Do any children night wean themselves? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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After reading posts it seems that most parents end up night weaning their children. Do any of them night wean on their own? If so, How old was your child? Did they co-sleep?


We plan to CLW. Although I hope DS will be done or close around 3 years. He is 2 now and still nursing strong. I have started to talk to him a bit about not having to nurse if he doesn't want to and we can still snuggle and cuddle.


As far as the night nursing some nights it seems like all night others it is just a couple times quickly. I am just wondering if he will night wean on his own? I really don't want to end this beautiful relationship on a bad note with crying protesting or simply not being ready. It is not driving me crazy or anything I am just wondering.

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#2 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 08:14 AM
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I'm not sure about kids night weaning on their own, but I do think it's possible to night wean gently, without many issues.

For my DD (who is not quite 2.5yrs old), we've talk about the fact that she can nurse at bedtime and then again when the sun comes up, but that the milk needs to sleep too, just like she does.  Occasionally she does cry about it and get mad.  I'm sympathetic but fairly firm.  I just say that I know she wants to nurse but that we can't right now. In the morning we can do two sides (which is a big deal for her) and that if she wants we can cuddle and and I really enjoy cuddling with her.


Occasionally, she starts to kick or something and I have to say, "I'm not going to lay down with you if you're going to kick me, I don't like being kicked, it hurts me"  She pretty much always stops after that.  But this is not frequent and is not, by any means, the over arching tone of nightweaning or our nursing relationship.

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#3 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 08:32 AM
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My son coslept and stopped waking up to nurse around 3 or 3.5 years old, so yes, he nightweaned himself. I fully weaned him at 4 and moved him to his own bed at 4.5. I would consider nightweaning gently with future kids; I didn't have a huge rush with my son because I was single parenting and thus cosleeping was still manageable.

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#4 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 10:29 AM
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for us nightweaning happened when we moved DD to her own room at 15 months. I wasn't doing it to night-wean, but she sleeps straight through the night 75% of the time now, and the rest of the time she wakes once at night and I do nurse her back down at those times. but I highly doubt she wouldn't be waking a ton if she was still cosleeping because when we were all in the same bed we would wake each-other up in the night. it also helps that she has a lovey she sleeps with, because if she half-wakes she will snuggle with her lovey and fall back to sleep, again, this wouldn't be the case if she was still in our bed because mama trumps the other loveys. 

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#5 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 01:46 PM
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I came into this forum to ask pretty much the same thing.  DD is almost 2.5 and still nurses frequently at night.  Some nights she only nurses once or twice but mostly it is 5-6x a night.  I love this special time and I don't want to night-wean, but I'm tired so I go thru phases of saying "That's IT!  Time to nightwean"!!!  

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#6 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 05:16 PM
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My dd nightweaned herself when she was maybe around 18 months?  Maybe a little earlier, I can't fully recall for some reason.  Anyway, I wasn't even thinking about nightweaning yet- just one day I realized that I had gotten a full night's sleep for the past few nights.  I remember that the first night after I realized that, I stayed awake for almost the whole night, I was so curious to see if she was really sleeping the whole time or if I just was unaware of her nursing.  Since then (she's 26 months now) she had had some nights where she nurses, but they're few and far between, and I think they're probably a result of teething or other weird issues.  I'd suggest, if you cosleep, to put a little more distance between the two of you, maybe that will help. 


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#7 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 05:47 PM
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My first night wean herself somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 yo. We CLW and co-sleep. My second is 2 yo and nurse one or twice at night. I don't plan to iniciate night wean either with him. I don't have any rush.

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#8 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 05:56 PM
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One of my children did. She went through a horrendous mishmash of getting four molars *and* cuspids *and* learning how to walk *and* learning how to talk *and* a growth spurt during the same three months. Her brain and her body were so busy she had a really hard time sleeping, and this girl likes her sleep. It all resolved within days at the end and she suddenly started sleeping through the night without asking to nurse. This was at 16 months. Her little brother was born a few months later and she did go back to nursing once or twice at night for a month or two, usually when he woke her up -- we were all cosleeping -- but once she got used to his noises, she started sleeping through those, too. She ended up nursing until the day before her 4th birthday, but no night nursing.


I did choose to night wean her younger brother at 22 months, though there were special needs playing into that decision. He has sensory processing disorder and started nursing 8-12 times a night as a kind of sensory soother as he headed toward 2 years old. After a few months of that, I was walking into walls because I was so tired and it was getting dangerous for me to drive. So I worked with him to find a different way to get the sensory stimulation he needed and to switch over to that. Night weaning ended up being necessary in order for him to make that switch.

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#9 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 05:57 PM
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Yes!! They do nightwean on their own!  I CLW'd my ds and he was down to one bedtime nursing late in his second year, then shortly after his third birthday he gave it up with no input from me. I'm now doing the same with his little sister, she is just past three, down to one bedtime nursing, and I expect her to follow pretty much the same pattern. I don't put much stock in nightweaning anymore after discovering it's so fragile - they can start waking again for whatever reason, I hear so often from other moms, and did experience it with my dd when she was just two - I tried it then because of sheer exhaustion - well it lasted what, three months... so no more of that for us, especially since I know they'll get there on their own anyhow!

