Is it really possible to nightwean a 2.5 yr old without a lot of crying and despair? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 10-08-2011, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm on child #2 and thought I was such an expert on nursing, but now I am flummoxed. 

 

My daughter is even crazier for night nursing than was my son, and she is not very verbal, so my attempts to tell her that the beeboos are sleeping do not get through.  I am getting TMJ and numb arms from the several 1.5 hour nursing sessions per night that cause me to sleep in weird ways and be so exhausted for so many years now.  And, more importantly, I am starting to wonder if my girl would be better off if she was able to sleep better for longer without thinking she needs my boob every time she wakes up.

 

I have always been of the thinking camp that I just have to wait until she is ready and that it would be selfish to teach her something before she is ready, but lately I wonder if I am doing her a disservice, besides being a wreck and a zombie myself.  I taught her to eat solids and I taught her to use the potty by starting these things slowly but surely before she was ready to go all the way with them, I do the same in homeschooling my son though he is not ready to go all the way with focus and learning -- can nightweaning work in the same way?

 

And HOW?  I don't see how I can do it without her crying a lot!

 

Husband not helpful.

 

Hope to hear your ideas!

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#2 of 18 Old 10-08-2011, 07:41 PM
 
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My older child nursed every 1.5 hours day and night until after she was 2. I was really worried about how she'd handle night weaning, but I decided to just try and see what happened after she was 2 - maybe 28 months? Maybe a little earlier htan that - it's been a long time. So I went for it with the understanding that if she got upset, I would just stop and hold off for a few more months before trying again. But it was easy and went really well! She wanted to nurse the first night and I said no, and patted her back and said to go back to sleep, and she whimpered and went back to sleep. She did that again that night, and then did it one time the second night, and from that point forward slept through the night. It was really that easy.

Now I realize it might not go that well for you or for anyone else, but it might, and I really think it's worth trying. Even if you only get her to nurse a bit less often at night, it'll be an improvement, and if it doesn't go well, I'd try again in a couple of months. Just keep trying. She'll be ready at some point.
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#3 of 18 Old 10-09-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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That's exactly the approach I took. I night-weaned DD at 2.5 almost exactly. I simply said "no more milk at night after tomorrow" (or something similar).

 

The first night, she wasn't impressed, but didn't fuss. She just sighed and rolled over and went back to sleep. The second night wasn't as good and she did cry for about a minute, but it wasn't a heart-rending sobbing type of cry. She woke up several times that night, but only really cried once. The third night, she didn't ask, and that was that. She nursed during the day and at bedtime for another year after that. It didn't stop her night-wakings totally - I'd start the night in my bed and then go to her when she called, but I'd be awake for about 2 minutes, so I was okay with that!


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#4 of 18 Old 10-09-2011, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Now I realize it might not go that well for you or for anyone else, but it might, and I really think it's worth trying. Even if you only get her to nurse a bit less often at night, it'll be an improvement, and if it doesn't go well, I'd try again in a couple of months. Just keep trying. She'll be ready at some point.
 
This makes a lot of sense -- I like the idea of little steps and not having to have a really firm resolve and to have to face her really crying.  Based on what you say here, I don't think mine is ready --  Last night in honor of my own post I tried telling her that the beeboos were sleeping, etc., when she woke, but she turned into mole burrowing endlessly into me with sorrowful little cries, was mystified at me rubbing her back, etc.   But I will try a little here and there, as you suggest. 
 
Just wondering, do you co-sleep?  I am trying to move her out of the bed (or move myself out of hers) to see if this will help, but I hate the thought of her feeling all alone in cold little bed!

 

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#5 of 18 Old 10-09-2011, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Perdita_in_Ontario View Post

That's exactly the approach I took. I night-weaned DD at 2.5 almost exactly. I simply said "no more milk at night after tomorrow" (or something similar).

