I've always sort of had in mind that we would nightwean around 18 mos but now that that's nearing I don't really know how I feel about it... for one thing, I wonder - do babies ever nightwean themselves? If so, does anyone have a guess to the average age of that particular child-led weaning?
And if a mama starts the process before their babe has indicated they are finished on their own, does it always have to come to CIO? I realize that there are different levels of this, and it's not the same to leave a baby alone somewhere as opposed to your DH comforting them, etc, but I just wonder what everyone's experiences have been. When my DD doesn't like something she makes it completely apparent (and soooo loud!). I wonder if I would know the difference between her protesting in general and genuinely not being ready. And how many hours/days do you let your babe go on protesting to get it to "stick"?
And last, for those mamas that have already nightweaned their high need babes, did the night wakings actually stop, or at least lessen? My fear is that we will go through some awful process and she will still wake as often and I will just be without my easy go-to....
Many thanks in advance!
I think kids do nightwean themselves for the most part, but not until around age 2 - depending on the kid. I do think that starting around 12 months, being physically right on top of mom at night can lead to an increase in nursing. I'm experiencing that now again with my 2nd son. If I get even a little space from him in the bed, he doesn't stir to nurse nearly as often. I recommend trying to get some of your own sleeping space at this point in order to allow your daughter to learn to sleep in her own space, too. You can still share a bed, just scoot back from her even a few inches so that she isn't right at your breast. That's a good first step.
I don't think nightweaning/teaching to sleep without nursing goes well until kids are pretty verbal. I don't think you'll find that it's tough to keep nursing her to sleep and throughout the night until around age 2 - especially if you get a little space from her in the bed. When she's old enough to talk and understand what is happening, it's a lot easier to move to singing, telling stories, whatever, to help her to sleep.
I can promise you that you will not need to do CIO, you might just have to be a little patient and push back your timetable a little. I find sleeping with a nursing babe/toddler very peaceful and don't mind doing it.
i know some people don't think it is cio, if dh or another caring person is there but honestly i would only do it as a last resort (like had to work or something) and i would work up to it very slowly. like starting with that person helping get dc down for a nap.
I imagine I'll do all of that at some point with DD2 as well, but DD2 is 14 months. I haven't considered anything like nightweaning. She feels way too young to me.
SAHM to DD1 8/06 , DD2 8/09 , and DD3 9/12 married to 6/99. We , , , , and lots of and .
DD2 was not high-needs, no reflux, and she was still nursing like clockwork during the night 'til she was about 2 1/2. Then she gradually tailed off. I think by the time she was 3 1/2 she was weaned. She nursed less and less at night and before bed and then she was done ....
I had to wean dd1 during my pregnancy with dd2 (nursing while pregnant made me irrationally angry ). We did it gently and gradually, we never had to use CIO while she weaned (I used LLL's "How to Wean" book). I wish I hadn't been reacting that way to nursing - she was reacting to my anger and I didn't want her to remember nursing being like that - I feel like I took the best route I could in my circumstances, but I know that she wasn't ready to be weaned yet and she did regress and struggle in the first months afterwards.
I would probably set a few hours at the beginning of the night first when you won't nurse her(5? 8-1 or so?), push a little beyond when the first nightwaking is before you nurse her, and give it 5 days. If she's stopped waking up to nurse, it was just habit and you can try to push the others. If she's still waking up, she's not ready.
It's been a relatively simple process each time, and my Dh works third shift so I was alone for it. I've found the best approach IMO is to set a 4 hour block of time where you won't nurse. From 2 AM to 6 AM, maybe. Nurse on demand up to that time, and after that time, but not during. Having some visual cues helped us - I had a bedside lamp that stayed on until 2 AM, and there was no nursing in the dark. Around sunrise, when it got light again, we could nurse again. This worked well! During the no-nurse times, there were times of waking to nurse. I was committed to doing EVERYTHING but nursing (being pregnant and having nursing aversion was a strong motivator for nightweaning) which meant that they got snacks and cuddles and singing and anything else that would bring comfort. For 3-4 days, you absolutely lose some sleep because it takes more wakeful effort to do those things than to just let them nurse. But after a few days which are the hardest! - for us anyway - they stop waking during the no-nurse hours. And then you can start extending that time gradually until its the whole night. Getting that block of time without waking to nurse was the hard part; it seemed like once that happened, getting a full night happened without any additional effort.
I want to add that my kids have not been particularly high-needs -- from what I've seen with my friends and their kiddos, with higher needs kids, it is even more important to pay attention to timing; you may think 18 mos makes sense, but doing it a little earlier or a little later might make all the difference. It just depends on how receptive your child is, which changes from stage to stage. It probably will involve a bit more fighting on her part (and I totally believe that in-arms crying is NOT the same as CIO, and also that a mama's overall sanity is sometimes hanging in the balance) and may take a little longer. My friend whose Dd is pretty hn slept downstairs for a full two weeks, while her Dh took care of night waking needs. BUT their Dd pretty much sleeps through the night now, and she considers that it was worth the effort because her toddler was nursing very frequently at night (since birth) and she was beyond exhausted and needing to make that change.
"When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead."
I don't remember exactly how it went with DS. It was around the time he turned 2, and I think I just started telling him that there was no nursing when it was dark, and doing other things to comfort him when he woke up - reciting nursery rhymes or singing or telling stories. I don't remember any significant amount of crying. He accepted it pretty well.
Both kids started sleeping better after nightweaning. DD had always been a frequent nightwaker. On the fifth night of no nursing, she slept through the night for the first time ever! She didn't start doing that all the time right away, but she gradually started doing it more and more often, until by the time she was 2 1/2 she probably slept through the night half the time and the rest of the time usually only woke once. DS, who had always been a better sleeper than DD, started sleeping through the night pretty much all the time as soon as he was nightweaned.
