View Full Version : Your experiences with night weaning
I am interested in hearing anyone's experiences in night weaning.
Currently I still feed the boys 2-5 times a night and obviously as they are just shy of 16 months I am getting pretty tired of it and I feel they are old enough now to learn how to sleep without me.
So, I would like to know:
* How old bubs was when you started
* What approach you took
* How long it took you
* What support you had
* If you co-slept, slept in the same room or were in seperate rooms
* Any other useful info.
It will probably come down to whether they are feeding for requirement or to re-settle. They will usually self ween if they no longer need it but may keep going with the feeds to go back to sleep. I suppose you may need to establish first why they are feeding and work from there? I am not sure on settling techniques at this age, I know cc is not recommended.
I had asked the same thing of my CHN/LC when DD was around 14 months, she had dropped all other night feeds herself from about 12 but still maintained a 4am feed, she had always gotten restless around this time. If I didnt give it to her she wouldnt go back to sleep. She told me that because we had taught her to self settle (we used cc) at 6mths and she always did so that she probably still required this feed to get her tummy through to breakfast and we probably couldnt do much about it. I should probably add that she was on bottle by now because she had to go onto soy.
What she did start doing (about 16mths) though was not actually wanting the feed but not knowing how to get back to sleep without it because of the habit, she didnt really wake up but was half asleep. All I could do was go into and give it to her, it would either end in her taking it to drink or throwing it, which all I could do was walk out and let her finish her tantrum and calm herself back to sleep, which sometimes took half an hour. It took about 3 or 4 weeks for her to really break the habit. The more I interferred the more it worked her up, I just had to let her go, which was hard listening to her carry on.
I started to night wean my son at 9mo. I cut him back to a feed at 3am and a feed at 5am, but of course he was younger than your boys.
My DS did (and still does) share a room with us. Night weaning with me in the room really really didn't work. DH and I moved out of the bedroom, and we had a policy of only DH going in to settle before 3am. It meant that DS got out of the habit of eating over night, and started to sleep better (eventually;)) because it wasn't worth waking up if there wasn't going to be milk.:laughing: After DS became consistent and settled we moved back into the bedroom and he now sleeps through (19mo) or self settles with us in the room. One thing we had to do though was to move the bed so that instead of him being next to us he was at the foot of the bed. He still knows we're there in the middle of the night, but somehow not being side by side with me helps him to sleep.
It took us probably a month to get him to start sleeping better, and another couple of months before we moved back into the bedroom. He dropped the last two feeds on his own a few months later.
It was (and still is) important to DS for us to make sure he has enough food in the day not to get hungry over night. He wasn't eating enough before we started night weaning, and now if he doesn't have a big enough tea he wakes up hungry about 4am.
Good luck! As much as I valued my sleep I felt guilty about night weaning until I began to see its effect on DS. I think he was as tired as I was from feeding all night and he was just so much happier and awake once he was sleeping better.
Nomsie...I just started patting DD off to sleep (yes, I am spreadign the news all over the Hub, as I am so excited)...just rubbing her little head, which she has always liked, with some music playing, and the fan on for background noise.
I tried all of this a few times in the past, but she would get hysterical. She is starting to understand things a whole lot more now, so I thought I could push it. Also, our sleeping was so crazy, that I was about to go to sleep school. She would sleep in till 10.30am, nap in the day, then go to bed around midnight. There was one night I got her down at 7, and then she was up at 1 in the morning, until 5.30am. I just couldn't go on like that any more. And also, I worked out on Sunday, that I was feeding her for up to 7 hours a day, which is just ridiculous. I don't know how you do it with 2..you are an amazing mega woman.
My cousin had twins, both bfed as well, and when they were 10 months old (I think), she had had enough, and got in a sleep expert, who put them in the room with the door shut to cry it out, which they did for half an hour, and they have been sleeping through ever since. I couldn't do that to DD, but I can indulge my one daughter.
I really think music is the key..I am going to keep patting DD to sleep, and then progress to laying next to her, then sitting, and then slowly moving farther away from her. I am hoping that I can just put her music on one day, and give her a cuddle and she will go to sleep, but that is probably a year off.
Firstly.....:yelclap: 16months!! I was over it when DS1 was 9months (once a night I could handle, but not 3+)
How old bubs was when you started - he was just over 9 months. He was eating food, including meat well, and it was usually quick 5-10 comfort feeds, rather than 'need' feeds that he was doing.
* What approach you took - DH took the lead!! He organised a week off. I knew that if I went in there, i'd give in and feed him. He knew to expect a feed from me, but DH was just to settle. We relied heavily on the dummy and a sippy cup of water. DH offered the water, and then patted him back to sleep with the dummy. We started with the first wakeing...around 11pm. Then i'd feed him at about 1am, and DH would re-settle after that until 6am at the earliest.