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#10 of 21 Old 11-16-2010, 09:02 PM
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DD1 night weaned herself when she was 3, DD2 was 2, but with DD2, it didn't stop her night wakings. She would just wake up, refuse to nurse and then I'd have to find someway to get her back to sleep. nut.gif

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#11 of 21 Old 11-19-2010, 11:35 PM
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We partially nightweaned DD at 25 months for 4-5 hours.  She didn't fully nightwean (on her own) until she was over 3.5.


DS self-nightweaned after 4.5.


yes, all children will self-nightwean.  The question is--- can you wait that long? :)



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#12 of 21 Old 11-21-2010, 04:05 AM
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my ds, who is 6 and still nursing, night weaned on his own around 3 years old.  hth.

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#13 of 21 Old 11-23-2010, 02:30 PM
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Subbing to this thread.  I was coming here to post nearly the exact same post as the OP.  I really want it to happen naturally, and totally won't do anything harsh or disruptive to our relationship, but she wakes soooo frequently and I really feel over the night time nursing and waking.


I'd love to hear more stories...




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#14 of 21 Old 11-23-2010, 06:48 PM
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Oh I hope it doesn't take much longer.  DS2 is just over 3 and still nurses a handful of times at night.  He is big & bossy and it is uncomfortable to nurse him half the time at night.  I am hoping that once he gives up napping he will sleep harder at night and not wake up to nurse.

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#15 of 21 Old 11-26-2010, 08:25 PM
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My son did around 3, completely on his own.  Any attempt before that to ask him to wait until morning or whatever always failed.  He's almost 4 now, and wakes up occassionally to nurse in the middle of the night.  Sometimes I can just pat his back and tell him to go back to sleep, and sometimes he just really needs to nurse, so he does.  3-ish seems to be a typical time for this to happen for most kids. 

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#16 of 21 Old 12-07-2010, 11:19 AM
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I think we're about there right now!  DS is 2.5 and nights when he sleeps through til morning or until within about an hour of when the alarm goes off without nursing are no longer a rare gift.  Just a couple of months ago I was wondering how we were ever going to get there from here - KWIM?  He transitioned to a bed in our room in August because we felt crowded, but then he'd wake up to nurse and not want to come to our bed.  Actually having to get out of bed a couple to several time a night was driving me batty.  Anyway, long story short, we didn't push anything, neither sleeping on one bed or the other, or night weaning.  Getting in his last molars involved lots more nursing, as have a couple brief fevers.  But now night nursing is fading.  They /do/ do it themselves, and I'm so happy because my few moments of turning away from night nursing made him /so/ sad and upset.

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#17 of 21 Old 12-08-2010, 01:36 PM
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DD is almost four and still wakes up every 90 minutes to two hours. URG!!!!! but now she usually agrees to only nurse for two to three minutes (yes, i time it. i can no longer sleep through her nursings...).

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#18 of 21 Old 12-09-2010, 05:20 PM
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DD did around 5.5 y.o.

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#19 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 07:06 AM
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I occasionally gently suggested DS try not nursing til morning off and on over the years--I brought it up before bed, not in the middle of the night.  And I never pushed the issue, just proposed it as an idea.  If he woke to nurse, no big deal, we nursed.


He finally got his 2y molars around 32mo and self nightweaned between 32-34mo.  He's now 3y8m and we still have a family bed.  If he wakes to nurse in the middle of the night (I can't remember the last time this happened--maybe when he had chicken pox seven months ago), there's a reason, so we nurse.   If he rouses at night these days, I usually just take him to the potty and that's all he needs.


The downside to nightweaning is he started sleeping solid ten hour chunks.  Why is this a downside?  I'm not a morning person.  ;)  When he nursed every 2-4 hours at night, he'd stay in bed 12 hours or more with me.  Now he's absolutely done after ten.  And he gave up naps shortly after 2y, so this means I better get in bed at a reasonable hour.  ;)

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#20 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 07:37 AM
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I have a question for all you mamas regarding night nursing (please move if not in the proper place). 


I too do not want to NW DS (16 months)... does not feel right...  So...   I just took DS into his Naturopath to check his ears and (for the first time) was led to believe that I should NW him due to possible future decay. 


We brush his teeth AM and PM (as much as he will let us). 


So...  do any of your children have decay?  DS's Dr. kinda spooked me into the idea that I should NW, said he sees children all the time for pre-op appts for sedation for decay.  Yikes!


We eat traditional foods and limit our natural sugar intake....  thoughts?

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#21 of 21 Old 12-25-2010, 07:28 PM
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Xantho- to answer your question, I honestly don't believe that as a species we have evolved so that our own mama's milk causes decay in our children's teeth.  I just can't fathom how evolution would have us still existing if this was the case. Does my DD have horrible teeth? yep. When my dentist told me the breastfeeding thing (after he removed her front tooth), I told him what I just wrote to you.  Then I took the bag he had just given me for my DD and pulled out everything: the Capri Sun, the apple sauce with corn syrup and the chocolate pudding. I told him that what was in the bag caused her decay.  Because it is hard in this world to keep children from all these foods. Everyone thinks they are giving DD a "treat" but at the end of the day she has gotten so many "treats".... sigh....(and my family just has bad teeth to begin with. I think some of it is genetics.  My friend nursed her DD through the age of three and not one cavity. And my friend has never had a cavity and is far from the most dental hygenic person...)

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