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Co-Sleepers: Ideally, when would you want to night-wean?

  • 6 months or earlier

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>I'm not planning on night-weaning my 9 month old anytime soon. I just wanted to get an idea from others on when they would ideally want to night-wean if they had a choice, or past experience with it. Do you believe some babies actually need to keep eating at night later than other babies? When can babies actually go a full night without eating until morning? Also, what methodology did you use to night-wean? I specified co-sleepers here because I understand from some of my friends that it's probably easier to night-wean babies who sleep in their own space than it is co-sleepers, but if you have experience otherwise, let me know. <span><img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>normally, my dd sleeps through the night, so it hasn't really been a big issue. we have periods of one or two weeks where she wakes at least once a night... typically seems tied to teething or other big changes, and i feel perfectly happy nursing her during those phases. once she hits 12 m + i might be more inclined to try other things at night before nursing. but again, unless anything changes majorly, the night wake-ups are so infrequent that nursing is the easiest way of dealing with them.</p>
 

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<p>I said other - because I work and DS reverse cycles so nighttime is our nursing and bonding time. Interrupted sleep doesn't bother me too much ( as long as I get some stretches in) and I can usually doze through the nursing, so I will take his lead on it and probably not push night weaning much</p>
 

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<p>We night weaned my son when he was just over a year old (we did so gradually from 12-14 months old).  I was 2 or 3 months pregnant, and really craving an uninterrupted night of sleep.  He was already sleeping really well through the night, but still nursed 2 times during the night when sleeping with me.  We also wanted to transition him into his own bed, so that we could co sleep with the new baby (we only have a queen and my son is a bed hog).  So we decided to make the transition from co sleeping and nursing at night, to night weaned and sleeping in his own bed, both at the same time.</p>
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<p>For us, the key was for daddy to take over night duty.  We moved my son into his own bed in his own room (which is attached to our room, so it's not far away at all), and daddy would go in and comfort him when he woke at night.  At first we were giving him a bottle of milk when he woke in the night, but then we started just giving water, and he started waking less and less.  I'd say within 2 months, he was sleeping through the night in his own room with no bottle/milk, and if he did wake, he would just need someone to come in and rub his back or lay with him and he'd fall right back asleep.  We just took it one night at a time, and changed things very gradually and at my son's pace.  And we never had to let him cry it out or be alone at night when he needed comfort, which is what all my friends said we would have to do if we wanted him successfully night weaned and sleeping in his own bed since we had been co sleeping since birth.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Now, at 21 months old, he still wakes up once in the night sometimes if he's sleeping on his own in his own bed.  He just needs someone to come in real quick and comfort him, and he falls right back asleep (no milk or water or anything).  But most nights, my husband falls asleep with him in his bed (it's a full size mattress on the floor) and I sleep in our queen bed with our newborn.  So long as someone is sleeping with him, he doesn't wake at all for the 11-12 hours he sleeps at night :)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>From what I hear, we are very blessed with an easy sleeper, and had a really easy time night weaning him, so it might not be the same for you!  But hopefully that helps.</p>
 

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I would have liked to nightwean between 12 and 18 mos. With my twins, I was so scared of nightweaning both and having 2 babies keep me awake crying to nurse that I ended up waiting until they were 23 mos. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected and I wished I'd just bitten the bullet and tried earlier.
 

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<p>I was working FT and around 15-16 months it was getting to the point that DS1 and I were waking each other up.  He would move naturally in his sleep and I, mostly asleep, would move him to BF, so he would BF even though he wasn't really initiating that.  Or I would move and wake him up and he would want to BF back to sleep.  Since we were both suffering from the interrupted sleep, we night-weaned by having DS and DH move to DS's room/bed.  DS1 ended up back in bed with me when I got pregnant with DS2 because I didn't have the energy to get DS1 to sleep in his room/bed but by that time DS1 was night-weaned and we actually ended up completely weaning as my pregnancy progressed.  DS1 went back to his room with DH for a while after DS2 was born but now they both co-sleep with me and DH sleeps in DS1's bed (both DS's and I move in our sleep and DH is a very light sleeper so he gets better sleep by himself).</p>
 

