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Embarking on a night-weaning journey! Some advice, please?? ;)

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
So after three nights of lots of crying (both dd and I), I have officially had it! So, before I have to check in to a loony bin, I've decided that my high-needs, very very sensitive dd needs to be night weaned.
Some reasons we haven't night-weaned our horrible sleeper yet are 1) she still hardly eats any solids during the day, and 2) I'm afraid it won't work for us and 3) she is SUPER intense and simply nursing her at every waking has been easiest up until now.
So, what I would like to know from all of the ladies on here who have night weaned using their own method or Jay Gordon's is
1) Did you prep your LO for the night-weaning in any way?? If so, what did you do?
2) Was it successful? What exactly do you mean by successful ?
3) Did you continue to nurse to sleep for the first stretch or did you find that counter-productive or confusing for LO?

We were thinking of perhaps really hunkering down and getting a really consistent daytime and pre-bed routine down for a couple weeks before we start it? Any thoughts - or should we just dive in?? I'm obviously afraid of rocking my dd's boat... I am very nervous.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
post #2 of 83
How old is your LO? And how verbal? These things make a big difference in determining the best approach.
post #3 of 83
Here's my "journal" from the first week of using Dr. Jay's method w/my then 10 month old. Basically, it led to 4 hour stretches and some 6 hour stretches. About 2 wks ago, I decided to move him into his crib in our room, and now he's basically sleeping through the night (down between 8:30 and 9:30 and up at 5:30a to nurse and come into bed w/me, where he sleeps until about 8a).

Night #1
It went well. Much better than expected.

I planned to nurse Nico short between midnight and 6a (that means nurse him a bit but not let him fall asleep at the breast). Of course, Nicholas wakes at 12:02a. Ugh. I'd only gotten about 45 minutes sleep by then, so I decided I'd cheat and pretend it was 11:58p . So I nurse him to sleep. He pops off and wakes up. I nurse him to sleep again, and again he pops off and wakes up. I figured that was him telling me to just get it started already. So I stopped cheating and decided to stop nursing and let him figure out how to fall asleep. He cried. Really, really cried. Hard. BUT the total episode lasted only 11 minutes -- and during those 11 minutes he twice settled down and started to fall asleep. So after 11 minutes he was back to sleep. Without me nursing him!

He woke every hour on the hour for the rest of the night. The second waking, it took only 6 minutes of crying. Subsequent wakings took 2 or 3 minutes before he was out -- and two of those wakings he only fussed a bit and didn't even come for the breast and fell back to sleep. He woke at 5:56a, and I decided that was close enough to 6a to let him get in a full nursing, which he did. He woke again at 7a and then at 8:30a.

Night #2
It went better --- not hugely better, but better.

He woke at 12:30a, and I nursed him for a minute (literally). I took him off, and he proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs for 30 seconds and then topple over and fall asleep. He was back to sleep by 12:32.

The rest of the night he only screamed like that one other time. Otherwise he mainly just fussed. He was up, again, about every hour, but about 3 of those wakings, he didn't even try to nurse; he just fussed and rolled around.

The one thing that sucked about last night is that when he woke up (besides for the first waking), he was up for longer than in the past and spent a good amount of time trying to crawl over me and then off the bed. It was a bit of a struggle. I'm hoping that will subside tonight.

All in all, I'd call this progress. The no crying and not even trying to nurse are definite improvements over yesterday.


Night #3
Again, better than the night before, but not hugely so.

He woke at 1a, no crying. I nursed for a minute or so and he went back to sleep. He was up again at 3a and 5a and then 6:45a. No major crying, and less moving around than the previous night. Unfortunately, at 6:45, J checked in on us after his shower and Nico saw him, which made him want Daddy. He did, indeed, cry when J walked out of the room. It took nearly 45 minutes to get him back to sleep, and he slept very fitfully until he was up for the day at 8:15a.

So improvements include not waking until 1a (it had been midnight and 12:30a the previous nights); longer stretches between wakings; no crying.

Tonight is the first night where there will be no nursing at all between midnight and 6a. I have a feeling it will be pretty rough.

Night #4 (aka NO BOOBY!)

Well, again, it went better than I'd expected. He fell asleep at 9p and woke up at 10:30p. I nursed him back down and he didn't wake again until 1:45a -- pretty sure that waking was due to a loud clap of thunder. He didn't even try to nurse at that point. He just fussed a bit and then rolled around and fell back to sleep. Up again at 2:30a. That time he did try to nurse, but I just rolled over so my back was facing him, and he settled back down and went back to sleep.

