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Nightweaning and cosleeping, please help!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My twins are turning 2 years old and we cosleep. They still wake up the last few hours of the night, wanting to nurse. That means that in the last 2 hours of sleep, I nurse each 2-3 times. I'm exhausted. I need this to stop. Nursing when we wake up is fine, but I need more sleep and rest if I'm ever going to feel like myself again (instead of sleep deprived!).

I keep a sippy cup of water by the bed and if they wake up at night or early hours of the morning I will try to get them to take that instead. If they won't take it and want to nurse, I will cuddle with them and pat their back until they fall back to sleep (2 minutes total usually). Most of the time it works at night, but they refuse it in the morning and shout "NO! MILK!!" They aren't interested in water, cuddling, patting, nothing except nursing.

I'm out of ideas! I always end up giving in because the more things I try the louder the screaming baby gets and I don't want them to wake up their other siblings so early! I'm starting to feel desperate. I keep getting sick because my body is just worn down from the years of sleep deprivation and it's not working for me. I'm even starting to get comments that I should wean them completely, but I think just at night would make me feel a lot better.

What worked for you? Any ideas welcome!
post #2 of 15
We never co-slept but what worked for us was a bottle of milk to start. That way they are getting the milk but you are not providing it. At 2 years old, it seems that most of their calories come from food, so you are not really providing nutrition, just comfort. When I needed to night wean the boys for my own sanity DH took the night shift with a bottle of cows milk and after three nights we started diluting it with water. There were a few tears, but I knew the boys were in good hands and were not left crying alone in their room. After two weeks we landed up with a full bottle of water and now at three, that is how D falls asleep and gets comfort in the night. We leave the bottle of water in his bed and when I get up to nurse the baby I sometimes hear him drinking. Good luck!
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for replying, Shuli!

I do already give them water when they wake up, and at night they do take it instead of nursing. It's how I was able to get them to stop nursing all night.

I'm starting to wonder if they may just be starting to get hungry for breakfast as it gets closer to wake up time, which is why they want milk. But what can I do, wake them up at 5 to feed them breakfast in bed?!? (I'm joking.)

Still hoping to hear some more ideas! I find it hard to believe on a site filled with extended BFers and cosleepers that I'm alone in this.
post #4 of 15
My twins are 2.5 and I'm going through the same thing. Because my husband is home with them during the day and working at night right now, he's not available to help me nightwean. And I'm so, so very ready. The kids, not so much.

I know this isn't helpful, but no, you're not alone.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Uccellina! I appreciate it. Have you been able to wean them at all during the night or are they still pretty much on demand? My DH is here at night but is of little help with this. They scream even louder if he intervenes because they know having Daddy hold them = not nursing!

The other night they were up all night begging to nurse on and off, and it was so bad I was *this* close to walking out to sleep on the couch and let them CIO on their own. DH jumped in to help but I am just so worn down. I'm actually planning to go to the store and buy some Hyland's teething tablets tomorrow--they have all their teeth--just to see if it will help them get better sleep for a few nights so I can get some sleep and patience back. Maybe if I give them the tablets late enough it will help them sleep well enough not to need the comforting back to sleep?? Hope that doesn't sound awful like I'm drugging my babies.
post #6 of 15
im not sure the teething tablets would help. but there are other remedies like calms forte and calm child that might help them stay sleepy...though i dont know if they would last throughout the night.

what time are you going to bed at night? could you maybe make your bedtime a little earlier so you get some extra sleep before they wake? i know my 1 yo still wakes to nurse around 5a even though i've nightweaned her successfully. now that im pregnant (with twins), my supply has disappeared so i dont nurse her, but cuddle her back to sleep...and it works. but for the first few mornings or maybe even longer, she would complain and i would succumb.

i think you might just need to get through those 3-4 mornings of crying/complaining to change this morning feed habit...
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have been going to bed a bit earlier lately, but I am on my own *all day* with all 3 kids and really need some downtime to myself when they're in bed! I can't really give that up because I need time to recharge.

What you describe sounds like what I did with my first child, a singleton. It lasted about a week or two before she really started sleeping through that time. Unfortunately, with twins, all that crying wakes up the other one. They work each other up into a frenzy (twin dynamics) and then they are BOTH screaming inconsolably and climbing all over me, unable to go to sleep again.

Maybe I'm looking for a solution that doesn't exist. Maybe there is no way to gently nightwean twins without them waking each other up.
post #8 of 15
Oh, I totally know where you are coming from! My girls are 2 today and I'm SOOOO ready to have my nights back. I co-sleep with my girls and my boy who is almost 4 and my husband sleeps on his own in another room, because the girls STILL wake up so many times at night.

At one point I started to night wean them and it was working, but then they got sick and I started nursing them again and now it seems even worse than before! I also tried to stop cold turkey all day and night...they were starting to ask so much, but I was so engorged that I thought I might get mastitis, so I stopped. Now I'm back to square one and waking up at least 8 times a night!

When I tried night weaning the first time, I tried counting to 10 and then when I was done I would take them off and they would generally go back to sleep. The first night they got really mad and then it got better, but still after 2 weeks they were waking up at night, asking for milk. I got tired of it and just gave in when they were sick.

What time do they go to sleep? Maybe you could make it later? Maybe you could wake them up to nurse when you went to sleep and then they would sleep longer because they're not as hungry.

Anyway, if you find the magic cure, let me know.

