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#1 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am asking for personal advice/opinions. I *know* that I need to do what is best for my family, but I thought other people might make me think about something I was overlooking, or just make me see something in a new light.

Moderators: I put this here instead of Nighttime parenting & the Family Bed because I wanted a wider audience. Thanks!!!



DS will be 2.5 years at the end of the month. He still nurses every 1.5-2 hours day and night. Occasionally, though, for whatever reason he will go up to 5 hours. I would like opinions on our nights, specifically.

When DD was just over 2 we "night-weaned" her very succesfully. I was newly pregnant and just needed more than an hour at a time. So DH helped her get back to sleep and let me get first a 4, then a 5 hour stretch at night. She went from 11pm-4am and then later started going to 7 (that was closer to 3, after DS was born).

I am considering, at this point, doing the same with DS. He is 35", 30 lbs so not small (he outweighs DD by 4 lbs at her age, but is within an inch of the same height). He gets plenty to eat and the opportunity to eat more, so while I realize the nursing at night does provide valuable nutrition I am not convinced it is needed.

DH, DD, DS & I all sleep together so he does get lots of cuddling at night if he is nursing or not. In fact, if he is not very tired DH puts him to bed (not me, nursing doesn't really put him to sleep well, though it does keep him asleep well). I still carry him most places because he refuses to wear shoes and he is just my little pumpkin and I see no reason not too. So, I am not convinced that he is making up for something lacking during the day, but more cuddles are always better than less!

I have had problems with depression for large parts of my life. It was particularily bad during my pg with DS and I do wonder sometimes if just a little bit more continuous sleep would help. With the "out of it" feelings at least. Before kids I was one of those people who just crashed at 10-11pm and slept straight til 6-7am. If I was woken up past 3-4 am I could not get back to sleep. As it is I can, but I wonder if that is because I am always sooo tired that I never get to the equivalent of sleeping til 3-4

One additional concern I have is that we will be taking a trip to TX this summer and it looks like we may drive (we live in WA). Its about a 37 hour drive but we will split it up a lot. That said, it would be really nice if DH & I could drive at night and not have to worry about the logistics of nursing DS every 1.5-2 hours. We did that last year on the way to Yellowstone and it added many hours to the trip.

I purely selfish desire of mine is to also have sex in my own bed more than once every three months (if that. when the ILs are visiting and take the kids out for a few hours). I'd love to put DS down in the bed in DDs room (she doesn't sleep there) and then have them sleep together for a few hours and THEN come to our room. The problem is now by the time DD is all the way asleep DS is ready for another nursing and by the time he is back asleep I am too!

I do not consider myself to NEED to night time wean. Then this post wouldn't even occur. But, there are some definite advantages. The disadvantages in my mind include:

Ds would probably cry some. This would be very upsetting to all involved especially since it is unneeded. I do think that it was good for DD to start sleeping more at at time, but neither of them have ever suffered for their sleeping habits so I can't convince myself it would be for "his own good."

DS will be our last biological child (so probably last baby). We really worked hard w/DD to not sleep on our chests while she was a very young baby and then when she finally stopped it was very bittersweet. I feel like this may be the same issue. I am getting ready to have a few hours sleep in a row (have not for almost six years, which is starting to feel like a very long time) but I also know it will herald the end of an era for me. The end of the baby years. Which will eventually come, and will eventually be bittersweet, but do I actually want to speed up that process?

I would really appreciate any words of wisdom here. They can be anything--- I'll take them to heart, but not too personally if you KWIM. Thanks so much for making it through this book I wrote. I think just getting it down on paper will be good for me.

 

 

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#2 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Come on. You're looking. You've got to have *some* opinion!!!

Just, "what do you think" not whats the best, what should I do, etc...

Please, pretty please

 

 

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#3 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 01:08 AM
 
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It kind of sounds to me like you don't really want to nightwean. As you said yourself, if you *needed* to, you would just do it. That said, I know how that longing for a few hours of uninturrupted sleep feels. Like yours, my ds will occasionally go 4-5 hrs (like once every 6 weeks!) and it feels like a miracle.

If you want to give it a try, I've heard a lot of good things about the no cry sleep solution. If you start and it doesn't seem to be working or it's too upsetting for you, then give it up. It's not a point-of-no-return thing. If you're lucky you may try it and find that it's a breeze and you'll be sleeping like a baby.

These decisions are hard b/c you just want to do the right thing for the whole family. Women who just don't care or don't bother to think have life so easy!

Hang in there mama, I'm sure you will do the right thing.
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#4 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 01:17 AM
 
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Honestly, if I were you I would nightwean but that's just me. You could always try it out and if it is too upsetting for him (or you) you could back off and try it again in a few months. I can definitely understand the bittersweet aspect of it but everything has to end sometime. Besides, if he's still nursing all the time during the day you will still have that time to be close, and you will actually be awake to enjoy it!
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#5 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 01:19 AM
 
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I think a mamas got to do what a mamas got to do.
You are not talking about weaning him completely so he will have the security of nursing still during the day.
A full nights sleep can always help you to feel a bit better and of course sex in your own bed without having to worry about waking a sleeping child can be very beneficial.
Personally I would night wean. It is going to be bittersweet but as I am learning as the kids get older each new stage brings something special and this is just a new stage for you and ds.
HTH
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#6 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 01:38 AM
 
