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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,<br><br>
We co-sleep with my 2 1/2 yo DS who is still feeding 4 to 5 times at night, the sessions getting closer and closer toward morning; he needs the nipple to fall asleep (comfort) but will go for milk if it comes... who wouldn't <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> I wanted to start this process 3+ yo, but I will be having a surgery and need to do this earlier. DH will take a week off in July giving us 9 nights to get the weaning jump-started. I'm planning on having the night shift and DH will get up with DS to let me catch up on lost sleep. I couldn't do it alone otherwise. I'm not planning on weaning during the daytime... I'll deal with that later. Nap time and nursing before bed doesn't bother me, but I do it in bed and probably would need to start doing that outside. I just don't know how to do the transition.<br><blockquote><p>Thus, I would like to hear from mothers who have experience weaning a child around that age. DS is not very verbal yet, but he seems to understand most of what I say. He also does not empathize greatly, yet.<br><br>
How did you do it without CIO methods. I read Pantley's but it is for younger children and in my case, DS is VERY resistant/persistent. I started talking to him, but to have him unlatch it takes a substantial monologue.</p></blockquote>
Thank you for your time,<br><br>
mbl
 

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We nightweaned our first a little after age 2 by having him switch from sleeping with me to sleeping with DH (I slept in another room). We nightweaned our second around age 2.5 by having him first go to sleep with DH, and then me going in with him later but consistently telling him he could nurse again when it was light outside.
 

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We recently night weaned at 31 months, and believe me I never thought we'd actually get there! DD is also very spirited/persistent/resistant to change, and was <b>very</b> deeply attached to nursing, day and night. For the longest time I'd read everything and ask everyone for advice and find it impossible to imagine getting to 'the other side' of it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> But we did with only a couple of nights of minimal crying in parents' arms.<br><br>
Like you circumstances finally necessitated it, so the first thing that I think was really key was my mind being firmly made up finally. I think it's important that they sense from mom a calm sense of determination - not that this is a big dramatic change, but rather that it's just the way things are going to be from now on. Easier said than done.<br><br>
The second thing we found was that cold turkey was the only way for our particular child. Some kids can cut out a 'session' or two, my DD was never that kind of a nurser. It was like torture to her when we tried it, turned out to be much more gentle and easy for her to accept a clear-cut "no nursing between bedtime and wake up time" policy. (And we have continued to nurse to sleep and for nap in bed - it's not always the case that you have to break that association!)<br><br>
We continued to co-sleep and I stayed there - we'd tried in the past doing the separate room thing and that never worked for us. She got so much more upset over the separation than the not nursing, kwim? Originally DH tried to do more of the night comforting, and sometimes she would accept him rocking, but we found that for us she really needed the reassurance of mommy still being there for/with her even though nursing wasn't an option.<br><br>
Another thing that helped complete the night weaning was DH goes to her for any wakings in the early evening, before we've gone to bed. For some reason those were difficult nursings to give up, and if I went to her it'd turn into a whole melodrama. He'd always gone to her <i>some</i> of the time, so I suppose that made it easier to accept. She now often wakes briefly once (we're in the thick of bad dreams/imagination taking off) but will go immediately back to sleep if he just rocks her for 30 seconds.<br><br>
I definitely think talking about it all, even if he's not too verbal, helps. Reminding during the day (when he's not groggy and cranky) that the milk (or whatever word he uses) will be going to sleep at bedtime too, and won't be awake until wake up time (or sun up, or whatever cue)...and reassuring that he can still nurse all he wants during the day helps too, I think. For a little while there DD did increase her daytime nursing but after two months it's finally started to even back out. If you don't think empathy will motivate yet (i.e. mommy needs more sleep etc), then maybe explaining it more selfishly would (breasts need to rest at night to make more milk for you). I did both.<br><br>
Hope some of this helps. Good luck to you, the promised land of STTN does really exist! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Well, for us, there was no way to do it without some crying. But some cryign with a parent there to help comfort, is IMO, way different than crying in another room ignored by a parent. The only way it's been able to work for us is that I've had to sleep elsewhere. DD's always been accustomed to getting along without me, since I WOHM, but when I'm around here - she had grown used to on-demand everything. So, in order for her to get into the habit of not feeding at night, I had to be out of sight. I sleep downstairs. DD sleeps with DH. At first she did wake frequently-ish, she would get upset and want to nurse, but DH would offer her water and cuddle her back to sleep. She's doing better at not waking as frequently, but she usually wakes at least once a night, usually is fine with water, and then back to sleep.<br><br>
But extracting myself has been the only means to do it for us. We tried Jay Gordon's method a few times, but it only resulted in my holding the screaming and very angry baby until I gave in.
 