Sarah
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
*******Update!**********

I had no other ideas, so I went ahead and just stopped nursing them when they first woke up, in the early hours. Yes, there was crying and screaming, but I just cuddled with the one who woke up and patted their back and gave them their lovey.

Two things surprised me:
1. they only cried between 1-5 minutes, usually about 2 mins.
2. most of the time, the other twin did NOT wake up, or if they did, they rolled over and went back to sleep. Like they were annoyed or something. Sort of funny.

Only a handful of times did both wake up at once, and I was able to either cuddle them both, on my back with one on each side, or my husband came in to help comfort one while I patted one to sleep. Once the first one fell asleep, I took the other baby back and did the same thing.

It took about 2 weeks for them to stop waking up early. Some days it was really hard and other days it wasn't too bad, just a few minutes. Overall it was bearable. Now they wake up about 15 minutes before wakeup time and I nurse them and then we get up. Perfect!

We had some regression when they got sick and again when they were teething, but I just dispensed some teething tablets or some tylenol and was able to get them back to sleep.

So...very worth trying to get them to give up a nighttime nursing session or two, if you're really struggling with that. It may take a few weeks, but then again it may not be as bad as you're expecting--I had been imagining them both awake and screaming for a long time, but that didn't happen.
post #10 of 15

SpringLily...how's it going??  I'm bumping this thread back up because I'm starting to think about nightweaning for my girls (19 months)...but unlike yours they wake pretty frequently throughout the night to nurse. 

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Mine were doing that too at that age.  That's why I waited until closer to age 2, but in retrospect with how easy it was I wish I had tried it earlier.  I shouldn't say easy, because it did take a couple of weeks to get them out of the habit of waking up so much.  But certainly easier than I was expecting!

 

Looking back, I think it was all about getting them out of the habit of waking. It wasn't that they needed any nourishment, of course, or even comfort.  Now they sleep about 11 hours straight and when they wake up they put themselves right back to sleep.  They became so much more independent sleepwise once they learned that they don't need to nurse everytime they wake up a little.  They still cuddle with me often, but most of the night they want their own space.  In fact, now we're considering getting them beds and giving them the option of sleeping in their own room.  Who knows how that will work out, I'm fine with wherever they want to sleep all/part of the night, but really, 2 months ago I wouldn't have thought things could be where they are.  And that I'd be feeling so much better and more present during the day because I'm getting a lot of solid sleep.  Finally!

 

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.  I can tell you though that my first step was to keep a sippy cup of water by the bed, and when one woke up I'd offer water instead of nursing.  It surprised me how often that was what they really wanted and then went right back to sleep.  So you might want to try that now just to see how they react.

post #12 of 15

Mine still wake up every day at 5 am. Every. Single. Morning. I turned to DH the other day and said that one day I would love to sleep through five and go straight to six. At three they are still not fully sleeping through the night and suffer from nightmares. There has been a handful of nights that both of them have slept all the way through. So five for us is wake-up time, then DH gets dressed, dresses them and gives them breakfast on the way out to work. Spring Lily, I was going to suggest a little bag of cheerios/cereal when they wake up that early, but you seemed to have solved it.

post #13 of 15

 Bumping this again, as I now have this problem.  The girls are 2 1/2.  They used to wake up the WHOLE night (I had posted about this before), now they wake up and want milk at 2-3-4am and the last 3 days are getting up at 5am.  Today was 5:45am, so not too bad.  But they are getting up because they are hungry in the morning and I have told them they don't get mama's milk in bed anymore.  I have nightweaned them to the point that they are not actually having milk, just waking up for milk.  And 5am is too early for them, they are not getting enough sleep.  They used to wake up about 6:30.  I wouldn't mind just giving them milk in the morning and letting them go back to sleep (which is what I've done for 2 months or so), but 1 of my daughters has dental surgery in 2 weeks which will probably be around 6 am and she can't eat or drink ANYTHING (not even water) until the surgery is done, so I wanted to get her used to not having anything until after 6 am, at least.  5:45am was an improvement today and I THINK twin 2 actually slept through til 5:45am without even asking for milk, which is what she had been doing. 

 

Anyway, just wondering if anyone had other ideas except just saying No.  My mom suggested that I will HAVE to completely wean them before they will stop waking up.  She also suggested giving them regular milk in the morning, so that they will expect that instead of mama's milk.  Any suggestions or BTDT?

 

Thanks,

Sarah

post #14 of 15

Shortly after my twins turned 2 they were only nursing before bed and first thing in the morning. They were pretty easy going and seemed to understand natural consequences so I just started telling them at night that I didn't have any breastmilk, in a kind of confused and aplogetic way, and that maybe I would have some more in the morning. There were no tears, instead it was like a mystery that bewildered us all. The discussion about no breastmilk at night went on for a few weeks and then suddenly I didn't have any milk in the morning either, and they were weaned. Once they stopped nursing in the morning it meant I needed to have something ready for breakfast or even an easy morning snack as soon as we got up, and I was completely satisfied with that trade-off. 

 

It did feel a little conniving, and I questioned how AP my tactics were. I just didn't want the transition to be traumatic and if they hadn't been so agreeable I'm sure I would have caved.   

post #15 of 15

I tried to get the girls out of the early morning nursing by saying that they couldn't nurse until they get up.  This has backfired....they now wake up at BEFORE 6 everyday.  Now I started nursing them about 4:30am again to make them sleep longer, but they are still getting up at 5:30am out of habit.  Oh, this life of AP with twins.  Hard, hard, hard! 

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