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Night Time Nursing

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello ladies,

I am going on 24 months of nursing and most of his BF activity is at night; although I should say that a lot is comfort sucking, too.

I'm taking EBF on step at a time. I didn't know how I could make it to 24 months and here I am. Now I'm wondering how long we (I) can go... I don't know.

I do know that the night nursing/comforting is really taxing on me. He can wake me up 8 times to do it. We co-sleep so he is right there, but it's hardly self-service since I might have my back turned to him or covers get in the way...

So, I do nap with him to catch up on sleep; I'm a SAHM luckily and only have one DS. I tried to use the No Cry Sleep Solution, but it just didn't feel right in the end and I abandoned it. I forgot how many months ago that was.

So anyway, how are most of you ladies faring at night? How do you survive? When did your child give up constant night nursing and how?

Thank you
post #2 of 19


I'm curious to see the responses. One thing that *sometimes* works for me is to say, "we will nurse when the sun comes up." Sometimes he'll roll over and go back to sleep. Other times he won't and i'll say "okay well we can nurse but you need to wait two minutes" and for some reason this works because he'll say okay and then fall asleep! lol.
post #3 of 19
I second that advice about nursing when the sun comes up. In the winter, I had a nightlight set on a timer to go on about 5, and I would tell my toddlers that they could nurse once the light went on. This really helped.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking about that, the night light on a timer.

How did you handle the "violations" if they were not related to illness, e.g. a cold, or teething? We have a cold right now so it's open buffet all night

Also, do you put them to sleep by nursing, do you co-sleep? What time is bed time for them?

Thanks
post #5 of 19


I've definitely wondered about this too. I have thought about nightweaning in the future, but it really doesn't feel right to me. Maybe that is a "not right now" feeling and will change as she gets older and more able to understand, but either way I would like to hear suggestions about ways to get her to naturally cut back at night rather than it being mommy-led.
post #6 of 19
DD is 31 months and still frequently night nurses, though ever since the pregnancy, it's been slowing down a bit. I thought I'd at the very least night wean her when I became pregnant, but I haven't yet. Mostly, there's no guarantee that night weaning will make her sleep through the night and nursing is easier than rocking/wearing her down. Plus the huge upfront investment in night weaning is a big turn-off, too. I don't know many people still frequently night nursing their kid at 2.5, though.
post #7 of 19
My dd is 32 months and stopped night nursing (with my help) about six weeks ago.

I had tried to nightwean in the past but it was always way too traumatic for her and all of us really, so I just gave up. This time it was fairly easy. I think she was just ready.

I do nurse her to sleep still and then set her in her bed. She usually wakes up anywhere from 12-5 and comes into our bed. She sometimes asks for a drink of water or to go potty and then goes right back to sleep between Dh and I. I wanted to use the "when the sun comes up" line but she is a very early riser and I knew she wouldn't make it that long. So I just say "when its morning". She usually wakes and asks to nurse around 5 or 6 and I am fine with that. Sometimes I say "let me check if its morning yet" and I check the clock and if its after 5 I say sure.

She was sad a little for about three or four days and cried for maybe ten minutes and then went back to sleep (right next to me). But because she is older I can explain so much to her now and she understands. One night she even whispered "I don't need num-nums anymore, I just fall asleep by myself". I was amazed.
post #8 of 19
My DD is 20 months and I'm in the process of very slowly and gently encouraging her to fall back asleep on her own, aka night-weaning. She likes to comfort nurse at night quite a bit, and would at least 4-5 times if I let her. We've co-slept since birth, but at about 15 months we bought her a toddler bed that she sleeps in for the first part of the night. Last night, for instance, she slept in her bed from 8:30 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.! That's a GREAT night for us!

I nurse her to sleep for naps on the weekends (I'm a WOHM). At bedtime, sometimes I nurse her until she's passed out, but other times she seems uncomfortable and unable to fall asleep like that, so I put her in her bed while still awake, and then i sit next to her and rub her back and sing her a few night-time lullabies. After that I lie on the floor next to her bed (she follows me and cries if i leave her room) until I hear her slip into a deep sleep, but there's plenty of tossing and turning and little whines up until that point. I usually have to remind her to close her eyes at least twice, often more than that.

