Dr. Jay Gordon's method to night-wean - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 01-14-2007, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is anyone else trying the Dr. Jay Gordon method to night wean? Or has anyone else tried it before?

I have been reading many posts from other moms who are in the same boat as I am. I have an 18 month old ALL-NIGHT-nurser. I can't take it anymore. Someone recently posted a link to Dr. Jay Gordon's method for night-weaning. Here's the link again:

http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp

I have been doing this method for two nights. The first night my son cried for 2 hours while I held him, rocked him, sang to him, and eventually nursed him a little to put him down while he was drowsy. He would wake up immediately and cry and we would go back to the same routine.

Then last night, (the second night) he cried for FOUR HOURS! It was a nightmare. It's also a nightmare to nurse all night, so I am not stopping this plan. I just don't get how letting them nurse briefly for the first three nights is productive, since they are learning that if you cry for long enough, you can nurse. I did that for two nights, it is recommended to do it for 3 nights, but I will not do that again tonight as I think it sends the wrong message.

I have questions about this method:

How does it make sense to the toddler that in the morning they can nurse after they have been crying all night and you have refused to let them nurse?

If they have been crying for hours, and then the 7 hours is up and you let them nurse, how is that teaching them anything?

Is this doing psychological or emotional damage to the child?

Will it affect our relationship negatively?

We all just need to get some sleep and I am trying my best. If you have any experience with this, especially with a VERY SENSITIVE child who HAS NEVER PUT HIMSELF TO SLEEP, I welcome your sharing.

Stephanie
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#2 of 5 Old 01-14-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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well i can't say we followed dr. Jay's.. but we recently night weaned our 18 mo old.. well he is 20 mo. now and sleeping great.

basically i started around 16 mo. by super gently trying to shorten our nursing sessions..

then around 17 mo. (after i found out i'm preggers and it is even more uncomfortable to nurse) one night he would not let go he nursed for an hour.. i think my milk dropped and he was physically hungry.. i went downstairs filled up a sippy of whole cows milk.. he downed it and went to sleep without nursing i was flabergasted..

well a couple nights later we went cold turkey offering the sippy.. he only cried for a couple minutes and honestly if it went past 5 minutes.. i nursed him then before he fell asleep i gave him the sippy.. so he could be calm as he tried to fall asleep without the boob.

I think once he got so worked up it was hard for him to bring it down on his own.. so i would nurse him so he got drowsy enough to take the last leg to sleepdom on his own.. with cuddles of course.

now that last leg has ever increased.. i still nurse before bed but he seems to stop nursing at a point where he isn't super drowsy.. he just seems on the way to sleepyness.. then he lays down. has a sip of water (switched to water for his teeth) and goes to sleep.

i think you need to make the leg they have to travel alone as short as possible at first. get him as close to sleep as you can then take away the boob and offer something else. a nuk, if he takes one.. or a sippy... something oral i think is good.

then for a while he needed the sippy and cuddles when he woke up.. but only a couple swigs. then sometimes he just needed cuddles... now he sleeps through.. 830p to 6p.. sometimes 7p.. but now if he wakes up and asks to nurse i nurse him because i figure there is a good reason and its not just out of habit.. it has never been more than once, since we "night weaned"

hope this helps
kat
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#3 of 5 Old 01-15-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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we did this when i was pg because DD was crying anyway because there was no milk, so i figured it was worth a shot! fwiw, she is also very sensitive and had never gone to sleep any other way than nursing. well, maybe she'd fallen asleep in the sling without nursing, but not easily.

the first few nights were rough (though not crying for hours... it just felt like it), but then she happily took the sippy and started sleeping longer stretches. within a month, i'd say, she was not waking at night as a general rule. of course there were times she had a bad dream or had to pee or was sick or whatever, but when nothing else was up, she slept all night long - from like 9pm to 8am.

i didn't do the comforting or offer the sippy at first, though, DH handled that because we felt she was more likely to accept alternative comfort for someone who couldn't nurse her. is that an option for you? i had to leave the room completely. if she knew i was there she wanted me. we even had to reconfigure the family bed so she was between us instead of between me and the wall, so DH would have easier access to her.

she was also very verbal, and it helped me to talk to her about it *during the day* about what would take place at night. i basically told her the milkie needed to sleep at night, and that she could still nurse when the sun was up, but not when it was dark. i think she needed to know i wasn't cutting her off completely, and that the daytime wasn't going to change.

we also made a little book (an idea i had gotten from the toddler NCSS) - we took pictures on the digital and printed them out, and had a little craft project of gluing them to construction paper, decorating the pages with stickers and markers, and i wrote "captions" - basically the whole book was our new routine of going to sleep... "daddy snuggles River and reads her a books" ... "River drinks some water while she falls asleep" ... "we all snuggle in bed all night long"... "River has milkie when she wakes up"...
i think it helped her process the change. we read it constantly for weeks.
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#4 of 5 Old 01-15-2007, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is our progress so far:

Last night was night #3. It went MUCH BETTER!!! DS woke up every two hours, but there was minimal crying because I would pick him up and hold him so that his head could rest on my shoulder and I could rock him back to sleep. This is his preferred method of falling asleep after bf. I was able to put him down without him waking up.

I know that I am supposed to start putting him down while he is drowsy, not asleep, so that he can learn to fall asleep on his own. We were all so tired yesterday that we needed to get some sleep, so I made sure he was asleep when I put him down. I guess I feel that it should be one thing at a time: first, learn not to nurse at night (with the comfort of mom or dad) and second, learn to self soothe and fall asleep, of course still with the comfort of mom and dad nearby or touching, but not holding.

That will be our next step.

Thanks for the two replies, they were helpful. I tried the water and he was thirsty at one of the wakings, so that helped!

Stephanie
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#5 of 5 Old 01-15-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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I did not try Jay Gordon's nightweaning plan, but I did night wean two kids sometime during each one's 2nd year (maybe around 20 months?). Some kids can do it easier and earlier than others. I think Gordon's plan is way too fast! Night weaning can be expected to last a couple of months before it is complete. First, I would explain that I would like to sleep without nursing him/her at night and defined night as from the time the light goes out to when there is light in the room again. Then for a while (maybe a few days) I would explain during the night nursings that I would prefer him/her to stop nursing at night so I could get more sleep. Then I cut down the number of night nursings, maybe from three times to twice and then to once. While I was doing that I made the nursings shorter. By the time it was just once and a quick (count to ten) nursing, it was no big deal for them to just stop. I don't remember any extended crying at all. If there is really extended crying, the baby may not just not be ready to do it. Try again in a week or so. Gentle, slow, without pressure. I read Gordon's plan and I think it would be very, very stressful for a baby. I also offered water in a sippy cup instead of nursing at night.
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