Does this sound like an okay idea? Our 14 mo. ds is waking 3-5 times a night, and we have another baby coming in 4 1/2 months. I really feel like I need a few months of good sleep to have the energy to take care of the new little peach, and the first one has such a strong suck now that I really can't sleep with him nursing. (I don't want to wean at all, and wouldn't want to night-wean as he's so little, except for the coming baby)
We co-sleep but have been starting to use a little mat for ds next to our bed. I've been rocking him to sleep, or still nursing if I'm just too tired to get out of bed. The thing is, he's teething, and waking more and more. My first inclination is to abandon any kind of weaning until the teething has abated, but:
-It seems like he's always teething! he has 12 teeth and is cutting 4 more right now
-when he's teething, he loves to nurse, esp at night, but it never stops! he doesn't fall asleep again, just wants to nurse for hours and hours! (and, I really need rest!)
-I feel like we're running out of time with the new baby coming. Our bed and bedroom absolutely does not have room to safely sleep a newborn and toddler, so I'd really like to have ds comfortable with a little more distance from us well before the baby arrives. With the last bout of teething, I shelved weaning efforts until it was over, and we basically had to start at the beginning. It seemed like he didn't just need extra nursing for the teething, he got totally used to nursing ALL NIGHT LONG.
-does it make it harder on the baby to sometimes nurse at night, and sometimes not?
-how do teething and weaning affect eachother?
Is there a way you can catch up on sleep at other times? It seems to work for our family to have dh take over in the early evenings, right after dinner, so I can nap if I need to. Otherwise, maybe catch up on the weekends?
As far as the cosleeping and night nursing, a LOT can happen in four and a half months! My dd has cut down her nursing a LOT at night, on her own, in the last month (she was around 14 months at the time, 15 months now). Is there a way you can change your sleeping set-up in order TO make is safe to sleep a toddler and a newborn? Maybe getting a cosleeper, sidecarring a crib, or just putting the mattress on the floor along with a twin mattress could work.
Probably a silly question, but have you treated the teething pain? Hyland's Teething tablets or tylonel will help, or even a cold teether might help. Teething is rough (we just went through some molars here), but it does pass.
I sometimes worry about what will happen "when the baby is born." I think about sleeping arrangements and the needs of both babes. Finally I decided that all the worrying wasn't helping, and I won't even really KNOW what will be best to do because who knows what kind of temperment my new baby will have! I think we'll probably get a cosleeper, but other than that, I have no plans. I had lots of plans about how I thought things would go with dd#1, and that all went out the window pretty soon after she was born.
This is really hard. There are probably a few babies who could easily be night weaned that young, but not most. Mine were 2.5, 2 and 22mos when they nightweaned, and they really didn't seem ready before. Good luck with the kiddos close together in age - it's a real challenge!
thanks for the comments. I especially appreciate the assurance of how much a child develops in a few months. It's hard to remember or imagine that the ds I have now will be quite a different person in some ways by the time the baby arrives.
The sleeping/nursing thing has actually been going really well. I am very reassured in that I see that ds is not upset or clingy during the day- he actually seems to be sleeping better just a little ways out of our bed rather than right in it. (he's still right next to us)
I've also realized how much I know my own kid, and know myself, and what each of us can handle. My focus is on seeing if I can gently help him to learn another way to fall asleep than nursing, not to get him to stop waking up. It's been amazing- seeing that it's actually possible for him to sleep with out a nipple in his mouth! And I've been really enjoying rocking and singing him to sleep. In balance, I've been taking more long walks wearing him, and nursing more in the day to give him lots of closeness. I honestly feel really freed just knowing that he won't be miserable if I don't nurse him EVERY time he falls asleep. I've also been giving him one long nursing session in the night or early morning, and sips of water whenever he wakes, and am assured that he's not hungry or thirsty.
It makes me not so scared about the new baby coming. Has anyone else had kids 18 months apart or less, and how did you do things? (The few moms, and I mean FEW I know who tandem nursed had kids quite a bit farther apart.)
I have no prior experience, but ask me again in a few months! I'm due in July, and dd will be about 18 months. I've heard that it's hard for a little while, but once you get into the groove, it's not so bad. I've been just trying not to worry about it too much, because it is uncharted territory for me and I almost want to go in with few or no expectations about what it's going to be like.
