the nightly battle of wills - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > the nightly battle of wills
virgomama's Avatar virgomama 01:33 AM 10-26-2002
I have a very intense, spirited, wonderful ds who is 14 months old. Here's the problem: I'm feeling VERY ready to nightwean, and by that I mean no feedings between maybe 12-6am. However, whenever he wakes up and doesn't get the breast immediately, he throws a tantrum. He screams, arches his back, and will cry for as long as it takes to get what he wants. Which he always does because I can't stand to hear him cry like that. So I'm probably reinforcing the problem, but how can I let him cry? Yes, I'm there holding him, trying to stroke his back, singing to him, etc., but it's horrible. I inevitably end up giving him the breast, but I'm so angry and exhausted from the process that I can't go back to sleep. What to do?

cnick's Avatar cnick 01:49 AM 10-26-2002
Something tells me I'm going to get a lashing for this but here goes. I had the same problem and I bit the bullet and let him cry. It was excruciating for the first night, but I swear to you after 2 nights it was done, a little crying here and there but I've had full nights of sleep (for the most part) ever since. My pediatrician and midwife backed me up on this and gave me great support to assure me I wasn't an evil parent. I was suggested a book, I think by the name of Babywise that encouraged entering the room, tucking them back in, kissing them, soothing them but leaving the room without nursing. As many times as it takes, we're talking 250 times. That didn't work for me.

Incidentally, a friend of mine also had the same problem but thought it cruel to let her dd cry. She still gets up with her 2-3 times nightly even though she no longer nurses and 1 1/2 years have passed. She has struggled tremendously in her day to day life and also her marriage. Everyone is different I know.

I look forward to hearing the other responses. As I said above, I suspect I'll be in the minority but I feel this is a subject every mother grapples with and I wanted to share my success so you can see there is hope. I would love to hear a success story that took a different route. I've run into many a Mom that disagrees viciously with me. Not sure who's right. I just know I'm rested, in control of my life and my kids are still happy and healthy.

Good luck!
Britishmum's Avatar Britishmum 03:58 AM 10-26-2002
Virgomama - I can sympathise as I haven't had a full nights sleep in over 2 years. Dd #1 just started sleepign through the night a few weeks before dd#2 was born, how cruel was that?

Sorry, cnick, but I think that Babywise is absolutely not the way to go. Sure, it 'works'. But the question is, at what cost? If it was excrutiating for you to hear your baby cry, how excrutiating was it for him?

virgomama, it is worth bearing in mind that research is showing that although babies 'learn' to sleep through methods such as Babywise, there are side effects. Research done on primates shows that the levels of stress hormones increase dramatically when babies are left to cry. Even when they have supposedly 'learned' to be separated from their mothers, when faced with the same situation, their stess hormone levels rise to the same levels. These hormones adversely affect growth, the immune system and act as a block to learning. In other words, the baby has given up, he hasn't 'learned' anything (except that he won't be picked up when he is in distress)

cnick, I'm sorry to sound so hard, but this is a subject that I feel very strongly about. I think you will find that others on mdc will feel the same way. Your friend who thought it cruel to leave her daughter to cry was quite right. In the scheme of things, a few years parenting your child through the night is not such a big sacrifice. All too soon they will be grown and gone away, and you will miss those night time snuggles!

virgomama, there are some good other resources if you want to nightwean gently and kindly. Check out some of the other threads on this board. I know that a lot of people have used the 'No Cry sleep solution'.

Dd#1 nightweaned at about 20 months when I was pregnant, although she still woke to nurse once in the early hours of the morning. Recently I have started to say no to her at this time (she's 25 months now) She grumbles a little, but accepts it. If she were to get really distressed I'd take her cue that she wasn't ready and back off for a while.

I'm sure others will have good suggestions for you here about how to nightwean gently. Good luck, hang in there and you will find a way that works for you and is not traumatic for your baby.
cnick's Avatar cnick 11:55 AM 10-26-2002
Britishmum- I fully expected disagreement, however I'm certainly not unkind to my children.

Your research is interesting. I question though whether one or two nights of crying has long term effects. My toddler is happy, stable, loved and absolutely knows I'm there for him when he needs me, regardless of my choice to get him to sleep more than a year ago. I would be interested to hear any further info you have as I have an infant who will probably go through the same thing.

