How do I stop bf during the night?

(32 Posts)
LoonyLouLou78 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:18:08

My ds turned 1 last week and has always bf to sleep (naps too). When he wakes in the night I have always fed him back to sleep. In the beginning it was obviously because he was waking for a feed and always fell asleep on me, but as time went on it has just become routine (habit). He usually only wakes once a night - which I can live with - but lately he has been creeping back to 2 sometimes 3 (or more if he's teething or off colour) times a night.

The hv came last week to do the 12 month check and told me that controlled crying was the only thing that really works (and works fast). Ds was tired at the time and she convinced me to "try him now" by putting him down for his nap. He is a very contented little boy and we had the most horrendous 40 minutes of sobbing (in between me picking up/cuddling/putting down) I finally got rid of the hv and picked him up again only to have him fall asleep in my arms still sobbing in his sleep. It took two days before he would go back into his cot (asleep) without immediately waking and screaming.

What I really want to know is, has anyone had success stopping bf in the night without cc? I appreciate he might get a bit upset but will he eventually settle with me staying in the room? Also, is there a chance that he might just grow out of the night waking and stop needing bf himself (wishful thinking)?

mykingdomforasleep Fri 13-Sep-13 20:30:46

Yes I did it at 17 months, no controlled crying and me always in room.

Trick is to get him to sleep at the start of the night without feeding. We tried talking v quietly right next to cot/cuddling on our bed etc sounds impossible but actually worked. It is ok to do as you're only worrying about the initial going to sleep to start with - not so daunting or exhausting as trying whole night at once.

Still feed in night at this point but nightwakings naturally decreased just by doi g this.

Then rock/cuddle back to sleep for first night waking but feed at later ones and drop gradually.

how good is his comprehension? I stopped night feeds at about the same age or maybe a month or two older by just explaining that he didn't get milk when it was night time but he could have a cuddle. Some whingeing but no crying x

Yama Fri 13-Sep-13 20:33:18

My dh took over when we night weaned. I didn't think it was fair to smell my milk wink.

Anyway, dh just comforted, offered water, comforted. I stayed firmly away. It took a few nights but was worth it.

AllSWornOut Fri 13-Sep-13 20:34:19

Yes. My DH would go in and try to calm DS/offer water. If he didn't calm after 5 minutes or so I would feed him down, but generally he was happy with a cuddle from Daddy and would go back to sleep.

That hv sound

mykingdomforasleep Fri 13-Sep-13 20:35:31

Google hmm think is jay gordon off top of head for a similar way to do it - can't check as typing one handed feeding new baby!

There is def a middle way I was so relieved to be able toget sone ssleep for us all without CC!

Hardest part to change is the 4am ish waking! We just used toys to distract for a few nights and tben he slept through once used not to feeding then.
Good luck smile

Good luck!

AllSWornOut Fri 13-Sep-13 20:36:11

s horrible sad angry How dare she oblige you to do that! I mean of course you could have said no but it's so difficult when you're faced with a "professional".

mykingdomforasleep Fri 13-Sep-13 20:41:38

Hmm on second thoughts dr jay gordon seems a little 'out there'...

LoonyLouLou78 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:42:48

Brilliant - thank you. I'll definitely try your way 'mykingdom..' sounds less stressful to start gradually. I'm a sahm now but dh is a teacher - may wait until half term before trying to phase out the during the night feeds!
His comprehension is quite good 'cakes' I think I'll try that too!

LoonyLouLou78 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:46:03

I know 'allwornouw' I felt a little bit like I couldn't say no as ds was getting cranky as very obviously tired. I understand she was trying to be supportive by staying with me but it was his birthday and I really wasn't planning on starting anything there and then! Hey ho, the guilt has subsided now as he seems to be over it without any mental scaring (I hope)!

LoonyLouLou78 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:47:33

scarring even!

DIYandEatCake Fri 13-Sep-13 21:43:25

And there is a chance he'll grow out of it - my breastfed dd started sleeping through the night (most of the time!) by about 18 months. I've never had to do night weaning cos of that, but I have friends who successfully night weaned using the gentler methods others suggested above. Some health visitors - grrrrr!

temporary Sat 14-Sep-13 01:11:40

Another option: I remember for dd2 I set a time in the night after which I wouldn't feed, but would just comfort to sleep. It started at,say, 5am, then I brought it forward by an hour or so when I had the confidence in my abilities to get her back off without milk.
Also, we could get her to sleep in the evenings on our shoulders but that was too tiring so we moved to the standing up cuddle, where she stood in her cot and we knelt on the floor and we cuddled across the bars. We stayed very quiet and she rested her head on our shoulders with our arms circling her but not holding her up. after a short while her legs started to buckle. After she buckled a couple of times she was happy to be lain down with a kiss. We worked from there ingesting her to sleep on her own.

