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Thread: Wean or not to wean?

  1. #1

    Default Wean or not to wean?

    I'm a first time mom confused about weaning my 8 1/2 month son. When he was first born, he was given a bottle as well as nursed and never seemed to get confused. Now that I'm back @ work, our only time together to bond and reconnect is when I get home @ nite. I love this time with him. However, since his diet is 95 % formula, Gerber food, etc, I feel that when he nurses it's mainly to fall asleep, comfort and habit as opposed to needing the calories. I was thinking that maybe I should wean him because of that. He does co-sleep and he's become the "all nite nurser". I have a few questions. How do I know he's ready to wean? And should I wean him if he's just nursing out of habit & can't really fall asleep on his own? When I know he's asleep, I'll carry him to his crib, but he ends up waking up and I bring him back in the bed with us. It's become a cycle that I wish to ultimately break @ some point, & I would like him to sleep in his crib all nite. Is his all nite nursing affecting his ability to sleep all nite? Lots of questions. I could really use some help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    Alot of people will disagree with me on this - so be warned. I think you are setting yourself up for a really difficult weaning process by only nursing through the night. The older a child gets the harder it will be for them to learn to fall asleep on their own. How much nursing is he actually doing or is it just comfort sucking? I would try nursing him as often as possible from the time you get home until bedtime. Then use other methods of comfort when he wakes up, rub back, paci, sing to him, etc. Try to not even take him out of the crib during this time. You may even want to try CIO if that is something you are willing to do. Its very hard but it saved my life and my son is no worse for the wear now. He goes to sleep on his own and sleeps in his own crib for 2 naps and bedtime. It was probably around the same age that I did CIO and stuck to my guns with it. You could also set limits like: if he wakes up before this time I wont nurse him but after this time I will nurse and then put him back in crib and comfort til he falls asleep. I know this advice goes against alot of what you read here, but its just my 2 cents worth. Finally any bm that your son can get in his first year is crucial so dont fully wean yet. That is why I say nurse as often as possible during awake time - evening before bed and am before work. To keep up your supply and keep that nutrious bm in his belly. HTH

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    Thank you so much for your help. I was thinking about the CIO method but don't know if I can handle weaning from the breast (if I decide to wean) and teaching him to sleep on his own in one big "sha-bang". Too much @ once. To answer your question, he is getting milk when he nurses, because at times I do feel slightly engourged..and he will relieve that during the nite. However, I also try to make sure he's eating enough throughout the day as well, but he always seems to want the breast. That's why I'm thinking it's more out of habit & comfort, and not that he's hungry. I think I know what I have to do and I do agree with you. I'll try nursing before bed time and then try other methods to comfort him until he falls asleep....

    Did you say you did the CIO method? Can I ask you how that worked for you and how long it took for your baby to sleep on their own?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*buttrfli View Post
    Alot of people will disagree with me on this - so be warned. I think you are setting yourself up for a really difficult weaning process by only nursing through the night. The older a child gets the harder it will be for them to learn to fall asleep on their own.
    You're right, I wholeheartedly and completely DISAGREE with this statement.

    From my experience with my children, it does not get harder for a child to learn to fall asleep on their own if you're night nursing. The older the child gets, the easier it gets, because they mature and develop the ability to reason and be calmed by different things as well as nursing. Children naturally mature, and their sleep cycles regulate, and they sleep through the night. Whether they're breastfeeding, or bottle feeding, their bodies mature and they ALL do it sooner or later.