The rest of the night, though he never cried, he was quite restless and was up an awful lot. I'm not sure if that's because of the no nursing or because of the all night thunderstorm. It was pretty loud all night long. I'm hoping we're thunder free tonight so I can really tell what sort of progress we're making -- and hopefully get a bit more sleep myself. Last night was rough just because neither of us really settled into a good sleep after 1:45a.


Night #5
Things are going really well.

He went down at 9p. Was up at 10:30 or so, and I nursed him back to sleep. He woke at 1a, but got himself back to sleep on his own. Woke a few more times before 2a, but still managed to get himself back to sleep on his own. At 2a, he woke up and needed some help. I cuddled him for a minute or two, and he went back to sleep. He didn't wake up again until 5a. I just rubbed his back some, and he went back to sleep. He was up again at 6:05, so I nursed him. He was definitely hungry. He nursed off an on from 6a until 8:45 when he was up for the day.

So that's a total of 3 wakings before 6a that he needed my help getting back to sleep. Compared to the 8-10 we'd been having? Huge improvement! And a 3 hour stretch? Great! The most I'd been getting before was 2 hours, and that was only occasionally. I think that in a week or two, he'll be down to just the 6a waking.

Night #6
Pretty much the same as Night #5 with some small improvements.

In bed at 9p. Up at 10p -- I nursed him back to sleep, but he hardly nursed at all, really. Up at 12:45a, needing some help getting to sleep, so I cuddled him. Up again at 4:20a, needing a bit of help. Then up again at 5:20a. I could tell he was hungry (figured it was because he hardly at at his 10p feeding), so I nursed him, and he slept until 7:30. I nursed him again, and he woke up at 9:20a for the day.

Not too bad.

One week down
Well, last night was pretty good. He went down at 9p. Woke at 10p and 11p -- I nursed him both times. I think he woke because Joe and I were watching a movie downstairs (directly below where he sleeps), and it got a bit loud. He didn't wake again until 3a. That's 4 HOURS! Guys, I'd been getting 2 hours at the most from him. Anyway, at 3a, he had some trouble getting back to sleep. He kept rolling around. He didn't fall into a good sleep until about 3:40. Then he woke again at 5:20. Up again at 6:05 to nurse. Then he slept (nursing off and on) until 8a. So again, there were two real wakings between midnight and 6a -- neither of them involved any crying, and they didn't require much of me to get him back to sleep. And the big change is a longer stretch of sleep than before.
post #4 of 83
I didn't do a lot of prep. We prepared a cup of milk in a sippy. I told her tonight nurses will go night night. If you need milk you can drink this other milk. She understand "other milk". While I was nursing her to sleep I explained it again. I said that when the sun comes up nurses will wake up and she can nurse. She is 22 months and very verbal. She cried the first night and I rocked her for an hour. The second night she didn't cry that much and I rocked her for ten minutes. Now if she wakes I rock her with no crying. This past week she slept a full seven hours on two different nights. I am shocked. She was nursing every two hours and continuously from about 6 to 8 am.

This is our second attempt I did this back in June and it was about the same success, but we got thrown off track and now this is our second try at it.

I wanted to add that this second time she got a fever and I dropped it in order to nurse her at night and be more aware of her condition. I just picked it back up when she was better.
I too was very nervous to try it. If it doesn't go well just drop it and try again next month. You'll know when your babe is ready.

Why all the sudden crying? If she is teething it is better to keep nursing her through it. I just reread...I probably would not attempt it if she doesn't eat solids yet. Sorry you are suffering, mama. How old is she? Do you cosleep? Did something change in her life to unsettle her at night?
post #5 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picturesque View Post
How old is your LO? And how verbal? These things make a big difference in determining the best approach.
Oops! I forgot that the signatures were erased. Echo is 18 months and EXTREMELY verbal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLA View Post
Here's my "journal" from the first week of using Dr. Jay's method w/my then 10 month old. Basically, it led to 4 hour stretches and some 6 hour stretches. About 2 wks ago, I decided to move him into his crib in our room, and now he's basically sleeping through the night (down between 8:30 and 9:30 and up at 5:30a to nurse and come into bed w/me, where he sleeps until about 8a).
How old is your LO?? Also, Echo already sleeps on her own mattress on the floor in our room, so that didn't really improve anything.