LoonyLouLou78 Sat 14-Sep-13 11:15:10

Thanks so much guys - he is such a happy little boy who rarely cries so the cc method just breaks my heart as crying like that is so out of character for him. Glad to know I can make it work without using that.

thepeanutsparent Sat 14-Sep-13 11:23:50

Hi Lou we had a little thread for night weaning a few weeks ago , sorry can't link here.

Waiting til half term is a good idea- we night did it with 17mo over summer hols.

Substituted hugs for boob, he was grumpy at first but did settle within 5-10 mins and slept through after a week. We also made sure to explain what was happening in a gentle kind voice too.

Best of luck.

Booboostoo Sat 14-Sep-13 12:12:03

Your HV did not give you very good advice. It's fine if CC works for you, but if not there are plenty of other options.

I did a variation of the Jay Gordon method when my DD was 2yo and I was fed up with waking up every 2 hours. Before I fed her to sleep I explained that I was going to feel her to sleep, then it was time to sleep and there was no more bf till morning. I fed her to sleep and set myself a target of not feeding again till 5am. Anytime she woke up before 5 am I would repeat 'the rules' and hold her until she fell asleep. At first I would have to pick her up cuddle her, eventually lie back with her on me and then slide her off onto the mattress - all of which 2-3 times a night. However within 3-4 nights she was accepting just comfort lying down and within a couple of weeks she was sleeping through and I could extend the morning feed to sometime after 6.30am.

littleredmonkey Sat 14-Sep-13 18:42:15

Loulou78. In the same boat. I dont like cc. Tried it terrible for my ds. I use to cuddle to sleep day naps but that went up in smoke and hates his cot at day times. Resorted to pram walking still at it 6 months later. He is 11 and wakes 2times on average and I feed to sleep. Dp trys to cuddle to sleep but is having none of it hr wants mummy well my boobs. It is hard work but I think he loves your comfort just tiring for us. I have had s year off work go back in a week he starts nursery so expected chaos. Pm if you like we can help each other out or vent

littleredmonkey Sat 14-Sep-13 18:43:10

11 months old not 11. Lord!

LoonyLouLou78 Sat 14-Sep-13 20:19:34

Thanks again - redmonkey I know what you mean about hating the cot we went through a phase when he was much smaller where he would only nap in the pram or on me but actually naps quite well in the cot now (after being fed t sleep). Had 2 terrible days of him screaming every time I put him into his cot after the cc episode. Don't want to make the cot a bad place.

hels71 Sat 14-Sep-13 20:33:53

I used Dr Jay Gordon's method with my DD. She was 20 months or so and it worked like a dream!!! and we were still able to co-sleep (and feed at bedtime) for a further year with no problems.

mykingdomforasleep Sat 14-Sep-13 22:04:49

Also don't worry about naps apparently they are controlled by diff parts of the brain from night sleep so you can still feed to sleep for naps without being contradictory. And naps much hardee to change so definitely don't start with them

KatAndKit Sat 14-Sep-13 23:03:59

What worked for me was to stop feeding to sleep. Once i stopped that, it became possible to sort out night wakings without a boob. However at 12 months i was starting to slowly wind down bf anyway. I moved the bedtime feed earlier and then i put him in his cot and lie down next to the cot to soothe him. Obviously if he needs a cuddle i give one and lie him back down again. A few times i had to rock him to sleep or even walk him o sleep in the buggy. But once he got used to falling asleep without a boob he learnt to go without the night time comfort feeds.

delilah89 Tue 17-Sep-13 14:56:50

Hiya. I did have this same query with 11 month old and have found a solution that worked for us. I also didn't want to do CC or anything like it (also a v contented baby).