 

The first night, she wasn't impressed, but didn't fuss. She just sighed and rolled over and went back to sleep. The second night wasn't as good and she did cry for about a minute, but it wasn't a heart-rending sobbing type of cry. She woke up several times that night, but only really cried once. The third night, she didn't ask, and that was that. She nursed during the day and at bedtime for another year after that. It didn't stop her night-wakings totally - I'd start the night in my bed and then go to her when she called, but I'd be awake for about 2 minutes, so I was okay with that!

 

This sounds incredible!  I don't think it will happen this way for me -- see above.  But I wonder how verbal your DD is.  Mine is not too verbal, I don't think she would even understand it if I said what you told your DD.



 

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#6 of 18 Old 10-10-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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I feel your pain Evie P! My son is 17 months but we're in the same situation--constant night waking and marathon nursing sessions. I'm feeling exhausted, burnt out, and even resentful. My son isn't verbal enough yet to understand "no nursing at night," and my attempts at soothing him back to sleep instead of nursing just end in hysterical screaming. I always just expected I would follow his lead when it came to night weaning (and weaning in general) but I don't know how much longer I function in sleep-deprived zombie mode. I know I would be a much more patient, energetic, tuned in mother if I was getting more sleep--my son and I would both benefit I think!

 

Other moms I've talked to have used Jay Gordon's gentle sleep training method with varying degrees of success. It might be worth a try.

http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html

I'm working up the nerve to do something similar, although my first attempts were less than encouraging.

 

Best of luck to you mama--here's hoping we all get some good sleep soon!


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#7 of 18 Old 10-10-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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We are getting ready to try nightweaning here and I am just as apprehensive as you are. DD will be 2 in a couple of weeks. She is a very demanding nurser who has not yet taken to any forms of self-soothing, and although she is very verbal and understands when I tell her "mama's boobies need a break," she's not happy about it even during the day and doesn't give up easily. I anticipate nightweaning being difficult, but it is wonderful to read that it isn't always (thanks mamazee!). We are planning to try Dr. Jay's method.

One worry I have is that she always wakes around 5 a.m. for milk and then sleep-nurses until 6:30 or 7 (any attempt to unlatch her results in her waking for good). I am hoping she will learn to sleep a little later without the nursing, or that we can keep that session without confusing the rest of the nightweaning concept ... because the thought of having to get up with her at 5 every day just makes me wanna cry.

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#8 of 18 Old 10-10-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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I recently fully weaned my son because I was just too tired and he kept waking up and sleep-nursing and it was just too much. I felt as though neither of us was getting the sleep we needed, because there were times that he would nearly sleep through the night if he wasn't in bed with me, but then, if he was next to me, would wake up every hour or two and start rooting. It was a couple of weeks before his second birthday, and we did have a couple of wee hours-temper tantrums, but always "I am very angry at you" ones, not "I am completely freaked out" ones. So I'd say try it and see what happens. Expect to have some angry crying and temper tantrums, but hold firm unless Mommy-instinct tells you that she is panicking. Also, try offering water--my son actually ended up even preferring water sometimes at night even when he was still nursing because my supply was nearly gone anyways. Hopefully, though, you'll have what I did--temper tantrums that got smaller and smaller for 3-4 nights, then slightly pouty acceptance, and finally fond patting of the "bo" while chatting unintelligibly with Mommy, but not actually trying to nurse. For what it's worth, we went completely off the boob--DS is now weaned completely, and seems none the worse for it. In fact, I'd say that his and my relationship is probably better because I'm less frustrated with trying to work around his demands. I think some toddlers actually need us to set these limits for them, and they and we end up much happier once the limit is established.

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#9 of 18 Old 10-10-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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i'm interested in others' experiences. 

 

we are 3 weeks into nightweaning right now. i nurse 27 month old son to sleep & then when he wakes i offer water, rock him, rub his back. we wander form room to room, bed to bed. sometimes he cries for a half hour & other times i can get him to go back asleep by cuddling. he wakes a bunch through the night.  i thought after 2 weeks, we would be done with the frequent wakings, but no. he does sleep nurse from 6 onwards to 7/7:30. it is a concession i made otherwise he would wake up that point & be unconsolable. 

