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Thread: Night weaning is not going well

  1. #1

    Default Night weaning is not going well

    With the goal in mind of completely weaning her around or soon after she turns 2, I started night weaning DD about a week ago, doing the same thing that worked well with my older DD. But this time, it's not going quite so well.

    I nurse her to sleep as usual, and when she wakes up, I tell her there's "no nursing until morning" but that mama will hold her and lie with her. She fusses and gets upset, and then I ask her if she wants to lie in her bed or if she wants me to hold her. She'll usually then let me hold her. Since about the second day of this, she stopped asking to nurse if she wakes up before around 4 a.m., but she is very insistent on sleeping on top of me, and even then, sometimes tosses and turns for quite awhile before falling asleep. I find that it's actually harder on me than when I could just lie with her and nurse her and then leave her once she fell asleep. Now, I am finding myself stuck with her on top of me, unsure how to get her off of me without waking her up.

    The second problem is that, even after over a week, from about 4 a.m. until 5:30 (which is when "morning" for nursing purposes begins), she still gets really upset and is not satisfied with me holding her or with just lying on top of me. She asks to nurse, tries to pull down or lift up my shirt, and basically spends that 1.5 crying and whining in between short dozing sessions. Part of me wants to say that I should just make 4 a.m. the start of "morning," but I'm fairly certain that if I do that, then she'll start crying from 2 or 3 a.m. until 4.

    Has anyone else had similar problems night weaning or night training a toddler who, contrary to popular opinion, doesn't just accept a new routine after 3 nights? Any suggestions on other things I can try? Please keep in mind that I definitely plan on completely weaning her by 24 or 25 months, and my hope was to make it a gradual transition (she still nurses for naps and a couple of other times a days when she feels like it). Also, right now I'm on break, but starting after New Years, I will be going back to class and will need time at night to work, so being stuck under a sleeping child may be a problem.
    Mom to two little girls (born 6/08 and 2/11) and another on the way.

  2. #2
    3andMe's Avatar
    3andMe is offline Every day is a gift. It's just... does it have to be a pair of socks? Hopelessly Devoted
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    Have you tried giving her an alternative, like a sippy of water or milk? I did that (a sippy of milk) with my first DS, and although he really didn't like it, it was better than nothing, and once he got over his horror at the situation and got a few calories in, he was able to get back to sleep but without the exact feedback of the night nursing cycle. It was kind of the same concept of giving methadone to heroin addicts--give a similar drug but a different format, so they don't get the same reinforcement and it may be easier to wean off.

    Good luck to you!


  3. #3

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    I had a lot of success with the tot clock. It changes colors from day to night. So when it night time it's blue and when dd would wake up at night and ask to nurse I just tell her to look at the clock, tell me what color it is and then say blue is night time and we will nurse in the morning when it's yellow. You can program the clock for any wake times and night times you want.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3andMe View Post
    Have you tried giving her an alternative, like a sippy of water or milk? I did that (a sippy of milk) with my first DS, and although he really didn't like it, it was better than nothing, and once he got over his horror at the situation and got a few calories in, he was able to get back to sleep but without the exact feedback of the night nursing cycle. It was kind of the same concept of giving methadone to heroin addicts--give a similar drug but a different format, so they don't get the same reinforcement and it may be easier to wean off.

    Good luck to you!
    I have started offering her water when she wakes up at night, and sometimes she says she wants it. My sister suggested I get a particular type of sippy cup that kind of feels like a bottle, but I am wary of encouraging another sucking habit. Then again, I am currently just encouraging more co-dependence habits, like sleeping on top of me and singing her songs in the middle of the night!

    Quote Originally Posted by dunegirl View Post
    I had a lot of success with the tot clock. It changes colors from day to night. So when it night time it's blue and when dd would wake up at night and ask to nurse I just tell her to look at the clock, tell me what color it is and then say blue is night time and we will nurse in the morning when it's yellow. You can program the clock for any wake times and night times you want.
    The tot clock sounds like a good idea! I will look into that. Is your DD completely weaned or only at night? If completely weaned, how was the transition from nightweaning to complete weaning?
    Mom to two little girls (born 6/08 and 2/11) and another on the way.

  5. #5

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    Sounds very similar to us!

    When we first introduced night weaning, Maiya could ONLY fall asleep when laying on top of me. That took nearly a month!! She eventually started being able to fall asleep next to me, then not touching me... Now she can't even fall asleep if I'm in the room, haha. I think it's a comfort thing during the transition. As long as you keep gently working at it, she will eventually not need to fall asleep on top of you any more.

    As for the 4 AM thing... What I did was only intoduce night weaning one waking at a time (which was every 45 mins). We started with the first night waking, and when she was able to comfortably be soothed back to sleep after that (which took about a month, which is when she stopped needing to fall asleep on me), I made it two night wakings in a row.

    Since she is doing well until 4 AM, what I would do (but if you think it would mess her up, maybe this is a moot point), is let her have that one. She might want to move up what time she starts nursing again, but just don't let her. Stick with it, and eventually move it to any wakings after 4:30. Then 5...

    I don't know how slowly you want to do this, but I did it very slowly, because I wanted it as gentle as possible. Like I said, it took one month just to get beyond the first night waking. But then they started getting faster and easier each one. After we got to about 5 AM, she dropped all but the final waking up for the morning nursing completely on her own.

    She day weaned herself WAY early, because she reverse cycled because I had her in her day care while I worked. So once she night weaned, we only nursed at her final waking for the day, and then once shortly before bed (but not at bedtime)- and emergencies, of course, like when she was sick or on airplane rides or after shots. Eventually I stopped the night time nursing session, and we had just the waking up nursing session for a few months. I quickly dried up, and by the time I was ready to stop that one, I think she was getting almost nothing, so it was very easy to just tell her "let's go play instead of nurse", and then we were done...

    Ah, bittersweet!
    Last edited by Krystal5; 12-18-2012 at 10:29 PM.



  6. #6

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    I was only sucessful with night weaning when I enlisted dh to do the night time parenting during the time I was dropping nursing sessions. :whimp: it worked for us.

    I would actually do it the opposite way if it were me I think, since you plan on weaning altogether soon. Nurse at night so you can sleep, and then try dropping one session at a time once she's day time weaned. But I really do hate the drama in the middle of the night!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mohop View Post
    The tot clock sounds like a good idea! I will look into that. Is your DD completely weaned or only at night? If completely weaned, how was the transition from nightweaning to complete weaning?
    No, she's not completely weaned yet. She took being night weaned very well and we are weaning very slowly and gradually. She's only nursing for nap and bedtime.

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