Night weaning - how?

(21 Posts)
WittgensteinsBunny Fri 18-Jul-14 12:20:45

Dd is 13 months. I'm sick of feeding through the night. This may be biased as last night I was feeding every 2 hours. She refuses to go to bed earlier than 10 - 11, wants boob all day and all night. I still feed on demand a lot. DH and I are arguing a lot as we're both exhausted; him work and me around the clock baby care. I've had enough of being an all night snack bar and want to start night weaning. I want some time back to myself. We co-sleep and she's a cot refuser. I don't have the heart to sleep train her, it just goes against all of my instincts. She has an iron will, is big on tantrums at the moment especially where boob refusal is concerned. How to I even start this? Will I ever sleep? Is this just pms? I'm sat here exhausted and nearly in tears with her asleep in her pram and DH and I having had a massive row.

rachyconks Fri 18-Jul-14 12:26:17

I think it will be difficult while you are still co-sleeping as she is used to it and knows you are there. Have you tried daytime naps in the cot? I did it that way with DD and gradually built up to night time sleeping. I have known some mums who have put cot refusers straight into a bed. If you have been co-sleeping then that is the environment she is used to.

Will she take a bottle or cup? Maybe introduce a cup of cows milk at bedtime as part of her routine. We do bath, milk, teeth, stories, lights out. In bed by 8. Had to bring it forward 15 mins each night until she was going down at a reasonable time.

WittgensteinsBunny Fri 18-Jul-14 12:29:47

Thanks rachy. She can use all manner of cups and bottles as is very happy to drink lots of water in the day and evening. I guess we'll have to try this at night too although I can imagine the screams now! I feel the same about the co-sleeping. We have the cot in a side car arrange at the bottom of the bed but she just wakes up and looks for us and crawls up to me to feed. Good idea about naps in the day, although these are usually in the pram or car seat or on me.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Fri 18-Jul-14 12:30:12

At 13 months old she doesn't need milk at nighttime. It helps to know that when you're starting off.

For night weaning, set a time that you're definitely not going to feed before and then set intervals. Adjust for your bedtime but I'd go as follows;

7pm bed, nothing before 3am and then nothing again until 7am. Either that or just nothing at all at nighttime. It will be painful but relatively short! 7pm and 7am only. With your 3am feed, if you do it, time it on night one and reduce by a few minutes every other night until it's down to nothing. Once you've finished, the night bar is closed and NO MORE MILK. You'll need some of your dd's willpower!

Once you've set your rules you have to devise a plan of how you're going to get her to sleep. I would do a nice but short routine of bath, if it's a bath night followed by pjs, milk, book, teeth and then bed. We do the majority of our routine downstairs and this started by having no milk in the bedroom. We just read 3 books, always the same ones that live upstairs and into his cot with a teddybear.

I have used controlled crying but appreciate that this isn't everyone's cup of tea. You could try that, gradual retreat, cry it out. You are likely to have some crying but babies do adjust quickly and she may be more ready for a bed now.

I hope this isn't too much to take in - good luck!

We night weaned and apart from a few rocky months relating to teething, DS has mainly slept through since then.

PurplePidjin Fri 18-Jul-14 12:35:58

I read lots of useful stuff on www.kellymom.com but I think the way that works for the majority is to pick a few hours of the night where you Just Don't Feed. For us, ds would feed to sleep around 8 and sleep for 5-6 hours, so i picked midnight-5am as my "no feed zone" and just gave him a cuddle instead. He was used to feeding to sleep then 20 minutes on me to get into a deeper sleep then he'd go down ok in his cot.

I would pick one thing to work on at a time - maybe stop the co-sleeping first (ds hated co-sleeping so I can't advise much on that). You don't have to go for full Cry It Out methods, there are lots of gentler ways on the internet. I fed ds in a rocking chair in his room with Ewan the Dream Sheep playing, he'd drop off so I'd get him comfortable and give it 15-20 minutes until he was properly asleep then lay him in his cot (he's a tummy sleeper, so he'd be on his tummy on me then onto his front in the cot). I gradually reduced the time he was on me until I could just put him down after a feed. Once I'd got that established, I was ready to start the night weaning bit.

Good luck. I didn't ever find a specific method that felt completely right for us, so sort of cobbled together something from all the blogs etc I read on the internet. Trust your instincts, you know whether it'll work for your particular set up - if controlled crying horrifies you, it's probably not the way to go!

WittgensteinsBunny Fri 18-Jul-14 12:42:47

That's really helpful. I like the idea if set milk times. I know I can't do cc, I just can't, we tried to put her in her cot and shush patted for ages, she got so worked up she puked abc when I refused the boob the other week DH cuddled her and she fought him until she was shaking and purple and drenched in sweat until she got to the boob. I find it exhausting and very upsetting. DH is really against cc too. It irritates that he has seldom had to help at night though! We both agree it's time for her to cut down though. When did you night wean? Did you continue to bf? How long did it take. I think dd might be cutting another molar at the moment combined with my period due tomorrow, so probably less milk at the moment as well. I keep telling myself it will pass and improve but it never does.

leedy Fri 18-Jul-14 12:51:19

We night weaned DS1 at around 18 months using something like this (with lots of daddy involvement), also uses the idea of the night time "no feed zone" and worked very well.
drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html

One thing I would say is that it's easiest to do it when there isn't anything else going on (teeth cutting, developmental leap, etc.) - difficult to find a time I know!

Oh, and I continued to BF for another year, he didn't wean fully til he was 2.5 and I was pregnant with his brother. Getting proper sleep made a HUGE difference.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Fri 18-Jul-14 12:54:11

We night weaned at 7.5 months (I'd gone back to work). We FF so he still had 3 bottles a day at that stage but the principal is still the same. We just reduced ozs rather than minutes.