When she walks back into our bedroom at 2:00 a.m. or so, I hoist her up into our big bed and nurse her back to sleep. If I didn't, it'd be lots of big sad cries! If she wakes up AFTER that, I say "milkies are all gone" or "milkies are sleeping" plus I'll throw in "you can have milkies when the sun comes up (or I turn the light on)". She doesn't LIKE this of course, but she fusses for maybe 5 minutes and then falls back asleep. This morning, she woke up at 5:20 and asked for milk. I had to get up for work in 10 minutes anyhow, so I obliged, and then she slept for another 30 minutes. what a deal!

We are VERY VERY slowly reaching our goal of night-weaning. I like to think of it as if I'm encouraging her to fall asleep by herself. I'm still more than happy to nurse her to sleep or upon waking. It's the middle of the night stuff that I'm so done with. But I will let her cry if she's right next to me. I know she's ok, I pat her, I sing to her, and I can tell by her cry that she's just tired and needs help. If I ever hear distress in her cry when she wakes up before 5a.m., I nurse her right away. A momma knows her baby's cries
post #9 of 19
That sounds a lot more like something I will eventually do/feel comfortable doing. I'm thinking I'll probably do something like that around 18 or so months (dd is just 13 m. right now). Thanks for describing your process.
post #10 of 19
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
I don't like it when my son cries, be it more of a whine or distress; I have a very low tolerance and thus have had a hard time saying no to night nursing/comfort sucking. I had tried I think around 18 months but he didn't understand enough imo. Now that he is 2 he understands more but when it comes to BF he seems to be thinking "hey, I can see them, they're right there for the taking... what do you mean no?" *panic* Each child is different and will wean at different times... I am just wondering if this is not an instance of "let me wait another 3 months and try again."

I'm rather raw right now from all the night sucking and now he won't nap unless he is latch since we've had a cold a couple of weeks ago. I can't get him back to nap. I'm getting more tired b/c I can't get relief by sleeping with him now. I'm wondering if it's not those last nasty molars coming in and taking their time as usual

Daytime is not a problem, some days he doesn't even nurse. Nighttime is my cross. When I'm tired, it's very difficult for me to deal with it. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place right now.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaLeaf View Post
I don't like it when my son cries, be it more of a whine or distress; I have a very low tolerance and thus have had a hard time saying no to night nursing/comfort sucking. I had tried I think around 18 months but he didn't understand enough imo. Now that he is 2 he understands more but when it comes to BF he seems to be thinking "hey, I can see them, they're right there for the taking... what do you mean no?" *panic* Each child is different and will wean at different times... I am just wondering if this is not an instance of "let me wait another 3 months and try again."

I'm rather raw right now from all the night sucking and now he won't nap unless he is latch since we've had a cold a couple of weeks ago. I can't get him back to nap. I'm getting more tired b/c I can't get relief by sleeping with him now. I'm wondering if it's not those last nasty molars coming in and taking their time as usual

Daytime is not a problem, some days he doesn't even nurse. Nighttime is my cross. When I'm tired, it's very difficult for me to deal with it. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place right now.
Here is an idea...could you actually encourage him to nurse more during the day and each time remind him something like, "if you want to nurse, let's nurse now since we aren't going to nurse when we're sleeping" or something like that that he would understand. Maybe he's so distracted during the day and not getting as much milk as he wants/needs so he's making up for it at night??? I'm not sure, just giving an idea I thought of. Hope it helps!!
post #13 of 19
You should try to give her more solid foods before she goes to sleep like cereal for example, itll keep her satisfied for longer.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharoncute View Post
You should try to give her more solid foods before she goes to sleep like cereal for example, itll keep her satisfied for longer.
I think that by the time they're toddlers, night nursing has less to do with hunger and more to do with comfort or thirst.

We night weaned at 26 months and DS is now 29 months. It was three difficult nights, but DH took over and comforted DH the whole time. When we did it, DS was only nursing 2x a night anyway and we all felt like it was time. I don't think I could have done it any sooner- DS just wasn't ready, and neither was I. The first night was the most difficult, then it was noticeably easier the second night, and so on. It wasn't easy, but now DS sleeps about 10 hours straight and we're all feeling a bit more rested.