Thanks for the responses ladies! Keep them coming!
post #6 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
I didn't do a lot of prep. We prepared a cup of milk in a sippy. I told her tonight nurses will go night night. If you need milk you can drink this other milk. She understand "other milk". While I was nursing her to sleep I explained it again. I said that when the sun comes up nurses will wake up and she can nurse. She is 22 months and very verbal. She cried the first night and I rocked her for an hour. The second night she didn't cry that much and I rocked her for ten minutes. Now if she wakes I rock her with no crying. This past week she slept a full seven hours on two different nights. I am shocked. She was nursing every two hours and continuously from about 6 to 8 am.

This is our second attempt I did this back in June and it was about the same success, but we got thrown off track and now this is our second try at it.

I wanted to add that this second time she got a fever and I dropped it in order to nurse her at night and be more aware of her condition. I just picked it back up when she was better.
I too was very nervous to try it. If it doesn't go well just drop it and try again next month. You'll know when your babe is ready.

Why all the sudden crying? If she is teething it is better to keep nursing her through it. I just reread...I probably would not attempt it if she doesn't eat solids yet. Sorry you are suffering, mama. How old is she? Do you cosleep? Did something change in her life to unsettle her at night?
Thank you for sharing your experience. How is you LO's temperament? Easy going or more high needs? Sounds like the process went pretty smoothly! I definitely want to continue to attend to her needs by nursing if she is teething or fevering etc, but DH is ready to cold turkey her... yikes!
She isn't crying all of a sudden either. She has always been a really bad sleeper - usually 2-3 hour stretch at the beginning and then every 1-2 hrs for the rest of the night/morning pretty much since she was born. No change whatsoever! Since she hasn't started eating much yet, I'm thinking that maybe she is just not hungry because she nurses so much at night and by night weaning, she will eat more?? Is that unreasonable? I'm kind of at a loss as to how to get her to eat more as I thought she would have naturally began to eat much more by this age. Thanks for your input!
post #7 of 83
We tried to put our dd on her own mattress in our room, but I still ended up sleeping with her on a little twin bed. Not fun.
Since she is so into being a big girl, we turned our guest room into her big girl room with her big girl bed. She wants to do everything that we do and be so independent. She loved it. She loves that it is her bed in her room.

However, I can't sleep and I keep waking every hour to make sure the monitor is working and she is breathing. I really don't want her to be in her room, but it seems that this is the time that she is ready. So, I am night weaning and transitioning her into her own room at the same time.

I nurse her down and she usually wakes in the middle of the night. Rock her back to sleep and nurse her when she wakes in the morning sometime around six. She'll sleep til about eight. I don't bring her into our bed. I always take her back to her big girl bed. I never expected her to go for this. We have always coslept and nursed throughout the night sometime all.night.long! My baby is growing up!

Another thought...you could give her a multi vitamin to supplement.
post #8 of 83
I started Dr Gordon's plan when DD was 15 months but gave up after 6 days because she cried for 3 hours a night. In my ear. When I asked me very AP ped for suggestions during a check up, he said he felt the Gordon plan was confusing and to not to nurse after sundown/before sunrise, as I could do this consistently and DD could understand it.
DD has an easy going temperament with others, but is very mama-centric and could nurse all night. Night weaning was exhausting, but I am so much happier and well rested now I have so much more to give DD, and DH, and myself. And it didn't impact daytime nursing or seem to stress her during the day time.
post #9 of 83
Mine was like yours. She had periods in her little life where she was nursing every hour. Other times every two hours. Rarely could I get three hours out of her. And she always woke about and hour after I put her down.

I coslept with her because I couldn't get any sleep. Started around 2 months old. I quickly learned how to nurse laying down for my own sanity. I could never just lay her down sleeping and she would sleep...nope. I had to nurse/rock her to sleep. I always fed on demand. I understand your dh. I weaned because my dh was asking for his wife back at night. It's understandable.

Anyway I was so shocked that she was okay. I mean a little crying in arms the first night and then less and less. Then she started sleeping for four hours. Like I said she just slept seven hours straight last night. Wow.

I have eased up on the time that she can nurse in the morning. I am not so strict. Gordon says to stick with a certain time and I had trouble with sticking to it. So, even though I told her that when the sun comes up you can nurse...I fudge a little. But it still works.

