When do you nurse again, when nightweaning - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-02-2009, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're in the process with 17mo of nightweaning, and now nurse at about 3am and 6 am. I'm thinking we need to do a "no feeding at night" transition soon because I think she wakes up frequently wondering, "Is this the time when we nurse?"

Sooo, if your child goes to bed around 8 or 9 PM, when's the first feeding? Also, we co-sleep, if that makes a difference in your answer.

Thanks! -Delilah
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#2 of 11 Old 03-02-2009, 07:52 PM
 
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We nurse any time he wakes up after 5:00.
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#3 of 11 Old 03-02-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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I don't go by time, but more by her reaction. She's 26mo and we've only recently done anything resembling night-weaning.

Basically, if she wakes and asks to nurse, I say "you're okay, let's just cuddle." If she fusses, I reassure her she's okay. If she settles within a minute or so, then we're fine. She was fussing because she wanted booby, but not because she truly NEEDED it.

But if she doesn't stop fussing, then I know she NEEDS it, and I say "okay sweetie, here you go."

Lately, half the time she wakes up, I say "just cuddle" and she says "okay" and smiles and settles right in. It's quite nice!!

Her waking up is still very erratic... sometimes she wakes every 2 hours and squirms all night, other nights she doesn't even stir until 4am (in her bed sidecarred to ours). So I can't practically speaking, nurse on any sort of timing.

I would also vary it depending on her appetite, mood, etc... if she's going through a cranky spell or is sick or is on a growth spurt and extra hungry, I'll offer to nurse straight away every time. I'm trying to guide her on the idea that we don't have to nurse all the time at night anymore, but still following her lead on how much she really does need.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#4 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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When we nightweaned (20 mos.), we made sure to have a snack and water next to his bed at night (this was good advice from a LLL leader). At the beginning, he would get hungry in the middle of the night, so he would have his snack and then cuddle back to sleep. Gradually, he just stopped waking up hungry and started eating more during the day. He still wakes up once a night and comes into our bed (he''ll be 3 in 2 weeks.)

I would nurse him to sleep, and then wouldn't nurse again until it was light outside (it was about this time of year, so it didn't get light too early).
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#5 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 07:44 PM
 
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My rule is that we don't nurse until we are (in theory) ready to get up for the day. This can be as early as 4:30 or as late as 6:00 AM. I usually scoop him up, bring him into bed with me, then we nurse and maybe fall asleep for a little while. Sometimes he's up in 15 min, other times we've slept for another hour.

That being said, we do sometimes have to do a quick snack in the middle of the night. He eats something quickly, has a little soy milk, and I put him back in his bed.

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#6 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 10:07 PM
 
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It has to be light out. This works because dd knows/expects that if she asks for it and its still dark, daddy will carry her right back to bed. If its light out, or looks like its starting to get light, she's welcome to snuggle right in! A little bit of flexibility comes in if its like, 6:30 and I know its going to start getting light very soon. By that time, she's well rested enough (though not enough to last till her usual nap time by a long shot) to put up a good fight about going back to her bed so its simply not worth it. The sun will be coming up before she goes back to sleep, so we avoid that battle. The whole "you can nurse when the sun comes up" response works waaay better at 3, when she's only barely awake, and plenty exhausted. I like using light instead of time because its more meaningful to dd. She doesn't know what time is, but she can tell from looking out her window if she's allowed to nurse yet.

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#7 of 11 Old 03-06-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
I don't go by time, but more by her reaction.
.
This is what I have been doing with my 20 month old twins. But I wonder if I am encouraging them to cry because then they get what they want, kwim? I've been thinking of going to the "No nursing until it is light" idea but then I know we'll just be up at 4 and fussing until daylight. At that point they'll nurse and head back in for a nap while I'm up for the day with the family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie_mary View Post
When we nightweaned (20 mos.), we made sure to have a snack and water next to his bed at night (this was good advice from a LLL leader).........................., and then wouldn't nurse again until it was light outside (it was about this time of year, so it didn't get light too early).
With my oldest child I had snacks and water at night for him also. At 6 years of age he had his first tooth pulled due to decay. He now, at 8 years, has a multitude of dental issues. From all the night nursing/night snacking? Who knows.


And I want to throw in a word of caution to any moms who might be considering going cold-turkey on the night nursing. In a moment of desperation (in October) I nursed the girls to sleep at 10 pm and said no nursing till morning. By midnight I was so engorged I was begging them to nurse! Normally they had been latched on all night but I didn't really think of it as nursing. I ended up hospitalized with mastitis, needing multiple days of iv abx to clear it up. So be mindful of how you go about doing it, unlike me!

Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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#8 of 11 Old 03-06-2009, 05:37 PM
 
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But I wonder if I am encouraging them to cry because then they get what they want, kwim?
At 20mo? I wouldn't give that a second thought. At best, they are only just STARTING to differentiate between a 'need' and a 'want'. Crying to get what they want or need is not manipulation, it's communication. They cry because they're upset and don't yet have the emotional self-control to do anything else. In fact, toddlers in general are so easily overwhelmed by the power of their emotions... And as long as their needs are met responsively and with love and care, they won't feel any need to begin manipulating. Kids are not just selfish, greedy, spoiled creatures waiting to happen who need to have that 'trained out' of them. They're doing the best that they can with what abilities they have.