I broke the milk/sleep association by doing the feed before she was really asleep and then
a) for a week or so: walking up and down singing til she was asleep on my shoulder & the popping her into cot
b) next week: putting her down drowsy and stroking to sleep
... theory was you're supposed to creep further away in stages until you can just plonk them down and run out of the room but I stopped at put down drowsy and stroke til almost asleep (because why not? It's nice to feel your mum puts you to bed I honestly think some of these guides go too far - after all you want to have a few cuddles!)

Now what happens is she feeds before bed but rarely falls asleep, has a song being cuddled in the dark and then in cot for stroking until sleepy enough to leave. Upon doing this with bed-time she stopped waking lots in the night and now only wakes once really when she certainly is hungry (and why not have one feed in 12 hours?). I think it's ok, and her sleep interval is getting longer.

Good luck -- and avoid that wretched HV!!

delilah89 Tue 17-Sep-13 14:57:29

But my friend has done the whole sending the husband in with water thing and said it worked too wink

rrreow Tue 17-Sep-13 15:06:22

I found the following links helpful:
www.handinhandparenting.org/article/when-to-wean-the-baby/
www.handinhandparenting.org/article/helping-young-children-sleep/
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/sleep/a1394888-What-worked-for-us-Hope-this-helps

The latter two are more about sleep in general but for us feeding to sleep / breastfeeding were so intertwined with sleep that those links were all really helpful. Good luck, it can definitely be done without controlled crying!

jimijack Tue 17-Sep-13 15:13:38

Hi, sorry to interrupt but I'm having the same problems with my 8 month old except he feeds 2 hourly through the night.

He gets very very distressed if I try to comfort/pick up/put down instead of feeding him. He fights to get out of my arms, arches his back, screams and scratches. He won't be comforted until I give him the breast.

Anything I can do about this do you think?

I explained to DS that he couldn't have cuddle me more in the night any more, but he was a bit older than your DS at the time (18 months). I wish I'd done it earlier though! Life is so much nicer on unbroken sleep. smile

LoonyLouLou78 Tue 17-Sep-13 20:56:47

Thanks again everyone. I'm hanging on until half term when DH is off work but DS is now regularly up 3 times a night again! Could set your watch by him the past 3/4 nights so definitely habit. Delilah when you started rocking/singing to sleep did you then still feed in the night when she woke? If so I might start something like this asap!

Eletheomel Tue 17-Sep-13 21:19:53

I eventually did it at 2 years with DS1 who had been waking 2-3 times a night for comfort feeds since he was 4 months. I was basically tired and sore and we'd tried DH going into him, but he'd cry so I'd end up doing it.

So, I realised that the only way it was going to work would be if i was there denying him the boob. It was horrible, took about 90 minutes of me with him on the bed cuddling him but refusing to feed him and he was hysterical, but he eventually fell asleep.

Next night he woke for a feed, I did the same again, he was still upset but not hysterical and he fell asleep after 20 minutes.

Third night he woke, I went through spoke to him, no boob and he was asleep 5 mins later. Fourth night he slept through.

I'd never leave a child to cry and I found it heartbreakign listening to him get so upset but i felt he'd had a good innings and I was ready for the night feeds to stop.

My son was 2 though so could understand what I was saying to him, the suggestions above by pp would probably be better than the method I went for (wouldn't recommend that to anyone really!)

OnTheRunFromTheAcademe Tue 17-Sep-13 21:43:33

I did jay Gordon too when ds was 16 months and it worked like a dream. It's not overly prescriptive so you can adjust it to suit your own situation.

For example we never did the final step and just carried on cuddling to sleep when he woke up. We also decided that ds found it confusing being fed up till a certain time when he woke and then not after (he can't tell the time after all!), so I just fed him at bedtime and then not till morning.

We started with no feeding till 5am, and two months later he now doesn't wake for a feed till at least 7, and sometimes much later (record was 8.45!) grin

He cried a little the first few nights, but not for long, and one of us held him the entire time he was upset. I love dr Gordon, he changed my life!

delilah89 Fri 20-Sep-13 10:35:55

Hi LouLou. I found that refusing to feed to sleep at bed time solved the regular wakings and bebe slept for a much longer innings the first stretch (like 7-3am, rather than waking up at 8, 11, 1, 3 etc).
It all changes though. Now my dd is ill and is awake for milk at 3am and 5.30, with struggle to get her back to sleep after that...
good luck

LoonyLouLou78 Fri 20-Sep-13 21:16:54

Ah right - thanks Delilah. He was up about 5 times last night - just snuggles straight into the boob and off he nods!

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