Help! I'm a nightweaning failure! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-16-2003, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi mamas,

We're trying to nightwean (or at least spread out nighttime nursings) in hopes of having AF return so we can TTC. My goal is to have the last nursing session around 11 or 12.

We've tried it two nights and both times we've failed miserably!!

DD usually falls asleep between 9 and 10 but nurses again around 11 or 12 then again around 2 am when we go to bed. She sleeps in our arms/lap until our bedtime.

The night before last we tried moving her into bed at 2 without nursing, and she woke up screaming and very mad. We tried everything we could for an hour to get her to go to sleep, but finally we had to give up (she was hyperventilating). She fell asleep and a few hours later was hyperventilating a little in her sleep, so I nursed again and all was well.

Last night we tried a new strategy: I moved into bed around 12 for a final nursing. She was out cold but happy to nurse. I had tanked her up in the evening trying to get her full for the night too. I went to sleep and dh came in around 2 am. At 2:45 she wanted to nurse in her sleep and started screaming when I wouldn't let her. I tried everything I could to get her to go back to sleep but she was too upset. I gave in and nursed her and she was happy. She wasn't even that hungry though--mainly just comfort sucking! :

Any ideas?? She nurses a lot during the daytime too (on demand). And she sucks her fingers when she wants comfort.

Thanks your help!! We really don't know what to do.
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#2 of 7 Old 06-16-2003, 06:02 PM
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I don't think I'm much help, I only nightweaned dd2 when she was 18 months old and could understand "no nursing in bed" With dd1, the longest she went without night nursing was between 11pm - 4am at 11 months, but she was pretty regular & did this on her own.

if you cosleep, can you try nursing babe to sleep in the bed? it may be the transition into the bed is the problem. She's already slept about 5 hours (to sleep at 9 and into bed at 2am) so, technically, she's slept through the night.

I would try something like that, so she's in bed and you're not moving her after such a long sleep period. I'm guessing that disruption is part of the problem at this age.

I'm sure you'll get some better help.

good luck!
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#3 of 7 Old 06-17-2003, 01:54 PM
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Hi. We have nightweaned fairly successfully. DS is 13 months old. We have our mattress on the floor so I nurse him to sleep in bed (usually between 9 and 10). I then don't nurse him again until around 4:30 AM.

I used Dr. Jay Gordon's plan (sort of) when DS was 11 months. I skipped the first step of the plan because it just didn't work for our situation at the time. It's funny but I have already forgotten the details : but I think it was about 3 - 5 days where DS was really mad about not nursing. I just picked him up and held him and occasionally put him down on the bed when he began to squirm out of my arms (and then pick him back up again after he kicked and screamed a few minutes). I walked him around the room, rocked him, basically anything to get him to sleep besides the boob. A few times I got him to take a pacifier (which we have always used occasionally during the when driving in the car, etc.). The whole process took an hour or two (I think) before he would fall asleep.

After 3 or 4 days (I think) I switched to not picking him up and just rubbing his back in bed, etc. Then I eventually didn't do anything (besides staying next to him in bed of course!) It has worked for us. I will say the first time I tried it I gave in after a half hour of crying because I couldn't deal with it. The second time I tried it I kept with it. The key is to not give definitely was not easy for either of us. Now DS sometimes still gets up and will fuss for maybe 5 minutes, but he will lay back down and go to sleep on his own.

Last night for he slept from 10 until 4:30 and prior to nightweaning he nursed every 2 hours. So it can be done. Of course, like anything, you will know if it isn't the right time for you. I had just reached the end of my rope so the timing was right for us.

Good luck.


P.S. I just noticed that you said that you nurse on demand during the day. During the week DS takes a bottle from DH while I am at work. So he is already used to not nursing during certain periods so that might have helped our nightweaning situation.
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#4 of 7 Old 06-17-2003, 02:20 PM
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Personally, I would not try to nightwean a pre-verbal child. It was important in my mind to be able to explain to him what we were doing.

We tried when ds was 25 months, and it went semi-well but then we had some stress in our lives and nightweaning fell by the wayside. We did it again at 30 months, and it was very, very easy.
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#5 of 7 Old 06-17-2003, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi mamas!

Here's an update for our third night of trying to night wean. I should mention that by "nightwean" I mean 6 or 7 (can't imagine 8) hours with no nursing.

Last night we tried again. I nursed a lot in the evening, and she went to sleep around 9:30. I went to bed at 12:15 (we cosleep) and nursed her one last time.

She woke at 2:45 and 4:45 and was up for an hour or so each time tossing and turning. But this time I was able to comfort her back to sleep and get her to suck her fingers (the other nights I gave in and nursed her). Yay!!

She was dead asleep when I woke up at 7. I stayed in bed and she started to get restless around 7:30, when I nursed her. So we went 7 hours with no nursing!!! WOOHOO!! She was still sleepy and went back to sleep after nursing at 7:30.

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but it seems like we're making real progress here. I'm starting to envision a life in which I get 5, 6, 7, or even 8 hours of consecutive uninterrupted sleep.
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#6 of 7 Old 06-17-2003, 10:08 PM
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We've been working on the same thing, and it has been going fairly well. I got worried early on when DS would just be up for like an hour or so in the middle of the night, wondering if we'd ever get sleep (he wasn't crying, just awake!!). I just changed teh nursing schedule around. We used Dr. Gordon's plan as a guide. It's been about a month. He now regularly goes 6-8 hours without nursing, and we have gone from 8 or so wakings a night to about 2-4. It is definitely better. He still awakens and fusses around 1 or 3 every night, even though he never gets to nurse til 4 or 5. But keep up your optimism! It has taken time but we are definitely doing better. Soon I hope to get him to bed at 8 or so, and not nurse til 3 or 4 in the morning, (or wake up) and then sleep til morning....that might be too optimistic though lol Just be as consistent as possible and try not to be too grumpy when she won't fall asleep for an hour in the middle of the night. If you need any support from a mama doing the same thing now, feel free to chat more here or pm me.

Amy, USCG wife and homeschooling, ebfing, homebirthing Mama to M (8), L (6), L (2.5)
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#7 of 7 Old 06-18-2003, 03:40 PM
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Yeah, consistency is probably the key. I wouldn't know because I'm unable to get past the sad look on my little boy's face if I try to get him back to sleep without nursing. He is nearly two and a half years old. He still wakes up at night four to seven times (or more, as was the case last night). After the second time of trying to night wean him, I decided not to try anymore. I guess you could say I made peace with the nighttime waking.

Good luck to you. Here is a link to Dr. Jay Gordon's article on changing sleep pattern in the family bed
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