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we night weaned @ 26 mo w/very few tears.<br><br>
First, right around her second birthday, I started causally mentioning to her during the day that I wanted her to stop asking to nurse at night. At night when she asked, I would let her with no argument.<br><br>
Then, after a couple of weeks of that, I started telling her while nursing to sleep at night that I wanted her to not wake me up for milk in the middle of the night. I told her that now that she was 2 there was a new rule at our house about not waking mama up for nursing. When she did ask for milk at night, I would remind her that she wasn't to wake me up, and I would hold her hand and stroke her face. If she really couldn't fall asleep and began actually crying, I nursed her.<br><br>
After a couple of weeks of that, she started getting better about falling asleep with me stroking her face and holding her hand and the number of times she needed to nurse back to sleep shrunk a lot. I actually got LESS sleep during this time b/c i was comforting her down, but in the long run it worked.<br><br>
I discovered after a couple of weeks of face stroking and hand holding that she stopped waking up to ask to nurse and started sttn.<br><br>
Now, we do have some nights where she does nurse in the middle of the night, but they are few and far between. She still nurses down and nurses awake, and sleeps right next to me, but she sttn with very little trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. I believe those are three very viable approaches for us.<br><br>
I have time b4 the surgery so I am trying to do it myself by talking to DS, MoreThanApplesauce style <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">, and see if he is willing to give it up w/o a fight. He does get angry at me and pushes me away though so I cannot stroke his back or face. In fact, if I touch him or talk soothingly about his feeling etc., he comes back for more nursing/comfort so I have to shut up and keep to myself <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I feel bad leaving him to himself angry next to me (especially b/c I'm the cause), but that's how he deals with his anger; some of us like contact, others don't. If that doesn't work, then I will get DH involved slowly at first to cold turkey me in another room; I hope it won't come to that though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Thank you again for sharing.<br><br>
mbl
 

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I nightweaned around 22-23 months. For DS it wasn't just the milk, it was definitely the physical comfort of the boobies and he needed to touch "the mamas" to fall asleep. Once I figured that out, nightweaning was much easier -- I let him touch but he knew he wasn't allowed to nurse until it was light outside. Anyway, I'm sure every child is different, I just wanted to offer up an example of trying to read what your child really needs.
 

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I nightweaned my persistent nursing DD at 28 months. I agree with the pp who talked about being determined and calm. I think if you are wishy washy or feeling guilty about it, he will pick up on it and it will go much less well.<br><br>
When we did it DD still nursed to sleep but there had been some nights where she was popping off and rolling over before going to sleep so I figured she was ready to do it. I explained to DD one day that we were not going to nurse at night anymore. She'd have it at bedtime but then not again until the sun came up. She didn't go for this plan and was angry. It was not tear-free but neither did we have hysterics or prolonged crying. I remained in the bed during all of it and DH helped to comfort her. We also offered water. It took us 4 or 5 nights, each night she was less angry and less sad. She did continue to wake from time to time for a little while, but was able to put herself back to sleep.<br><br>
I know many families separate the mom until the child is weaned, but in our case I know DD would have been more upset by that so it worked to remain in the bed. He may need some extra lovin' during the day to make up for it, so try not to over schedule yourselves during the day while you are doing this. Good luck!
 

