should we try nightweaning ..? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-03-2003, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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here's the deal...

My 13mth/o dd wakes between 6-12 times a night and has since birth. We ap - cosleep, breastfeed, respond to her needs/wants as much as possible etc. She is by all accounts a beautiful, happy, bright, thriving little baby.

After much going back and forth to doctors, naturopaths, homeopaths,things have been really hard childcare professionals/clinics, midwives and searching on the net and through books, plus endless tears, moments of depression and frustration, dp and I decided to nightwean, but not after waiting until: dd was at least 12 months and she was eating solids reasonably well (that seeming to be the popular advice amongst all the "professionals").
We also recently had her tested for allergies and I am about to embark on an elimination diet to rule out any food intolerances.

So...everything seems set to go....but ....well, quite frankly I'm scared witless by the whole prospect of nightweaning! I think I have been soooo tired for so long, and nightweaning was held up as the "last frontier" and I think I'm afraid that if IT doesn't work or if it backfires on me somehow I won't know what to do....Things have been really hard, as it so often is with AP, I have had to fight through all the adversity and the jugdemental opinions of so many around me (thank god for MDB!) on top of the sleep deprivation and the normal pressures of motherhood! I guess I just feel that after all the struggling, to stick to my beliefs in AP, that perhaps nightweaning is a bit of a cop out.

To top it all off, when I announced to a friend (one of two AP mothers I know) that we were going to try nightweaning, and she started to lecture me on benifits of AP and believing in my "instincts as a mother" and "not giving into pressure" and how "all babies wake up in the night" (not hers btw)! sheez! Where's the love in that?! It all shook my already faltering confidence.

Anyway, I know it sounds like I'm looking for approval, I'm not really (well maybe just a bit) maybe just some support for a mum who is too tired to know what I think anymore.

thanks, Chante
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#2 of 6 Old 04-03-2003, 03:37 PM
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I support you 100% in doing what is best for your entire family, which definitely includes you! I think it is completely appropriate to night wean a one year old, especially one with your baby's waking issues.
You sound like a loving, great mother who probably has a thoroughly attached, secure baby who will not be harmed at all in the long-run by not nursing at night and having a much more present, rested, happy and attentive mother who is sleeping at night!
I have 2 AP friends who were on the brink of insanity due to night waking who have both basically night-weaned (they'll nurse once a night) and moved their babies out of their beds. They're babies wake up no more than once or twice a night now, and daddy soothes them back to sleep (and yes, (horror!) sometimes needs to let them cry a little) and both moms say that their babies seem happier and better rested, and that they themselves are completely new people because of it.
It has also deepened baby and daddy's bond and allowed the mom's to be much more present for their babes during the day.
There's a book called The No-Cry Sleep Solution that some have recommended to me.
I say good luck, go for it, stop being a martyr and become a healthy model in your family for taking care of yourself and looking out for the well being of ALL OF YOU!
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#3 of 6 Old 04-03-2003, 04:46 PM
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Chante, I could've written much of your post myself.

In terms of AP moms who don't have an "issue" with nightwaking, you will generally find that they are the lucky ones who can sleep through nursing sessions. Thus, it doesn't affect them how many times their children nurse, because they usually sleep through it.

I'm guessing you're not one of these moms . . .I'm NOT! My daughter cries when she wakes, doesn't latch on herself (she sits up and cries until I help her) and then I stay awake through the nursing session, even if I'm exhausted, which I usually am.

I've started nightweaning. Not consciously, really, but just because I'm becoming a zombie. When she cries at night, I just feel shocked and like I can't move. My daughter wll usually cry and curl up next to me, and finally fall asleep. Most of the time I do nurse her back to sleep, but when I'm in my state of disbelief, that's what happens.

DH and I were just talking about this. He doesn't sleep with us, but we are going to start taking shifts. He's going to sleep with her (alone) for part of the night, and I the rest. We'll increase his time gradually. From there, I don't know . . . I think sleeping in a crib would be better because my presence wakes up DD (though I'll miss her!). My goal was to help my DD have a positive association with sleep, but even at 14 months, she seems to hate it.

Here's a link that might be of use: Dr. Jay on Sleep

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#4 of 6 Old 04-05-2003, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the support guys!

Geoffa_T...Thanks, but we already have the "no cry sleep solution" we tried it, unsuccessfully for a little while - because dd has always and only fallen asleep with booby, the "no cry" plan was left up to me, and basically, it was too much for me to handle on my own . However, we did install alot of her principles concerning bedtime routines etc...and they have been quite helpful

Mizelanius...Dr. Jay's plan is next on the list, thanks. Fingers crossed that it will be the answer for us all

I'll keep ya posted!
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#5 of 6 Old 04-05-2003, 08:51 AM
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Recently my dh and I did a workshop with Aletha Solter (Aware Parenting Institute) who is one of the best authors on child-rearing I've read. (The workshop was sponsored by API of San Francisco.) She talked about the disservice we do to our child (she granted that some consider this idea controversial) by always passifying the crying and said she sees the breast often used as a passifier. (DH and I came away from the workshop nodding our heads at how we did this in the past--now ds is 2.5 and weaned.) It is painful to hear our babies cry, but sometimes that may be what they are needing, as a means of resolving tension they hold from past traumas (whether or not you can identify them.) Might be birth trauma, intrauterine trauma, even an unconscious awareness of the war and world tensions, or something that happened that very day. You might like her book Aware Baby. She did specifically respond to a question about nighttime nursing, and thought that toddlers still waking multiple times are probably needing to cry more than to nurse.

Oh yes, then you have the crying. It's so hard in the middle of the night when you are so tired and the breast is so convenient...but what would be best is to hold your child through the crying in a loving way, giving the message (non-verbal may be fine) that you welcome the crying as a way to work through some held pain, supporting her process.

It is so important that you take care of yourself. In the big picture everyone benefits most optimally with you well cared for.

When we did finally night-wean, I couldn't follow Dr. Jay through--no alarm setting for me! We did have to allow for crying--but it is so different from CIO when you are right there with loving arms. I often asked if he wanted some soy milk or cows milk and sometimes it was yes, sometimes no. (Even then the milk may have been more of a comfort than real hunger, as eventually he was sleeping through the night.)

Good luck. Middle of the night transitions are sooooo difficult, but I found it so liberating too. We had put ds in his own room at 18months, which I am grateful for, as we needed it, but now at 2.5 he somehow ended up back in our bed, and we love his company. No resentment at all.
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#6 of 6 Old 04-05-2003, 03:28 PM
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wow, chante. I think our kids were separated at birth! We have been through everything you've written about, including the elimination diet!!

We nightweaned with the Jay Gordon plan about 4 or 5 weeks ago. It was way easier than we thought it would be - one hard night, but even that night he only cried 10-15 minutes every waking (instead of the hours I envisioned). The hard news is that nightweaning was no simple solution for us - Jackson continued to wake, he just went back to sleep without nursing. And, he started sleeping much more restlessly than when he nursed to sleep and spent hours every night tossing and turning.

If this is your experience, I would highly recommend going beyond the Jay Gordon plan and refusing to nurse all night long. We did this a week ago, and the last few nights have been the best sleep of his little life. We have had 2 eight hour stretches. Un-friggin-believable.

It was hard. It's all hard. Nightweaning is not fun and nobody likes to do it (it's especially hard to take on when you're already exhausted!). But, when you've gone through everything else you can think of, it's worth a shot.

Hugs to you.
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