DD has been nursing to sleep for 4 years...how in the world do I end the bedtime nursing?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-07-2012, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been nursing DD for almost 4 years (her bday is in 3 weeks) and tandem nursing for 9 of those months.  She nurses only before bed (falls asleep nursing), in the morning when she wakes up, and sometimes in the middle of the night.


I am ready for her to wean...I was hoping she would stop on her own but she shows no signs of wanting to stop and with a 9 month old as well I am just exhausted all the time.


I have no idea where to begin...I was able to stop daytime nursing several months ago with distraction, but taht won't work with the bedtime and middle of the night nursing.


I was thinking of maybe doing a sticker chart or something - keep track of the nights and mornings she doesn't nurse and then offer some kind of reward,  I'm not sure what to offer her though - I just feel like she won't stop without some incentive, and that would still make it technically her choice to stop.  We've been talking for a while that eventually she will be older and will not nurse any more.


Any suggestions on how to do this?  I was hoping to wean her by the time she is 4 or shortly after that but I also don't want to just stop her cold turkey and forbid her from nursing...help!!!

Loving wife to DH and mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#2 of 6 Old 11-10-2012, 04:02 AM
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Ds weaned at 4 y/o by mutual agreement. I started by stopping nursing on demand around 3.5 y/o; I would nurse him 3 times a day: in the morning, when I got home from work and at bedtime. Then two months later we dropped one nursing session, and two months later, another one. We started talking about when he turns 4, he'll get a big cake, his first friend-birthday party and he'll stop nursing.

After he turned 4, I offered a couple of times and he said: "Mom, I'm 4 y/o now, I don't nurse anymore". I think he was ready.


I find that at this age distraction doesn't work that well.


Ds 9 and dd 5
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#3 of 6 Old 11-19-2012, 11:25 AM
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I'd have a talk about how it's time for her to end nursing soon and how you are going to first cut the easiest session (I'm guessing morning?) and then cut the rest slowly until you end nursing. Some throw a party or have it end at a birthday or something like that which I think can make sense. My DD nursed until 19 months and also fell asleep nursing and I thought it would be awful to wean, but she transitioned to sucking on her lovey instead. Granted, getting her to stop that is going to be fun someday, but she did just fine. I would just offer all non-nursing comfort and if it is really hard for her, then possibly try having your partner or someone else close to DD try and get her to sleep during the transition. With my DD I definitely had to take the lead, but I was lucky in that she was amiable, hopefully yours will be too.

Katie trekkie.gif - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13  hug.gif 



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#4 of 6 Old 11-23-2012, 11:36 PM
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Honestly for that age I am not sure this will work but I will tell you how we did it with my two year old (who I never believed would ever fall asleep without nursing or if then not without a lot of screaming):


We moved the pre-sleep nursing to right before we got into bed. We were cosleeping then and went into his room and nursed on his bed, then went back into my room for bedtime. I was amazed how easily this worked. I was not even planning to cut out that nursing for awhile, but within a few weeks DS just forgot to ask for it and was distracted by the rest of the bedtime routine.


Again, I think that might not work for a 4 year old but maybe as a mid-way compromise, so you are not cutting out nursing altogether but moving the timing and at the same time helping her learn to fall asleep without it. It might ease her mind and help her be more co-operative.


Good luck!

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#5 of 6 Old 11-29-2012, 07:15 AM
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I stopped feeding my almost 3 year old in the night two nights ago. She always feeds to sleep and on waking. She would occasionally go the whole night sleeping, but usually woke twice and sometimes MUCH more to quietly feed. I also have a 15 month old and couldn't take up to 16 feeds a night.


So I prepped her for a few days that we were going to stop night feeding when she wakes. She woke twice the first night. The first time she raged at my.. she was so upset to have her routine changed. Then she decided I must have no milk so she wanted to go make me peppermint tea (I cried then). Then she decided she wanted her read with her dad. They read for about an hour, then she quietly went to sleep beside me. She woke one more time and again we talked a little and she quietly went to sleep.


Last night was day 2 and she slept all night! Miracle!


The main thing was to be firm in my decision. Last time I tried she asked for just a little taste... and when I did and tried to stop it was a nightmare!


We will see how the next few nights go.. but I am optimistic.


I also can't imagine dropping feeding to sleep... but one day soon I hope to so my husband can do bedtime for her sometimes.


Good luck!

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#6 of 6 Old 11-29-2012, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions....We had been talking about her stopping nursing when she turned 4, and she always agreed that she would stop when she is 4.  On her birthday (Mon) when I put her to bed she said, well, can I just have a little?  So I told her she could still nurse before bed for a while but we wouldn't do any more middle of the night or morning nursing since she is now a big four year old.  She is still very attached to nursing and going cold turkey with all the feedings just seemed like too much.


She has asked a few times in the middle of the night but I just tell her that she's four now so she doesn't need to nurse in the middle of the night and she cuddles up to me and falls asleep.  She doesn't cry or yell, which is great, but she gets this really sad look on her face.  This is a lot harder than I thought and I am suddenly getting really emotional about this part of our relationship ending, especially since she is obviously sad about it ending.  I'm ok with keeping the one nursing session for now...maybe after another few weeks of only nursing once a day I can come up with a plan to drop that feeding as well.

Loving wife to DH and mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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