 

 


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#10 of 18 Old 10-10-2011, 09:16 PM
 
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My DD only night-nurses so night-weaning means weaning altogether. It is not going well at all. She is 28 mos but is unwilling to go to sleep without the nursies. I can't say I blame her. When we lie down to sleep she is the closest she can ever be to me , her tiny legs wrapped around my tummy, her hand across my body and mine across hers' , I keep kissing her forehead and say "I love you" a million times and croon and sing and recap the day and tell her stories.It is blissful to the hilt. And she sleeps way faster this way.

 

After which she wakes up mostly once (anywhere from 5 A.M. to 8 A.M.) very rarely twice , reaches for my breast and nurses for 5-10 mins and falls back asleep.

 

I don't mind it too much but I am hoping to start TTC soon and am thinking I should get this out of the way....

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#11 of 18 Old 10-11-2011, 04:05 PM
 
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I night-weaned my DS right around his 2nd birthday.  The first night wasn't too bad.  Night's 2-10 were he!!.  But I was in the bed next to him the whole time, cuddling him, talking to him, reassuring him.  He was mad, but not really in despair.  And I chose a 5 am cut-off time (otherwise he'd be up at 5 every morning, which I couldn't deal with).  It took about 10 days to settle down, it's been a little over a month, and we have good nights and bad nights.  There are nights when he's just not going to go back to sleep without milk, so I let him have it.  It's a judgement call.  But, he's also growth-spurting right now like crazy, so he does actually sometimes need the food.

 

A good tip that my LLL gave me is to give him a snack right before bed.  When I change his dipe right before bed I hand him a banana or a cheesestick, and it really seems to help - he's down to 1 night-waking now. 


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#12 of 18 Old 10-11-2011, 04:22 PM
 
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DD is 26m and I think I am done with night nursing. DS weaned himself fully at around 22m (I was pregnant) and DH took over night time parenting. But DD co-sleeps and nurses  a LOT. I've been relucatant to nightwean because it is one of the few times when she has physical access to me (I work ft) and I don't want to force her into weaning. Happy to nurse to sleep and in the early morning but I haven't have a five hours stretch of sleep in over two years.

 

And I admit too that I both want to get pregnant again and want DH to have some nightime responsibility (hee hee).

 

The kicker is that she is that she is very verbal and I can just imagine the disputation. (No! Mama life shirt for nursing I need to go back to sleep and I am so sad this will make me happy I don't want dadda dadda go away maybe I should go potty I DO IT MYSELF I need a drink of water ROW ROW ROW THE BOAT GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM MERRILY MERRILY HALLOWEEN - ha - I just told a joke I need to nurse! Roll OVER)

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#13 of 18 Old 10-14-2011, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blessed_Mom View Post

My DD only night-nurses so night-weaning means weaning altogether. It is not going well at all. She is 28 mos but is unwilling to go to sleep without the nursies. I can't say I blame her. When we lie down to sleep she is the closest she can ever be to me , her tiny legs wrapped around my tummy, her hand across my body and mine across hers' , I keep kissing her forehead and say "I love you" a million times and croon and sing and recap the day and tell her stories.It is blissful to the hilt. And she sleeps way faster this way.

 

After which she wakes up mostly once (anywhere from 5 A.M. to 8 A.M.) very rarely twice , reaches for my breast and nurses for 5-10 mins and falls back asleep.

 

I don't mind it too much but I am hoping to start TTC soon and am thinking I should get this out of the way....

