Mothering Forum banner

Co-sleeping and modified Nightweaning: An update

538 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Je'anna L C
I am going to write a day to day update on how things are going for us, in the hopes that sharing my experience will help some folks that are considering making some changes.

So my sweet son is 14months and has up to this point been waking up around 10 times a night most nights. I got to the point where all I wanted in the whole world was a stretch of 2-3 hours of sleep instead of 45min-1hr. But meeting his needs is probably the most important thing in my life so I struggled with how to do this. It was very important to me that we continue co-sleeping - that cutting back on night nursing didn't mean losing the night connection entirely.

After not much success with Pantley's recommendations we decided to try the Dr. Jay Gordon 10 day program. But I procrastinated... "he's not feeling well" till I realised that the program didn't sit that well with me. I know Dr. Jay Gordon is an attachment doctor and that crying in arms is not CIO but, it just didn't feel totally right - so we gave ourselves permission to modify it, simply by saying we can walk with him if we need to and rather than doing if for the suggested 7 hours we're doing it for 5 hours, from midnight till 5 am. I was also committed to allowing him to spend all his daylight hours on the breast if he needed/wanted to. I also had a very committed DH who agreed to read and understand the JG program and then discussed our plan at length with me. I knew I didn't have the energy to make any changes without his complete involvement.

Up to this point any time Aslan has woken I've nursed him back to sleep, which is a lot of nursing with all those wake-ups and often left me with painful nipples.

This is the new plan:

Aslan wakes (wiggle, wiggle, whimper, whimper) asking to nurse.
First I pat/rub his back. (Perfect but unlikely world: he goes back to sleep. )
If he doesn't settle - I nurse him till he's almost asleep and then slip him off the nipple and rub/pat. (If we're lucky he fusses, goes to sleep)
If he doesn't go to sleep and becomes more upset, we walk with him till he's asleep.
Whether he sleeps for 5 min or 2 hours we start from the beginning again.


Night one

2-3 times I was able to nurse lying down and then sit up and rub his back and he wiggled and fussed a bit but went to sleep. To me this was a amazing. Seemed to good to be true. DH slept through it all, lucky guy. Then he awoke around 2 and this time it didn't work. I nursed him, rubbed his back but he became very upset, wanting to continue to nurse more. I tried walking with him but all he wanted was nursies, pulling on my clothes, crying, wiggling down to my breasts. I felt guilty, sad and started second guessing myself. DH tried walking him and he settled down a bit, crying on and off and eventually falling asleep. That episode lasted from 2am - 4 am. Then we had one more wake-up, nurse/backrub and sleep (thankfully) before we hit a 5:30 wake-up and very gratefully nursed Aslan back to sleep till 7.

The following day Aslan nursed more than usual but was cheery and full of life. I was unsure about whether we were doing the right thing and whether he was ready, but given how Aslan was during the day and the fact that he had laid-down awake and gone to sleep with his back rubbed a couple times, we agreed to go another night and see how things went.

Night Two

We were dreading midnight rolling around, scared of another extended upset. This time Aslan woke up only 4 times between midnight and five. Twice he didn't even nurse! I sat up, rubbed his back expecting to lie down and nurse but he wiggled and went right back to sleep. The other two times he nursed a little bit, slipped off the nipple (one time by himself!) and went back to sleep. DH woke up in the morning wondering what had happened!
I dont know if last night was a fluke or not, but it was amazingly encouraging.
Today he is no different at all. I am hardly daring to hope that tonoght is even as great as last night!

Night Three

I cheated!
I was so tired that I dont know exactly how many times he woke up... At least two times I can remember nursing and rubbing and he went back to sleep. But one time he didn't and started to cry, DH was sleeping, I was so tired, couldn't bear the idea of him crying and walking him... I just put him back on the breast and tried again...I think maybe once or twice I fell asleep nursing him. I am frustrated with myself! So I guess we need to have one more night of handling it well (rub, nurse, rub, sleep) before we try for no nursing.

Did anyone else have this kind of experience? I feel bad because I feel like I'm prolonging the struggle.

Night Four

Well we're back on track. Thankfully! Thanks again for all of the support. Because of it, I did'nt consider giving up because we have folks rooting for us!

So last night was night four and although I was again exhausted and I dont remember everything, I did do the little nurse, pat, rub at least three times. Aslan cried for less than 10seconds each time and then wiggled to sleep. I found I had to rub for a long time, as soon as I eased off he'd start to whimper. So rubbed his back till my whole arm was aching, but he was asleep. Another two times he started to waken but I shushed him and rubbed his back and he headed back to dreamland. So that was all progress which is great... but if you count you can see that he still was waking five times (and that was just what I remembered!) in a five hour stretch (midnight to five)! So he's still waking up a lot a lot a lot. But the process is changing. I guess the hope is eventually the process (no nursing) will change the number of wake ups. I'm so tired, I'm delirious, hope I'm making sense.