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<p>I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but I weaned my dd (for good) at 2+ years. The first time we night weaned, dd must have been in the 12-18 month range. I know it was summer and just days before I was in a car accident. I was hospitalized for observation for 4 days and was given pain meds. I was worried she'd completely wean, but she was just as happy to start nursing again when I got home. When she was 3 she become seriously ill (salmonella) and we started nursing around the clock again. I had a really hard time night-weaning her because I always slept through her self-feeds. It wasn't until we stopped co-sleeping (from side-car to child's bed against the wall) that she drastically cut back. And it wasn't until a struck a deal with her (nurse down, but no more num-nums until the sun comes up) that she really stopped.</p>
 

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<p>I don't night wean, I don't believe that I should when eventually they will do it themselves when they are developmentally ready. Night weaning doesn't always mean STTN either. My 20 month is still so hungry at night, I can actually hear his tummy rumbling in the middle of the night, there is no way I am not going to nurse him just because it is night time. </p>
 
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<p>I voted other because my ideal wouuld be to let J night wean herself when she is ready. I'm aware that a new pregnancy or sleep issues or some other life circumstance may prevent this but that would be my ideal.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Peony</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1287532/co-sleepers-ideally-when-would-you-want-to-night-wean#post_16141732"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I don't night wean, I don't believe that I should when eventually they will do it themselves when they are developmentally ready. Night weaning doesn't always mean STTN either. My 20 month is still so hungry at night, I can actually hear his tummy rumbling in the middle of the night, there is no way I am not going to nurse him just because it is night time. </p>
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<br><br><p>Thank you Peony and Katelove....  I recently was going through the night weaning thoughts in my mind and decided to stick with it.  I am dog tired these days but still feel it is the right thing to do, for us.  DS is 16 months and I plan to let him wean when he is ready.  Got a lot of crap over the Holidaze from family "Still nursing that boy, huh?".  I wanted to just scream.  Not leaving our house for the Holidaze next year and won't have to worry about it!!!  I swear sometimes others make me feel bad for nursing still... pushing through.  I know what is best for my LO. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I didn't vote on the poll... guess I am in the "other" category.</p>
 

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<p>Ideally, my kiddo would start STTN between 6-9 months old so it would be of his choosing to stop nursing at night.  If I have to actively nightwean, I won't do it until 12 months.</p>
 

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<p>I voted for 2+ because that is when I nightweaned DD#1. I was newly pregnant and it hurt so much to nurse that I couldn't sleep through it anymore. It took 3 nights of protest crying (right next to me, being held), each successively less in duration for her NW. With DD#2 I hope to do it sooner, but I also don't plan on nursing until 4 as I am with my DD#1.</p>
 

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<p>I voted other....  DD night-weaned herself at 20 months, but it was because I was pregnant and there was no milk.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>now, I could not imagine nursing 2 at night, so I am very glad she did it herself.  She does nurse during the day, and wakes up asking for mama's milk at night, but I can't do it....</p>
 

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<p>Other... I've never done it purposely. My oldest nursed round the clock until almost 4yo and then was totally done. My youngest is 2 and has shown no interest in stopping, which I don't really mind. I can nurse in my sleep and I'd rather nurse her then than be tied down all day while we are both up. My last two night weaned themselves when I got pregnant and was too big and grumpy to pay much attention to them but they still tandemed at nap and bedtime with the newborn. I've been pregnant or nursing a newborn with all the other ones so I am not sure what rhythm will play out this time.</p>
 

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<p>DD2 is 16 months old right now.  Night weaning isn't even on my radar.  She still seems way too young.  My girls have cut teeth pretty late.  I can't imagine night weaning before she had all of her teeth.  Cutting teeth is pretty rough and the nursing really comforts her. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I voted 2+.  DD1 weaned (mostly on her own) at about 27 months.  I never night weaned her.  At about 25 months she went through a phase with lots of night waking.  I think she was mostly sleeping through the night starting around 22 or so months?  It's hard to remember. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Baring a pregnancy or other complication, I can't imagine choosing the night wean when I could just roll over and nurse.  Perhaps as DD2 passes 2 or so, I might feel differently <span><img alt="shrug.gif" height="15" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/shrug.gif" width="29"></span>  For now, I'm not inclined to consider weaning for any part of the day.</p>
 

