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My DD is 17 months. I am about 10 weeks preg with baby no. 3. My nipples are SO incredibly tender that I can barely nurse without tearing up. Its ok during the day, DD eats a lot and plays all day and rarely comes to me for a real nursing except for at naptime. But during the night, if she isn't latched on, she screams and throws a huge fit, clawing at my chest trying to get to my "boo-boos". The noise drives DH crazy, and I always end up giving in so he can get some sleep. In the meantime, I haven't slept well in weeks!! Shes mostly asleep while latched on, so of course her mouth is pulling on my nipple and it hurts so bad! Anyway, I'm just wondering how to gently nightwean a co-sleeping toddler. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!!
 

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I'm sure you'll receive tons of suggestions, but here is what worked for me (and my girl LOOOOOOVED the boobie, so she was very resistant...)

1. It was a variation of the Dr. Jay Gordon method where you decide no BF between certain time periods and offer juice or cuddles instead. Tara was NOT interested in her sippy and would scream like she was dying when trying to offer that instead of the boobie. So, it was always there, but never really used, but the cuddles worked out.

2. We would say "boobies are sleeping" and tell her she'd get some in the morning, & instead I'd offer cuddles when she'd root and ask for the boobie. If she'd refuse, yelling "no" and scream and cry, we'd let her have her tantrum but I'd keep offering to cuddle in my sweet mommy voice. She would tire of screaming /crying and settle in for a cuddle and initially touching my belly. (I think it was the comfort/safety of the boobie and being next to my skin that she really wanted - not really milk. Especially as it was just comfort sucking - I could tell the difference and no milk was coming out).

Doing this was really hard and we set aside 3 nights knowing we'd have a rotten night & little to no sleep (I think that part really made a difference and helped us get through the process since we were mentally prepared and expecting bad nights)

3. I'm NOT a cry-it-out fan, but at the same time at that age (Tara was 16-17 months) they know that certain actions will cause certain responses, so you CAN'T give in when they have their temper tantrums. acting like they're going to die of misery. No, kids aren't purposely manipulative at this age, but they are learning what to "do" to make things happen - just natural cause and effect lessons.

I was somewhat comforted knowing that I was offering her love, affection and cuddles and that it was up to her whether she'd accept it or not. In between the offers we just laid there quietly as if we were sleeping. This way she didn't receive any positive reactions to her tantrums, but she did get offers to cuddle every couple of minutes. Eventually she'd crawl up for a cuddle & fall asleep.

I'd say we had several temper tantrum episodes per night, but with less frequency and intensity each night, then on about night 3 or 4 she'd ask, I'd say no & then she'd ask for a cuddle instead - no tantrum, no issues. It was quicker than I had anticipated it would be.

4. HOWEVER...The whole thing morphed into a "cuddle" where she wanted to rub my belly. Initially that was fine and I think it got us over the initial hump, but then we had to do a similar "weaning" of my belly, as she'd want to touch it all night & during naps and would cry if I moved positions & she couldn't feel it. SO, we then switched from belly to hand & we still have a bit of hand attachment now (she's 23 months). I will say that we fully weaned at 18 1/2 months, so that might be why. Had I continued day feedings perhaps that wouldn't have occurred - I 'm not sure. She's very touch oriented, though, and wants to pet and rub everyone's arm & hand, not just mine - so maybe she'd have done this anyways and we switched from belly to hand just in time?

I really think you just have to tough through a few hard nights to do it, so figure out a good time to make it happen and just do it. Once it's over you'll be so happy you did. I too was at the point of no longer enjoying the nursing relationship and making the change really helped my overall disposition and happiness level.

Anyhow, best of success no matter what method you decide to use!
 

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We nightweaned for the exact same reason, I had no idea that being pregnant would interupt nursing....I know, duh, but it just never occured to me. Here is what we did: I always wore a tank top to bed, I started rocking her/holding her while lying down and singing to her (I did this to get her to sleep and if she woke up, at first I tried to keep nursing her to sleep but found that it was a much easier transition once we stopped that as well), kept saying "it's okay, mama's here, I love you" in a whisper over and over. I guess I should also say that we have a solid pre-bed routine as well, which helps. Oh, and I started giving her a snack before bed if she didn't eat much at dinner or time from dinner to bed was very long. Something like whole grain oatmeal, that would keep her tummy feeling full.
 
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