Is it time to night wean? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-19-2003, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 26 mos. ds that I sleep with (although some nights neither of us do much sleeping). I have never let him cry for more than the amount of time it takes me to get to him, although at nap time (he sleeps on a futon on the floor in his own room - I sleep there with him at night) he sleep alone just fine - falls asleep in the car (I structure our days to accomodate this) and sometimes I will hear him wake up and make some noise - maybe for 15-20 seconds and either he gets up to find me or goes back to sleep. I feel good about his ability to get in and out of bed - he has been in this bed since 9 mos. Teething has always given him fits. He slept great as a baby. He'd get cranky at about 8 pm and one day I realized he needed to go to bed then. So I would change him (he was cd'd and is now out of diapers altogether - since 19 mos!) and nurse him and swaddle him and put him in bed and he'd go to sleep. Then at about 4 mos. he started waking every hour just really crying hard. So I started sleeping with him. His sleep would get better when he was between teeth and I think we may now be getting ready for 2 yr molars...anyway, I weaned him from daytime nursing at about 16 mos. He MUST nurse to go to sleep though. I wonder if I can somehow help him learn other ways to self sooth - he never has become attached to any object (which I am sort of glad for anyway) and really wants to nurse. My problem is that it has become very uncomfortable for me and so I tend to get irritated with it after 30 or 40 minutes. It's not the nursing though so much that bothers me as it is the dependance. His attachment to me is almost too much. We are together ALL (and I mean 24 7) the time. When I day-weaned him his independance blossomed and our relationship improved as did his relationship w/ dh. I would love some feedback (and some sleep! - he usually wakes up 3-4 times/night) I did start working with him on weaning at his birthday and he really did well for about two weeks - then we were traveling for about 6 weeks and it all went out the window. I am kind of wondering if he'd respond well to going cold-turkey IF I can do it?????
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#2 of 5 Old 03-20-2003, 06:35 PM
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have you heard of attachment parenting? thats our style of parenting, and we really believe it fosters a wonderful relationship with our kids, when babies and as grown kids. We have 5 kids, 17,13,10,2 and 1. All ap kids, and even though it may be tough having a little one attached, it's really perfectly normal. Especially as young as yours. Many babies in ap familes will nurse day and night til 4 or so. There is lots of attachment parenting info online. My opinion of course, but cold turkey weaning could lead to further attachment issues in the future. Nursing is about bonding as well as nutrition and ending it suddenly could give your baby the idea that he did something wrong and leave him with a feeling of abandonment. A good book I read that really puts the natural reason for attchment parenting is a book called the Continuum Concept. Most libraries have a copy, and it can be ordered online. Good luck!
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#3 of 5 Old 03-21-2003, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I really appreciate your reply, and I now kind of wonder if my message wasn't very clear. I am very familiar with attachment parenting and have always tried to practice it (using a sling, nursing, cosleeping, staying at home, etc.). I guess I wonder if some of our other issues are rooted in nursing though. I have almost no milk anymore (and I know that's no what his in it for) and I know he's just looking for comfort, but he won't accept any other form of comfort from me. During the day we do fine because he's not wondering and worrying about nursing, if he falls down he comes to me for a hug or to brush off or whatever, but not pawing and clawing and struggling to nurse. As soon as the lights go off though, he is desperate to "open mommy's shirt". Again, I don't have any problem fundamentally with nursing at this age, I just wish we could cuddle, and sing and read and enjoy bedtime instead of it being his only focus. I want to provide an opportunity for him to learn how to relax without my nipple in his mouth because I feel like if he realizes he can he will. I hate to see him get worked up. I have even wondered if offering nursing at a limited but different time of day would alleviate this desperation, but I don't want to go back to constant nursing (it was a relief for us both to have that question answered.- As soon as I told him out of the blue one day nursing is for bedtime he completely stopped asking and never fussed about it at all.) I don't know, maybe he's not ready. I just wish we could have some transition going on that includes some physical closeness without the actual nursing. I have read from other moms that night weaning alleviates the night waking also. That's not my main focus - we nurse lying down and both sleep through it in the middle of the night. I can't help but to wonder if there is this constant testing he's doing all night to see what the answer is, and if I gave him a definitive one would it put his mind at ease?
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#4 of 5 Old 03-21-2003, 05:04 PM
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It seems like your gut is telling you to try the "cold turkey" no nursing at night (just what I got from reading your posts - maybe I'm not accurate on this). If daytime weaning went well for both of you, perhaps you would have a similar experience with the night weaning. As you said, you are looking for other ways to be close to ds at night. It's not as though you are abandoning him. I think that your concerns about so much night nursing are valid (I was in a similar situation a few months ago)! And, if you try the night weaning and feel that it is not working or is too stressful for one or both of you, you can reevaluate. I night weaned my dd at about 22 mos, and unless she is sick, we stick to the "no nursies while it's dark" rule. It has worked remarkably well for us - she has become much more loving and comfortable with dh both at night and during the day and is less likely to wake during the night now (though she still does wake up some nights, but it's 1-2 times vs. the 4-5 when she was nursing at night). Night weaning is not for everyone, and I think you know your situation best and have to make the final call. If your enter into it with love, your ds will sense that. Good luck!
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#5 of 5 Old 03-24-2003, 10:43 AM
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My chils is younger then yours but I have been going through this for a while now.
My dd is 13 mo. She was waking up anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour all night long. When I went to sleep it was latch on and not let go. I was not only tired but not able to do anything, go anywhere, have a break, ECT....

On her first birthday we started. We do our normal routine and then my dh puts her down to sleep. She did cry... I had to leave the house.... but I knew her daddy was with her and that she would be allright. Now... almost a month later.... I am able to put her to sleep without nursing!!! She still cries but not that much. I also nurse her during the day as much as she wants..... witch is not that much. She will now sleep up to 5 hours sraight!!!!!! Then my dh (or me now) goes in when she wakes up and no nurse. When I go to bed and she wakes up her 2nd or 3rd time (2-3 am) I nurse her... and we will continue to nurse until morning. Last night... after I went to bed.... she only woke 2 times with me next to her and nursed. She also pulls off the breast and falls asleep on her own!

I want to let you know that I was very stubborn, saddend, unhappy, and wishy washy about this descision. I would not committ to doing this even though I desperatly needed some alone time. I finnaly did it... and so far it is better. My dd is a picease and a little slow to change... we are going on 3 weeks and it is harder one day and easy the next.
Any way.... just thought I would share my story with you.
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