Your DH is a really valuable tool here - it helps massively that you BF as he doesn't have the milk to give her. I would send him in first so start when he doesn't have work the next day and can have a pj weekend.

From other forums, babies seem to get the message really quickly.

If CC/crying techniques aren't for you, I'd just sit with her. My standard phrase was it's okay, its just time to go to sleep now. They don't understand but saying it in a slow soothing voice somehow kept me calm.

PurplePidjin Fri 18-Jul-14 13:00:16

night waned at 9m he self weaned at 15

WittgensteinsBunny Fri 18-Jul-14 13:10:35

Thanks ladies.

Really appreciate the support. thanks

Leedy I think that's the approach we'll take. Looks manageable for us. I'm going to get her into her cot and then make DH lay next to her at the bottom of the bed with a cup of water tonight as a sort of harder line variation. A sort of mash up of ideas. He can deal with her between 11 and 6 tonight.

ShineSmile Fri 18-Jul-14 14:11:37

OP, my DD is exactly like this and is the same age too!

I think what I hope to do is to slowly move her into her own room. And then try using some sort of sleep training (a gentle one albeit). My DD won't sleep in the cot so we will be placing a normal bed with bed guards in her room.

OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus Fri 18-Jul-14 14:24:48

DD was on three times a night until 15 months. I worked FT in a demanding job and was on my knees. In the end I retreated to the spare room and when she woke, DH went in with a bottle of expressed milk. Cue FURY from DD and absolute bottle rejection. Who daytime would have bottle from DH which made clear that it was comfort not nutrition at nightime being sought.

DH comforted her until she went back to sleep and on subsequent wakings. Night 2 she woke twice and night 3 she slept through for the first time in her life. And thus the milk bar was closed at nights.

I would add though that we don't co sleep and I suspect that you'd need to leave them at night for a bit for the message to sink in.

WittgensteinsBunny Fri 18-Jul-14 15:17:51

Maybe need to look at a new bed for our spare room
junk store and get sorting it out at the weekend then?'

shine sympathies! smile

I love your name ocado, and that does sound promising. I've been nagging DH about a bed for the spare room my new bedroom for a while now!

WittgensteinsBunny Sat 19-Jul-14 07:35:22

So, we had a fairly successful night, in fact in someways very successful.

Bedtime routine at 8.30
Up to bed at 8.45
Asleep at 9ish (fed to sleep)
Try to move to cot - wakes up
Not asleep until 10.30 but have refused boob at this point and offered bottle of warm milk. Tears, anger etc but I just turn away and leave her to be cuddled by Dad. Asleep after 5 minutes of being upset.
11.25 - wakes up and incandescent with toddler rage. Goes back to sleep with dad after 5/10 mins of crying and shouting for me sad
3am - wakes up , whimpers " mummy", comes away from dad and sleeps on my shoulder with very little fuss.
5am - feed and cuddle
7am. - feed and cuddle - back to sleep

I found it really, really hard to hear her crying so much but it really only was for a short time. So angry! But she accepted the message after a relatively short while.

Thanks for all of the suggestions yesterday.

ShineSmile Sat 19-Jul-14 12:15:35

That's good to hear! smile Best of luck in the next few days too thanks

Curlynoodles Thu 24-Jul-14 12:22:25

Can I just ask what people do during the no feed zone when baby wakes? Leave to cry? Pick up and cuddle? Or just stay close and reassure?

PurplePidjin Thu 24-Jul-14 13:14:26

Curly it's whatever works for you. I got ds up and cuddled him in the "feeding" chair (getting dp to help wasn't an option as he had a stroke when ds was 5 weeks old so needs his rest more than I do!) - the first night, he took as long to cuddle as he did to feed but within a week it was down to just a few minutes. Then I just turned Ewan back on and held his hand while he dropped off. Now at 20 months if he wakes I check his bum (odd child who won't tolerate a wet or dirty nappy) and put him straight back in his cot and he goes off. Some babies will be happy with just a quick "Sleepy time now, good night" and leave, others need more for a while until they get the hang of it

Curlynoodles Thu 24-Jul-14 19:33:05

Thanks Purple! Dd is 11 months and has never slept through! She's always woken every couple of hours for a bf but I'm tired and would like some unbroken sleep! Will be giving this a go next week and I guess it's a case of once started not backing down?! Wish me luck!

PurplePidjin Thu 24-Jul-14 19:43:03

Ds went 10 hours two nights in a row at around 5 months. Then it was back to feeding 2 hourly from 1am. Then he hit 14 months, walked and started to sleep properly!

Don't think of it as a battle, because more sleep will mean you both win. Just put your stubborn Mummy head on and remember that You are the adult, You know what's best for her, and a few minutes of crying are worth it for the longer term benefits. I would say that continuous, upset-sounding crying for more than 15-20 minutes needs another approach; listen to the actual sounds she's making so you can tell what's upset and needs dealing with (for us it's nappy/calpol/window open or shut/water cup topped up) and what's just "I'm tired and want to be asleep ahurr ahurr" grumbling. I still go in to ds after a couple of piercing wails, but he gets left to it if he's ahurr-ing which is awesome in the morning because I can turn the monitor off and leave him to it for a couple more hours because anything louder ie properly upset is audible through the wall

Curlynoodles Thu 24-Jul-14 20:03:07

Thanks! I expect a mega tantrum at least the first night as it will be a total change to her 'normal routine'. I just hope that I'm more stubborn than her! Ha.

PurplePidjin Fri 25-Jul-14 12:04:39

How's it going?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now