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Night weaning: is it time?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I've been breastfeeding and co-sleeping for nearly 15 months. I don't want either to change (and neither does DD2) but I am sooooooo ready to sleep longer then 5 or 6 broken hours in the night. (Thankfully DH gives me plenty of opportunities to nap during the day - blissfully by myself).

 

I want to continue cosleeping, there is plenty of room (queen + sidecarred crib), and I don't necessarily want to night wean, I just don't want her latched alllllllll night anymore.

 

What should I do? I am slightly more willing to wean then stop bedsharing because I don't have a room for her. I live in a 2 bdr apartment and the second bedroom already occupies DD1, and having them share a room would not be a good idea, as neither of them would sleep lol.

 

I am willing to entertain almost any idea, so please, go ahead and spam me some methods to make nighttime more pleasant for everyone.

post #2 of 27

I nightweaned my twins when they were somewhat older, but I had similar thoughts.  I really didn't want to stop cosleeping but needed to sleep without interruption (I was awake enough w/ insomnia, didn't need 2 children waking at different times all night long!).  I found Jay Gordon's book Good Nights to be incredibly helpful, as it's completely supportive of continuing to bed share.  His night weaning ideas are also online (http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html). 

 

W/ all of mine, I found from 1-2 year to be really really hard for night waking.  There's so much going on developmentally, with learning to walk and talk, becoming more independent, big molars coming in, eating more solids & being too busy during the day to remember to nurse.  When I tried to night wean at that age, it was way too difficult and upsetting.  But it did set the stage for later night weaning, since they'd gotten used to me limiting the length of nursing and "encouraging" them to fall back to sleep with cuddling or back rubs instead.  We'd basically stopped the latched on all night pattern by the time we fully night weaned.  I can completely remember that feeling of crawling out of my skin and wanting SOO badly to roll over and find my own comfortable position without any little leech attached!

 

I still night nurse my almost-3 year old, but have some limits at night.  She can nurse on both sides, but if she wants to keep nursing after that I count out loud to 10 and ask her to roll over and go back to sleep.  I've used some of the same strategies as I used w/ my twins.  She's easier though, as she doesn't wake until about 3-4 am most nights, so I've gotten 4-6 hours uninterrupted sleep before then, and am often awake anyhow (see above note re. insomnia!).  And she rarely wants to stay latched on after nursing, at least not until we get to 6 or 7 am, and by then I'm okay with it as it gives me a chance to read my book.
 

post #3 of 27

dd was a little bit older when we nightweaned, but boy was i SO glad i did.  and it went really well too..  and we still cosleep.

i am a big fan of the telling the kid the boobies go to sleep at night story.  so i wouldn't do it until the child can understand "night" and "dark," but if you're there, you might be surprised at how easy it actually is.  i felt like i was a much better parent with enough sleep.  just be consistent, and once you decide to do it, you cannot waffle, or it will be misery for everyone. 

(just for fun, here's what i thought at the time http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1314301/were-nightweaning-and-it-doesnt-suck)

post #4 of 27

Having to have 7-8 hours of sleep is a myth. I haven't slept through the night for over 32 years. First there was pregnancies and nursing my first two. Then we were living at a house where I was baby sitting a 2 year old. I got pregnant again and 3 more years of breastfeeding and co-sleeping. That all was about 12 years. By then I had an irritable bladder and couldn't sleep through the night. I have to get up to pee. I live with my 3 year old grandson and he often sleeps on/with me when he is not feeling good. It doesn't bother me. I have adapted to living on 6 hours of broken sleep. I'm 55. When I have lived without small children about I never sleep 8 hours.

 

When my first child was a baby I gave up on the idea of sleeping through the night. I think when I stopped expecting it then I stopped missing it. I started meditating and I had been doing yoga for years. Human mothers are supposed to wake at night to protect their young ones from preditors. We can go back to living that way.

post #5 of 27
Well, some people really are much better with a decent amount of uninterrupted sleep. Eventually kids get older and no longer need to be latched/vigilantly watched 24/7. That gradual process, including weaning, is natural as well.
post #6 of 27
Sorry, forgot my actual advice! I know someone who had luck with moving the crib, not out of the room but just a few feet away and putting the side up. She also had her partner do the majority of the nighttime parenting, including putting him to bed, so the little one got used to being comforted in ways besides nursing. The thing is that if the mother would go to the child and nurse she pretty much had to keep doing it for the rest of the night. If she didn't, he was perfectly content with occasional snuggles from Dad.