I certainly parent my children through the night on many occasions still and night time cuddles are many as my kids still sleep with us often. You may agree with my friend but I have serious concerns about her choice. She is irritable, tired and has had dramatic relationship changes in her marriage. I completely know that this does not speak for all who choose her and your methods, just like people who choose my method are still good parents. But I have to wonder if her kids would rather see her happy and fun during the day.

Virgomama- I hope you are benefiting from this! I thought you'd like different aspects on this subject and I don't mind being considered the bad guy.

Britishmum- I welcome any healthy debate and respect your opinion. I hope you can respect my views as well!

Take care to you both
leafylady's Avatar leafylady 01:04 PM 10-26-2002
How long does your guy cry for when you hold back on the nursing? I nightweaned my son at 14 months. He would scream in a very angry way for 5 to 10 minutes and then go back to sleep. I cuddled him in bed (co-sleeping) the whole time and chanted (mommy sleeps, daddy sleeps, Ian sleeps). The whole process took about 2 weeks.
I did let him cry, but comforted him the whole time. He sleeps well at night now, in a toddler bed in our room. He is 2 1/2 now.

Lots of folks here have recommended Dr. Jay Gordon's website for nightweaning info. He also has a new book out. Do a search for his name on this forum and you'll find lots of info, including links to his website.

For us, the no nursing time period was about 10pm to 4am. For some reason, 4am seems to be the magic nursing hour for many little ones.
MamaMae's Avatar MamaMae 04:24 PM 10-26-2002
I'll just skip the debate (no energy today!) and tell you what's worked for us.

We read Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solutions", and found it very helpful for nighttime ideas, alternatives, etc. I've also heard good things about Dr. Gordon's new book, though I haven't read it. I think it's called "Good Nights"?

Anyway...we made a really big deal about bedtime "routine"...and I nurse him to sleep at night (around 8pm). Before I go to bed, usually around 10, I rouse him enough to nurse him once more. Then the milk goes to sleep! If he wakes before 4 (which seems to be the magic hour for us, too), his Papa gets up and lays with him, rocks him or slings him until he falls back asleep. For the first few weeks, this was a little rough. But he held him close, and told him what was going on. Each night got a bit easier. So then, when he wakes around 4, he comes into bed with us, and nurses as he needs to, usually a few times until we get up at 6 or 7 or so. Nice family snuggle time.

Oh, I should mention that he's in his own toddler bed in our room. We made that transition (from our bed) when we started the nighttime weaning thing. As much as I wanted him to stay in our bed all night, I found that it was critical to him sleeping better and longer. And now, I must admit, I really enjoy having some space back to myself and dh.

The best advice I read about nighttime stuff was in Pantley's book...something to the effect of "if it's not working, or doesn't feel right to you, don't do it". Pretty simple. I do think there are ways you can gently nightwean...good luck figuring them out for you and your babe!
JessicaS's Avatar JessicaS 06:01 PM 10-26-2002
The America Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend CIO and opposes the methods recommended by Ezzo in the Babywise books. Ezzo's doctorate is in theology. They attempted a study on the methods and had to end the study as they were concerned for the welfare of the children. CIO has been known to be linked with failure to thrive.

While some children may do very well with CIO the numbers of those that do not do well are so high, and many of the reprocussions so great, the method is discouraged.

The main issue many have is he recommends these methods at a very young age and also recommends scheduled feedings which can be detrimental to breastfeeding chldren. I certainly wont flame you for using the method for night weaning a toddler. It's the fact that his methods are used on much younger babies (much too young) that hacks everyone off.

I just dont like the man, he is arrogant and refuses to listen to objections placed by the AAP, and consideres himself an "expert" when all of his expertise is in theology. I dont like his methods but I but I doubt they would be harmful to a toddler. If you are looking for a Christian parenting book I recommend the Christian parenting book by Dr Sears.

Sorry for ranting a bit...Ezzo kind of hacks me off but I dont really consider the nightweaning methods overly cruel to a toddler it is some of his other methods that make me crazy. I am sure you are a great mom and really love your baby Ezzo is just kind of a trigger to many of us.

