Night weaning for 2 year old? How? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-04-2012, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a beautiful 28 month old daughter who is an avid nurser. She's my last....I have nursed all three of my kids, from only 21 months with my first, to 3 1/2 years with my second, and now am going strong with Linnea. We co-sleep, as well. However....I am exhausted with the night nursing, which goes on from about 1 AM until we get up at 6. I basically am getting about 3 or 4 hours of sleep every night. I'm a special ed teacher by day, too, and am just so tired in general. I don't know what to do! I know we're not ready to stop nursing, but I think I would like her to sleep apart from me, yet not sure how to support this change. I just know something needs to change.


Any experiences or ideas to share, mamas? Thanks!

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#2 of 6 Old 03-10-2012, 06:45 PM
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Is she verbal at all? Dd2 (35 mo) understands a lot--I introduced the idea of "mama's tired, mama's breasts are tired, let's just snuggle to sleep" awhile ago. She has her own bed (shares a room with her sister), but we still do sleep together some. Sometimes I let her nurse down in our bed and then dh will move her to hers (when that doesn't work, he sleeps in her bed). You could try putting a bed in your room, next to you (if there's room) or if a bed would need to be in another room, you can start the night sleeping with her then slip out to your own bed. It's possible that if you're not next to her, she won't wake up for the middle of the night nursing.

If you teach special ed, then that means she must be in daycare of some kind? So in other words, sleeping away from you isn't an entirely new thing.

Dd1 slept in our room until she was 5 or so--she had her own bed and room, just didn't want to be there, particularly after dd2 was born ("why should I be the only one sleeping alone?"). That was a factor in our having dd2 officially out of the room somewhat sooner--so that dd1 would feel more connected. We start the night in their beds most nights still--dh takes one and I take the other.

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#3 of 6 Old 03-13-2012, 11:24 AM
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I'm not sure if your goal is to have her in her own bed so she doesn't ask to nurse or bc you feel it's just time, so here is my experience... DS just turned 2. Prob around 14-18mos, I started using "not yet" very gently when he asked to nurse in the middle of the night. We would rock if he was still insistent (it didn't take long for him to stop waking at that time). There were a few times that he was upset but I chose the length of time to have him wait to nurse, and tried to stick to it. I kept gently saying "just not yet" and remained as peaceful and comforting as possible as I could about it. After a few nights, he caught onto the delayed gratification of it. Not sure if it will do you any good, but DS is still in our bed and sleeps a solid 10-12 hrs at night. I am also able to now employ my "not yet" technique when he wants to get up too early--he usually goes back to slp. Patience, patience, patience. Good luck, mama! smile.gif

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#4 of 6 Old 03-13-2012, 06:25 PM
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We just fashioned a sidecar bed from an old futon for our son's 2nd birthday and attached it to ours.  So we still co-sleep, but now we all have enough room.  I recently started putting a bolster between us after I nurse him and read books.  This has helped us immensely!  He used to roll over right into my breasts (or close enough to remind him that they are there).  Now if he rolls over and feels the pillow he doesn't even wake.  He has been sleeping through until about 4am or so when he has to get up to pee.  Then we nurse and he falls back asleep and I am (sometimes) able to get a couple more good hours of sleep in, although other times we nurse until 7am.  But all in all, that is WAY better than it used to be.  Maybe this will help...  Anyway, good luck!

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#5 of 6 Old 03-14-2012, 12:37 AM
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My son (just about the same age), was an avid night nurser as well. I never thought that I would have the heart to self-impose weaning on him, until I hit the third trimester of pregnancy and it just became too physically uncomfortable. At first I would just nurse him for a minute or two on each side - giving him ample warning that mommy's boom booms were just too sensitive right now (this went on for a number of weeks). Then, when it became increasingly uncomfortable, I would only let him nurse for about 10 seconds on each side - pretty much just as long as I could stand it. I gave him plenty of forewarning and when he fussed when I pulled away - I agreed to nurse him for a couple more seconds - and he didn't fuss the second time I pulled away. If he is left unsatisfied, he tells me he's going to sleep with daddy and just climbs over me and snuggles up next to his father...this has been such a blessing and such a natural transition as well. There were probably a couple of nights when he was a little sad about it, but going over to sleep with his dad helped calm him right down. In this last week, I have declined nursing him altogether - and reassure him that he can nurse later when the baby is born; however, since we did it gradually and now that he has the outlet of snuggling with his father, he really seems to have made a smooth transition with few tears. The changes in our bedtime routine that accompanied the changes in our nursing routine are: I gave him a little side-bed next to me (which is pretty much is just an extension of our bed, but offers a little more space and separation), he more often falls asleep and is soothed back to sleep by his dad and we read more stories at night. Good Luck!

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#6 of 6 Old 04-06-2012, 06:32 PM
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No advice--just taking notes on what all the other wise mamas have said.  My little guy (23 months) is also a very avid night nurser, and we've had no luck cutting down on the frequency or duration (still anywhere between 4 and 6 times a night.) I did transition him to fall asleep on his own, after nursing for quite awhile, which I thought would help with the night nursing--but it hasn't. I've tried asking him to wait at night, or comforting him in other ways, but he gets hysterical almost immediately and then it takes forever to settle him back down. We may try night weaning again in a couple of months--I'm hoping as my son gets even more verbal, he'll be more understanding when I tell him that boobies are sleeping!

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