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please share with me how long the weaning process took and what methods worked for you.

What kinds of comforting methods your child uses to go to sleep (if nursed to sleep before weaning).

Did they switch to using a bottle or needing someone to lay down with them?

How did you comfort them when they had temper tantrum, a bee bite etc

Thanks for sharing.

MOthering two nurslings...3.5 year old (nurse a holic nightnurser) and a 7 months old.

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We nightweaned when ds was 2. We had tried at 18 months, and it was obvious he wasn't ready so we dropped it. When he was 2, I would nurse him to sleep, and explain that when he woke during the night, we wouldn't be nursing, that we wouldn't nurse until morning. When he woke we would cuddle, or I would rub his back, or dh would walk with him. It took about a week of consistency and some middle of the night tantrums before he stopped expecting to nurse at night. For bedtime, I still nurse him to sleep, but if I'm not home, dh can just lay down with him and read him to sleep, or can drive him and then carry him upstairs without a problem. We also started having a sippy cup on hand for middle of the night wakings, which really helped.

Daytime nursing definitely picked up while we were nightweaning. It was a little irritating, but I just went with it because I didn't want to go too fast. This was about 3 months ago. Just a few weeks ago I started explaining to ds that we could nurse to sleep and when he woke up, but only 1x in between. He asks to nurse constantly - when he's bored, hungry, thirsty, etc., so the don't ask don't refuse idea didn'twork for us. So now when he asks, redirection usually helps, along with saying "remember we already talked about how we are not nursing again until naptime." If he gets particularly upset, I will nurse him, but this is rare.

So we are still slowly weaning. Weaning from when he wakes up in the morning will be the biggest challenge I think. We are planning on TTC next month, so we'll see how being pregnant affects this whole thing. If my breasts are anywhere nearly as sore this time as they were last time, something drastic is going to have to happen!

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DS was almost 14 months when he nightweaned (with encouragement from me!).

Before that, he was waking 4-5 times a night, and nursing for 20 minutes or more each time! I have NEVER been the type who could sleep through nursing(and I have a hard time falling back to sleep after I wake!), so I was losing a lot of sleep!

I didn't really think about "nightweaning" as such...I just knew it was time to change things. But I wanted it to be totally painless for both of us!

So, I started keeping a sippy cup of water next to the bed, and when he'd wake, instead of offering milk, I'd offer a drink of water, then try to comfort him back to sleep (rubbing/patting, rocking, humming, etc.) without nursing. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't....I always TRIED the water first, with every wake-up, but if he fussed and rooted for more than a minute or two, I'd go ahead and nurse (when I did nurse, I tried to use the "gentle removal plan" that Elizabeth Pantley recommends in The No-Cry Sleep Solution, which I highly recommend!).

It took about 2 weeks of consistent trying (and let me tell you, in those two weeks I was ready to give up several times, because comforting him back to sleep without nursing--even though he wasn't crying--took roughly twice as long as it would have taken to nurse him back to sleep!) but by the third week, he was waking less often, and when he did wake he was satisfied with just water and a few minutes of back-rubbing.

Since that first month, I've only nursed him during the night twice....once when we were visiting relatives and he was out of his element, and once when he was sick.

Now, he often sleeps through the night (or stirs a few times but self-settles) or if he does wake, it only takes maybe five minutes to get him back to sleep.

I think a lot of my "success" was due to HIS personality and the fact that he was ready for this. Quite honestly, I don't really even think of it as a weaning issue. Rather, I see it as a way of helping him learn to sleep better, KWIM? Most babies at 14 months are physically able to go all night without sustenance, so for my son, nursing was a habit...I had to convince him that it was a habit he could live without. Fortunately, he was willing to be convinced!
I honestly think he was even relieved, because once he started sleeping better and longer at night, his naptimes--not to mention his daytime attitude--really improved! Nursing several times a night was robbing BOTH of us of much-needed sleep!

Of course, YMMV....

Also, I have to admit that his day time nursing has picked up, which could be an issue to someone else. I've been blessed with the ability to stay home and raise my bab(ies) full time, but if I had to work out of the home, I'm sure it would be difficult!

I hope this is somehow helpful!


Sarah (SAHM to Elisha (02/28/02) and expecting #2 (EDD 03/25/04)

edited to add: We still mostly nurse to sleep...right now we are working on that. The new goal is to nurse at bedtime, then get him in bed while he's still awake, so he can learn to fall asleep on his own (with me in the chair by the bed, or in the next room, with the door between us open). This week has, so far, been pretty good. 4 of the last 6 nights have gone this way, without so much as a whimper! Hope I didn't jinx it....

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We just successfully night weaned 20 month DD. It was really obvious to me that she was ready because more and more often when she would wake in the middle of the night (we don't co-sleep), she would simply want a hug and a backrub and it was back to sleep.

So about two weeks ago, I just explained to her that after she went to sleep, "mamas" go to sleep, too, and they don't wake up until we turn the lights on and get ready for school (daycare). I repeated this over, and over, and over all day and again when we nursed to sleep.

That first night, she woke up and asked for "mamas" and I told her, "Remember, mamas went to sleep, just like you. They won't wake up until we turn the lights on!" She protested for about 3 seconds (literally) and then promptly laid her head on my shoulder and went to sleep. There was no crying, no tantrums.

Now when she wakes at night, I go in, give a cuddle or a hug or a back rub or whatever she wants until she falls asleep again. And you know what - she's even slept through the night a few times which is something that never has happened.

I think consistency is the key. Make sure they understand before bed that they won't get nursed upon waking until it's morning. Repeat that when they wake up. Offer another form of comfort. My dd has never asked for a drink in the middle of night but if you think that might help - go for it. You will definitely have to find some alternate form of comfort.

I agree with SheBear - a large part of our success is that DD was ready for this. She went from nursing 7-8 times a night until she was 18 months old, to be nursing 2-3 times a night, to just wanting to be held in a few months. Once it got to that point, I realized that she could be gently encouraged to night wean. It has actually meant better sleep for both of us.

My DD never asks to nurse other than to sleep and upon waking. We nurse to sleep every night and have an extended nursing session upon waking. Partly this is because I WOH and she's in daycare for a good chunk of the day, but even on weekends she doesn't ask. While we were on vacation and she had me 24/7 for 14 days, she only asked once other than sleep and waking.

If you haven't done so already, I'd check out Elizabeth Pantley's The No Cry Sleep Solution and/or The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning . Both have some really great tips in there about weaning gently.

Good luck!!
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