Honestly, I think if you were a die hard Ezzo-ite you wouldn't be at Mothering in the first place.. so welcome to the boards and I really hope you enjoy conversing with us.

We have not yet night weaned, but Dr Gordons methods seem to be the most accepted.
virgomama's Avatar virgomama 06:12 PM 10-26-2002
First of all, thank you all for your time and responses! Secondly, I think I need to clarify a few things--we still co-sleep, and he NEVER is allowed to CIO. When he is angrily crying from not getting to nurse, I am always there, patting his back, talking or singing to him, or carrying/rocking him. I will not let him CIO, though I understand why people do it, having almost reached that level of frustration myself a few times! If I let him cry while I'm trying to soothe him, he will cry for usually up to 15 min or so then he settles back to sleep. So this entire process is repeated many times throughout the night.

What I'm hearing from all of you is that if I persevere he will get used to falling asleep w/o a nipple in his mouth gradually. That sound right?
JessicaS's Avatar JessicaS 06:25 PM 10-26-2002
That is the goal.

I would like to nightwean but everytime we try it my dd freaks out..(hysterical screaming till she vomits) we have put it off for another month or two.

I dont agree with CIO but I am not about to complain at someone for finding something that worked for them..I have seen many very AP parents finally just Ferberize their toddler, I dont really see that as much of a big deal as using it on an infant.

Have you tried making your dh be the soother while you sleep in the other room?? That might help but it sure doesn't work for us..dd beats the crap out of dh whenever we try it...
Britishmum's Avatar Britishmum 07:01 PM 10-26-2002

Something I didnt think of mentioning yesterday was that my very wise, AP pediatrician told me to wait until 18 months for nightweaning, if that was my goal. She strongly believes that at 18 months a toddler has the ability to understand explanations such as 'nursing is going to sleep, everybody is going to sleep, it's dark now, we'll nurse in the morning when it's light' etc.

We waited until around 18months with dd and it turned out fine for us. I don't think that 15 mins of crying, in your arms, is remotely like CIO, by the way!

cnick, I wasnt' intending to be hard on you. I do try to be respectful of others on the boards and IRL. I'm sorry if I sounded harsh - this is one subject that I find hard to see the 'other side' to (although I can fully understand parents wanting to do so )

As others have said here, just the name 'babywise' tends to push buttons around here! I wasn't clear also what age you were talking about, with either your child or your friend's. Whilst I personally don't think CIO is right at any age, I can see that some poeple feel it is different with a toddler to a baby. I agree that it isn't right for night waking to put such pressure on a parent or a marriage, but personally would look for other solutions than CIO.

Regarding the research I talked of on the damage done by CIO in primates, the reference is :

Coe, C.L., Glass, J.C., Wiener, S.G., Levine, S. (1983). Behavioral, but not physiological, adaptation to repeated separation in mother and infant primates. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 8(4): 401-409, cited in API News, Vol.5, No.1, 2002

There is currently some research being done on human babies, but I don't have the details. I believe it was mentioned in last month's Mothering magazine.

And I'll second abimommy's welcome! I'm sure you will enjoy meeting lots of other wonderful mothers here.

cnick's Avatar cnick 08:23 PM 10-26-2002
I've just returned from reading many threads on this subject and feel I'm more informed on your terminology.

I realize now I was very vague with my first post, as I'm definately not into "CIO". A more accurately description is that I let him fuss until he fell asleep, always reassuring that I was there but that it was time to go to sleep. The first night he cried for a little under 15 minutes, second night under 10. Is that CIO? I don't think so and I hope not because it worked so well!! I read some horror stories about vomiting, hyperventilating and other extremes. Not at all how I intended to portray myself. Sorry I struck that chord. I do appreciate the advice on the research as I'm constantly striving to educate myself.

Regarding Babywise, please reread my first post. I didn't read it, I was suggested the method by a friend, tried my version of it and it didn't work for me. I shouldn't have mentioned something I didn't know more about. Interesting to know all your opinions on it!!

