Personal experiences welcome...my three and a half year old daughter and I have an agreement that we're stopping nursing when she turns four, and right now I am really just needing to be able to put her to sleep without nursing. I've been going out some evenings for some much needed personal development time ~ last night there was an event an hour away from my house, and she stayed with her daddy, who she adores, and she has fallen asleep cuddling with him two or three times(it's very much hit or miss though). Last night she fell asleep with him, then awoke a half hour later while I was still out, and cried for a straight hour in his arms. :-/ I've loved nursing her, and I still cherish our nursing relationship, but I just need a bit more freedom, you know? All positive comments welcome, thank you.
Looking for tips for gently stopping nursing to sleep (3.5 years old)
I think you will find something your DD responds to and it probably won't be a quick fix. In the meantime, give her opportunities to fall asleep with daddy. It won't always work at first but if you consistently make the expectation, she will adjust in time. It's very healthy for her to see that sometimes mommy can't be there but she is perfectly safe and loved when she is with daddy. I'm sorry I don't have more tips except take it slow and give her the opportunity to learn to sleep without you. She may still fall asleep nursing with you but develop a different routine with daddy. Good luck!
My best suggestion is to reassure her that you are still happy to nurse her when you're there, and that if you aren't home you can nurse her when you get home. Maybe if you nurse her once before you go away saying, "I'll nurse you now before I leave since I won't be here when you go to sleep. Then I'll nurse you again when you wake up." I just wonder if focusing on times you will nurse will help her relax more than focusing on the one time you can't nurse.
That's one suggestion and I'm hoping others will chime in with more. Good luck! Hopefully something will work.
I had the same agreement with my ds years ago. He was going to start 1/2 day kindie at Montessori school and I wanted to be done nursing by his 4th bday. I started by explaining how the calendar works with odd and even days by putting star stickers on the days he could nurse to sleep. I sort of bribed him with 'prizes' for the week if he did well but wasn't pushy. The prizes weren't much... but he got to pick them out.
I knew six months would be ample time to help him transition. On the nights he was having a rough time, I suggested he just lay on my chest (my shirt was on) and I'd hold him. If he really needed to nurse, we nursed. He had some rough nights and he had some mellow ones. We coslept for another year after weaning since I didn't want to make two transitions happen.
He did wean before his 4th birthday and he and I had a special lunch date to celebrate
I just logged on to share my biggest "OMFingG" success story so I'll share here...
I've been doing the "don't ask, don't refuse" thing for a while and it's really improving our nursing relationship. Following that I've been doing some restricted night feedings and asking DC to have something to eat before I nurse - again with great success. But, we haven't had much success with getting her to sleep better at night. Even without nursing for a couple of stretches, DC still woke up to twiddle and was generally stressed I felt. After reading a bit I decided to totally switch strategies and so far so, so, SO good!
I decided that I would still nurse her before bed because we both like that but I now nurse her downstairs with the rest of the family. She normally kisses her sister and father to bed before we go up. Now, she nurses and then kisses her dad, her sister and "the boobies" night-night and we go upstairs for "book night-night". On only day 3 she went from needing to nurse to sleep and touch my breast very frequently to letting my 11 year old daughter put her to sleep! It's the craziest most shocking thing to me. PLUS, she's stayed asleep upstairs since bedtime, which is WAY longer than she used to go before she needed me to cuddle her back to sleep. It's like a miracle.
I will also add that I feel like she is really comforted and confident in this new skill. I can't describe it but I think she feels less panicky or something. Seeing her curled up on her little pillow and then turning over to sleep as I read is just the cutest little thing. Also, it is preserving our co-sleeping, which I had previously started to wonder if it should go because she was sleeping so poorly. I'd much rather have her still co-sleep and learn to fall asleep there with me (but without nursing or twiddling).
For us it helped to talk about it during the day, and not in the moment when she wants to nurse. Having conversations about what we were going to do instead, and making it sound really exciting seemed to work well. For all of mine the bedtime and the first thing in the morning were their favorite times, so I told them that we would not be doing any more "meemee's" at night. We even made a song about it. The repetition, and their input on what to do instead seemed to make things go very smoothly. (keep in mind, this was many years ago, mine are all teens now- I may have sugar coated memories ;) )