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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We nightweaned last month and it now seems safe to say it's accomplished! Here's my story! I'd love to hear yours too.

I made it all the way to 32 months with my wake every 45 minutes sleeper, but it was the sleeping from 12- rising with me in his mouth that finally made me night wean. I'd thought about it since he was probably 12 months old, but it just never seemed like 'the right time" until I woke up in a panic one night about a month ago. I was so despereate to sleep in a position of my choice without vacumm cleaner suction (with teeth!) going on at my breast. I'd had several incidents of waking feeling phsically ill, so desperate was my need for space and sleep. So, in the middle of the night, I spontaneously put my plan into action. He's verbal and communicates well, so this helped a great deal. I woke him that night and said dramatically, ''Oh no! I think my bobos (his word for nursing and my breasts) are breaking!" He said, "oh no!" Then I said, "I think we might be able to fix them. I think they'll be okay if they can just get some sleep. Let's let them sleep until the sun comes up and then you can nurse again" He agreed and actually rolled away and fell back to sleep pretty quickly! I was shocked! I'd been dreaming of this moment for over 2 years, and I couldn't believe it was actually happening! I joyously went to sleep and he did not wake again until sunrise. The next day we talked about "bobo" needing sleep everynight and went shopping for a special "bobo sleeping gown" (a long nightgown that is nearly impossible to nurse in). Then we developed a routine, which we still use. I play a special lullaby CD (now I play only the last 5 songs, but I played the full CD for the first few nights, gradually eliminating songs), then when it is over "bobo" goes to sleep for the night and my gown goes on. He has developed his own special routine for bidding my "bobo's" goodnight. He hugs each one and kisses them and reminds them that he will be waking them when the sun comes up, then he pulls my undershirt down and reminds me to put on my "bobo sleeping gown". Then he curls up in bed and whispers to me until he falls asleep. The first few nights he cried and was very sad to fall asleep with nursing, but we just rocked and hugged and he fell asleep relatively quickly. A few nights he fell asleep during the CD and there was no issue then. After the 3rd night of crying I told him that it was okay to be sad, that I was a little sad too, because we'd really enjoyed nursing at night together, but that he was getting bigger and it was okay for us to let that go. To my surprise, he stopped crying and didn't cry after that night! Every once in a whie he'll still wake and cry, begging to nurse, but I have held fast to the "rule" of waiting, except I will allow a short nursing (what he calls a "little lick!!") after 4am. A few nights he has resisted pulling off after this and I've told him that if he doesn't, then "bobo" will be too tired to wake when the sun comes up. He went from waking every 45 minutes and sleeping attached to me from 12 to rising to sleeping soundly from 8ish to 5ish every night! It was magic and I'm still thirlled at how well it went. As committed as I am to letting him self wean, the mama led nightweaning was such a good decision. I'm more present and cheerful during our bedtime routine, b/c I know I'll have space soon after and I'm getting much better sleep. One glitch we had was my returning to teach mornings and the need to rise before sunrise, so I set two alarms, when the first goes off he can nurse, and when the second goes up, it's time to get up.
Yay!!
 

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Well, I think the mommy-led nightweaning worked well for you, and for some situations it is definitely essential in order to continue in a happy nursing relationship. My story begins earlier than what I would have picked as the ideal time to begin nightweaning. My dd nursed a lot during the night, but I never really realized how often it was until I got pregnant (somewhat unexpectedly)when she was 15 months old. It used to be that if she'd wake, I'd roll over, latch her on, drift back to sleep, and be completely unaware of doing this. Come morning, if you'd have asked me how many times dd nursed that night, I'd have no clue!

Then, enter pregnancy hormones! Fortunately, I haven't (knock on wood) experienced soreness in the nipples that I hear about when nursing during pregnancy, but it has become much more sensitive to nurse dd. I don't know how to describe the sensation. It's not pain, but kind of like irritation, maybe. In any case, it became impossible for me to drift back to sleep when I'd nurse her. Instead, I would be wide awake by the time she was done nursing. Only then did I realize she was nursing about 4 times/ night. I was getting so sleep deprived and irritable and was not being as patient with her during the day. In short, I was not the mommy to her that I wanted to be, and I knew the nightnursing was making me that way, and it had to change.