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Question for those of you who did this by having DH tend to your toddler when they woke and you stayed out of sight - did your DC cry out "Mama! Mama!" endlessly and just heartwrenchingly cry? I think that's what's making this night-weaning feel impossible to me. To hear her crying "Mama! Mama!" no matter what DH tries to do to comfort her breaks my heart and it's almost impossible for me to stay away for more than a few minutes.<br><br>
How did you handle this?
 

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My kids wouldn't go for DH and truth be told, neither would DH <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
In that situation (and that would have been my situation if I had attempted it) where they keep crying for mama -- I would have gone in to the room and tried to nightwean with me still in the room/bed. I know it's not quite what you're asking, as you want to take the DH route, but honestly, I think that works for some kids and not with others and if it's not working, I would try it the other way.<br><br>
I did the same as many of the PPs and told my kids the mamas are sleeping now and you can't nurse until it's light outside. That didn't work with my kiddos and they would start grabbing... at one point I had to physically roll over onto my stomach so they couldn't grab my boobs any more. My kids cried -- because they wanted to nurse and I wouldn't let them -- but it wasn't the heartbreaking kind of crying, it was more just whining about not getting what they want. They weren't scared, I was right there with them and comforting them other ways, I was just putting my foot down about no more nursing at night. At any rate, it was the kind of crying I could take and I didn't feel like I had abandoned them or were letting them cry it out -- I wasn't.<br><br>
Edited to add: Just re-read your post... I think if you want to continue trying it with DH, you have to make up your mind about that and do not go in after that few minutes and remind yourself that she is not crying alone, that DH is in there comforting her.
 

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Actually I think I really needed to hear both parts of your advice. I think you're right that IF we're going to go the DH route, I have to not go in. He's taken her away to his grandmother's house 3 different nights now (the only 3 nights I've ever been away from her in her 17 months) and she certainly lived and even slept a bit, although she cried a whole lot too.<br><br>
But I also need to consider (and my DH too) that maybe the DH route isn't the route we have to go, maybe I have to just be there and comfort and try to survive those tears as well. I agree they're a bit different tears, although she does still cry "Mama! Mama!" and look me in the eyes with his heartbreaking look - basically like "Why don't you love me anymore??? Why are you denying me this thing that we both love?" and I still am extremely challenged to follow through.<br><br>
On the other hand, her still nursing throughout the night is definitely affecting my sleep at a new level and my relationship with DH, which is why it feels like SOMETHING has to change. Oy vey.<br><br>
But I appreciate your advice. Hope you don't mind me tacking onto your thread OP!
 

