Anyone Night Wean and Still Co-Sleep? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, after almost 4 yrs of not sleeping more than 4 hours at a stretch (with two night-nursing babes), we seem to be on the path to successfully night-weaning our 21 mo old.

However, we had to move her into a crib in her sister's room to accomplish this. I would love to have her back in our bed but the few times we have co-slept recently while traveling, she was immediately back to nursing all night long.

!!Has anyone had any success with night-weaning a babe near this age and continued to co-sleep without having to reopen the all-night diner??

She had still been nursing every 1-3 hrs all night and I just could not continue at that rate. We have night-weaned by trying to increase her day-time nursing and food intake, moving her into her sister's room, and by talking a lot about how tired mommy and her bubbies are and how they need to go to sleep at night. At first, she was furious at the concept, but over a few weeks, she would nod along in agreement. And magically, she began sleeping longer and longer on her own, and resettling herself after just 1-2 min of whimpering during the night. I still nurse her to sleep, and she is even getting better at coming off after she gets her milk and a bit of comfort nursing, and just falling asleep lying next to me (on the floor now in the girls' room). We've had a few relapses, but more nights than not in the past 2 weeks, she has slept til 5-6am. Yeah! And I know I should be happy with that, but I'm looking for perfection here .
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#2 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 01:23 AM
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Yes, but not until she was more than 2. Every time I even tried to suggest not nursing back to sleep prior to 24-26 mos, I got major protest. After 24-26 mos, she was more open to the idea that mommy and daddy do not nurse to sleep nor do we wake up and snack in the middle of the night. We do snuggle to sleep and read before bed and tell stories. In the middle of the night, we sometimes wake up to use the toilet and need a hug to get warm again and go back to sleep. This all worked great with her but it took 4 mos to go from nursing to sleep, waking every 2-3 hours to nurse, and nursing in the morning to wean completely. I started with the mid-night nursings, just suggested snuggling instead and as long as there was no protest, we did that. Protest meant we would nurse. But, surprisingly, there was not a lot of protest. When that was over, we started to go to bed without nursing. That was about a week to get through; again protest meant nursing. Then, we tackled waking in the morning and not nursing. Sadly, the only way I got this to work was either letting her watch tv while eating breakfast or literally getting her up and immediately putting her in the car to go somewhere with breakfast in the car. She needs a distraction in the am. We are going to wean away from am tv after we move, in a month or so.

Good luck.

PS I have two other friends with same age kiddos and we all experienced the same thing. It was next to impossible to wean before age 2. THey are just more responsive to reason at that age.

Of course, now they are three and completely unreasonable, but that is another story.
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#3 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 01:33 AM
 
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Yup. We had to night wean (for some very important reasons that I won't go in to just now) at 15 months. We managed to night wean with very little trauma and no tears; we took several months to night wean slowly and gently.
Now at age three, Denali and I still enjoy a wonderful co-sleeping, and day-time breastfeeding relationship.
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#4 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 10:57 AM
 
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We did this when dd was 21 mths. old. I slept in another room for a few nights (maybe 4?) and then slept with a shirt on when I returned to the bed. I was 5 mths pregnant at the time. Now we are all happily still cosleeping & dd has not asked to nurse since. She does love to snuggle while ds nurses...which is what I had hoped would happen
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#5 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 09:44 PM
 
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we did it too. I never spent a night away from DS (i mean in another room or anything). We just gradually backed away from each feeding. we snuggled a lot and talked a lot about needing less milk at night, it took a little over one month. we read Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution.

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#6 of 23 Old 07-20-2006, 07:45 AM
 
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It went better than I expected with my son (19 months at the time). I started it out with just making night nursing difficult for him. He was still allowed to if he really needed it but I would only nurse him sitting up or in positions that didn't allow him to simply nurse to sleep. Almost immediately that cut down the number of times a night he would try to nurse (and that let me know that it really was a good time to make the change). After that had been going on for a bit I stopped offering when he would wake up and he had gotten to the point where just being able to hold onto my breasts and know they were still there was enough to soothe him.

Of course that leaves me with a whole new habit to work on but at least I don't feel like a chew toy in the morning.

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#7 of 23 Old 07-20-2006, 05:18 PM
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I nightweaned my dd at 10months. I simply tried soothing her when she woke up for nursing times, and miraculously she went back to sleep in about 15 minutes. this continued for a few nights, then she started sleeping all night. We still co sleep, though she sleeps better with Papa than myself, I think precisely because of the boob availability and also her associations with needing to fall asleep on my body all the time.
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#8 of 23 Old 07-24-2006, 10:44 PM
 
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Were currently nightweaning, and still cosleeping. Well, dh is still cosleeping : I've found more success if i am not in the bed. I am on a mattress on the floor. Two nights now weve been comforting our 14 month ds in ways other than nursing. Sometimes he'll allow me to comfort him back to sleep, and others he'll fusss to nurse, thats when dh takes over. I'm trying to do as much of it as possible, bc dh does have to function at work every day, while I have the opporunity to lay on the couch or play in the floor all day!!

