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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, maybe this seems obvious to you all, but it wasn't to me at first. Lots of articles on night weaning encourage repeating to your child "we'll nurse when the sun comes up" or whatever. Repeat, repeat, repeat. But that never worked for us at all. What DID work was when I finally realized that I need to show empathy for the night weaning distress the same way I do during the day when ds is upset about anything else. So I said things like "I know how much you want to nurse right now. It's really hard to not nurse at night in bed with mommy." and repeated THOSE things to him. It worked really well! By the 4th night he was no longer asking to nurse when he woke, just cuddling up to me and going back to sleep.<br>
Obviously, my sons age (2) helped, as he can understand everything I say. But I think even pre-verbal toddlers will get the message.<br>
I hope this helps someone else.
 

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Glad you posted this DeirdreAlison. Did you give your ds a reason why you weren't nursing at night? I'm desparately wanting to night wean my 26 month old ds, but whenever I tell him that we're going to learn how to go to sleep without nursing, he breaks down and it breaks my heart. Obviously that's not the right approach for him. Last night (before I actually came to bed) I got so frustrated because he couldn't fall back to sleep but wanted to just nurse half-asleep. This happens very frequently especially during naps. Sometimes I don't mind when he does this, but other times like last night it drives me insane. So without thinking I blurted out "you have to try to go to sleep without nursing, then mommy will come back later and give you milk!" I know, not very nice, but sometimes I get so frustrated that I blurt out not-so-nice things. I hate it! So I'm interested to hear more about your approach, because my ds is usually open to reason.<br><br>
Oh yeah, I forgot to ask, did your ds cry when you told him no nursing? That's what always kills me, if he cries there's no way I can deny him. What did you do?<br><br>
Thanks for your help!<br>
Tracy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
On the first day, during the day, I told him a few times "After we go to sleep tonight, we won't have nana again until the sun comes up. Understand?" He would nod his head yes. Then that night, I did nurse him to sleep as usual (I still nurse him to sleep initially). When he woke up, the only reason I gave was "Noah is sleeping. Mommy is sleeping. And nana is sleeping. We'll nurse again when the sun comes up. Night time is for sleeping." Then the tears started, but stopped fairly quicky when I told him "I know how hard this is for you. You're mad because mommy won't nurse you. I see how much you want to nurse...."etc. Then, "It's so hard" became the little mantra that I repeated while I rubbed his back, and in seconds he was alseep.<br><br>
The very first night I knew I would have to steel myself against the crying, which had always brought me down in flames during previous attempts to night wean. But he cried such a short time! I worried that giving voice to his sadness & distress would make those emotions harder for him to bear or more intense, but the opposite seemed to happen - once I showed that I understood his distress, he was able to let it go and fall back to sleep. Even the first night, all of this only took a minute or two.<br><br>
I was also worried that continuing to nurse to fall asleep at bed time would only reinforce the idea that nursing was what happened in bed, and that was how to go to sleep. But ds really seemed to understand the difference between falling asleep at bedtime and going back to sleep in the middle of the night. This has not been a problem.<br><br>
The other thing is that I do think that this time ds was ready to NW. I had begun to feel that he was just as bothered by the waking as I was, and needed help to get more sleep. Even now he still is waking up once or twice a night, but he goes back to sleep almost instantly with a cuddle or back-rubbing. We are all sleeping more.<br><br>
I hope I covered all your questions! Good luck, TracyK.
 

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Thank you for posting this. I posted yesterday about struggling with my two year old and nursing at night. I have tried the "will nurse when the sun is up" phrase and it also doesn't seem to help much. I too have been using similar phrases -- just letting DD know that I know how hard it is for her and I know she wants to nurse. We have not night weaned, but are putting some limits. I have Dr. Jay Gordon's book around the house somewhere -- browsed through it about six months ago. I need to pull it out to get some more help with this process.<br><br>
Anyway, I do think I remember from reading his book about the actual time a toddler might sleep or might sleep without nursing. Instead of saying going from child's bedtime to wake-up time, I think Dr. Gordong suggests choosing five core hours -- say from 12 PM to 5 AM. Of course, a two year old doesn't know time...they just want to nurse! I may try this intially after I read various ideas about night weaning or setting some limits. I'd be happy to get a five hour block of decent sleep and realize it may take a week or so of working on DD's habits to accomplish this.<br><br>
Something else that works for us sometimes (maybe 60 to 70% of the time): When I am nursing DD and she has been nursing for a while (5 or 10 minutes...maybe even longer), I will tell her "one more minute of nae nae" -- I'll then say "half a minute of nae nae." Then I say "Ok, let's keep you safe!" The "keep you safe phrase" is one DD came up with on her own and is her way of describing how she turns around so her back is to me...so we are cradled together...and I wrap my arms around her. She will then fall asleep like this. It is becoming more and more common that she will accept this -- a time limit and then a suggestion that we use our special phrase to get in our special sleep position.<br><br>
My problems at night are when she won't accept this and she does want to do that nurse whilst half asleep thing for SO long. However, I am trying to remain optimistic that this is a phase and I do see small steps toward more frequently being willing to fall back asleep without nursing using the above way.<br><br>
I am also trying to go out of my way to nurse and cuddle her during the day.
 