Good luck!
post #7 of 27

why are you only getting 5-6 hours of sleep?  are you going to bed v late?  waking for hours during the night?

I would jay gordon it for sure.

post #8 of 27

I don't know what people, in the aggregate, need, but I need 8-10 hours or I feel pretty crappy.  I night-weaned my dds around 15 months, because it was getting super-unsafe for me to drive.  I like the idea of moving the crib and putting up the side.  That was a big help for us.  

post #9 of 27

I night weaned around 15 months and I was so glad I did.  We did Jay Gordon's method, but did 7 nights for each stage.

post #10 of 27
I night weaned pretty early for MDC, still nursed for years. But I need my sleep. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture that, iirc, the Geneva Convention banned. So why is it allowed for moms? I vote for nightweaning. I know it made me a much better daytime mom and person to have a decent amount of sleep.

And 7-8 hours a myth? I easily need 9 or so, or my health suffers. I can go for a couple of days on less, but then everyone starts to pay.
post #11 of 27

nak

we did jay gordon's method starting at 13 monts.   still coslept untl 2 yeas old and bf'ed for 26 months.  You can do it!!  its a rough probabaly 2 weeks, less sleep than youre getting now, but so worth it!!!

post #12 of 27
I dont believe for one second that needing 8 hours of sleep is a myth. Women used to wake in the night to protect their young, but humans adapt to what circimstances they are under, and we no longer need to do that. It also used to be very common for people to sleep during the hot part of the day, which we no longer do. Mothers often used to sleep between lunch and when it was time to prepare dinner, and since we no longer do that, we DO need sleep in the night. Not only is sleep deprivation a torture method, it is a widely accepted theory that sleep greatly improves quality and length of life:

http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih3/sleep/guide/info-sleep.htm
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need



I believe each person needs a different amount of sleep, and it is up to you to figure out how much you need. I can deal with 8-10 broken hours, or 6-8 straight hours, but I barely function with 5-6 broken hours of sleep. If I get any less than that, I feel unsafe driving my kid around, unsafe using power tools or sharp knives, and often like i am going to pass out. I make stupid mistakes like burning myself while cooking, letting the sink overflow with water because I got distracted, leaving butter in a hot car, or forgetting to make an important phone call. To put it simply, if you cannot be 100% fully functional because your nights are lacking hours of sleep, then you need more sleep. Some people might exist perfectly fine on 5-6 hours of broken sleep, but everyone I know of who claims that has issues (either mentally or physically).


If you need some sleep mama, dont hesitate to nightwean a 15 month old. And regardless of what you decide, it is helpful for a baby's developing sleep habits to be latched all night long. I think at the age he is now, it is going to be very hard to teach him not to be latched on all night without some weaning happening. DD did this, and it was the reason we started nightweaning. I started just holding her when she cried, patting her back, and doing other things to comfort her and I very quickly noticed that she would fall back asleep on her own without the boob in her mouth.

I fully intend to have this new baby nightweaned by his first birthday at the latest. I need sleep at nighttime if I plan to be a good mommy in the daytime.
post #13 of 27

Chiming it to agree that sleep deprivation is dangerous, and the "8 hours of sleep" is NOT a myth.  It's well supported by multiple studies. 

 

This article last year in the NYT really hit me:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sleep-t.html?_r=1

 

(One major finding?  After two weeks of being restricted to 6 hours of sleep a night, test subjects were as cognitively impaired as a person who had been kept up 24 hours striaght -- and the equivalent of people who were legally drunk).  

 

In our house, the kids started the night in their own bed and I got them when they woke in the middle of hte night, and they finished the night in our bed.   Nightweaning happened naturally as they slept longer and longer between going to bed and waking for the first time for nursing, until they were staying down for a long enough stretch that I was able to get in 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.    If bedsharing is most important, then I'd look into the cosleeping-nightweaning experts for ideas to cut down on sleep interruptions.

 

I couldn't sleep deeply enough while actively nursing to get refreshing sleep, so one thing I did during the cosleeping portion of our nights was that I still had relatively-defined "nursing times."  I didn't let my kids stay constantly latched on all night, and I didn't let them just latch themselves on.   I wore clothes that limited access and if they stirred, I had to open up and latch them on -- and when they were done, I'd unlatch and tuck myself back in again.  I've had people say "Oh, I just slept htrough all that and got plenty of sleep!"  But for me, I just didn't.   The disruption of my sleep to allow access and then to remove access was *less* than the disruption caused by constant latching.

