Mothering Forum banner

Nightweaning by having toddler sleep with dh - tell me how it worked for you

524 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Rebekah
Have you nightweaned your toddler by having him sleep with dh? I have heard about this method and want to know how it worked for those who've tried it.

Ds is 16 months. He wakes up nearly every hour, all night long. This has been going on for months, so I know it's not some temporary, teething/growth spurt thing. Up until recently, I took the path of least resistance and just coped as best I could.

I have hit my wall. I can't take it any more. By 4am, after waking so many times I often can't get back to sleep, and I lie there exhausted, seething with frustration and resentment. During the day I am so tired that I often can't be as companionable or kind to my 4yo as I want to. I am desperately in need of sleep. Ds can nurse all day long if he wants to - I really don't mind at all - but it's got to stop at night.

Obviously I am not going to put him in a crib and let him cry (not that we have one!), but I'm thinking about sleeping elsewhere and having him sleep with dh to nightwean him. Please tell me how this worked for you, if you tried it.

(I noticed on another thread that lots of people advised a sleep-deprived mama to get out and do more fun things during the day, like a playgroup. Please do not suggest this. I need sleep at night, not more things to do in the day.)
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
When we finally decided to completely night wean, I was about 5 months pregnant and my nipples were so sore I couldn't sleep through dd nursing. She was about 2 1/2 though. We were essentially down to one nursing each night by then, but to get to the point where she wasn't nursing before I could stop it, dh and I switched sides of the bed and dd no longer slept next to me at night. Instead of dd going back and forth around me, she stayed on the other side of dh all night. There were a couple of nights of her wanting me at night, but I had no issues with being with her, I just couldn't nurse her.

If I remember correctly, No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley (I think that's how it's spelled) has some good gentle tips for getting babies to sleep longer, and eventually through the night without needing to wake to nurse. It's a pretty good book.

Good luck.
See less See more
Hi there.
This is exactly how I night weaned both my babes, more recently my 18 month old. I was at the same point as you are now, wow it was tough.
My husband started sleeping with my son and, when he would wake up, looking to nurse my hubby, would get up and walk him or whatever it took to settle him. It's tough though, you still may not sleep for a few more days cause you will certainly wake when your babe is terribly upset, hang in there. It took a while but now my hubby sleeps with him at night and he's actually sleeping through ALMOST every night. He gets used to being soothed by my hubby and, will easily transition to his new bed soon,. I think hehe.
If you'd like more details let me know.
I bought the NCSS and it just was too much for me.... too much to do, I needed sleep now. I sympathise and understand.
Good luck.
Liz Conrad
mom to 4 yr old Elora Ileanna
mom to 19 month old Ayden Christopher
See less See more
Liz, thanks for your encouragement. I've also read NCSS, and I feel like when I nurse ds to sleep at night I'm already doing what she says to do: the whole pop him off right away thing. But he's still waking up!

I have a couple of questions for you. Do you all sleep together? The thing I wonder about is, what happens when I return to the bed? Let's say I retreat to ds1's top bunk for a week (oh, I can't wait!), while dh spends the night in our bed with ds2. When ds2 has learned to sleep without me, will it all start over again when I come back? I'm happy to have him in our bed for another year or more - as long as he SLEEPS in it. Even waking up once or twice would be fine.
Dairy sensitivity can cause a tummy ache that can cause this kind of persistant frequent nightwaking. Just wondered it you knew this and if he has a lot of dairy or is getting it through your milk from your diet.

dairy problms:

We are right there with you, Zinemama. My DS is 15 mos old and still wakes just about every hour. I shouldn't say that exactly. He sleeps from about 7 or 8 - 11pm then we go to bed with him and he wakes at 12, 1, 2 and then every 1/2 hour or so from about 4-7. When he really wakes up at 7:30, I am a complete zombie. It's funny that I found this thread because we are going to do this exact thing in one week when my DH takes vacation for a week! I can hardly wait. I'm going to be sleeping in the guest room and the rule is that I can only be awakened if it gets *really* bad, like crying for 1/2 hour. My DH is wonderful with DS, and very good at comforting and soothing him, but at night he just wants the boob. I'm not happy about having to do this, but I feel like it's the only option. We've been trying NCSS suggestions for 10 months and it's no better. And I WON'T let him CIO.

My reasons for doing this are threefold: one, I need a better nights sleep to be a better, more patient parent. two, I need to gain weight BAD (reducing the # of nursings will help). and three, we want to TTC and this isn't going to happen until I can gain weight and stop nursing so much. I'm with you that DS can nurse all he wants during the day and even once or twice at night, but not 8-10 times. I just can't do it anymore!

Feel free to PM me. We can do this together if you want!
See less See more
I have been there too! DD was about 16 months old when I couldn't take it any more. She was waking me up every hour or so to nurse and would then nurse for less than a minute before she went back to sleep.

Leaving dd with dh was EXACTLY how we night weaned and it was not at all painful. I slept in the guest room and when dd woke up, dh would get up with her an soothe her back to sleep. She was a little fussy (and really, just a little) for the first 3 nights and after that it was no problem. I slept in the guest room for 2 weeks and when I came back to the same bed, I wore a big bulky sweatshirt over my pjs.

The first couple nights I was back in bed with her she did still wake up, but I was able to soothe her back to sleep without nursing.

I'd say after a month, dd was reliably sleeping at least 5 hours at a stretch at night. Woo hoo.

Good luck!
See less See more
This is how we night weaned. It worked amazingly well. We did it around 10 months. The first few nights, ds would cry, but ds would hold him and walk around with him until ds fell back asleep. Now, they are such sweet sleeping buddies. I checked on them the other night, and they were curled up tight together. And I have the benefit of a decent (uninterrupted!) night's sleep. Every once in a while, ds won't go back to sleep, so dh brings him to me to nurse and then takes him back to their bed once we were done. He also brings him to me first thing in the morning (around 5:30) to nurse.

They sleep in another bed room. (We have a mattress on the floor for them.) We haven't tried reintegrating the family bed because I suspect that ds would want to nurse. He always seems to sense when I'm around. BTW: The benefit is that ds has finally learned how to get himself to sleep WITHOUT nursing (though not with me--I still nurse him to sleep) and he almost sleeps through the night (if he wakes up, all dh has to do is to pull him close and ds goes back to sleep).

Feel free to PM me or otherwise let me know if you have questions. Good luck!
See less See more
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.