has very gentle approaches.

    Here's a good review if you'd like more info before getting any.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,695

    Default Re: Ready to night wean

    Usually when moms want to night wean, it is because when their child wakes at night, the child insists on nursing and will not fall back asleep any other way (or at least not without a struggle.)

    So if your child has no need to nurse to sleep, even overnight, is what you mean by night weaning is that she not nurse when she wakes up but be ok to be comforted another way? Or are you trying to find a way she would not wake overnight or would at least stay in her own bed or room? It would help to know what the goal is, also how long a stretch of not nursing and/or longer sleep you are wanting compared to what is the case now.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2015
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    Default Re: Ready to night wean

    Hi and thanks for your responses. I looked at Elizabeth Pantley but her technique seems to involve the child learning not to nurse to sleep and this is not a situation I have so it didn't seem to fit.

    My ultimate goal would be for my daughter to not need me to comfort her at night at all routinely but I acknowledge this may be some time away!! So I suppose my more immediate goal is that her comfort does not need to involve the breast and therefore could be given by someone else, namely her father. She does not need to nurse to return to sleep but her desire is to nurse when she wakes and I guess she is pretty drowsy when she finishes.

    A week or so ago I went out for the evening and returned just after midnight to a screaming daughter with a stressed out daddy, she had been awake and mostly unhappy for the best part of two hours shouting mummy and milk. Not a situation I want to repeat but I would like the occasional night out. I guess I am weaning her from mummy rather than nursing? But I have never really tried to comfort her any other way, she has always asked for milk. In case it's relevant she does not nurse a great deal in the day now, morning and before nap if we are home and before bed. She will ask very occasionally outside of this and I wouldn't normally refuse.

    As for how long a stretch, at present she has no pattern at all so sometimes she will wake just as I am going to bed, once in the middle of my sleep and that will be it (these are good nights!) others she will wake an hour or so after I've gotten to sleep (the killer) and then every 2-3 hours. A routine 5 hours would be nice, 7 would be heaps better, 8 would be heaven

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Ready to night wean

    Ok in that case I think what you need is time (there comes a time in most kids lives where mom is no longer preferred and in fact dad is preferred) but you could also try to move things along by encouraging dad and daughter spend more time together during non stressful times so trust is learned. Daddy-child outings are the best way to start this off. Then eventually maybe dad could start being in charge of getting child down for naps or the "first" bedtime. Middle of the night wakings are usually the most stressful and consequently the last place alternative comfort measures (like dad instead of mom) are going to be effective.

    For encouraging longer sleep I would suggest first keep a log for at least 2 weeks of nap and sleep times, duration, wakings, etc. It can be really tiring to keep this log esp. overnight but try your best. Usually SOME kind of pattern emerges and from that information you can work on adjusting nap or bedtimes as needed, including your own if needed.

    If you want to directly approach night WEANING I would suggest offer your child a snack or water when they wake, or some other alternative like a book, whatever, and talk about it BEFORE it is the middle of the night. Talk about it for days before you actually do it. Talk aobut "nursing is for bedtime and wake up" etc. That kind of thing.

    I am pretty sure the no cry solution offers more than what those reviews are saying. There is also one specifically for toddlers and preschoolers. Some of the ideas I have mentioned are from no cry iirc.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Ready to night wean

    Also I have found white noise and sufficiently darkened room does wonders for lengthening sleep once child is developmentally able to sleep long hours. In my experience regular 8 (or longer) hour sleep stretches start happening for most kids, even the previously very wakeful ones, during the year after a child turns 3. Up until then it is very individual how long a child can manage to consolidate sleep.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2015
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    Default Re: Ready to night wean

    Appreciate your thoughts, I will check out the no cry solution. I think we could definitely work more on daddy daughter bonding and I hadn't really associated the middle of the night wakings as stressful and therefore preferring me. I may start to offer her cuddles and water instead of milk and see if she will begin to accept it from me rather than daddy to begin with. Funny but I talked to her tonight about being a big girl and how her brothers have water from their cups if they wake at night and not mummy's milk. Her instant response? I baby not big girl

  8. #8
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    Jun 2017
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    Nokia, Finland
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    Default Re: Ready to night wean

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*butterfingers View Post
    I baby not big girl
    They'll always be our little babies.

    I really think the best method for any sleep related issues is the wait-it-out method. My baby #1 used to need me a lot during the nights, but after he turned three, something changed and he suddenly started sleeping through the night. Nothing I did, all developmental. Of course he still wanted to co-sleep, but it was amazing to start sleeping through the night again.

    By the way, we also used white noise machine before he turned three. He was so sensitive to all noises, so white noise made it possible for me to leave the bedroom and have a conversation without him waking up. We had to keep the white noise on all night, because baby would wake up if someone snored (not me of course) or even just turned.

    Hope daddy daughter bonding helps! For us, that too, changed after three. Son just clearly didn't need me so much anymore and daddy was finally as good of an option for anything.

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