Thanks for the warm welcome and britishmama, I just didn't understand your reaction, no hard feelings, I now know what you thought I was doing. My kids always get picked up way before they cross the line to hysteria
Jish's Avatar Jish 08:43 PM 10-26-2002
Nice post, Carla. Sometimes this topic can get heated pretty fast, and I'm glad to see that this is continuing to be a really useful discussion.

Here is what happened in our house. Jonah was moved into his own bed at 6 months due to our incompatibility to sleep together (I have sleep issues and have for years) so our situation was a bit different since he wasn't in our bed. I night weaned at around 16 months give or take -- I can't remember. He would go till four and if he woke up before that I would go in and comfort him but not feed him. Boy can he scream!!! There were some nights that he would scream in my arms for a half hour or more! He finally got the idea that I wasn't going to come in and feed him every hour and a half. I was only getting about two hours of sleep at a time and it was coming in 20-30 minute intervals (I said I have sleep issues: ) and I was exhaused. It came time to care for me.

After about two weeks he got the hang of it. If he would wake up in the middle of the night I would let him fuss for a couple minutes and he typically would go back to sleep. I found that he usually wasn't even awake. If he began crying or calling for me I went in and sat with him, but it wasn't often that I had to do that.

For several months our routine was that I would go in at around 5:00am when he woke and feed him and he would sleep again until 7:30 or 8:00am. Then magically at 20 months he began sleeping through the night on his own. It was heaven, and I'm not sure what started it, but it was like one day he decided that the time had come to get a good nights sleep and he never looked back.

I know that having your little one in your bed must complicate things a bit, but one day you WILL get a full nights sleep again.

As for the CIO thing. I'm a bit like Abimommy on this one. There is a huge difference between a 4 month old crying it out, and a 18 month old crying it out. While I would not let my child scream in a room by himself for long (although there are nights that Jonah does it because I won't sleep beside him when he goes to sleep, but it only lasts a minute or two,) toddlers are fully capable of fussing for a couple minutes and calming themselves down. Perhaps some will disagree, but my toddler (he's two) has learned the art of manipulation, and attempts to use it at every turn, with bedtime being his prime time. If he screams for more than a couple minutes one of us goes in to calm him down, but he would play with us all night if we would do it. He doesn't like the idea of sleep -- he just knows he's missing something.

I've gotten way off topic here and rambled. Anyway, I hope that you get a good night sleep soon.
Britishmum's Avatar Britishmum 09:26 PM 10-26-2002

not much time, but

Susan123's Avatar Susan123 09:35 PM 10-26-2002
Elizabeth Pantley suggests the "Pantley pull off" where you start to nurse the child, then after just a couple of minutes, when his initial intense need has been satisfied, you unlatch him and pull him off. If he gets really upset, you give him the breast back. The idea is that you are giving it to him, but not letting him suck for long, and gradually he needs it less. I think I'm leaving out part of it - maybe someone else can expand on it. Anyway, it sounded really insightful to me - that there's a middle ground between a nursing session and no breast at all. Striking that middle ground at first, then shortening the time on the breast over days and weeks, seems like a gentle method to me.
MamaMae's Avatar MamaMae 10:59 PM 10-26-2002
Just wanted to expand on what Susan123 posted. From what I understand of the Pantley Pull Off (how funny does that sound?! ), the point is so the child does not "fall asleep" nursing, i.e. you nurse the babe, but right before they are completely asleep, you pull off. So ultimately, they're aware of falling asleep on their own. The theory being that we ALL nightwake, but for a lot of breastfed young babes, the only way they know how to put themselves BACK to sleep between sleep cycles, is with nursing. So with Pantley, you use the pull-off, and encourage other sleep association, i.e. a lovey, pat on the back, cue words, etc. And eventually, those things will help them back to sleep just as well as the breast.