 

 

I dunno, Blessed M, but this whole thing sounds like heaven to moi!  Those tiny legs wrapped around you and just a nurse at night and in the morning?    My goal is to end the TWO TO THREE HOUR nursing sessions that occur at 1 am and 3 am, etc., , but what you have sounds like what I want.  Ain't that always the way?  ABout TTC --  I did nurse my son after getting preg with her, but it's true that it starts to hurt after a while.  However, I relied on the taste change to wean him, and I think that worked, so you could always try waiting for that.



 

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#14 of 18 Old 10-14-2011, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post

I feel your pain Evie P! My son is 17 months but we're in the same situation--constant night waking and marathon nursing sessions. I'm feeling exhausted, burnt out, and even resentful. My son isn't verbal enough yet to understand "no nursing at night," and my attempts at soothing him back to sleep instead of nursing just end in hysterical screaming. I always just expected I would follow his lead when it came to night weaning (and weaning in general) but I don't know how much longer I function in sleep-deprived zombie mode. I know I would be a much more patient, energetic, tuned in mother if I was getting more sleep--my son and I would both benefit I think!

 

Other moms I've talked to have used Jay Gordon's gentle sleep training method with varying degrees of success. It might be worth a try.

http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html

I'm working up the nerve to do something similar, although my first attempts were less than encouraging.

 

Best of luck to you mama--here's hoping we all get some good sleep soon!

 

*

 

Ack, I feel your pain too!  My babe is almost a year past yours, though, and still not very verbal, so I guess I can't offer you an overabundance of hope except to say that there are periods of relief in between the crazy nursing times.  I will look at the link you sent too -- last night was a record of endless nursing and me gently saying and then angrily hissing "BEEBOOS ARE SLEEPING," to no avail, and me cursing violently at my husband for not comforting her when I finally ran out of the room, and then she threw up!  (literally 2 to 5 am when finally I gave up and left her with visiting mother-in-law) Kind of funny a day later but oh boy was last night a rocky one.

 

Anyway, good luck to you too and thanks for the note!  I am def going to check out that link.


 

 

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#15 of 18 Old 10-14-2011, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by cristeen View Post

I night-weaned my DS right around his 2nd birthday.  The first night wasn't too bad.  Night's 2-10 were he!!.  But I was in the bed next to him the whole time, cuddling him, talking to him, reassuring him.  He was mad, but not really in despair.  And I chose a 5 am cut-off time (otherwise he'd be up at 5 every morning, which I couldn't deal with).  It took about 10 days to settle down, it's been a little over a month, and we have good nights and bad nights.  There are nights when he's just not going to go back to sleep without milk, so I let him have it.  It's a judgement call.  But, he's also growth-spurting right now like crazy, so he does actually sometimes need the food.

 

A good tip that my LLL gave me is to give him a snack right before bed.  When I change his dipe right before bed I hand him a banana or a cheesestick, and it really seems to help - he's down to 1 night-waking now. 



The night snack seems good since sometimes mine actually demands cheese after an hour of nursing.  Will try that.  But it kind of sounds from your post like your little man is kind of not night-weaned some of the time, which is what I expect is gonna happen to us.  That is sort of why I am afraid to try -- a lot of struggle and tears (I can't bear the tears!) without even a real relief.  But maybe what you are having is a lot better than what you had before you tried?

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#16 of 18 Old 10-14-2011, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

DD is 26m and I think I am done with night nursing. DS weaned himself fully at around 22m (I was pregnant) and DH took over night time parenting. But DD co-sleeps and nurses  a LOT. I've been relucatant to nightwean because it is one of the few times when she has physical access to me (I work ft) and I don't want to force her into weaning. Happy to nurse to sleep and in the early morning but I haven't have a five hours stretch of sleep in over two years.

 

And I admit too that I both want to get pregnant again and want DH to have some nightime responsibility (hee hee).