    You can also teach your child to fall asleep sleep without nursing, without resorting to CIO, by simply establishing a bedtime routine where nursing isn't the last thing on the list before sleep, or by having baby's daddy help him/her to sleep in some other way, like rocking, or singing a lullabye, or whatever works best for the 2 of them. CIO might seem like a good answer to an exhausted mother, but there are other options out there that are much gentler and better for mom and baby. Dr. Jay Gordan has a great method that's helped lots of moms. http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/index.asp and Dr. Sears has alot of great info on sleep here: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070200.asp and here:http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070100.asp

    In the case of an 8.5 mos. old child who is away from mom for most of the day and not being allowed to nurse during those times, I'd guess that nursing during the night is when baby is trying to reconnect with mom AND that they're in need of the extra calories and nutrition from breastfeeding. I agree that all the bm your child can get is best though, and I also would urge you not to wean for a while longer if you can.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    Hi,
    Thank you for your response. What you have to say makes sense as well and that's why i'm so torn as to what to do. Some of this pressure surrounding me is from my mother in law who always asks,"is he sleeping in his crib thru the nite yet?" And I dread answering her because for the most part the answer would be no. I do have those nites where I can nurse him to sleep and put him in his crib and he'll sleep 6 hours straight. To me, that's seems pretty darn good for an 8.5 month old... (i know what you're thinking, who cares about what other people say. ) You're also right on another point... my son may need that reconnection @ nite with me and that's probably why he still needs/wants to nurse.

    I am very familiar with Dr. Sears and he is an advocate of co-sleeping and nursing to sleep. Is it true that eventually all babies will learn to fall asleep on their own? Or, do they have to be taught? I've been tempted to use the CIP method, but it does seem harsh...However, at times I'm so tired and desperate that the CIO method seems the quickest way to retrain. So many people have different opinions. Thank you again... Any other thoughts or suggestions would be great!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    I also disagree with bttrfli. When I went back to work my daughter started nursing a lot more at night as well. While she got bottles of breast milk and some formula during the day at day care, she still wanted and needed both the milk and the comfort she got from being near her mother. I needed it as well. It is a completely natural reaction, and a fairly common one with work-out-of-home mom and nursling pairs.

    He is not just nursing out of habit, he is reconnecting with you- his mother- and he is still getting extremely valuable nutrition and immunities. If the only time you have to nurse together is at night, then there is no reason to wean- particularly if it's because someone is telling you he should be sleeping through the night.

    If you were saying that it is driving you crazy and you can't take it anymore I might give you a different answer, but you sould like you are more concerned with what is going to happen down the road. I might also give you a different answer if you were still nursing diring the day. But if this is working for you right now, then I say continue.

    I have recently stopped nursing my daughter to sleep (she's 22 months) and let me tell you it has been so much easier than I ever could have imagined. I think it is because I waited until she was ready (and I was ready, too). She is old enough now to understand when I set limits and learn to comply with them, rather than just thinking that I am refusing to comfort her and fill her belly.

    I second the Jay Gordon recommendation and Elizabeth Pantley also has a great book called the No Cry Sleep Solution that I got a lot of great tips from.
    “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.”
    --Anonymous

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*rookiemom View Post
    Some of this pressure surrounding me is from my mother in law who always asks,"is he sleeping in his crib thru the nite yet?" And I dread answering her because for the most part the answer would be no.
    Just say "he's sleeping great" then change the subject. Sometimes it's easier than arguing.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*rookiemom View Post
    I do have those nites where I can nurse him to sleep and put him in his crib and he'll sleep 6 hours straight. To me, that's seems pretty darn good for an 8.5 month old...
    That is pretty durn good for an 8.5 year old and proof that they do learn to do it on their own. It sounds like he's already on his way. There will be times when he wakes more at night- teething, illness, growth spurts, etc, but generally he'll sleep more and more on his own as he grows.

    I think you're doing a great job, mama. Follow your instincts (even though you're a rookie) and you'll be just fine.
    “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.”
    --Anonymous

  8. #8

    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*rookiemom View Post
    Hi,
    Thank you for your response. What you have to say makes sense as well and that's why i'm so torn as to what to do. Some of this pressure surrounding me is from my mother in law who always asks,"is he sleeping in his crib thru the nite yet?" And I dread answering her because for the most part the answer would be no. I do have those nites where I can nurse him to sleep and put him in his crib and he'll sleep 6 hours straight. To me, that's seems pretty darn good for an 8.5 month old... (i know what you're thinking, who cares about what other people say. ) You're also right on another point... my son may need that reconnection @ nite with me and that's probably why he still needs/wants to nurse.