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Reading your post really brings back memories I had not thought of for a while (it's amazing how quickly I forget <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> ). Anyway -- not sure if this helps but I found with each of my babies, it was a different "aha" moment where I figured out what they needed to fall asleep. For DS it was touching my boobs as I wrote earlier. For DD, after an hour plus of crying, I finally said that she could nurse again later but she needed to go to sleep first and when she woke up I would feed her. She was afraid that she would never ever get to nurse again!! It never occurred to me until that moment. After I said that, she finally stopped crying and fell asleep. And I kept good on my promise and fed her as soon as she woke up, even though it was not yet light outside. After that it got much easier because when she woke, if it was in the middle of the night I would repeat the line and say she needed to sleep now and when she woke again I would feed her. Eventually the stretches of sleep got longer and longer and in 2 weeks she was nightweaned.<br><br>
Also, I want to say I really hear you on the night nursing taking a toll. I went back to work when my twins were 15 months old and I didn't nightwean until they were 22.5 months old. I think I finally just couldn't hack it during the day anymore and also felt they were almost 2 years old, they were old enough to sleep through the night and I knew I had to night wean to get there. I'm really glad I did it because in the end I think it kept me nursing during the day for longer. When I finally nightweaned it was like I was a brand new person -- no longer walking around like a zombie all day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm totally in the same boat! Here is what we started doing last night. I leave the house after dinner (I'm out now) and let DH handle DS until he is asleep so we break the nursing to sleep association... like you I don't last 2 second hearing DS cry <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> My guilt is through the roof right now, but I felt that I didn't want to seat next to him any longer b/c I didn't want to nurse and almost every time I seat next to him, he asks for them and the night waking is "killing" me. I don't want to feel like that including that I have to avoid seating next to DS so the night nursing has to go... all this was prompted by an upcoming surgery, but apparently the whole thing is running deeper than I thought. I had a melt down last night, feeling trapped into this nursing insanity, so we opted for me out of the house and DH calls me when DS is asleep. DH said he cried for 30 minutes <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"> while DH was soothing him and eventually fell asleep. I don't have the details of what he was yelling though. DH doesn't like him crying either so he said he'll be trying something else tonight that should be less taxing on DS. Last night he took him to bed when he was fully awake... I think he will let him get drowsy b4 he takes him tonight and will offer a substitute to suck on.<br><br>
I feel absolutely awful that we have to go down that road, but to keep nursing feels even worse...<br><br>
mbl<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LROM</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15495919"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Question for those of you who did this by having DH tend to your toddler when they woke and you stayed out of sight - did your DC cry out "Mama! Mama!" endlessly and just heartwrenchingly cry? I think that's what's making this night-weaning feel impossible to me. To hear her crying "Mama! Mama!" no matter what DH tries to do to comfort her breaks my heart and it's almost impossible for me to stay away for more than a few minutes.<br><br>
How did you handle this?</div>
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I wanted to add that over the past 12 months I have explored telling DS nursies are asleep and that we don't nurse until morning, but to no avail <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Now at night, I tell him that we don't wake mommy up at night to nurse until it's daylight and he ignores it completely. I tried lying on my stomach and he claws at me. I hate to say it, but the DH route seems my last resort... I would have hoped for a smoother transition, but it's not working. We'll see if just putting him to sleep with DH will help. He woke only once last night and I nursed him. I also nursed him to sleep for his nap and he stayed latched on for a whole hour.<br><br>
I am so concern this will scar him in some way... but again, the alternative is not pretty either. I feel like I'm between the proverbial rock and hard place.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mbl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15477687"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hello,<br><br>
We co-sleep with my 2 1/2 yo DS who is still feeding 4 to 5 times at night, the sessions getting closer and closer toward morning; he needs the nipple to fall asleep (comfort) but will go for milk if it comes... who wouldn't <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> I wanted to start this process 3+ yo, but I will be having a surgery and need to do this earlier. DH will take a week off in July giving us 9 nights to get the weaning jump-started. I'm planning on having the night shift and DH will get up with DS to let me catch up on lost sleep. I couldn't do it alone otherwise. I'm not planning on weaning during the daytime... I'll deal with that later. Nap time and nursing before bed doesn't bother me, but I do it in bed and probably would need to start doing that outside. I just don't know how to do the transition.<br><blockquote><p>Thus, I would like to hear from mothers who have experience weaning a child around that age. DS is not very verbal yet, but he seems to understand most of what I say. He also does not empathize greatly, yet.<br><br>
How did you do it without CIO methods. I read Pantley's but it is for younger children and in my case, DS is VERY resistant/persistent. I started talking to him, but to have him unlatch it takes a substantial monologue.</p></blockquote>
Thank you for your time,<br><br>
mbl</div>
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I am not sure exactly what is happening in your situation. You want to night wean because of a surgery, but it will not affect your day nursing? I agree with what many of the pp have said, if the child is verbal, explaining that the boobies would be asleep from bedtime to wake up time, allowing him to touch them if that helps not makes it worse. If necessary have a new routine altogether that is ds and dh getting ready for bed (after a good nursing session in lr or anywhere but bedroom) with a bath and routine like a book, then going to bed together while you sleep somewhere else (you say good night to the child after the nursing and remain quiet so he doesn't hear any sounds from anywhere else, you become invisible). If the child calls for mama (repeatedly, not just once), I would respond by holding. I know you asked for BTDT and I haven't, although I have gotten tired of night nursing (a few times with dd1) and in those times I did ask dh to take over with the comforting, leave the room sometimes, sometimes lie on my stomach. I did want to ask if it is going to be a forever nightweaning early (they will do it on their own at some point) or you just want a break around the time of surgery? You may try to build up a bit of a pumped stash (one pumping session during the day should do it) that dh can offer cups of to ds at night instead of water (dd1 would drink my milk cold right from the fridge). That way he would still get the benefit of your milk. This would be helpful if you were planning on returning to night nursing especially (though 2.5 is a good point of giving up night nursing IME, I think dd1 gave up night nursing around 2, but I really am not sure I know she was done by age 3), or could be helpful in the transition even if not. good luck and happy thoughts for your health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
karika,<br><br>
your confusion is my confusion. I've been wrestling with night nursing for a while now and wanted a break around the surgery at first. However, until last night, I had not understood what was really bothering me. I need to wean him for good at night; I don't mind day time and during the recovery, I hope I can manage that much. I'll have to figure out the pain killer issue as well and that going into my milk.<br><br>
As far as pumping, I haven't been able to get a drop in that fashion for well over a year and a half now. So that's not an option <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I can't even do the pump and dump stuff after surgery.<br><br>
I just don't know how else to handle the situation except how I described it in the last two posts. I'm really trying to figure this out and going in when he calls for mama hasn't worked either and I cannot let the night nursing interfer with our relationship during the day. I'm worn out. It's so hard <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying">
 