Sometimes i worry hes a little young for nightweaning, but so far hes responded pretty well, very little crying. So we'll keep on and hope that by the end of the week, he'll be sleeping through the night!!! I just cant take the all night nursing (5 to 10 times!!!) anymore. I wake up each morning sore and exausted. I felt better that this when he was just a newborn!

Any other success stories? I'd love to hear them!!
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#9 of 23 Old 07-24-2006, 11:25 PM
 
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Hiya, I just wanted to say thanks for introducing this thread... my ds is only 4 months old, and already I'm getting the feeling from lots of mums in my new parents group that I'm crazy cos I'm "putting up with" him nursing 3 - 6 times a night... mind you, they looked at me like I had two heads when I said I was co sleeping ;-) I would love love love to think that we could still be cosleeping with him in a couple of years time, without the constant wake up calls! And I would especially love if dh could enjoy more of the snuggles, as he's a really snuggly person.
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#10 of 23 Old 07-25-2006, 04:17 AM
 
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Yep, we had lots of luck by just replacing night feeds with water.

Good luck!
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#11 of 23 Old 07-25-2006, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses. I definitely think younger babes need to nurse at night, so she would not have been ready to night wean until at least 18 months.

Now, at 21 mos, I'm still not sure some days that she is ready. Both in terms of milk intake (on days where she doesn't eat or nurse as much during the day) and in terms of comfort.

She obviously wants to continue co-sleeping, but I need to get some sleep. I have put up with frequent nightwaking for 4 years and I have reached my limits.

We had success at first moving her into her sister's room, but after about two weeks, she has refused to go to sleep in there. She points and asks to go into mama's bed. Everytime we try to transfer her to her crib, she immediately wakes up howling and doesn't settle until she is in our bed.

Then I moved her crib mattress onto the floor in our room. She slept there one night, then the next night I wound up being the one (very uncomfortably!) sleeping on it!

Any and all thoughts still welcome!
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#12 of 23 Old 07-25-2006, 11:35 AM
 
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It sounds like maybe it's too hard on her emotionally to both nightwean and be moved out of your bed. Could your DH stay with her in the family bed while you sleep in another room? That way, the loss of milk at night doesn't = the loss of closeness with a parent.
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#13 of 23 Old 07-27-2006, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=rzberrymom]It sounds like maybe it's too hard on her emotionally to both nightwean and be moved out of your bed.QUOTE]

I am quickly coming to the same conclusion. I am going to keep her in our bed, while trying the previous posters' suggestions on keeping a shirt on and sleeping somewhere else for a few nights. FYI, I don't plan on day-time weaning any time soon.

Anyone else - How did you actually accomplish the night-weaning while still co-sleeping?? How long did it take? Did you always nurse when it was requested at night?

Many thanks for all the thoughts - this has been one of my biggest parenting challenges yet and a big clash of wills during a time we're both weakest!
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#14 of 23 Old 07-27-2006, 10:21 AM
 
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My dd is only 14 months and we're not ready to fully nightwean but about 2 weeks ago we thought we would try something. DD wakes up a lot at night to nurse (6+ times) so my sleep was very broken. One night I decided to sleep with ds (normally dh does when ds wakes up in the middle of the night) and dh stayed in bed with dd. Well, wouldn't you know it.....she pretty much sleeps all night long if we do this. Dh says he doesn't really hear her wake up too much and if she does she just rolls over, he pats her back and she's out again. I'm only one room away and have super sonic hearing (as most moms do ) and I've hardly heard her. When she does fuss I go over immediately and usually spend the rest of the night in bed with her. Last night I nursed her to sleep at 7pm and she didn't want to nurse until 4:30am!! But we are not very consistent and being on holidays last week I slept with her again and she nursed a lot more at night. Also, she has been nursing a lot more during the day, probably to make up for the missed night nursings so I have had to get used to that. We're home for a while now so I'm hoping we can keep trying this for at least 2-3 weeks and see how things go when I do hop back into our bed. I miss co-sleeping with her but I get to snuggle up to my ds (3-1/2) which I have also missed.

Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)

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#15 of 23 Old 07-27-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsmom
...Anyone else - How did you actually accomplish the night-weaning while still co-sleeping?? How long did it take? Did you always nurse when it was requested at night?...
I am still very much a newbie on this topic (just finished our 4th night of this), but i'll just share with you what weve been doing.

My husband is staying in bed with ds and when he begins to squirm or whimper a little, dh just pats him, helps him get repositioned, and most often he just drifts off to sleep. If i try to do the same, he becomes relelntless in pursuit of nursing!! Occasionally he actually crys, and dh will usually pick him up to walk or rock him, usually he calms very easily. By the 3rd night, he was sleeping til about 5 am, then waking every hour to nurse, i have been actually nursing him around 730, trying to establish a pattern of "waking up" and nursing in the morning.