    I am very familiar with Dr. Sears and he is an advocate of co-sleeping and nursing to sleep. Is it true that eventually all babies will learn to fall asleep on their own? Or, do they have to be taught? I've been tempted to use the CIP method, but it does seem harsh...However, at times I'm so tired and desperate that the CIO method seems the quickest way to retrain. So many people have different opinions. Thank you again... Any other thoughts or suggestions would be great!
    Is it true that eventually all babies will learn to fall asleep on their own? Or, do they have to be taught? Yes, all babies will eventually learn to fall asleep on their own AND stop nursing during the night as well. If you need the process to go faster than it would naturally go though, you may need to help your child learn how to do that in order to speed the process up. That's where a good bedtime routine helps, like bath, books, hugs, prayers, nursing, and bed....where the routine is exactly the same every single night. You can ease out the nursing portion when you want to after you've established the routine and your child is used to it.

    Part of the reason that I refrain from using the CIO method, no matter how exhausted I've gotten, is because of what it's teaching the child. It basically teaches the child that we'll respond to them whenever it's daytime, but that at nighttime, we won't respond at all. They cry and cry until they basically shut down emotionally, because they finally realize that no one is coming to get them even though they've been trying to communicate (by crying, which is all they can do) what is wrong to their mom and dad. The CIO process would be the same as if you needed help and were calling out to your husband from another room saying "I need help!" and he refused to help you because it was dark outside and he responded to you with "I will help you in the morning, but not now, because it's dark out and you should be sleeping." Some babies need help to go to sleep. It's just a fact. There's nothing wrong with helping them until they can do it on their own.

    One more thing. Docs actually consider 5 hours to be sleeping through the night, so when someone asks if your baby is sttn and alone in their crib, you can just respond with "He sleeps great!" Because he does, for his age, and its none of their business where he's sleeping or whether its in a crib at all. My goodness, he doesn't even have to sleep in a crib if you don't want him to, and nobody has a say in that but you and your dh. Change the subject right after you answer, by saying something like "Could you pass me the bean dip?" or "Would you like me to get you another beverage/cup of coffee/tea ?" It works great! Mentioning food or drinks totally changes the direction of a conversation and most people forget where they were in the conversation, and you can ask them about the weather or their new blouse or whatever instead.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    Since you asked about my experience I will share it as well as my thoughts about my own child. I did CIO a number of times because I would go back to nursing when he teethed or was sick and had to retrain. Every time I did it though it only took a couple of nights. They were definitely hard nights but it was well worth it in the long run. I just couldnt do it anymore (get up to nurse) and I was resenting nursing and I didnt want it to be like that. It was what was best for our situation.
    I also believe that my son is very smart. I believe that he is able to manipulate me if I let him. I believe that it is my responsibiliy to raise him and do what is best for him. I am the adult and hopefully have the capacity to determine that. He does not always know what is best for him, and often times what is best for him may not make him happy. I believed it was best for him to learn to sleep on his own at a young age and he was not happy about it in the moment. I know plenty of older children whose parents have used CIO and they are perfectly adjusted, well behaved, loving, children with normal emotions who have a great relationship with their parents.
    I am not trying to start an argument here, I am just telling you what I did and why I did it. I completely respect every parents right to raise their child the way they see fit and I know that you will choose what is best for you and your son.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Wean or not to wean?

    I really appreciate everyone's help. I just joined this website yesterday and I didn't expect such great participation. I feel really welcomed here ladies. Thank you!

    Each one of you gave some valid points & I will take everything into consideration and put my baby's needs first. Before I know it, he'll be walking, then school, etc. So, I'm going to cherish this time even if it means a few more sleepy days/months ahead. It's all worth it.

    The next time the mother in law asks about his sleeping patterns, i will say that he sleeps great! that's great advice. I didn't know that 5 hours is considered a full nites sleep. I feel better knowing that. So, he is right on track!

    Have a great afternoon everyone!

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