It's quite surprising (though perhaps it shouldn't be) how well kids will learn to self-regulate when simply allowed to communicate and show their emotions and we don't assume ulterior motives or manipulations.

What we CAN do is begin to teach them how to communicate without crying. For instance, with regards to night-weaning, if DD reacts by crying and doesn't settle so I realize she really does need to nurse, I might say "oh okay, I see that you do need to nurse. Can you say 'nurse please'?" She'll usually stop crying and sniffle and say "nuss peez".

So at the same time, I have responded appropriately to her need, AND given her a tool for communication other than crying. If, however, she doesn't calm down and "ask nicely", I don't assume that she's "manipulating" or whatever. I just assume that it's because she CAN'T. She's so emotionally distraught that she can't pull herself together, even with guiding and prompting. This is the middle of the night too, she's tired, and aren't we all more emotional in the middle of the night?

I mean, if I was awake, exhausted, hungry, with my caregivers saying "no you can't have any", I'd burst into tears too!

So in other words, you can start to teach your kids to "ask nicely" instead of crying for something, but if they don't, then don't worry or fear that they're 'manipulating' -- just realize that it's because they CAN'T. Controlling emotions is a BIG DEAL that even most GROWN-UPS have trouble doing, it boggles my mind sometimes how much we're told to assume that a young child, by definition immature, must have some ulterior motive when they're crying. Why can't we just assume that they're crying because they're distraught and need help? How do WE feel as an adult if we're crying and our loved ones tell us "oh, just get over it, I'm not going to help you just because you're crying, you know."

ANYWAY. It's neat to watch DD, now 26mo, starting to show signs of deliberate attempts at self-control. For instance, she's crying because she wants something. Deep, gasping sobs. It's something she can't have right now, but can have later, so we say "oh, you can have that later... first, mommy has to go downstairs, then daddy has to finish doing this, and THEN we can do what you want. okay?" She'll then hiccup and stop crying, say "okay..." then sob a bit, then stop, choke up, almost relax, then tear up again... You can very literally SEE the fight going on inside her, between the rational part of her that has realized that she WILL get what she wants, that everything's okay, that she just has to wait, that there's no need to cry... and the emotional part of her that wants it NOW NOW NOW and even wants to keep crying for no real reason.

It's really, truly intriguing to see this happening in her. And it gives me MUCH grounds for relaxing, for not worrying about 'manipulation' and all that. She WILL learn to self-regulate her needs and her emotions because that's how we're programmed to develop. As long as she's got good modelling to learn from, and we respond to her needs, and offer compassion and understanding when she CAN'T get what she wants, then she'll develop just fine.

Anyway, this veered off a bit from nightweaning but I can never resist a good 'manipulation' discussion!!

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#9 of 11 Old 03-06-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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when the sun is up. There is a window in the bathroom and we leave the door open so he can tell. If he asks to nurse and it's still dark I say "ok, sure as soon as the sun is up" or "the ninners are asleep right now, they will wake up when the sun comes up" he's fine with it 95% of the time. The other 5% I just nurse him. If he really wants to nurse then I try to respect that, I figure he's got some type of 2-year old reason.
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#10 of 11 Old 03-07-2009, 08:12 AM
 
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Tankgirl- I don't think it is manipulation. I think they just learn cause and effect well. If they are really upset they'll end up snuggly and nursing. If they whimper they'll fall back to sleep on their own.

For a non sleep related example. I hate my kids sitting on the table while they eat. Use a chair. But because I would swing my kids off the table and plop them on the chair it became a game. "Look at me. Swing me down. Then we can do it again." Not manipulation, just cause and effect.

Just like you wouldn't say your kiddo is manipulating you when she asks nicely to nurse. But she has learned (or is learning) that when she asks nicely she gets what she wants.

I'm not really sure my 8 year old is capable of manipulation. (But we aren't an exceptionally bright crowd here!)

Just wanted to throw that out! After a really rough night here (2 girls in my bed by 11 pm, 8 year old up for the day at 4 am and nursing three times for the one who never came to my bed. Ugh.) who knows how clear this really is.

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#11 of 11 Old 03-07-2009, 04:59 PM
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I put a small light on a timer. It's not bright enough to wake her if she's still asleep. However she knows* when the light goes on it's time to get up/nurse. There have been times I can tell she's awake and staring at the light. As soon as it flicks on she turns and starts poking me It only took a few nights of "When the light comes on we can nurse." She's by nature very laied back though.


-luv

*well she did know until daddy took over helping her at night because of the new baby. Darn daddy Now I can tell she still knows but she ALSO knows if she pokes daddy enough BEFORE the light goes on he'll call it a night
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