Hope that makes sense.
Nanner's Avatar Nanner 01:40 AM 10-27-2002
I didn't read all the posts, so forgive me if I repeat others! I think that 14 mths is a perfect age for Elizabeth Pantley's method or something along those lines. Maybe a Jay Gordon/Elizabeth Pantley cross. A 14 mth old crying in the arms of a loving parent for not too awfully long is not likely to suffer ill effects from the night weaning and in fact may very well reap the benefits of a rested Mommy! I would say that if your ds doesn't get too hysterical for too long, then go with it. If he cries more than maybe 30 minutes of non-hysterics or less then go ahead. Or if the hysterics subside within 5 minutes or so. I mean truly hysterical, nothing settles him, almost too upset to nurse. This is just a basic guideline that is my opinion. Of course if you feel just horrible about it then do not do it!!!
Dr. Sears say "If you resent it, change it." and he also says that crying in Mom or Dad's arms is not the same as CIO.
My story is this- from about 9 mths on I tried off and on to night wean, my one big attempt was at 16-17 mths I told dd that "Nursies are gone night-night" and allowed her to place her hand on my breast. She did pretty well, never got hysterical and I thought we were on our way! And then she got sick after only a few days trying this method and it all went to crap.
Now, she is 25 mths old and nurses pretty much like she did at 14 mths! Day and night! I am preparing her to cut her daytime nursings to 5 specific times a day. At around 2.5 I think I am going to night wean her, come hell or highwater. I am just tired of it!
In a perfect world our kids would never have to suffer. But the truth is that kids are resilient and that if you night wean with love your ds will only benefit from your sleep and satisfaction!
Please read Elizabeth Pantley, Jay Gordon, and others testimonies and try to combine them into a plan that works for you! Good luck!!!
mamaduck's Avatar mamaduck 02:43 AM 10-27-2002
Another plug here for both Pantley and Gordon. We don't enjoy full nights of sleep yet, but we have gotten MUCH closer thanks to their books! (My ds has health problems that make it a harder process. Nothing too serious -- but asthma and ear infections can make sleep a difficult thing! So, my expectations are low.)

I also wanted to say that I waited until Ds was 2 to nightwean. I was glad when I did it, and since then I've returned to occasionally middle of the night nursing sessions, but no longer as a pacifier! But when I did it, it saved me. Dh helped a lot with comforting him!! It took a week to see an improvement.

But I am glad that I waited until he was 2 because I could explain to him all day what our night was going to be like, and help him to get emotionally prepared. And then I could whisper reminders to him during the night and it was clear my words were registering. I think it was important that he was old enough to understand what I was doing, and not just feel rejected.
virgomama's Avatar virgomama 07:06 PM 11-04-2002
OMG, things are getting worse every night. I forgot to mention before that I did read the Pantley book and have tried just about every trick in the book. The book is laughable to me now, because it was clearly not written for the spirited child. (Although it is a great book, don't get me wrong!) My ds is so hip to the Pantley pull-off now that he nurses with his arm thrown over his face so I can't do it! As soon as I manage to get my pinky in there to break the suction, he grabs my hand and shoves it away. He usually arches his back and screams in rage too if he's awake enough. I try to lay more on my back so it's harder for him to nurse, and that just makes him suck harder which hurts a lot, or he screams in frustration again.

I'm at my wit's end here. Last night was a nightmare. It took me two hours to get him to sleep, and he woke up three times screaming and it took over an hour each time to get him back to sleep. If daddy comes near him he freaks out, he only wants me during the night. It's horrible because I have NO patience during the night, I'm just so exhausted, frustrated, and depressed by this situation. Are there any books or resources out there for nightweaning the spirited child?
brookelynnp's Avatar brookelynnp 09:15 PM 11-04-2002
My 14m old ds was pretty salty at the prospect of no nursing after 10pm until 5am. But every night before I nursed him down we talked about it or rather I talked and told him each night that we were not going to nurse anymore until morning but that I would be there for him to cuddle and hold. There was some crying and fussing and forceful signing for milk, but I would just remind him every night that we no longer had the nana's at night so mama could get her sleep too. I also started to substitute with a sippy cup of water and he gradually went for it even to get himself to sleep. Hang in there it takes consistency and time. I am glad that it is over but I remember the nightly struggle as if it were yesterday!
mamaduck's Avatar mamaduck 09:26 PM 11-04-2002
It might be a little easier when he is a couple months older?
My ds resonds well to me saying "In 2 minutes we'll be all done nursing." He likes to have the warning. But I don't think a 14 mo. old would quite "get" that.