* How long it took you - it only took 3nights before he stopped waking for the other feeds, he still woke for the 1am feed for a couple of weeks, but by 10months he was sleeping through nearly every night.
* What support you had - DH did most of it - I couldn't have done it without him, and he was soooo tired, he couldn't have gone to work while doing it.
* If you co-slept, slept in the same room or were in seperate rooms - He was in his own cot in his room. DD1 was in our bed, so I wasn't comfortable having a baby in there too.
I am dreading doing it with my bubbas. DD2 will sleep through sometimes, she has heaps before, but DS2 is waking her now....I tried putting him back into our room, but he woke more those nights - I have no idea what we will do - i think I will go away for the week, send mum to help DH and hope for the best when I return!
How old bubs was when you started - We tried at 10 months, but I was so exhausted after 3 nights of it that on the 4th night we threw it in. I slept so much worse during the weaning (like only 4 hours a night and such stressful nights) than I did when I woke to fed him and after 3 night I was ready for a breakdown!
We just started again a week ago, DS is now 19 months and I am 2.5 months pregnant, so it was getting too much for me again.
* What approach you took - it was really unplanned. I just decided I'd had enough one night at 3am when DS woke for what felt like his gazillionth feed! I told my husband enough is enough so I left the room while DH played with DS. Later, I put on a turtleneck and went back in to help out. DS was up for 4 hours playing until 7am he finally went back to sleep.
The next couple of nights I wore a turtleneck to bed. DS woke at 3am for a couple of hours those nights too. By the 3rd night we worked out that if we played a clip of a movie "Igor" on my phone as soon as DS woke up then he would zonk right back to sleep in like 10 seconds! It was the only thing that worked to distract him from getting distressed and unable to resettle.
On the 4th or 5th night I went to sleep in the spare room as I still cannot sleep and often need to go have snacks as am so starved and nausteated with the pregnancy. DH just plays DS the movie clip for 10 seconds whenever he wakes and he settles right back to sleep. He only wakes a couple of times now. It's been 6 or 7 nights so far.
* How long it took you - I think we're doing pretty well so far, but I still have not adjusted and can't sleep more than about 4 hours straight and can't get back to sleep!
* What support you had - DH really helped, he has been so helpful to me the whole pregnancy - he basically looks after DS full time! We have no other family or close friends to help where we are at the moment. I was thinking of getting a sleep consultant in but glad I did not have to as I don't think it would work for us. I'm not good at following other people's plans!
* If you co-slept, slept in the same room or were in separate rooms - We always slept in the same bed but the past couple of night I moved out to try and sleep better. If everything goes well maybe DH will move out too. Let's see!
I have posted this heaps of times but this is the method I used when DS turned 12 mths (and I was 7 mths pregnant):
It took a few days to work. The first time I refused he cried for abotu an hour. It was really hard but I felt desperate.
We co-slept. Wearing a shirt and just keeping your boobs away goes a long way to help.
It worked well but he didnt' start sleeping through or anything. INstead he would settle with a tap on the back and/or some water from sippy cup.
After DD2 was born, I slipped back into feeding him during the night again as she slept through and feeding him was the easy way to keep him quiet and not risk waking her.
He is 20 mths now and I'v ejust night weaned him again. Really easy this time. Instead of all the crying there was just a brief scuffle sort of thing (lol) and then he rolls over and gives up. We've been co-sleeping plus he starts off in his bed, I've just abandoned having him in his own room completely and he's in a toddler bed next to my bed (as of tonight). He actually slept through for the first time ever really last night.
I think at 16 mths it hopefully won't be toooo bad. Having two is going to make it tough though.
I have tried to get him sleeping (more) independently so many times, and always failed.... just wanted to say that if it *doesnt* work, my experience is that it is easier next time - it's like it wasnt a complete waste of time.
I think that link is really great. I think it is true that a toddler *can* cope with being refused the breast, if he is being cuddled and loved. It is or can be really hard. But it really has only taken a few days both times I've done it (though it feels like it will never end when its 3am and you're rocking a crying baby who wants to feed).
I forgot to answer the useful info bit...
One useful thing I learned through the process is that, for my DS anyway, the most important thing we could do as soon as he woke was distract him from getting upset.
As soon as he woke up he would sit up and search for boob. If he didn't get it there would be screaming and wailing. Once that started, it was almost impossible to calm him down without the boob. When we tried before it would sometimes take hours of him crying in our arms before he would resettle without a feed.
As I said in my last post, we found the promise of an "Igor" clip has been enough for DS. Amazingly!
So, if you can find something to distract and calm your LOs right away without unsettling them then I think that's the best bet.
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