Tonight we plan to push for no nursing from 12-2am and then continue what we've been doing, little nurse, pat,rub,sleep for the rest of the night. I'm concerned about crying. This will be a big step. *Fingers crossed*

Night 5, 6, 7
Sabotaged by house guests! Cant have a crying baby so we'll do whatever is necessary to help him go to sleep fast. *sigh*

Night 8
Back to the program. Wiggled and fussed at no nursing between 12 and 2... but ok

Night 9
This is going to be the twenty day program!! Whatever works right?
Last night we tried for no nursing between 12 and 3. After a busy day he slept heavily from 9 till 12! Thats amazing. He woke at 12:30 wanting to nurse (understandably) I patted and rubbed.. he cried for about 10 seconds, fussed, wiggled and then fell asleep... to repeat that every 20min! By 2:40 I was bloody exhausted and caved... We're getting there.... Is there anything smaller than babysteps?

Night 10
We're aiming for no nursing between midnight and 3 again. Fingers crossed.
See less See more
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Hugs mama, that sounds like it is working.
We are working on doing something similar with dd and last night she slept from 9:30 til 2:30 before she woke up to nurse and then it was a short nurse and back to sleep.
It is nice to be getting a better nights sleep and it seems as tho I am feeling better and being a better mama during the day as well.
As you can see we WERE doing well.

I knew I shouldnt get too excited after the second night! I just felt like I COULDN"T do it last night, just didn't have it in me. I'm mad at myself. I'm trying to tell myself that whats important is the little man is fine and happy and its only one night and we just keep going...

Thanks for the encouragement. I really appreciate the support!
It's hard. I've been nightweaning DD a la Dr J too. Modified for our needs of course. I've done it half-bummed for a while, but finally got rested enough (or tired enough LOL) to go for it. In the past 5 nights or so of really trying the final phase of not nursing for a long stretch, we had a couple nights of bad crying (with one waking being really upset) she has now slept an 8 hour stretch twice, and 5 hours another night. It IS working and I am so happy!!!
Hon it is very hard. We have been working on putting dd in her toddler bed in her room at night, she does well for the start of the night and some nights it is only one waking, but last night, after getting out of bed 4 times I was eshausted, I brought her to bed with me and she nursed most of hte rest of the night.
Don't be hard on yourself, if it works for you guys that is what matters.
Nursing on demand can certainly take a toll on sleep! I also nursed on demand so of course that meant during the night whenever my DD woke up. Some nights were better than others which made it tough for those days when I didn't get much sleep and had to function at work. But I guess I'm lucky in that she wasn't waking up 10 times a night and crying.

I completely agree with nursing on demand and would accomodate my DD most anytime. But I also realize that kids can become creatures of habit and will want what works and gets them what they want. We want to meet their needs but sometimes that can come at the expense of our needs. I remember painful nipples! I think you are doing a fine job. It's hard to make changes when baby is used to the same thing every night. Naturally he will be upset some nights when he doesn't get the nursie. Perserverance on your part will pay off!

I still don't sleep through the night and I have a 3.5 yo!! Even though she sleeps through the night, I wake up to check on her as I always have. And I just started her in her own bed (right next to mine) and she has been waking up 1-2 times a night and wanting me to snuggle with her. I sort of feel like I'm back to my nursing days (and it's only been 7 months since we quit)! But I know after a while she'll be used to sleeping in her bed and will be sleeping through the night again. Meanwhile, I know I'll still be waking up a couple times a night to check on her. Probably will be for the rest of my life!

Hang in there. Nap when you can~ these things don't happen overnight but they do happen!
See less See more
I know that feeling of not being able to persevere and being inconsistent and wondering am I dragging whatever it is out/making it worse/sabotaging it so it won't work at all. Try be gentler on yourself, is all I can advise, and try take my own advice too. Sleep deprivation is a nasty nasty thing and when you start to rest just a bit more seems to come crashing back at you just then full tilt.

I am trying to decide whether to start the night weaning thing to some extent at least with my little DS only 8 months old. I just don't think I can last as long as you have. And I do think that habit thing is relevant and I am scared things will be so much worse the longer I wait. I've been there at the 45-90 min thing and now am at about 90min -2hrs and know I will NOT cope if it gets back to what you are dealing with!

So hats off to you and all the best. I will be watching to see how it goes and take inspiration.
See less See more
Thanks folks. Funny how this one thing, sleeping and meeting our babes needs can be so huge in our lives. I was so touched by your words of encouragement, they made me all teary.

Thank you!
See less See more
Cross fingers and toes for tonight!
If anyone is watching this torturously slow process... nights 6-9 have been updated. The things we do for the ones we love...
Oh yes, we're still out here rooting for, and learning from you
In fact I really respect that this is a laboriously slow process. I think if more people were willing to take the time and have the patience needed to do things in a child-friendly way, we'd have happier kids and a way better world.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.