When my ds does that "rage" cry, I try very hard to let my own body relax beside him. I try to sound soothing and peaceful and communicate to him that everything is okay and that he is able to go to sleep without nursing. It doesn't always help, but it NEVER helps if I communicate to him that his anger is upsetting *me.* I think that scares him -- communicates to him that he might have a reason to be frightened.
angelfromalasaka's Avatar angelfromalasaka 02:02 AM 12-23-2002
I know this is hard but I dint even think about no night nursing till 18 months. It just wasnt going to work for us so i didnt.
he still nures at 5 or after but i would like to cut that out. right now but the kids are excited about the holidays so I will wait till the end of the week then only nurse before breakfast. i did recom to someone the panley book heard great things about it.
drew is 25 months and still nurses 8 times a day.
mom to grace 3.5 and drew 25 months
teachma's Avatar teachma 02:32 AM 12-23-2002
virgomama, I don't know if you have a partner or not, but the only thing my ds responded to successfully was cosleeping with dh in a different bed from mine while we were night weaning. There was a lot of crying, but it happened in dad's loving arms rather than in a crib al by himself, so although I didn't sleep at all during this time, at least I wasn't overwhelmed with guilt. I totally remember my son doing the same thing- grabbing my arm to shove the nipple back into his mouth when I tried the pull off. I'm sorry you're going through this right now, mama. It was a bad time for us, too.
BlueRoseMama's Avatar BlueRoseMama 04:37 AM 12-23-2002
Oh, I am so sorry you are going through this... I night weaned at 15 months with my daughter for many of the same reasons that cnick mentioned in her friend. I was ill all the time, due to lack of sleep, I was crabby as all hell, me being crabby was making me less of a productive person, and was REALLY hard on my son and my marriage... and that just was not ok with me. I can sympathise with what you are going through, and I truly feel for you. Perhaps it is time to let your husband take over for a while? Even if it means sleeping on the couch? Or perhaps nursing the first time your ds wakes and then when he is back to sleep, go to sleep in another bed, and letting your dh take it from there? Just some ideas... Both my kids are spirited in many of the same ways as your ds is, but neither had too much trouble with sleep after they weaned. Cyan (My youngest, dd) decided that she had to be nursing about 4 times a night, and she nurses for about 45 minutes at a time. I ended up hating life for a while. Just couldn't do it. The Pantly method worked for me... It sounds like your littlun has caught on to your intention and is not willing to let go. May be better if you just were not there to yell at for a while... JMO...

Love Val
reesa's Avatar reesa 12:06 PM 12-23-2002
I would also recommend Pantley. Personally, I would never leave a child to CIO, I think the only thing it teaches them is that nobody is going to respond so there is no point in crying. You wouldn't leave an adult who is having sleep problems to cry themselves to sleep in a room by themselves so why do it to a child?

Having said that, there is a HUGE difference in leaving a child to cry in the arms of somebody they know loves and cares for them. They may be hurt or angry but they are not afraid and that is the crucial difference.

I would try Pantley's method first, it is starting to work for us, it takes time but I now notice dd pulling herself off and drifting off to sleep by herself more often that not. The other night she even had a feed, played for a bit and crawled into bed and went to sleep which has never happened before.

You could also try having your partner try to nighttime parent, it might result in a few sleepless nights but eventually the pattern will be broken.

Good luck!
Twelveducks's Avatar Twelveducks 08:28 PM 12-23-2002
I'm rather speechless after reading this thread.

I know that I'm not a "regular" here, and I just pop in to post here and there, when I have a spare minute or two. For those of you who don't know me, I have four kids, ages 10, 7, 4 1/2 and 2.

I don't mean to offend anyone here, but I really don't see anything AP about this discussion. Clearly, if it is taking hours at night to parent your child back to sleep, wouldn't it be easier just to nurse? S/he is probably not ready to night wean. None of my kids night-weaned before the age of 2 1/2. In fact, my oldest DD nursed all night long (wouldn't even unlatch) until she was over 2 years old. Luckily, my other kids weren't as high-needs. My current toddler is just now 24 months and still nurses a few times at night......he has even slept through a few times. He's been by far the easiest at night, though.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a permissive parent at all; far from it. I would probably be considered very strict from a AP standpoint, but I really don't understand the huge push to nightwean. Yes, some of us are really tired, but the cure seems worse than the problem, KWIM? Try resting a bit when your toddler naps, or perhaps go to bed earlier, block off the windows to keep the sun out in the morning; this might help your child (and you) to sleep longer. There are a ton of other solutions besides nightweaning.