If there were a lot of tears involved, i'd personally let it go for a little while and then start over when the time seems right. BUt so far hes adjusted very well, so were going to keep it up a nother couple of nights and see where were at...hopefully sleeping through with little help, at which point, I'll get back in bed

The hardest part for me was breaking the habit of ME just nursing him at the first peep! Once i forced myself to wake up and either dh or I help him back to sleep in other ways, things started to get better!

Hope that helps, its a hard topic, i know, b/c you dont want to do it, yet sometimes it feels like you have to for personal sanity! Good luck!
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#16 of 23 Old 07-28-2006, 12:26 AM
 
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i started thinking hard about nightweaning around 15 months because i was tired of being up every 1-3 hours. but i wanted to wait until at least 18, so what i tried in the meantime was to just ask DS to be done after just a minute or two... so when he wakes up i start nursing him, then in a minute i'll say "almost time to be done" then a minute later say "ok, let's be done and go back to sleep." a lot of the time he will even unlatch himself and go back to sleep... amazing... i was used to having to wait until he was in deep sleep and then pry him off my boob

he started sleeping some 4 and 5 hour stretches then... though he's back to the old ways again with his eye teeth coming in... but overall i've just been a lot happier with my sleep now that the interruptions are much shorter! he's 19.5 months now and i don't feel the same urgency to nightwean anymore.

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#17 of 23 Old 07-29-2006, 07:09 PM
 
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Boongirl, that's what I did to get ds to sleep longer through the night. Talked, explained, and if there was protest, we nursed. It helped a BUNCH.
I had been contemplating nightweaning when ds turns 2, because I'm feeling a bit of...um, something, about nursing to sleep. Thanks for sharing that 26 months was way easier for your dd to accept than earlier.
I think I'll be patient and just keep explaining and see when it seems agreeable to ds to get to sleep without nursing

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#18 of 23 Old 07-29-2006, 11:34 PM
 
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haven't read all the posts but wanted to reply. we nightweaned around 14 months (can't remember exactly when now). i wore a shirt that made getting to the boob difficult. we also made a sippy cup w/ water available. and we did a lot of talking about the 'moomies' going night-night. we told him they would be awake again when the sun came up. (yes, he got this even at 14mos) my dh helped alot although i can't remember if i slept in another room or not for a few nights. i love cosleeping but it was SO GREAT to nightwean. i was miserable (neck and arm aching, etc.). my only regret was that i didn't do it sooner. we continue to cosleep with our 4 year old ds even now.

oh, and i think the biggest key....you MUST be consistent. don't take them away one night and then cave the next night. we didn't cave at all and only had a bit of protest crying on the first night.
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#19 of 23 Old 07-29-2006, 11:40 PM
 
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We were NWing DS last month and it was going GREAT until he got sick and then I got sick and that window has SLAMMED shut. Now he has his molars coming in and once those suckers come in we will try again. We are DEFINTLY going to continue CSing just no more all night titty bar for the Big E!
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#20 of 23 Old 07-30-2006, 07:42 AM
 
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my 3 yo dd was self-weaned at 2yrs 7mos and still co-sleeps. We really have no problem with it at all.
We did try night weaning while co-sleeping when dd was, I think, around 18 or 20 months and I would nurse her to sleep and then put on a nightdress that didnt have "boobie access". when she woke up to nurse I would hold her and rock her in turns with dh, and it seemed to be working, but in the end, instead of being 1/4 awake 2 or 3 times to nurse, I had to be 3/4 awake 2 or 3 times to comfort her and I got less sleep, so we went back to nursing on demand.
Still, there's no problem with co-sleeping with a weaned child.

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#21 of 23 Old 08-08-2006, 06:36 PM
 
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Just wanted to update to anyone who was following this thread. Ds is predictably sleeping through the night !!!!! (until he begins teething, thats the way other poster's stories seem to go!!). After about 10 nights, he was sleeping til about 7 am give or take with out any comforting at all!! It was tough to start the process, and the first 4 or 5 nights were the hardest, even though IMO he took it pretty well. However, i am extremely greatful for the current sleep I am able to get. Sometimes I cant believe i get to sleep ALL night after months of such frequent nightnursing!!! I thought it was never going to end!!

Good luck to anyone else in this situation!
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#22 of 23 Old 08-08-2006, 06:55 PM
 
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Very interesting thread!

Do you think 12mo is too young to try to nightwean or at least cut down on the night feeds (currently 5-8 times a night)?
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#23 of 23 Old 08-10-2006, 01:37 AM
 
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we night weaned ds1 when he was 18 mos. and went really well as long as i was the one doing it. he cried when left with dh and no nursing all thru the night. i used a sippy cup of water and patted his butt back to sleep-- no big deal. the bad news is that it didn't stop his night waking. give it a shot but don't be surprised if it's not a magic bullet for more sleep.
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