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<p>i voted 18-24 mos, but 18 months is really what i think is perfect. that was about how old DD1 was when she nightweaned. it was sooooo easy, i just explained to her that when mommy goes to sleep, so do the naneys, and she was totally fine. she always used a pacifier, so i think that made it easier, because she had a strong sucking instinct (getting that away from her was much harder, and i'm not even going to tell you how old she was when we took it away. ok i am, she was 4. and there were still tears).</p>
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<p>but with number 2, she's now 2.5 and no nightweaning in sight. i've tried talking to her like with her big sis, but she's having none of that. this is way less than ideal for me, but i've had absolutely no success yet. she's a ridiculously strong-willed little girl.</p>
 

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<p>I night-weaned DD when she was about 2.5. I'm sure I could have done it before, but I was lazy and it was easier to continue. The only reason I did it then was because we were starting an IVF cycle and I wanted to cut back nursing to the bare minimum. I went back to work when she was 6 months old and she reverse-cycled so I wanted to keep that up. At her age, it was extremely easy. I simply said that there wouldn't be any more milk at night, but there would be cuddles and offered water. It took 3 nights - a little crying on the second night (like 2 minutes) and that was it. It didn't stop her from waking at night to call for me (she was in her own bed by this point) but I could just stumble in, lie down next to her and go back to sleep.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>It was sooooo wonderful not to be night nursing that I've always said I'd night-wean my next child earlier - around 18 months or so - but this depends completely on how he reacts, how much he seems to need it etc. He has reverse-cycled himself because he's so active during the day at this point, so I don't know what will happen 8 months from now!</p>
<p> </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
<p>Like I said in the OP, I have no desire to night-wean now, but I can't say that it's not tempting. Here's why: I had a breast reduction 10 years ago and I have a low supply. Cecilia gets most of her nourishment from donated breastmilk that she drinks at breast (SNS). When she was younger, she was satisfied overnight with bare nursing, so we both slept well, both of us sleeping through night nursings. But as she gets older, either I am making less or she needs more (or both, which I suspect), because now I need to supplement her at night too. She generally goes right back down while latched on and getting her nourishment, so she still gets a good amount of sleep, but I do not. She won't take a bottle and is very blase about sippy cups, so supplementing not at breast isn't an option. So, yeah, tempting to night wean so that I can actually get some sleep, but I would feel absolutely terrible if she was hungry at night and I denied her. So, no night-weaning until I know she doesn't need the milk.</p>
 

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<p>With ds1 I nightweaned at 11/12 months. I'd just gone back to work and wasn't coping with the interrupted sleep and working full day.</p>
<p>We'd moved him to his own room at 10 months hoping he'd nightwean on his own.</p>
<p>With this little man, I'll probably do the same</p>
 

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<p>My answer is never. </p>
<p>Breastfeeding is about more than just nutrition so whilst they <em>may</em> be able to go without food for that long a time some babies/children need to comfort suck until they don't need it anymore - in which case, they wean themselves. </p>
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<p>I can only see it ever being a problem if it is actually distrubing sleep.  Both DS2 and I manage to feed <em>all</em> night long (he is a big comfort nurser too!) with us both sleeping through - it is not a problem now so I can't really see it being a problem anytime in the future either.  In fact - maybe even less so...will be handy when he can help himself to it more so than he can even now! lmao</p>
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<p>You case is a bit special Aimee as she is not EBF directly from you.  If I were you, and it was greatly distrupting my sleep - I would only night wean when I knew she was having a good portion of food during the day.  (comfort sucking here wouldn't be a problem because you are worried about her eating - not comfort sucking...milk or no milk she could still comfort suck all night long on you no problem I would assume!).  Sounds like she is clearly hungry right now if you are having to top her up with donated milk right now.  And I wouldn't expect a baby that young to be eating full meals during the day either.  So - I would try and get some sleep support (could you nap during the day with her?) if possible?  I couldn't imagine a baby having full meals during the day and being able to sleep without needing a lot of milk for actual food in the night until closer to 1 and a half years of age maybe?  Only you can judge - but I would be basing it on hunger in your case.  Does that make sense?   </p>
 
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