{{{{HUGS}}}} to all of you who are going through a rough time....believe me, I KNOW what it's like. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, though!
reesa's Avatar reesa 08:47 PM 12-23-2002
I really don't want to start a fight here, but surely part of the AP philosophy is finding a balance that works for both the parents and the baby? I still nurse dd (15 mo) a few times a night but I have never been able to sleep with her latched on so all night nursing isn't an option. In cases where sleep deprivation is real, surely it is better to at least try to cut down on nightfeedings in an older baby than get into a situation where you resent having to feed at all or end up a zombie because you just can't get the sleep you need to function. I would never, ever leave her to cry on her own and Pantly for one doesn't suggest for a second that you do. But in my situation, I need a couple of hours at night or in the morning to work on my PhD so going to bed early is not an option (at any rate dd doesn't go to sleep until about 10), nor is napping with her. I found that by using Pantley, she goes to sleep nursing and I will nurse her at night when she asks. But those little wakings, where she nurses for maybe 1 minute before dropping back to sleep are decreasing with time as she learns how to settle herself when the cause of her waking is something other than hunger. And I'm a lot more rested, and feel like I'm a better mother during the day, as a result.
virgomama's Avatar virgomama 02:33 AM 12-28-2002
I totally agree that there is nothing inherently non-AP about discussing this common issue. I'm sure that all of us at one point or another come up against the balancing act between co-sleeping/night nursing and getting enough sleep to function the following day.

I did say in an earlier post that it had taken me several hours to get my ds to sleep, but I was nursing him on and off through that entire time. I never leave him to CIO, and have been using a combo of the Pantley and Dr. Gordon methods to nightwean. I do believe that all children are different, and will nightwean at different ages. I feel that my son is old enough (16 months) to go at least 6 hours at night without nursing without compromising his nutritional or emotional needs. And things have dramatically improved since my first post! I basically used Dr. Gordon's 9 day plan, but extended it over a month or more! So now he goes to sleep around 7:30 and generally sleeps until midnight or so, and I nurse him again at that time. Then if he wakes up before 5am or so (this isn't written in stone, either) I soothe him to sleep by other means. Usually he protests for a few minutes and then goes back to sleep. Sometimes he gets really angry, but he is always in physical contact with me or dp, and we are singing or talking to him. Yes, this takes a lot of energy in the middle of the night, and I'm often tired in the morning, but I have to start transitioning him out of night-nursing marathons for my own well-being. I was exhausted, drained, and resentful, and that doesn't make for a good mama.
Nanner's Avatar Nanner 04:22 AM 12-28-2002
My dd is now 27 mths old, and 2 wks ago I cut her night-nursing down to when she goes to sleep (b/w 8-10pm) and then she can nurse when the sun comes up (but we cheat! so it is no earlier than 6am).
She has cried up to 30-45 min at a time (only 1-2 times she cried this long), and up to 2 hrs off-and on crying (3-4 nights, during the 1st week).
She was unhappy, but I was right there with her, calm and reassuring her. She sometimes sleeps thru (her record is 9 hrs!!!! in her own room), and other times I bring her to my bed after a couple hours and we snuggle, and I pick her up and rock her in bed several times night.
I have struggled for almost all of her life with her nursing frequently/all night, and being very restless about it. There comes a time when Mom's needs do outweigh a toddler's needs. I think by 12-18 mths (depending on the child), he/she can handle night-weaning with a loving parent at their side. A toddler can understand that Mom is still there even if she isn't giving nursies!
So, follow your heart and do what feels right. DOn't even worry about what is "AP" and what isn't! AP is doing what feels right for your family! And Dr. Sears even let his toddlers cry in loving arms!
Good luck, and if you feel like the pay is not worth the benefit, then stop.
I Personally am really happy that I finally went thru with night weaning, it is something I know I needed.