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The final frontier in weaning: nursing to sleep

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi there! My son is nearly 2 1/2 and we recently nightweaned. We used the method Naomi Aldort recommend to me, which is outlined here: http://mothering.com/weaning-child. It was real easy ~ the time was ripe and this method is great~ and now he is down to only nursing to sleep. I feel that our nursing relationship is coming to an end and I would like to stop nursing him to sleep at some point this year. Since we just nightweaned (about 2 weeks ago) I want to wait until that is fully a regular habit ~he still wakes up occasionally at night and wants to nurse and gets frustrated for about 20 seconds and falls back asleep and I want to wait until that is over. Once he's fully used to no nursing at night I am ready to stop nursing him to sleep and I would like to hear your stories on how you went through that transition. I know for most people that is the last nursing session to go. I know there is a method outlined in the No Cry Sleep Solution book, but I actually tried that a long time ago and it is very very time consuming and quite frankly I do not think I have the patience to follow it through. I am pretty sure we cannot get through this without tears, but I think that is ok as long as we validate and stay with him through it. Obviously though, we want to minimise the tears and I am not sure how well I could handle many days worth of full-blown extended and hysterical tantrums before every sleep. Does it have to come to that? I would not like our nursing relationship to end that way. But I know from deep within myself that the time is coming and this is going to happen relatively soon. Any tips or stories are greatly appreciated. Also, once you weaned from falling asleep nursing were other people able to get your child to sleep? Because it is a major PIA that my husband cannot help our son fall asleep (which is a contributing factor in me wanting to wean, but certainly not the only one, I would not do it just for that). Many thanks for anything you can share! love.gif

post #2 of 6
we gradually introduced dad to the night routine. he started doing the bath only. then the teeth brushing, then the story. then we changed the nursing so it happens before the bath, and dh does all the routine. so he puts him to sleep, but he got to nurse before. then we would skip the nursing if he forgets to ask, or can't wait for the bath. then it became only 1-2 / week. then he stopped completely. so very gradual. over. 3-4 months. iwas pregnant then.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply, that is an interesting idea to transfer the nursing to before going to bed. I wonder if it would help at all or if my boy would get just as upset when it comes time to actually fall asleep. I will keep that in my pocket though as something to possibly try.


Sooooo, is that really the only response I'm going to get? I thought this was a pretty common thing. I am really unsure how to go about this....cold turkey? Like I did nightweaning, with a little party and a good few days of preparation? How much upset on his part is to be expected or is ok? I could really use some support.


I understand that some people are very pro-child led weaning and I fully support that, however as I said I feel this down to my bones in my deepest mama intuition that soon it will be time to end our nursing relationship. I know many mamas here have been where I am and done it relatively smoothly. I hope a couple more come out to give me some ideas. Many thanks!! thumb.gif

post #4 of 6

My daughter was 2 1/2 when I decided I needed to be done nursing.  One night as we were snuggling in bed I told her that the milk was all gone.  There wasn't any left.  She cried for a few mins and then settled down and went to sleep.  This was repeated the next night (no more than 5 mins of crying).  She never asked for them again.  It went wayyyyy better than I expected.  My daughter is a very dramatic child and was very attached to nursing to sleep.  Shortly after I transitioned her to a toddler bed.

post #5 of 6

Hey P.J., I wish I had more info that could help you, but I found your thread looking for advice myself!  I'm actually trying ot night-wean now and my DD is only 15 months.  Mostly because we're trying to get knocked up again and I'm pretty sure the BFing is inhibiting that (given that I haven't even gotten my period back yet).  Anyway, we kind of have the opposite issue.  She still wakes up 2-4 times a night (which is also starting to have detrimental effects on my body and mind) and nursing is what gets her back to sleep fastest, but we can get her to sleep off the breast.  In fact, most nights she comes off the breast herself and then we put her in her crib. Sometimes it's me and sometimes it's DH. There is often some crying, but at least 50% of the time it is short-lived (less than 30 seconds) and she rolls over and falls asleep.  Sometimes she fusses for a little longer and we will rub her back or her face. Someone gave us this wonderful woolen ball that we discovered had lavender inside - so we give that a squeeze and it seems to soothe her too.  I always have soft music playing and DH will talk to her quietly - prayers or a story.  I have a little mantra I say to her, just telling her that we all love her and to close her eyes and go to sleep.  Over and over until she's quiet.  Both DH and I will sit in a comfy chair in her room until she's sacked out.  None of these are 100% and obviously I'm working on other stuff, but at least we are not chained to the boob for bedtime.

Good luck.

post #6 of 6
The last nursing session I dropped was the nursing to sleep one as well, my DD was only 19 months, but for me I just followed the same night time routine and then didn't nurse her and instead encouraged her to cuddle and suck on her ducky blanket (she'd been doing that already at other times) and she didn't object at all. I was fully expecting her to not be cool and I too wasn't sure how I would handle it, but we just stopped and it was fine. I was prepared to hand over night time duty to DH for awhile if needed and was going to look into other things too, but it ended up being no big deal for her which was such a relief because she is very determined when she wants to be! I hope it will be as easy for you, but if it isn't, I do like the idea of turning over bedtime to your DH for awhile as I think that can help a lot.
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