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HELP! Advice needed re: night weaning/transitioning out of bed for almost two y.o

701 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Mommiska

I thank you all now (and warn you) if you are willing to embark on this long post!

Elijah is nearly two (now 22 months). We've co-slept and nursed his whole life. For the last three months or so, he's been nightweaned, except for that he has found it especially difficult to give up his last night nursing ... so even though we've followed Jay Gordon's program, Elijah still cannot sleep through until 5:00 a.m. Instead, he tends to wake at 4:00 a.m., crying, goes down again with a lot of tears and hugs at 4:15 a.m., back up at 4:30 a.m., etc. until I finally nurse him at 5:00 a.m. -- all with the hope that he'll sleep through until at least 5:00 a.m. eventually.

So far, that just isn't happening. Often in the night that late, I'm so tired and out of it that I am less consistent than is fair to Elijah ... so I read the clock wrong and nurse at 4:40 p.m., or think, "I really want us all to be able to sleep, etc." But each time I do that, he then wakes up earlier and earlier and then wants to nurse until he is awake for the day.

I simply can't do this any longer ... often, he and I have been awake or "trying to sleep" from 3:45 a.m. until he wakes for the day ... which is often 5:20 a.m. (I think the struggle to nurse is making him so awake he can't fall asleep). He's exhausted early in the day and I'm totally wiped during the day -- when I absolutely need to be fully present for him and able to get real paid-work done during his naps.

in the last week, its gotten even worse ... he is back to waking nearly every two hours from 12:30 a.m. on I don't know what to do. Clearly, this early morning nursing is essential to him; but when I go ahead with it, he just wakes earlier and earlier and nurses longer and longer. He is hot at night and our air conditioner sucks and our fan, at high, still doesn't seem to make Elijah truly comfortable ... he is sweating up a storm at night. So I'm sure that is part of why he is waking ... his incisors have also broken through the gum ... so that too, is part of it. I've been loathe to give him motrin, but maybe I should.


In addition, DH and I are really wanting to transition Elijah (slowly is fine) out of our bed. We are going to TTC#2 and want to have time in our bed that is as a couple and also want Elijah to not associate transitioning with a new baby. Elijah has a bed on the floor in an area of our bedroom -- and he LOVES playing on it, but refused to nap on it. We've not even bothered to put him there at night. We are going to be staying in a cabin upstate for six weeks in the late summer, and we thought that would be a good time to transition him since everything is already different ... that we'd put him to bed on a mattress near ours as just part of our "cabin routine." But can that work if he isn't weaned at night? Does this seem like a reasonable plan or is it the opposite ... loading up too much change too fast?

I'm just totally confused and getting back to that pre-weaning level of exhaustion. It feels so much harder, since I'd gotten a bit used to sleeping at least four hour stretches again and SAH parenting a toddler takes so much more energy -- especially in this hot NYC summer.

Can you tell I'm confused and in an exhausted ramble. Any suggestions would be totally welcome! I'm starting to resent nursing and co-sleeping altogether -which isn't good for any of us.
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Hi Becca - I don't know that this will help a lot but I will tell you what I did with night weaning and see if it will help you -- I can't help much with the cos-sleeping part because we are in that same boat with our 2 y/o little girl. We are having an addition built with a master bedroon and a bedroom for her, but I have decided to just go from our room to hers as she needs me during the night....and that is fine with my that is what will work for far as the night weaning goes -- I had a lot of trouble with my now 24 month old in that department. I finally got to the point that during the night I would tell her that (she calls my breasts apples for some reason...) so I would tell her that they were not working during the night and to put her head on my pillow and we would snuggle. She hated that at first but she eventually got used to it and woke less and less during the night. Now she gets a nursing just as she is going to sleep and then maybe around 4:00 am and then she usually sleeps until around 6:30 or 7:00. I just slowly, very slowly got her used to it that way. i know some people might not think that was fair and lying to her (by telling her they weren't working) but it worked for me and she got used to the idea and stopped asking so much. I am determined to just let her eventually completely wean herself off and not have to nurse anymore at night, but she is my last little one (I have a 14 and 8 y/o also) and I want to enjoy this time with her and not rush anything!! I am sorry this was so long and hope it helped some!
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I don't really know if I have any advice, but I wanted to offer my sympathies since my ds is the same age as yours and is also teething and nightwaking.

I also have been reluctant to haul out the motrin, but maybe teething is really making it hard on your ds to sleep, so maybe you should break down and give him some, see if it helps. I was ready to give my ds motrin lst night and then her slept 5-6 ours without waking! And see if you can find an air conditioner, it's brutal here in NY, especially today! And I'm 30 mins north of the city.

What I sometimes do, and it seems to work, is rollover and pretend I am asleep. Ds will roll around, and around, and around...then settle down and sleep.

Good luck!

Daniel 8/9/2003
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I don't really have any suggestions for you.
Except maybe... I know my 29mo DD will sleep soundly thru the night if I'm not in the bed (just DH) but will want to nurse lots if I am. I swear she smells the milk LOL! So...maybe you could try having Elijah (great name BTW- my 20yo bro is Elijah James) sleep in your bed with your hubby for a few days just to break the cycle.
Good luck finding a solution
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I think having your dh take over night wakings for awhile (as others have said) might help with the night-weaning issue.

As for transitioning your ds to his own room - we've always had a single bed in our 'baby' room, so when ds (or either of my two girls, when they were little) woke at night, I could just go and get in the single bed with them. I think that made it much easier on them when they left our room/bed - they were still co-sleeping with me (or, more rarely, dh), even if they weren't in our bed, you know?

Good sounds exhausting.
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