So one night I decided, no nursing until 3am. She woke twice before that and asked for "boos" and I said "no, honey, go back to sleep. shhhh." She was not happy, but I just kept reassuring her and patting her bum, and finally she went back to sleep. The next week or so was really rough, but after her first molars came in (bad mommy didn't even realize she was teething when I implemented my plan
), things got much better, and she'd stay asleep until 3, which was my first goal.

When she got used to that, I decided to go for eliminating the 3am nursing and trying to get her to sleep until 5am. Another few rough nights followed, but she accepted this much better than she had when starting the no nursing until 3am.

She's been sleeping from 9:30 or 10:00pm until 5am for a while now, and the past couple of days I've been finding myself rather exhausted during the day, so last night I decided to try and see if I could push her to 6am. When she woke up at 5am, I just said "shhh" and she knew to go back to sleep. She slept this morning until 6:30am!! I was so excited!! I don't know if it'll be that easy again tonight, but I think we're pretty close to the end of the tunnel here.

It's been a little tough at times, but overall, I knew that being in a nursing relationship is a 2-way street. When it's not working for one of the two of you, a change is needed. I feel that in the long run, this change is for the better, since I know as this pregnancy goes on, I'm going to need as much rest as possible. And the best part is how nightweaning has transformed our daytime relationship. I am so much more appreciative of her and so much more warm and loving with her. No more crabby, irritable, snappy momma. Now I'm the mom I want to be to her, and I'm sure she's as happy about that as I am!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds like its going well! I totally agree about nursing needing to be a mutally enjoyable experience. I've had moments where I'm so "touched out" that I'm laying there gritting my teeth and white knuckling the pillow! Not good. . .
: I enjoy our nursing during the day and love co-sleeping so much more now!
Its probably a good move that Sarah nightweaned before baby #2 comes, that way you'll likely only have one to focus on at night.
Thanks for sharing!
 

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Ds1 slept in a crib, and woke up every half hour to 2 hours. At 10 months I was a zombie and dh and I decided to do it as a team. We started off with a two hour goal, the first two hours, then I would nurse on demand the rest of the night. Ds fell asleep every night by himself and his cd player, but wouldn't stay asleep. The first several nights dh would go in and rock ds every time he cried within that two hour window, or pat his back until he went back to sleep. When he passed two hours on his own we pushed it to three, then four, then five. Then all of a sudden about three weeks into it he started sleeping 10-12 hours straight, every night since then. He's 3.5 now and still on the rare occasion he wakes up in the night ds goes in to comfort him. What a cool daddy.
With ds2 I kept asking dh when we could, but he kept finding excuses (I think know he knows how much work is invoved on his part) and gradually ds has done it himself, mostly. He's getting molars right now and a couple times a week he'll wake up once in the night asking. But most of the time he sleeps about 10 hours. And he's done it himself. But he never woke up every two hours, not even as a newborn. He started out at about 4.
 

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My oldest my dd who is 6, started sleeping thru the night at 3 months, so night weaning was not something I had to deal with. When my ds was born he did not start sleeping thru the night, so it was a whole new thing for me to think about night weaning. My plan was to just let him night wean on his own, he turned 1 and was still nursing every hour and a half, he was 16 months still nursing just the same. I was still determined to just let him lead the way. I knew I was exhausted and getting very fustrated at night with all the nursing, I was hating how I was feeling and reacting to him getting me up at every other hour to nurse. Dh was telling me that I was sounding very snippy with him at night, that broke my heart. The final straw was when I dozed off for 2 seconds behind the wheel driving. I NEEDED to sleep for my safety and my childrens. He was about 18 months and very verbal, I decided we would reason with him and start setting boundaries with him. We co- sleep but I moved his toddler bed into our room right up next to our bed. I would start him out in his toddler bed, I would be quaranteed at least 4 hours straight of sleep at night. When ds would get up dh would try to comfort him, at first this did not work, then I would take him and tell him "we can't nurse until the sun comes up. I can give you some water"( I discovered he got up alot to nurse because he is an open mouth breather and his mouth would be try and he was thirsty). I would tell him I love him and will hold him. The first few nights he was upset about this and would cry but I was still comforting him and holding him so I felt he was still getting something from me. It took about 1 week he stopped asking to nurse, he was still getting up every hour and a half for about a month but he would just want to know I was here, he would go right to sleep. Then he started getting up less and less, sleeping in longer stretches. He still gets up once a night for some water and to climb in bed with us. I am well rested and a happy mommy, with a well rested happy family. What else could you ask for
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's so wonderful to read these stories of thoughtful parenting. Ours kids are going to be such amazing adults!

mojomom, I was glad I had read you hint about ofering water. Just a few nigyts ago, ds, whose been off the breast at night since mid August, was begging for "just a little sip", so I got him a glass of water, which he gulpped down and then he promptly went to sleep!
 