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MBL, it sounds like you really want to and feel you need to night wean, but were hoping to do it without any crying, and you feel guilty when he cries and then you nurse him and then you don't make any progress.<br><br>
I know I hear lots of stories here about people who were able to nightwean without any/much crying, and I'm sure you've been taking notes from them all. I don't have that experience to share or advice to give, because that didn't happen for me. My kids cried when I refused to nurse them at night. I had to listen to them cry. I comforted them other ways but they still cried.<br><br>
They didn't cry forever, but DD especially cried a long time (at least an hour until I hit on the right thing to tell her). Who knows if maybe I had prepped them differently, I could have nightweaned without tears, but I didn't. I felt OK with that in my heart. I didn't leave my kids to cry by themselves. I was eventually able to soothe their fears and they learned to go back to sleep without nursing. Now my kids are older (3 y.o.) and I don't let them do everything they want -- every parent sets limits. In retrospect, I think I look back at nightweaning as an age-appropriate limit that I was setting.<br><br>
Anyway, I'm not going to give specific advice because I think you've been getting that from a lot of places and it's better advice than what I could give. I guess I just wanted to pose the question of, if you could not night wean without crying, do you still want to do it. I think once that is clearer in your head, you will be able to choose a path and stick to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Poppan Thanks for your last post. My feelings are cluttering my head and I'm trying to make sense out of it all and asking myself the right questions helps.<br><br>
Turns out that DS is not asking for me while DH is putting him to sleep. He did cry some the first night and the second in DH's arms. Tonight he protested but didn't cry. I was hoping for no crying at all, even in DH's arms, but the routine/comfort is ingrained deeply and it was unavoidable. It looks like my removal is one step closer to night weaning. I talk to DS and told him I'd see him in the morning and that dad was going to put him to sleep tonight. Maybe that helped... why didn't I think of talking to him earlier... probably the clutter.<br><br>
Where is the rotten manual? I think AP falls short in some respects; it's like having a bad yoga instructor who tells you how to get into the position, but omits to tell you how to get out of it safely or did I miss something?
 

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I think we've all been trained to think crying=brain damage but I don't think crying in a parent's arms and while being comforted is anywhere close to crying while terrified and alone and feeling abandoned. JMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
poppan,<br><br>
thank you for the kind words. I guess, I have to get that in my head. I was left to CIO while I grew up and it has left me with a very sour taste in my mouth wrt my parents. I don't want him to feel that way.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2">
 
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