Night weaning help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 02-01-2003, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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My DD is 18 months old and still nursing a lot, and I'm considering night weaning her. I have no idea how to go about it, or if I really even want to do it. I really believe in child led weaning, but I have been TTC for a while, and I really think that night nursing may be causing problems for me in this area.

Our usual evening through morning goes something like this:

7-9 pm is my computer/TV time and Lindsay's Daddy time. During this time Lindsay comes to me about every 15 minutes and nurses for a minute or two and goes back to playing. I don't know if she's cluster feeding or just trying to check in with me to make sure I'm still there, even though I'm in the same room she's in.

9-9:30 pm is when we head upstairs and put Lindsay to bed. We put her in her pajamas, read a story, brush teeth, and then I nurse her to sleep. Once she is asleep, I put her in her crib in her room.

She wakes up usually between 3 and 4 hours after we put her to sleep. At this point, DH goes and gets her and brings her into bed with us. I nurse her back to sleep and she stays in bed with us for the rest of the night. She will usually wake up about one more time and nurse right back to sleep.

5-8 am DH gets up at 5:00 and this wakes Lindsay up. She nurses and goes right back to sleep and usally nurses about every half hour until about 8:00 when she wakes up for good.

I don't think most of these nursings are for food, since she usually nurses for a very short period of time at night. I think that it is just the only way that she knows how to get herself back to sleep. A few times when she has awaken in her crib, DH has just held her and walked with her until she fell asleep on his shoulder. As soon as he tries to put her back in her crib though, she starts crying instantly. If he gets her asleep and brings her into our bed she instantly wakes up and wants to nurse. It seems like the only way to get her not to nurse is if I sleep in a different room.

For those of you that have night weaned, what age was your child?
How did you go about it?
How long did it take?
Was it very tramatic for your child?

I'm just so torn about what I want to do. I really want to be there for my DD and meet her needs, but I really want to get pregnant. I'm not getting any younger, and I want to have at least 2 more babies. I am hoping to be able to not nurse her between 10 pm and 5 am. Another concern is even though she doesn't seem to be "eating" that much when she night nurses, and don't want to decrease her caloric intake, especially since she is very small. Will she just make up for it by nursing more during the day? As you can see I am very confused about what to do. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
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#2 of 3 Old 02-01-2003, 08:36 PM
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It is not an easy decision... I feel for you... after two years of sleep deprivation, DH and I were ready to nightwean. I was so tired and it was starting to effect my waking hours terribly.

We found tremendous success by going at it from the other direction: teaching him to fall asleep without nursing. He's only been doing this a couple of weeks but from night one, he's only been waking once per night! We are planning to nightwean entirely at some point but one waking per night is entirely manageable for now--compared to what it was like before (minimum of three times per night).

Mainly, we just waited for the right time I think... he was in a good space emotionally and we were ready to see it through. It was much easier and less traumatic (for him and for us) that we ever anticipated. I wrote more about this in another thread here (How to teach child to fall asleep without nursing)... if you want more details, feel free to check it out.

Best of luck to you.

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#3 of 3 Old 02-03-2003, 01:41 AM
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We night weaned our dd at about 21 months of age when I was 7 months pregnant and couldn't handle the night nursing anymore (nor did I want dd to be looking for me 3-4 times in the night with a new babe to nurse). It took about 4 days and we told her that once the sun was asleep the "breasties" were asleep too. We offered her water from a sippy cup in the night (I hated the idea of her maybe being thirsty) and rubbed her back, walked her ,sang... until she settled back to sleep-(things we normally did not have to do). For me, the important thing was that she never felt that we were not there for her. The first two nights were very difficult (just being Honest ) but it got progressively easier. By the end of the 4 days when she would wake up at night she would ask if the sun was still sleeping and once we assured that it was and that we would wake her up to nurse as soon as the sun woke up, she would happily go back to sleep. She nursed in the day whenever she wanted and for a little while after the night weaning that seemed to increase in the day but soon levelled off to her usual.
Hope this helps
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