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i just recently nightweaned my three year old and things are LOADS better betweent he two of us - its nice to sleep a few hours without having someone attached to you, and getting more sleep makes me a happier mommy. that said, i tried several tiems in the last few months to do this, but it was too traumatic for him. this turned out to be the right time. i think he finally *got* that nursing at night was taking too much out of me. he finally understood when i told him that the nummies get tired just like he does and need to sleep. the first night he woke up and asked to nurse a couple of times - i reminded him the the nummies were sleeping, and he went right back to sleep. after the first night, he never asked again. now he still wakes up a couple of times, but he just cuddles until he goes back to sleep. anyhow, i think its worth an effort on your part if you think it will make you happier in the long run. i have issues with depression too, and sleep definitley plays a part in it. i also recommend the NCSS - using some of her techniques in the months leading up to nightweaning really helped out. i do find that he wants to nurse more during the day, and he occaisionally waks up hungry in the middle of the night (which makes sense considering how many calories he's used to taking in overnight) so you might want to keep a snack and water on the nightstand.

good luck in whatever you do - only you know for sure if your little guy is ready for this!
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#7 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your advice. I'd like more if there is anyone else lurking (hint, hint).

As I read the responses I felt like crying and such a feeling of relief. It makes me wonder *how* badly I have wanted to night-wean him but just didn't want to do something bad to my baby. I am very committed to night time parenting and it felt really good to get advice from "crunchy" mommys that I would not be the devil just for weaning him. to you all.

I still need to think about it (and, as I said, am still open to comments/advice/opinions). I'm going to look into the no cry sleep solution and maybe start something after he turns 2.5. I really do think I am ready to cut back a bit (DD nursed sooo much less at this age, but I was PG and felt I *had* to cut her back for my own health and sanity so it was much easier).

Thanks again

 

 

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#8 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 02:31 AM
 
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I've never been in your situation since I only have one child and she was one of those kids that slept for long stretches from the begining.

But really a long term lack of sleep is hard on everyone, so please do what you feel is best given your situation and try not to feel guilty about it. You've done a wonderful job so far and I know you will make the right decision for yourself and your lovely kids.

Regarding the use of the family bed for "one on one time" do you have a spare bedroom that you could set up for you and dh to use alone when the kids are sleeping in your bed?? Or try and set up a special nap place for the kids on the weekends so that you and dh can use your bed while they are napping.
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#9 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 02:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Regarding the use of the family bed for "one on one time" do you have a spare bedroom that you could set up for you and dh to use alone when the kids are sleeping in your bed?? Or try and set up a special nap place for the kids on the weekends so that you and dh can use your bed while they are napping.
Its a squeeky futon and I HATE it. I love *our* bed, though.

Naps? What are those? :LOL

Thanks for the kind words

 

 

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#10 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 09:52 AM
 
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I can never resist a post begging for MY opinion!!!!

And I am far from the person you want to be taking advice from, because my dd1 weaned before 18 months, night and day. But I can tell you that sleep will be your best friend.

And I found, after dd1 nightweaned, that nighttime parenting took on a life of its own. There is nothing saying that if your ds wakes up at 2 a.m. to nurse and you want to encourage an alternative that you can't be spontaneous. I would be lying if I told you there aren't nights when all four of us (baby makes 4!) are sitting on our living room floor at 3 a.m. on a spread out quilt having a picnic of animal crackers and juicy juice.

I respect your decision to be such a dedicated nurser, but sleep is the antidote to your anxiety, I assure you. Good luck and sweet dreams

I know what you mean about the end of an era. THere won't be any more (planned) babes for us, and everything dd2 does is like a bittersweet melodrama.
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#11 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 10:41 AM
 
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Honestly, I'd nightwean, too. Sleep is just of basic importance to me - I would be an absolute wreck without it - a few nights here & there when DD truly needs me to be caring for her is one thing, but we humans do not survive well without the good, solid sleep. Sacrificing for the needs of our children is just the way motherhood goes, but you've got to separate our the needs from the wants & I know that's certainly not an easy task, but sleep is a need for me, not a want. Good luck!
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#12 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 10:52 AM
 
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Warning: Night weaning doesn't mean no night wakings.

I night weaned my toddler because I was pregnant with a high risk pregnancy and was having a difficult functioning during the day from the lack of continious sleep. She's been totally weaned (lost interest in day nursing once I stopped the night nursing) for 3 months and still doesn't sleep a full night.

We sidecar her crib and she sleeps there from 6:30/7:00 to about 10 or 11, I usually call it a night then and we co-sleep the rest of the night.

It's up and down the rest of the night. Sometimes we get 2-3 hours other times it's hourly or even every 20 minutes. It's not a lets get up and play kind of waking, it's just needs some reassurance or a drink of water and back to sleep. But it's very often.

Like you we carry her alot and we co-sleep so it's not that she's trying to fill a need that's not being met at night. She is just a light sleeper and gets up often, that's all I figure it to be.

Good luck. I haven't slept in 7 years either so I know where you are coming from. Go with your gut.

Kris
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#13 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 11:15 AM
 
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Moving this over now
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#14 of 15 Old 02-23-2004, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyother advice/comments?

TIA,
Kay

 

 

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#15 of 15 Old 02-24-2004, 11:00 AM
 
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I just mentioned this in another post, but I did just wean my 2 you ds, it was really hard, he liked night nursing, but I had become so grumpy w/ the whole thing. He cried the first night, (we'd tried every no cry method out there I think) it was tough, but we we all in our bed together comforting him and loving him. He was fine after the first night and doesn't nurse anymore, but he is still awake just as much, he just has a drink from his sippy cup so I'm not getting any more sleep. For me though between dd and ds I was ready to have a break from nursing (ok I miss it a little : ) but happy to be free.
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