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

Having to have 7-8 hours of sleep is a myth. Human mothers are supposed to wake at night to protect their young ones from preditors. We can go back to living that way.



Cite your source.

 

As to your second sentence, I'm fond of civilization, thank you very much. Sleep deprivation did some very unhealthy and tragic things to both me and my child. 

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

Having to have 7-8 hours of sleep is a myth. I haven't slept through the night for over 32 years. 


if you feel like martyring yourself go right ahead, but speak for yourself rather than making general statements. There are many studies that long term sleep depletion can lead to impoverished reasoning skill and moral deception making, what that cut off is varies from person to person and with various ages, but we all have it. Most people think they need less sleep than they really do and if tested usually show a marked improvement in many needed skills when sleep gets closer to the 7-8 hour range and is less disturbed. It is amazing that mothers can do what we do, and i have been living on sleep fumes for 10 months myself as i night feed and care for my twins, but i am very very aware that i could be doing better both cognitively and with my generally immune system. I look forward to night weening personally since i know that it will help me be a better mother, 24 hours a day.

post #16 of 27


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

Having to have 7-8 hours of sleep is a myth. I haven't slept through the night for over 32 years. First there was pregnancies and nursing my first two. Then we were living at a house where I was baby sitting a 2 year old. I got pregnant again and 3 more years of breastfeeding and co-sleeping. That all was about 12 years. By then I had an irritable bladder and couldn't sleep through the night. I have to get up to pee. I live with my 3 year old grandson and he often sleeps on/with me when he is not feeling good. It doesn't bother me. I have adapted to living on 6 hours of broken sleep. I'm 55. When I have lived without small children about I never sleep 8 hours.

 

When my first child was a baby I gave up on the idea of sleeping through the night. I think when I stopped expecting it then I stopped missing it. I started meditating and I had been doing yoga for years. Human mothers are supposed to wake at night to protect their young ones from preditors. We can go back to living that way.



 

Speaking as a physician, you are just flat-out wrong. I challenge you to find non-anecdotal evidence to back up your claim. 

post #17 of 27

lurk.gif

 

Mamma of a 15 month old boy who loves his nursies at night.  I hear ya srdvdsn, I am starting to need more sleep too!  DS starts the night off in his room, then moves to our bed when he wakes up after we've gone to bed.  On the nights that he sleeps from say, 11-3 I feel pretty good the next day.  But when he wakes up at 1:30ish and is on and off the boob all night I wake up pretty tired. 

 

Not to hijack, but mammas, would your advice be the same to someone who WOH and so isn't around to nurse during the day?  I worry about the impact on our BFing relationship if I night wean.  Not ready to wean-wean yet (not by a long shot!)

post #18 of 27

So nice to read a thread where women are standing up for their need to sleep! Go Mamas! 

 

I nightweaned at 13 months. Fabulous decision on my part. 

post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post

 

 

Speaking as a physician, you are just flat-out wrong. I challenge you to find non-anecdotal evidence to back up your claim. 


Well, here is an article that is some food for thought. While I would suspect the individual who only needs 6 hours of interrupted sleep is VERY rare, the article is interesting in that it brings up the idea that the 8 hour single stretch of undisturbed sleep by oneself or with one partner seems to be a very modern Western thing.  Near the end there is some discussion of "segmented sleep". I was going to poke around the internet for some more references to this but don't have time right at the moment

 

http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/9_25_99/bob2.htm

 

edited to add:  I personally find that I can still function when my sleep has been interrupted a lot, but I have to stay in bed until I get a cumulative number of hours that is acceptable...total sleep for me is more important than long stretches. Although boy does a long stretch feel good :)   Now, if a mom only has a narrow window to get all the sleep (the 8 hours at night, which is what most people have time for) I can totally see that the interruptions would be really disruptive. I've read Jay Gordon's method for night weaning and although I haven't tried it yet, when I'm ready to nightwean my baby (he's 15 months now, too) I plan to give it a try.  

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

Not to hijack, but mammas, would your advice be the same to someone who WOH and so isn't around to nurse during the day?  I worry about the impact on our BFing relationship if I night wean.  Not ready to wean-wean yet (not by a long shot!)

Nightweaning way younger than MDC would suggest, both my kids (even the one I WOH with) continued nursing just fine the rest of the time, AND they had a mom who could function, and function well.
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