So if she sleeps a good six hours and wakes a 5 am I will nurse her even if the sun isn't up. But say she sleeps 3 hours, I don't nurse her yet.

About the nutrition thing. Maybe she is eating enough for her size. I remember thinking that my dd wasn't eating much, but actually if you think about it. Their stomach is only the size of their fist. A few bites of chicken rice and brocoli adds up, but doesn't look like much to me. Ya know what I mean? I give dd Emergen-c multi for kids. Strawberry powder you mix with water and they drink it. She loves it. Do you nurse before she eats? You could try and up your nursing during the day. Maybe offer nursing to her more during the day so she is still getting a lot of nutrition.
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoecho1528 View Post
How old is your LO?? Also, Echo already sleeps on her own mattress on the floor in our room, so that didn't really improve anything.

Thanks for the responses ladies! Keep them coming!
He was 10 months old when we nightweaned and is 11.5 months old now

ETA: Also, we started off doing midnight to 6a not nursing. But we ended up doing 10p to 4a not nursing, as he'd fall asleep at 10 and not wake up until past midnight. By 4a he was actually hungry. Now he goe from 8:30 until at least 4a w/no nursing every night -- and most nights now he goes until 5:30a w/no nursing.
post #11 of 83
We cut down gradually. It's not for everyone, but I liked timing our sessions and then cutting back every few nights. So we did 10 min a side for three nights, then 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1. By the time we got down to 1, DD was sleeping through on her own most of the time. Obviously, this took weeks. The big advantage to me was that DD learned to drink/eat more during the day gradually, and she started sleeping through on her own. We did an early morning (5 am) session for a while.

Hope that helps, and good luck!

ETA: There was no pattern to her wakings, so I nursed the same amount of time whether she woke up once or 3x. This is part of the reason we nightweaned--I couldn't deal with the lack of pattern/regular sleep any more.
post #12 of 83
Thread Starter 
We just had another horrific night and I'm not happy. The main reason I want to night wean is that nursing is starting to really irk me. I feel bad about it... really bad. All she wants is comfort, and I get all tensed up and sometimes yell at her in the middle of the night. Her latch changed or something. I'm not sure what did it, but it kind of tickles and feels creepy-crawly, I don't really know what is going on. All I know is that my tension is causing her a lot of confusion and sadness. I want it to stop. I wish I could be super-mom and just keep going on despite my problems with it, but I can't do it anymore. Not on this little sleep. We are waiting to start the NW until we get back from a short out of town trip next week, so I have at least one more week of torture for both of us... oh. please let this end soon!
post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoecho1528 View Post
We just had another horrific night and I'm not happy. The main reason I want to night wean is that nursing is starting to really irk me. I feel bad about it... really bad. All she wants is comfort, and I get all tensed up and sometimes yell at her in the middle of the night. Her latch changed or something. I'm not sure what did it, but it kind of tickles and feels creepy-crawly, I don't really know what is going on. All I know is that my tension is causing her a lot of confusion and sadness. I want it to stop. I wish I could be super-mom and just keep going on despite my problems with it, but I can't do it anymore. Not on this little sleep. We are waiting to start the NW until we get back from a short out of town trip next week, so I have at least one more week of torture for both of us... oh. please let this end soon!
Oh, mama... I really feel for you in this situation! I night-weaned DS1 at about 19 mo b/c I was really going crazy... Like you, I was getting to a point where I would want to cry or yell at the baby at various points throughout the night. Terrible stuff!

To night-wean DS1, we talked a little bit about the "nat-nats" going to bed at night. But, for the most part, you could say we dropped the night-nursing cold-turkey. I kept nursing DS1 to sleep at night (and first thing in the morning), but I actually moved out of our family bed for a while. When DS1 woke up, DH would pat him or rock him back to sleep.

It's crazy to remember how convinced we were that DS1 (a very high-needs baby/toddler) would resist this program all the way. Totally not true! He never cried more than 5 minutes in DH's arms and after two weeks w/ me out of the bed, he was sleeping at least 7 hours a night! It was an absolute miracle!

Now, DS2 is approaching 18 mo and, like his brother, he's actually getting more fitful and waking up more frequently at night as each month passes. This time, I'm not going to wait--as soon as I feel like our nursing relationship is suffering b/c of the frequent night-wakings, I'll head into DS1's bed and let DH take over. I look at night-weaning as a way to preserve the overall nursing relationship. After night-weaning, I nursed DS1 until I got pregnant with DS2 and really hope to nurse DS2 until he decides he's done!