I understand how you feel. We gently nightweaned my daughter at fifteen months for my own health and for the health of Denali's teeth. She has weak enamel and while many people claim that tooth decay has nothing to do with nighttime breastfeeding, it sure did for my daughter, and it completely halted when we stopped feeding her at night after we brushed her teeth. I also nightweaned because I was literally going insane with lack of sleep (I am unable to nap for some odd reason, and it takes me 1/2 hour to fall asleep after each night feeding!). I hung on as long as I could, and waited till she was well established on solids, but for my own health and safety I needed to nightwean, and my life improved drastically when we did.
I initally felt guilty for nightweaning, but it turned out to be the best, most healthy option for my family. I stopped getting my choronic colds when I got enough sleep, and I turned into a better mama during the day.
I guess what I am trying to say is that while many people think that a 14 or 15 month old baby is too young to nightwean, you need to look at yur own personal situation. Consider what is what is best for your own health, too. If you are worried about getting enough rest before your new baby comes I think that is valid. And if you are worried about trying to night feed a toddler and a newborn at the same time, and would like to gently ease into nightweaning over the next four months, I think that is a good idea.
With Denali we took it nice and slow and gently began reducing night feedings. We took about two months to nightwean, and it was a pretty painless process for everyone. She went from waking up 5 times a night to sleeping solidly all night without a hitch. My sleep improved, her teeth improved, and it was a lot happier for us all.
oh, I forgot to add one thing - whether or not you choose to nightwean, the No-Cry Sleep Solution is *wonderful* for suggestions on how to do it gently. She just has lots of clever and thoughtful ideas, and I recommend that book highly, whenever you do night wean, or even if you don't.
I've been working with my 9 mo. on getting himself back to sleep without nursing, and so far, after one week of gently working on this he has been waking 3-4 times per night instead of 8-9 times to nurse. THIS I can live with!!! I was a zombie before.
So, I think what you are doing is a great idea. And, I dont' think anything after a year is ever too young, as just the fact you are nursing past a year and pregnant to boot is kudos to you, mama!!!! I'd be passed out on the floor beggin my DH to put me out of my misery. LOL (just kidding, of course) But, I did barely survive pregnancy w/o nursing---ALWAYS had the shakes and low blood sugar it seemed. And, now with just nursing I wake up with the shakes no matter how much I eat before bed. So, I guess I'm saying, I'm just WAY impressed with you!
thanks again for all the encouragement! We are going pretty gently. Last night I nursed him every time he woke, but he only woke once before 4, so I was fine. I felt so desperate and like he needed to be completely weaned when he was waking so much, but now I feel much better and have lots more patience !
I'm still just amazed that it's working at all. We have read the No-cry sleep solut'n book, and found it helpful but not a cure-all. Of course, the author doesn't claim it's a cure-all, she more says that everything takes time and every kid is different, which is so true! Actually, after I first read it, I was taking her suggestion and writing down all of his naps, and waking times and everything. (this was a while ago and we were not night-weaning, just trying to find an alternative to all-night nursing) I found I coudn't ever get a good record of wakings at night and eventually realized that if I wasn't waking up enough to write down the time, or even remember in the morning how many times we had woken, that I must not have been that awake. I decided then that the waking was something I could handle. We got through it and he slowed down on his own.
Anyway, recently we've actually had a few nights with long--like 5 or 6 hour!-- stretches of sleep. I had forgotten how good it is! Also, spring is so beautiful here, and we have been outside a lot, and I think that helps me have more energy too.
I nightweaned my DD at 16 months because I was also pregnant and SOO tired. Our approach was a little different though. We put her in her own bed instead of our bed and just didn't nurse in her bed period. DH slept with her and she did wonderful. She only cried about one time each night and he was able to give her milk in a cup and snuggle her back to sleep pretty easy. No more than 10 mins of fussing and he was there the whole time. By the 3rd night she slept through the night!! She continued to night wake and need a snuggle 2-3 times a night until about 2 years. Then was about 1 time a night till about 2.5 yrs. Now she rarely cries at night.
i think your approach of having him on a seperate but close sleeping surface sounds good. Sounds like it is working for you. I think that helped my DD alot too. She was so wiggley in our family bed. Now this time around my DS sleeps for longer and doesn't nurse as much at night as she did, so we are doing better this time. I think it is his temperment.