 

The kicker is that she is that she is very verbal and I can just imagine the disputation. (No! Mama life shirt for nursing I need to go back to sleep and I am so sad this will make me happy I don't want dadda dadda go away maybe I should go potty I DO IT MYSELF I need a drink of water ROW ROW ROW THE BOAT GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM MERRILY MERRILY HALLOWEEN - ha - I just told a joke I need to nurse! Roll OVER)


Love that Joycian recitation of your little one's verbal response!  She sounds so cute and so funny that she deserves a night nursing reward!  : )

 

I am totally with you on wanting the man to take some night duty!  I don't know how you got yours to take over but I would like some of that magic potion.    I do always give up and just do it myself rather than try to wake a sleeping bear fully.  But last night after the two-hour mark (4 am)  (see below) I actually used a very very bad word to him in getting mad about his not helping, and included phrases like, "I know you don't care about me or if I ever sleep at all ever," and the whole scene included my daughter throwing up beeboo milk and the cheese she had demanded after 2 hours of nursing all over the family bed.  It was a really proud moment for us all.  Ugh.

 

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#17 of 18 Old 10-17-2011, 05:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evie P. View Post

.  I am getting TMJ and numb arms from the several 1.5 hour nursing sessions per night that cause me to sleep in weird ways and be so exhausted for so many years now.  

Then really.. does it matter if she cries?  If I had to wait until nightweaning my kids was tear free I'd still be nursing them (5 and 3).  It'll be FINE.  She's 2.5.  If she flips out for a couple of nights (as mine did) it'll still be fine and then everyone will move on with their (well rested) lives!

 

I was very matter of fact, lots of hugs, confidence, showed no guilt or doubt.  I think they picked up on our confidence!

 


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#18 of 18 Old 10-19-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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My daughter is 2.5 years old and I was partially motivated by some of the advice here to really embark on night weaning.  She is also very verbal and this has been an advantage in some ways.  First of all, we used to read books and then go straight to nursing so I had to think of something enticing to change that association.  The first night as I was trying to get her to go to sleep without nursing, we were rocking in the rocking chair and I started telling her all the reasons I was so proud of her (I guess the rationale was that she is becoming a big girl now so not needing to nurse but here are all the great things she can do!).  She loved it and was quieted almost immediately.  The first night I went on and on about everything and the 5 nights since I have just sort of reviewed the day with her, talking about all the things I was proud of her for that day.

 

Also, I told her ahead of time (well, honestly only about 2 minutes before bedtime) that we would no longer be nursing at nighttime, only nursing when the sun comes up.  As I suspected, she was beside herself but she was also already exhausted, so I know it wasn't great timing but I kept trying to imagine a time when she wouldn't freak out to hear that news and just never found that moment.  Anyway, once we got to rocking and the "what I'm proud of you for", she calmed down.  I also told her that Mommy doesn't have as much milk anymore since she is a big girl now and so I needed the nighttime without nursing to have enough milk to nurse her in the morning (all true).  She took this all in.  She did cry a little, but not nearly as much as I had imagined.  She will ask in the middle of the night if the sun is up yet.  At naps, though I'm trying not to nurse her then either but with less resolve as it's hard to do it all at once, she will ask if I have much milk for her.  We did do some things beforehand like boundaries to how many times she can nurse before going to sleep and getting Daddy involved some nights which may have helped the transition.

 

My husband went in the first wake up on the first night of weaning and she screamed for 5 minutes but then fell asleep 2 minutes later.  We are less than a week into the weaning and she is still waking at night and falls back asleep quickly, but last night she awoke every hour after 2:30 and by 5am I caved and nursed her telling her the sun was about to come up so we could nurse.  I don't know if maybe I stayed in there with her after the first waking if she would sleep longer, but I don't think I would have the resolve to get up and walk her like I have been instead of just nursing her.  My husband said he would take the before 2am wakings, but the last two nights she has only woken up at 2:30... of course!  I think I am going to ask him to just take the first waking and I would do the rest except on weekends when I'd like him to try and do all of them until 6:30.  Was so hoping this would end night wakings....  maybe in a few weeks...
 

 

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