Good luck to you. And, again,
post #14 of 83
subbing...i've been just about to write this same posting several times now. only diff is dd is only 1 year old. my additional q's are: how do you know when dc is ready? and it seems to me that the gordon method is harsh. i imagine my dd crying A LOT since anytime my dh tries to put her back to sleep without me she loses it. i like the idea of using sunset/sunup better than a time on the clock...more understandable to the LO. but with days getting shorter...i dunno. seems like a long time to go w/o nursing.

OP...please keep us posted of how it goes for you. best of luck, i totally understand your trepidation.
post #15 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckennasmomma View Post
subbing...i've been just about to write this same posting several times now. only diff is dd is only 1 year old. my additional q's are: how do you know when dc is ready? and it seems to me that the gordon method is harsh. i imagine my dd crying A LOT since anytime my dh tries to put her back to sleep without me she loses it. i like the idea of using sunset/sunup better than a time on the clock...more understandable to the LO. but with days getting shorter...i dunno. seems like a long time to go w/o nursing.

OP...please keep us posted of how it goes for you. best of luck, i totally understand your trepidation.
I'm afraid of her screaming non-stop at dh too. And he has a very low tolerance for crying... I know a lot of moms end up doing this on their own, but I know I wouldn't be able to. I was also thinking the same thing about the days getting shorter. I have heard of others using a special alarm or bell to signal when nursies go night night and when they go to bed... like a ceremony of sorts. Maybe that would work. I wish you the best of luck in your journey! I will keep you updated on mine.
post #16 of 83
Thread Starter 
Can anyone tell me how long it took to see any results? I was talking with another mom today and she said it took a good 3 weeks to see any improvement at all... any others with better results? This is sounding scarier and scarier
post #17 of 83
We nightweaned DS1 at 18 months and it went extremely well. He was a HORRIBLE sleeper and within a week or so was just a bad sleeper.

We went from several loooooong night wakings (most times including lots of screaming and nursing. No pop-on-fall back asleep or us EVER) to 2-3 much easier night wakings. DS didn't STTN until he was 3.5, but now that I have another baby I know that it really is all about personality.

DP did the bulk of the initial night weaning. I moved upstairs and just once I had to go down to help. Otherwise, he dealt with the crying for about 2 weeks until it really settled down. DS continued to part-time co-sleep for another year or so.

I would have gone crazy if we didn't nigh wean. It really improved my relationship with DS and DP. Looking back, I am amazed that any of us survived over a year and a half of tortuous sleep deprivation and screaming. Ug.
post #18 of 83
I have night weaned 2 now the same way.
I still have nursed them to sleep initially until they outgrow it themselves.
DS still nurses to sleep. I told them that nibblers were going to sleep and wouldn't wake up until the sun came out and it was light.
With DD I slept in a turtle neck for a few nights

It was a rough few nights with thrown sippy cups, crying, and lots of reassuring that they could have them when the sun came up.
After the initial hurdle we did good.
I have found consistency is key, I wasn't as good with DS and it took alot longer.
Now although he will occasionally ask in the middle of the night he settles right down when I tell him in the morning.
FWIW I consider both of my kids pretty high needs.
post #19 of 83
Your LO sounds exactly like mine! High needs, emotional, awake every hour all night long to nurse. Finally at 18 mo we night weaned as well (or maybe it was 16). Anyway, Very verbal is deffinately a help! I explained to her that she was getting to be a big girl and drank more of mama's milk so it would take longer for my milk to come back. A lot more explaining too but you get the idea. Consistency is key, and don't give in once you start! We had alot of talking, and some tears as well, but if she's a good communicator then you can deffinately start. It took us 2-3 weeks to see a TOTAL change in sleeping, and my daughter is doing great! 2 now and very self confident and outgoing (I never would have guessed 6 months ago)!
post #20 of 83
Not to scare you or anything, but I was unsuccessful at nightweaning my high needs DD at 18 mo. I gave up after 10 days of screaming. It was miserable. I was finally successful a year later when she was 2.5 (I was in my first trimester.) It was still a miserable experience (screamed hysterically for an hour several times the first few days...kicking, hitting, etc.) It took a few weeks before she was able to fall asleep without tears. And it took MONTHS before she slept through the night regularly. Sorry I don't have anything more positive to say.
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