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Thank you for posting this. I posted yesterday about struggling with my two year old and nursing at night. I have tried the "will nurse when the sun is up" phrase and it also doesn't seem to help much. I too have been using similar phrases -- just letting DD know that I know how hard it is for her and I know she wants to nurse. We have not night weaned, but are putting some limits. I have Dr. Jay Gordon's book around the house somewhere -- browsed through it about six months ago. I need to pull it out to get some more help with this process.<br><br>
Anyway, I do think I remember from reading his book about the actual time a toddler might sleep or might sleep without nursing. Instead of saying going from child's bedtime to wake-up time, I think Dr. Gordong suggests choosing five core hours -- say from 12 PM to 5 AM. Of course, a two year old doesn't know time...they just want to nurse! I may try this intially after I read various ideas about night weaning or setting some limits. I'd be happy to get a five hour block of decent sleep and realize it may take a week or so of working on DD's habits to accomplish this.<br><br>
Something else that works for us sometimes (maybe 60 to 70% of the time): When I am nursing DD and she has been nursing for a while (5 or 10 minutes...maybe even longer), I will tell her "one more minute of nae nae" -- I'll then say "half a minute of nae nae." Then I say "Ok, let's keep you safe!" The "keep you safe phrase" is one DD came up with on her own and is her way of describing how she turns around so her back is to me...so we are cradled together...and I wrap my arms around her. She will then fall asleep like this. It is becoming more and more common that she will accept this -- a time limit and then a suggestion that we use our special phrase to get in our special sleep position.<br><br>
My problems at night are when she won't accept this and she does want to do that nurse whilst half asleep thing for SO long. However, I am trying to remain optimistic that this is a phase and I do see small steps toward more frequently being willing to fall back asleep without nursing using the above way.<br><br>
I am also trying to go out of my way to nurse and cuddle her during the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think the Dr. Gordon article allows you to choose 8 (!) full hours of sleep (he uses the example of 11 pm to 7 am). I had read varying responses to this on the boards. Some moms found that sometimes nursing back to sleep, but not all the time, was confusing for their nurslings. I decided to just try going cold turkey all night to see if it would work, and it more or less has. DS sleeps from 9 pm til 5:30 or so, at which point I nurse him (the sun is coming up, after all<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ) and he sleeps for another 2 hours or so. Not to say he isn't still waking up at times in the wee hours. But since he's not settling in for a nursing session, he's going straight back to sleep.<br><br>
Your "keep you safe" position is one that we use too! For weeks before actually trying to NW, I had been coaxing him off the breast just when he was falling asleep, and he would turn over and cuddle in just like that.<br><br>
I love the cuddling we do at night now instead of nursing. I find it so relaxing and cosy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/luxlove.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="throb">
 

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Thanks Deirdre, that was very helpful. It sounds like it was good timing for Noah to nw and you used the right approach for him. I'm going to try some of your suggestions.<br><br>
Here's another issue I have, which now that I'm thinking of it is more pressing to me than night weaning, and that's NAP-weaning. I'm now thinking about how I might use the "how to talk" approach for this as well. Here's how it usually goes for naps:<br><br>
--Nurse to sleep (falls asleep instantly)<br>
--Nurse to get back to sleep after 1 to 1.5 hrs (usually can un-latch fairly easily after a few minutes of nursing)<br>
--Then the craziness begins ---- he may wake up every 20 or 30 minutes for the remainder of the nap, and he wants me to stay with him and nurse. He's definitely not ready to wake up, but can't fall into a deep enough sleep where I can unlatch.<br><br>
To me, this is way more exhausting than our nightime nursing. This used to be ok for me, but more and more it's making me want to SCREAM!!! I find myself second guessing my methods over the past 2 yrs, although I know in my heart I've done what's best for Jake. But it's just not working for me anymore.<br><br>
Thanks!<br>
Tracy
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
DS used to follow this same pattern. I think I eventually just got him UP after the second waking, by talking to him, tickling him, singing, whatever, until his little peepers were open and he was ready to unlatch and do something else. Otherwise I would find myself lying there for another hour while he dozed & nursed.<br><br>
These days he usually sleeps for the whole 2 hours of his nap, or if he wakes earlier, I don't try to put him back to sleep, although we do usually nurse to wake up from a nap. 1.5 hours, and some days just an hour, seems like enough for him these days.<br><br>
Good luck, TracyK
 
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