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the_dalai_lama, our story is very similar. Dd had already shown interest in her own bed, and we had some convoluted routine where we would go to sleep on a pallet on the floor next to her bed (yes a pallet... blankets on carpet... NOT comfy!), and then I would get up and go to my bed, and at some point she would come with me into my bed. Like mum2sarah, I couldn't tell you how often she nursed at night, but it wasn't that much, and didn't bother me that much.

Well, it started to bother me more and more -- no pregnancy, but that same irritation/ nails on chalkboard/ white knuckle thing you guys talk about. Especially in terms of tweaking the free nipple, which was just incredibly irritating. Got her to stop that, mostly, but a whole bunch of things kind of coincided and I decided that was enough of that.

So I used a very similar explanation -- "Mama's boobsies need to sleep at night, too..." -- and we went and got a special nighttime bottle for her (that's what we do about drinking water, a no-spill sippy cup with a soft spout), and she saw some pacifiers with glow-in-the-dark handles and wanted that too (she's never used pacifiers, but I thought it might help if she still felt a need to suck), and we took that all home, and talked about it again, how she could have mommy milk when it was light out, but if it was dark, she would need to let mommy's boobsies sleep.

She was SO good and brave. We nursed in bed with the light on, then I turned it off, she played with the glow-in-the-dark pacifier and sippy cup, and snuggled in, and went to sleep. No tears at all.

The second night she was a little frustrated, but no tears.

The third night, she had about a 30-second fit, clawing at my hands as I covered my boobs and she tried to get at them, then I reminded her, "remember, wait until it is light outside, then you can have some," and she calmed down, and went to sleep.

She's been totally fine about nightweaning since.

HOWEVER, there is a new wrinkle. The reduction in night nursing plus a general reduction on her part (I'm doing don't offer/ don't refuse except for night-time) meant that the milk production really plummeted, and there was a day or so when there was basically no milk, and she FREAKED. I didn't expect that to happen so quickly, and hadn't really prepared for it. (I have a thread about this.)

Anyway, what's happening now is that the milk production is up a little bit but I don't actually want it to get too high -- she was getting through the day fine without nursing, and I think it's about time for her and for me. It's been nice to have this little respite, say goodbye to this time in our lives, prepare, but my goal is to go back to where we were before the milk stopped for a bit, and then let it gradually taper off.

The other thing is that when she sucks when there is no milk it is horribly uncomfortable/irritating (not pain, at all), very much white knuckles and count-to-30-through gritted teeth to avoid getting up and running away. So I've gone another step... I explained to her that if there is milk, she can go ahead and nurse, but if there isn't any milk, it hurts mommy's boobsie for her to nurse. She was very sweet and understanding, and last night was the first test of the "only if there is milk" rule, and it went SO much better. Just a little bit on each side, "no more, mommy", a gentle pat goodnight, then roll over and snuggle.

Definitely bittersweet, but I'm generally happy with how things are going.

Oh and we got a bed for her! She loves it, and now she goes to sleep there, and comes into my bed about 5 am, snuggles up and goes back to sleep.
 

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It is nice to read positive encouraging stories baout night weaning. I have another chapter to add to our journey. My ds is not even nursing to sleep at night now
It has been so bitter sweet and a shock. one night he said" This is not comfartable, I want to go to sleep in daddy's bed" daddy's bed is our bed, anyway my dh layed him down in our bed and he fell asleep. he has been doing that for almost 2 weeks now. I do not know what to do with myself at night. I am crazy? I have evne asked him a couple of times "Are you sure you don't want mi mi's(nursing name)?" He say's no, and wants to be put down in our bed. he is growing up too fast.
 
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