The first one, I nightweaned at 24 months. I didn't need to use CIO, nor did I intend to. I figured I'd try, and if she got upset I'd just nurse her and try again later. But she didn't get upset, she just whimpered slightly for just a second and fell back asleep. She did that same thing again later when she woke to nurse, and then didn't wake again that night. She did the same thing once the following night, and then slept through the night from then on. I think they key was waiting until she was ready for it.
I'm trying this with DD2 for my sanity and she whines a lot more, but she's been more dramatic from the start.
|I put on a shirt at night and she didn't sense booby so she didn't ask|
My high-needs, reverse cycling DS1 nightweaned and started sleeping through the night on his own at around 15 months of age. YMMV, but that was my return to sanity.
We never CIO.
obstruct livery vehicles
My first child was fairly high needs and didn't nightwean until 3 years. I had a friend who night weaned her child at a year although they continued with the family bed and nursing, they just didn't comfort in the night with nursing. I think night weaning at that age might almost be easier than waiting until 2, just because it seems like things can actually get worse at 18 months to 2 years when you are expecting night nursing to naturally slow down--it can be very frustrating. I didn't really feel like it slowed down until 2.5 or so. But night weaning seemed unthinkable to me at a year, so it probably wouldn't have been any easier then either. I guess by two it's just I wish I had done it, and then by 3 I was glad I had stuck it out when it naturally did become easier.
My second child was easier and sucked her thumb a lot, and would sleep through the night sometimes as a baby, but she also went through a phase of nursing a lot when she was 2. And even though she weaned awhile ago, she's 7 now and bedtime is still a struggle, she still wants me to lie with her and sleep with her.
I night-weaned my (now school aged) boys around a year. They did cry some but it wasn't CIO. My husband was comforting them, or I was. I don't see any way to raise a decent person without sometimes refusing to give in to their desires. They also cried occasionally when they wanted a food they couldn't have, a toy at the store, even a diaper change. I just don't see this as either spoil them rotten or make them CIO. There's soooo much in between!
Sleep is important to me. I came onto this board today, for the first time in years, to try and find some ideas of how to get my 4 mo. old to wake less, and she only wakes 2-3 times a night for ~10 minutes. But I have 3 kids, and in order to meet all of our needs I need to fit as much sleep as possible in the hours of 11pm-7am. It's a process where the baby's needs come first at the beginning and eventually, the baby can fit into the family life.
99% of the time, a 1 yr. old doesn't need to nurse at night. They will probably want to and if that works for mom, great! But there is nothing wrong with nightweaning as gently as possible. FWIW, my oldest coslept and nursed until 5, after nightweaning at 1.
Oh goodness... DS2 was the model high needs child. Nights were terrible. He was waking every 45 minutes, needing me to switch sides and help him latch on again. It sucked.
We nightweaned at 14 months. Basically, DH took over nights. I slept on the couch, and DH slept in bed with DS2. The first two nights are so were really rough. DS2 would cry and DH would just hold him, lay with him, walk around with him for a little bit. After the second night, I guess he figured out that daddy was what he got, so he started sleeping pretty well, only waking once or twice, and DH would just pull him in closer and they'd go back to sleep.
I did have to sleep on the couch for about 8 months. But it was worth it.
Getting him out of our bed was an entirely different thing.......
We're in the middle of the Jay Gordon method but we're spreading it out a bit longer because DS has always been high needs and we don't want to traumatize him too much. It just got to the point that we felt like he was not getting enough quality sleep lying next me, constantly tempted to nurse. The first 2 nights were amazing, nursed him a little when he look up but stopped while he was awake. He bawled for a few minutes and then passed out for 5 hours...a serious record for a every 45-60min night nurser. Since then, it has been a rollercoaster of good/bad nights and I've been reluctant to move to the next step since I started back to work part-time but I feel like it will help all of us and since it's only 6-7hr. I don't think it's horrible since he's almost 14 months but it's still a battle of guilt, what's most important for the household etc. I do have hope that you can co-sleep and wean from night-nursing!
Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball
My 2 1/2 yr is no where near night weaning or sttn. I am hopeful by 3 but if I refuse the boob she cries so she is clearly not ready.
~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.
My fairly high-needs DS night weaned himself around 17 months or so. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, he just started wanting to be cuddled back to sleep instead of nursing. He did still wake at all his usual times, but since we were co-sleeping I would just pull him to me and he would fall back to sleep with my arm around him. Sometimes that didn't work, and it was because he was hungry so we learned to keep a snack by the bed and I would just hand it to him without making a big fuss. He still nursed a ton during the day, and I thought I would have to really try to wean him at night because he was one of those kids that just loved to nurse. But somehow he did it himself with no encouragement from me.
I have also heard good things about the Jay Gordon night weaning plan. I have a couple friends that have used it with great success. I am considering it for my DS2 because he is still nursing at night and I would like that to end soon, but I want to give him a chance to stop on his own.
Sarah , wife to Tyson :, SAHM to three little boys and a baby girl on the way!
My first nightweaned herself. My second 2 didn't. I had to tell tehm no and cuddle with them until they understood that we weren't nursing at night anymore. They cried for about a minute, in my arms as I patted them and comforted them, and then fell right back to sleep. I sure wouldn't consider that CIO. I think your question about nightweaning vs CIO is like saying "does it have to be one extreme or the other?" and the answer to that is more obvious--no, there are many more possibilities in the middle!