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More nightweaning assistance urgently sought...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

...by this mom who is having new problems.


I posted a couple months ago about wanting to nightwean DD, who was then just under 2 years.  We followed Dr. Jay's plan and about half our nights now she goes down around 8-8:30 and doesn't wake up until almost morning.  The other half she wakes up maybe once - sometimes only 45 minutes after I put her down, sometimes not until 3 am.  She's a little unpredictable that way, but it's mostly been very good.


The problem is that she wakes up at ALMOST morning.  I've committed not to nurse her until it's light out.  But for the past week or more, she's woken up every morning around 5:30 a.m., about an hour before it's light here.  And she will NOT fall back asleep till it's light.


I feel very very frustrated and stuck, because it's not like she's just awake and babbling to herself.  She's SCREAMING at me. If I gently say, "Dark time is for sleeping, light time is for being awake," or "We nurse when it's light.  It's still dark now." or something, she just screams.  We do EC and I know she needs to pee when she wakes up but she works herself into a crazy state almost instantly when she awakens and won't pee.  Today she peed on my bed; that was the first time that had happened in months.  I could diaper her, but a) I'd rather not go backwards on the potty learning, and b) she'd still get super upset before peeing anyway.


She gets contradictory and hyper and freaks out during these morning times.  First she wants me to be in her little bed with her, then she wants to get on the big bed.  She wants to get up and down.  All the while she's trying to shove her hands down my shirt and begging for nanas.


I think we need to come up with a plan and just stick to it until this gets better, because right now we're all over the place in the mornings and I just don't know what I'm doing.  We could go back to nursing at 5:30, but I don't want to backpedal on the Dr. Jay plan - that just seems like a bad idea.  I could leave the room at 5:30 and let her papa come in so she's not around the nanas.  I could wear substantially more clothing around the boobs and get better earplugs.  We could put up the 4th side of her toddler bed so she's enclosed and let her CIO for that one hour between 5:30 and light.  We could completely placate her, walk around, go up, go down, do whatever she says she wants to keep her from freaking out until the sun comes up.  I'm just at a loss. 


I say terrible things to her and behave horribly when she's screaming at me.  She pulls my hair and kicks very close to my face.  I know this will pass naturally in a few months' time, but it feels like a very unhealthy way for us to start our day.  I'm also not against cutting out the a.m. nursing time altogether.


Suggestions? Please?

post #2 of 6

When I weaned DD she started waking really early (and I had fully weaned).  It was a giant PITA and the only thing that worked was not getting up until at least 6 no matter how much she freaked out.  She's in bed with me but she was PISSED to have to lie there with me.  This morning she slept until 7:30 :)


With DS when I partially  nightweaned the trick with him was not nursing until 'tomorrow'.  So not the morning/light thing but he knew he wasn't getting any until naptime the next day.  Or maybe after breakfast, I can't remember.  But I basically took it totally off the table in bed.

post #3 of 6

That sounds terrible, maybe having dad take over for a little while so you can kind of recover from these mornings would be helpful, even if that doesn't end up being your long-term plan!  We just night-weaned our DD as well, and it's gone mostly very similar to you.  Except that she's not upset in the mornings like yours is, she's just... awake. 


Like the PP mentioned, it also sounds to me like there's something not connecting for your DD about when it's ok to nurse and when not.  We went out and purchased the Good Nite Lite for ours, which shows a moon when it's time for sleep (and "nursies sleeps too") .  Then when the sun face comes on she gets all giddy, runs into my room to tell me the sun is up, and nurses.  Maybe it could also work with a regular night light set on a timer?  When the lights are off it's time for sleep and when the lights come on it's time for nursing. 


Do you offer her water?  That might help if you don't already.  Or a snack? 


If you change the cue about when it's ok to nurse (to a light or something), then you could start that cue at 5:30 am to prevent the tantrum and then slowly make it later and later.  Maybe she'll start to trust that the nursing session will come and be able to be more calm? 


One last thing is that even if our DD wakes up early, we try really hard to keep her in "sleep-mode."  So we keep the lights down, don't play with her (DH or I will just lie down next to her bed and pretend to sleep), basically we don't engage.  After all, it's time for sleeping.  My hope is that her body clock will slowly adjust itself so she'll stay asleep a little longer again.  But that's just theory at this point! 


post #4 of 6

If you are not nursing DD because you feel it may cause problems or isn't within Dr. Gordon's method, I would simply start nursing her again in the morning.  IF YOU ARE UP FOR IT, it could just be the easiest thing to do.  And it is completely reasonable for her to want/need to nurse at that point.  If it does cause issues, you can deal with it them, but maybe it won't.


If you are, meanwhile, not nursing her for another reason (even as simple as you don't want to) that is another matter entirely ;)  You could try just getting up at 5:30 and see how that goes.  Or having a snack in the bed ready for her and offering that instead.


I really like the Sears' (& others, I just heard it specifically from him 12+ years ago) that if it takes longer than a few nights to "break" a habit, it's a NEED not a habit.  I think a lot of people are successful with allowing their children to nurse "when they wake up" and it doesn't necessarily lead back to all night nursing.  Additionally, even the "we don't nurse when it is dark out" is also fairly random.  Here that would mean a child couldn't nurse from 4:30pm until at least 7am the next morning during some parts of the winter!  And in summer only from 10pm-5am.

post #5 of 6

WE are trying to night wean right now too and I have also noticed that DD wakes up a lot around 5:30.  I have decided that if it is relatively morning then I will nurse her, usually if it is after 5am, because in that case she has gone most of the night without nursing, but then it also allows for her to easily go back to sleep and sleep for at least a couple more hours.

post #6 of 6

I feel for you. It's so hard sometimes. When I was night weening my daughter I would respond to wake ups during the night, but try not to nurse. This worked fairly well, but the tricky part was deciding when 'morning' was. I really didn't want to start my day at 5am, however if she woke up around that time I also found it hard to get her back to sleep without nursing. I eventually 'caved in' and nursed her back to sleep at these 5am-ish wake ups and it gave us both a couple extra hours of sleep. It didn't cause a back slide with the progress we had made with the night time weening.

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