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How did you stop nursing to sleep?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My daughter is 19 months and has always nursed to sleep at night. I am now 23 weeks pregnant, and need to end this routine. She also co-sleeps and nurses back to sleep when she wakes in the night (typically 3-4 times). I am soon going to refuse the boob when she wakes in the night, and although I know this will be hard, I think it will be much easier than trying to get her to sleep. My main reason for wanting to do this now is I want to have a new way to put her to sleep before the new baby arrives in June. I need my husband to be able to put her sleep when I am in the hospital, and it would be nice for him to be able to put her to sleep sometimes anyways! I also want her to sleep with just him or in her own bed because she is such a light sleeper I know new baby will be waking her up all through the night at first. Another reason I want this to end is that it is so painful to nurse her! I can deal with the physical pain, but cannot deal with the thought of her freaking out each night while I am gone (I am most likely having a repeat c-section and will be therefore be gone 2-3 nights).


So, any suggestions on how to transition her to a new method of falling asleep would be greatly appreciated. How did you do it? What did you do? How long did it take? I am dreading this and can't help but to be incredibly pessimistic!

post #2 of 10
Don't worry Mama! I know it sounds hard, and your dreading it, but as long as its the right time for your little girl, it shouldn't be harder than expected. (Meaning as long as she's not teething or sick, times when nursing is very comforting)

Ill start by saying Dr Jay Gordon has a very awesome step by step night weaning process if your interested. (If you google Dr Jay Gordon night weaning, you'll find it!)

I wanted to use this, but instead I had to wean cold turkey suddenly, and didn't have the time, but other Moms on here have said many times that its worked.

When I weaned my son at 21.5 months, it took only 3 hard nights for him to understand (he was only nursing at night and during the night) he would wake up and scream, kick and just be soo mad at me, but eventually after just talking and reassuring him he would go back to sleep. That would happen about 4 times during the night. But it never lasted longer than 10 minutes.
By the 4th night he wouldn't wake up every 2 hrs, he actually slept without waking for 5-6 hrs, and it just got better from there.

Few things we did were explaining to him, that "milk was empty" and it was "all gone" we also had a sippy cup of water near our bed (definite must for us, he was so thirsty, not used to an empty belly) and everytime he woke up we would offer it to him, most the time in those first 3 nights he would refuse it, but we would keep offering and eventually he would take it and go back to sleep.

My husband tried to help with putting him to sleep but my son wanted me and only me, so I have no experience with the hubby taking over. Even to this day, my son is 26 months, I still put him to sleep. So I'm no help there.

I remember dreading it soo bad, and then thinking afterwards "that wasn't as bad as I thought" now he falls asleep so well and sleeps right through til morning. We just lay in bed with him.

I hope all goes well with your loved one. Good luck! And God bless!

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post #3 of 10

We just achieved this!  DS is 2 1/2 though, and I'm not sure it would have worked a year ago, but in case it helps....We did his whole bedtime routine as normal, ending with me laying down with him nursing.  I let him nurse a while, and then I tell him that I need a drink of water, or I have to go to the bathroom, or move the laundry or something.  Then I leave, do whatever I "needed" to do, but I don't go back in the bedroom unless he calls for me.  It usually takes 2 or 3 times of me coming and going, but it is finally working every night!  If she's really uncomfortable with you leaving, maybe have your DH there with her and just practice you leaving for 1 or 2 minutes once a night until she's used to that and then take it from there. 

post #4 of 10

We are in a similar situation. Son is 28 months and I'm 2 months pregnant. He will be 3 when baby is born and I am very stressed about weaning.  He's never been put to sleep any other way.  The other day during his nap, he nursed for 45 mins and I kept trying to sneak away and he would keep waking up.  Finally I said, FINE, nap's over- I was starving and needed my lunch.  My son cried so hard at this.  I'm sure he was exhausted.  In fact we ended up both sobbing on the couch.  Not a good start at all to weaning.  I know I still have time, but ideally I'd like weaning to happen by some time in the 2nd trimester.  It's very difficult for me to even think of breaking up this relationship, but I am so sure it's the right thing to do.  I just have to find the strength because a sobbing mama is not going to be ok!!  Wishing you luck on this!

post #5 of 10

Hey there 28 weeks pregnant and a 28 m/o nursling. We didn't stop nursing to sleep but we did stop night nursing. It started with daddy cuddling her when he went to bed so I could have some space. She woke up less just from that.