I still nurse DS to sleep, but sometimes we just tell stories or talk. I'm really loving this time.
post #15 of 19
sparklett, that is really wonderful! Did your DS used to be a frequent night nurser before he got down to the 2x per night? Or had he always just done a couple times per night?
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckennasmomma View Post
sparklett, that is really wonderful! Did your DS used to be a frequent night nurser before he got down to the 2x per night? Or had he always just done a couple times per night?
He used to nurse ALL NIGHT LONG. 8-10 times a night was normal for the longest time. I didn't see much of a change until he was maybe 18 or 20 months. Then he s-l-o-w-l-y started tapering off on his own. Once he was down to just a few times a night, I put a bed in his room. We never thought he would want to sleep in it, so I just told him it was his new play bed. The day we set up the bed, he demanded to sleep in it and since then has never wanted to sleep in my bed.... we missed him so much at first, but then realized that he was sleeping really well and not missing us at all! I think he decided it was finally time to get some sleep.

That's when I started noticing the downturn in nursing. I would nurse him down and then over a few months he went from four times a night down to twice a night. I started coupling nursing with back rubs and stories, so he started to feel comfortable with minimal nursing and mostly cuddling.

I stay with him until he falls asleep and then I usually crawl in bed with him around dawn so he can nurse until he's ready to wake up. DH is responsible for any nighttime potty trips so that DS won't be tempted to nurse.

I feel like we're finally at a place where we're all getting plenty of rest, yet still bonding together.
post #17 of 19
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post #18 of 19
I don't think every child will night wean on their own (okay, yes, they all WILL, but perhaps not before Mom has gone batty from lack of sleep). DH and I night weaned our twins when they were 2 1/2. I suffer from insomnia, and when awakened at night can often take 1-2 hour to fall back asleep, which with two toddlers was just about the length of time between nursing sessions.

We had already started introducing the idea, probably a year earlier. We said things like "Nonies go night-night;" talked about baby going to sleep, mommy going to sleep, nonies going to sleep; and took some steps to shorten nursings. Often at night, I'd tell them they could nurse until something happened (i.e. until I sang "twinkle twinkle" or counted to 10 or said a favorite poem) - if I did this, it was usually when I suspected comfort nursing not nutritional nursing, and I'd often wait until after a let-down to start the count. And I'd sometimes just be DONE, and DH would take over by walking/rocking/backrubbing. So we'd already give them the idea that night time nursing wasn't a given.

Our DD night weaned easily (about a week of waking at night, but only a night or two with tears). DS was another story - it literally took a month of DH walking the hall with him in a sling, then slowly moving to the rocker, then reclining the chair and finishing the night there (DS would wake up if he tried to get back into bed). It was really really hard, and it didn't work until my mind was completely set that we had to night wean for my sanity. But this is his personality - really emotional, highly reactive, intolerant of change - so it wasn't really a surprise that he had such a hard time.

I really liked Jay Gordon's book "Good Nights", before reading it I'd felt like we would need to stop sharing a bed for night weaning to happen (which none of us wanted). His night weaning ideas are on-line at http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp. We didn't do this exactly, but used a lot of it.

And these children weaned at 5 1/2 and 6+, so clearly night weaning didn't lead to "early" weaning! We continued to nurse to sleep until they stopped falling asleep while nursing, at which point we'd nurse and then cuddle to sleep. Not really sure when that happened.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CheriK View Post
I really liked Jay Gordon's book "Good Nights", before reading it I'd felt like we would need to stop sharing a bed for night weaning to happen (which none of us wanted). His night weaning ideas are on-line at http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp. We didn't do this exactly, but used a lot of it.

And these children weaned at 5 1/2 and 6+, so clearly night weaning didn't lead to "early" weaning! We continued to nurse to sleep until they stopped falling asleep while nursing, at which point we'd nurse and then cuddle to sleep. Not really sure when that happened.
thanks for the site
and about the extended nursing- I am glad to hear that night weaning doesn't have to lead to early weaning!!
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