My son will be 2 in early Nov. I am currently 12 weeks pregnant. I want to night wean him sooo badly. He doesn't nurse at all during the day, but I nurse him to bed. He goes to sleep fine in his own toddler bed, but will wake several times in the night for milk and to come into my bed. I do not want to be pregnant with a kicking toddler in my bed (he moves alot & kicks while sleeping). I'm already at the point where I'm uncomfortable in our queen sized bed with just me and my DH, adding in my 2yr old means no sleep for me at all. Plus, he uses me more like a pacifier I feel. If he's in my bed, he must be latched on. If I move, try to turn, or get up to go to the bathroom - he wakes up and screams and cry until I come back and promptly put my nipple back in his mouth.
Last two nights I've tried night weaning him. I still nursed him to bed and he was asleep within 5 min in his own bed. After that when he woke up I would rock him, sing, pat his back, offer a binky & water but no milk even if he asked. He screamed, cried, kicked me, clawed at me, slapped me, etc. Is that normal? Honestly I got pretty beat up and I'm exhausted from 2 nights of no sleep. I did not give in to the night milk, but I did give him milk in the morning when he woke up - which is fine with me. I need him sleeping through the night but milk before bed and in the morning is okay with me.
I guess I need either some advice on how to night wean or just reassurance it does get better? I'm at my wits end because I can count on my ONE hand the number of times he has ever slept through the night.
Vegetarian mother to (3/09) (11/10) and (4/13)
Hi. No advice here, but this was almost exactly the post I was going to make. I really want to wean my just about 2 year old, but she's not going to go along with that quietly. She's willing to make quite a bit of noise if I try to say no to a nursing session, and in the middle of the night, that just won't work. She has a 4 year old sister in the next room. I hope you get some good advice that I can try too.
Hi- I don't have personal experience with this (still nursing ds whenever) but remember seeing a link with Naomi Aldort's nightweaning advice around on this site....
here it is: : http://mothering.com/weaning-child
"That's the way it is, if that's the way it seems to you."
"Cosi e se vi pare."
Having DH put him back to bed might help, there's no milk option there and he has the strength to gently restrain him til he calms down, also the emotional part doesn't phase dads as much. If you need to do it, wear something to prevent breast access and hug him tight yourself til he settles down. And keep the nails trimmed if he scratches. He'll drop the routine of nursing at night and quit asking eventually, then you'll only get that kind of fight at bedtime if he's having a really off day. At 2 or 3 and especially while sleepy I find the only way to stop their violent stuff is physically.
I see this all the time. I'm a sleep coach.
The trick to gently stopping the night nursing is to stop the nursing to sleep. I know, this is the scary part or you think, bedtime is not the problem. Just the middle of the night is the problem. I've heard it all before. The thing is the consistency. How ever he/she falls asleep is what they need when they wake up between sleep cycles so if you nurse to sleep, they need to be nursed back to sleep. If you can teach them to fall asleep without nursing, that will carry through the rest of the night. I'm not suggesting you give up the bedtime nursing. You don't have to at all, but you move the bedtime nursing to the beginning of your bedtime routine. Instead of bath, pj, story, song nurse bed or something like that, you do nursing, bath, pj, story song kiss bed. And then you use a gentle method like the sleep lady shuffle that offers tons of support and your complete presence to help them through the change. Give lots of attention but not the nurse to sleep. They will fall asleep. Then when they wake up later, do the same thing. Every time they wake up. You offer the attention but not the nursing. It takes 3 days for the blood sugar levels to even out from them being used to nursing all night and they will naturally start to eat and likely nurse more during the day to accommodate. I would only suggest this if you are sure you want to stop nursing at night. It can be challenging if you have a child who is very alert and has a hard time shutting of their very busy mind at night. If you want to co-sleep while you do it, you wear an "armour bra" a tight sports bra and a turtleneck tucked in shirt so there is no access but snuggle and support all night. But stay in bed, don't get up and carry the child around in the middle of the night. The clawing and kicking is normal. But that can also be a sign that they need their own space. The flailing and leg kicking can actually be part of the natural process they need to go through to figure out how to organize their body to fix this yucky tired feeling they don't know how to get through on their own yet.
As for the sister in the next room, white noise is awesome! Put a white noise machine or white noise app on your ipod and play it all night in the sibling's room. It drowns out extraneous noise for the room its in but you can still hear in. I find it also helps a lot sooth the mind of the one being sleep coached.
Whatever you try, stick with it for 5 days. (unless you are considering cry it out, then don't even try it, it's awful) If you don't see progress if 5 days, stop.
Did I miss anything, I'd love to help. Let me know. I get questions like this all the time.
I have a super high needs toddler. She is almost 2 now and until she was 18 months old, she woke up every hour. I was in terrible shape. I tried night weaning when she was 14 months, but couldn't go through it after a few nights of hysterical crying. I slowly night weaned her after she turned 18 months. It took almost a month but now she is sleeping through the night (still waking up a few times and putting herself back to sleep). I started with blocking 4 hours without nursing and every week I increased 1 hour. From the time she went to sleep (8pm) to 12pm, I would not nurse her. She would wake up and I would hold her in bed (if I carried her, she would fully wake up and it would be all over). She cried but I was there telling her it was going to be okay. I started noticing a difference within a few days. She still woke up a lot, but was able to put herself back to sleep quicker. Then I started adding one more hour. Within a month she was doing great (sleeping from 8pm -5am) and I was getting a lot more sleep. She is more rested in the morning too. We used to cosleep and I found that in our case it was better if she had her own space. I added a crib mattress on the floor right next to my bed (my mattress is also on the floor).
I hope you can find a way to get more sleep. I felt really guilty night weaning, but it was the best thing for us. I am much happier now that I am getting more sleep.
After 2 nights of getting beat up, he slept through the night on the 3rd night. Then was up again the same way the next night. He has no consistency.
He woke up about 4 times last night and it took me about 45 min each time to get him back to bed without milk. Then he woke at 5am and I nursed him but it was hurting my nipples so much (I'm guessing from being pregnant) that I had to stop him and just quit. Which didn't make him happy.
This is so hard. I know nursing is good for him but I'm just done.
Tracy - he will go to bed just fine on his own with no nursing if I'm out of the house and DH is doing bedtime. I don't nurse him to sleep, just right before bed and then he gets into bed on his own and goes to sleep. Luckily my older son in the room sleeps through all the crying and screaming. My older son, my really good sleeper, has slept through the night since 6 mths old in his own bed and still does.
I felt like I needed to hit this more head on and have him go cold turkey, but now he's wanting milk during the day again. And I'm beginning to think not only am I done with night nursing, I'm done with it all. Ugh, this is the hardest thing I've ever done and is making me kind of nervous about nursing this new baby too.
Vegetarian mother to (3/09) (11/10) and (4/13)
I am in a similar situation. I'm 5 months pregnant and 4 months ago i nightweaned my 22 month old- because of the pain- i nightweaned using Dr. Jay Gordon's method- he has a website. it was a very gentle process and my son took to it. my problem now is that he cannot fall asleep with nursing and it hurts like crazy. i cannot figure out a way to to stop this...