Then when she does wake to nurse I started telling her "OK just a little b/c mommies nipples are ouchies" I count to 30 mississippi in my head and unlatch her. If she cries I tell her "I'm sorry but milkies hurt right now and they need sleep too"


She wakes once a night every now and then now and it's been almost a month since we have implemented it. I just nurse the 30 seconds and go back to sleep after.


We did it this way b/c DD is so intense/HN and we tried different methods of NWing for months to no avail (she was screaming HOURS a night).

post #6 of 10

Also if I fall asleep before her (which happens a lot it seems) I won't nurse her again but she just falls asleep somehow on her own but in my bed.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses! I am planning to try Jay Gordon's method for night weaning. I have been waiting until teething has passed, and I think we may finally have a break now. It has been constant since October until about a week or so ago. However, the past two days she has begun jamming her hand in the back of her mouth, so maybe the 2 year molars have decided to come early (of course). My concern though is not so much with the night waking, even though it still happens several times a night, but rather the initial falling to sleep nursing. The only way this currently happens is nursing, and this needs to change. I am beginning to panic about what will happen when I am away in the hospital for a few nights after my likely repeat C-section in June. In fact, I lie awake thinking about this often lately. When I am gone, my husband will be putting her to bed at night. I see her totally freaking out and him not having a whole lot of patience. He has not been totally on board with the way I have gone about dealing with her sleeping. She has been pretty high needs since day one, and I have done what I have felt was right for her. Now, however, I am feeling desperate for change.


One thing to add is that my milk has dried up, she is just sucking for comfort, not milk. And she has always refused the pacifier, so I have therefore been the human pacifier. It is now, however, excruciatingly painful to nurse her and I can't take it much longer.


It seems that pretty much everyone has made changes with older toddlers, but hopefully something can work out with her over the next few months. I think I am just going to start with simply not nursing her during that initial falling to sleep, and give it time, and hope that she will adapt. I'll of course be there with her, but refuse to nurse and somehow deal with the extreme upset that will follow. For a long time I put her to sleep by rocking her in her car seat, because I found that she would quickly fall asleep and I could sneak away. When I finally transitioned her to lying down in bed with me, it was difficult and frustrating, but she finally adapted. This one will definitely be more difficult though, and I am dreading it! Hopefully it will end up being one of those cases where it will be harder on me than on her.

post #8 of 10

I am in this same situation and looking for ideas. My little one is 26 months and I am planning on getting pregnant within a few months. She only falls asleep nursing or in the car seat while we are driving. We cosleep and she wakes in the night several  times and often in the morning wants to nurse for long stretches. I have been feeling a strong aversion to nursing her at night especially, as it sacrifices some of my sleep. I only nurse on one side and it has become that I can't sleep on that side so whenever I am nursing I am waiting for her to be done so I can go back to sleep. I don't like how uncomfortable it makes me physically and emotionally. It makes me question whether I should get pregnant again as well. 


I hope having a  break in nursing will give me some needed rest and regeneration for starting this relationship over with a new babe. 


Any further advice would be welcomed in this tender time. thanks mamas. you have given me some hope this morning. smile.gif

post #9 of 10

I'm so glad I found this post--it makes me feel like I'm in good company :) . CalmCenter, I so resonated with what you wrote. My 22 month old still nurses several times throughout the night, and I'm beginning to feel almost resentful. We had been planning on TTC again around this time, but there's no way I can imagine being pregnant right now, let alone having the energy to care for an infant. I feel sad in some ways that our nursing relationship is so taxing on me--I would like to enjoy it more, but after 22 months without sleeping longer than 2 hrs at a time, I'm beginning to get pretty grumpy! We're working on using Jay Gordon's method and my son now falls asleep without being latched on, but he still wakes up 4-5 times a night. Hoping that will improve! 

post #10 of 10

I am trying to figure this out right now as well. We just night weaned my 21 month old daughter using a modified Jay Gordon plan. I am 23 weeks pregnant and my milk has dried up, and nursing has been painful and irritating help.gif. I can get my daughter to sleep at nap time and bed time by going for a walk with her in the stroller, which I absolutely love! My problem is when I transfer her, she has to be breastfed to go down. I know Elizabeth Pantley has a gentle removal technique which involves unlatching your toddler after a brief period of nursing. Gradually you reduce the time until they learn to fall asleep without breastfeeding. We are going to try that. It's hard to be patient though when nursing doesn't feel good. If that doesn't work, we are going to try a whole new routine, possibly ending with hubby putting her to sleep. The funny thing is she will accept me just holding her in the middle of the night, but not at the beginning of her nap or bedtime.

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