Please tell me how you night weaned and how bad it was

(20 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Thu 22-Aug-13 10:05:51

I think DH and I are at the end of our rope. Our son is almost 14 months. I've been a bit of a softy so far, fed him on demand and co slept for the first year, then moved him into a cot in his room when he seemed to need more space to sleep. That actually went better than expected. But he still wakes anything from three to five or six times a night and wants to be fed back to sleep ( still breastfeeding). I am sure it's just habit now as he eats well in the day and the only times he wants to bf now are to fall asleep or for comfort if he's fallen over or feeling ill etc.

I've been trying the no cry sleep solution pull-off thing for a couple of months and there's been some progress but he still wants to be at least 80% asleep when he goes in the cot, I can't seem to get to a point where I can put him in actually awake and have him settle. But he acts totally differently with DH - we can be faffng around for an hour at bedtime, then DH comes in and can have him down in 5-10 mins! And at night if DH goes in soon after he's been fed, he'll settle in minutes, whereas if DS sees me he expects a nice snugly feed and won't accept any alternatives, certainly not shhhhing and patting in the cot which all the books seem to think babies like - not mine!

Anyway I am beginning to think I need to just stop feeding cold turkey over a weekend and maybe send in DH for every waking. Is that mean do you think after so long of feeding whenever he wants? I so so wanted to do it gradually but ds just doesn't seem to be giving up wakings / feeds of his own accord. Last night was every hour and its ruining me. There are probably newborns who feed less on his bad nights. Has anyone done this? I like the sound of the Jay Gordon method, has anyone had success with that with a baby over a year? And crucially did they sleep through when not fed?? If we night wean and he still wakes I will actually go crazy I think.

FaddyPeony Thu 22-Aug-13 10:13:46

it sounds like you've answered your own question! The answer is clearly DH smile

Mine was down to an early morning feed at nearly 13 months, and that wasn't every morning. Instead of feeding her either DH or I just picked her up, cuddled for a few mins, then put her back down. Usually would get another hour or so sleep after that. It was fine but she was ready herself I think. And yes, she's slept through ever since.

Do you feed him every time he wakes? I'd try to get it down to something realistic, say to yourself you won't feed him more than 1-2 times per night, with DH doing all the other settlings. Then just get it down to 1, then none...oh I know it sounds easy, it's so different when it's the middle of the night isn't it.

FaddyPeony Thu 22-Aug-13 10:15:17

Shushing and patting never ever worked here either. Only a proper serious cuddle and jiggle would be accepted. I've never understood the shush pat thing! You want to get them nice and sleepy again asap, not drive them into an indignant rage!

EverSoNear Thu 22-Aug-13 10:20:00

I'm afraid I've got no advice, but I'm in a very similar situation. 14month old and I'm at the end of my tether. I've tried weaning night feeds gradually, but it's made no difference. Last night I decided cold turkey was the only way to go after he nearly bit right through me and although it was bloody difficult we managed to get some sleep without feeding at all.

If your DH is able to help of a weekend I'd wait until then as I'm sure it'd be easier with support. Try offering a bottle of water if he wakes but doesn't settle. I found that holding ds close and walking about helped to settle him as its the close comfort he's after. Good luck! I'm hoping tonight is going to be easier.

Nicknamefail Thu 22-Aug-13 10:49:28

My dd settled much quicker with dh too. Definitely the way forward. Good luck. My dd sleeps somuchbetter now she is night weaned.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 22-Aug-13 13:50:52

Faddy that sounds a good idea, maybe just a few nights of one feed and then cold turkey. Trouble is I have these intentions and then at 4am when up for the third time I just crack. I know I'm probably making things worse now and I feel guilty as DH is so knackered and has to work, but is the cumulative exhaustion, it makes it so difficult to make a change.

EverSo, good luck with night two! How bad was it last night in terms of crying? Sort of angry / objecting or really distressed?

PenelopeChipShop Thu 22-Aug-13 13:52:48

Thanks Nickname, that's good to hear. Most people do seen to say not feeding improves sleep so hopefully it will be worth it. Did you carry on feeding in the day for a while? Did your LO ever want to feed again at night, when ill for example? Or did they know it was off the menu for good?!

EverSoNear Thu 22-Aug-13 14:05:20

First it was angry as he couldn't have what he wanted, then he went into melt down. Honestly, it was horrendous, but as I'm a lone parent it has to be me there to calm him down, which is hard as he can obviously smell the milk. I have to look at it as it is necessary, we cannot continue, last night was the perfect opportunity as he'd bitten so hard I couldn't feed even if I wanted to.

I imagine if he's already settling slightly easier with your DH that it shouldn't be so bad.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 22-Aug-13 20:15:59

Crikey sorry you have to do it alone EverSo. You did really well last night so am sure tonight has got to be a bit easier, fingers crossed for uyoutube.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 22-Aug-13 20:16:22

for you that should have been!

nancerama Thu 22-Aug-13 20:19:14

My DH made things worse. He would return with DS and plonk him straight on my boob. I had to be the tough one.

Night 1, 5 grumbly wakings. Each time I told DS it wasn't morning and to go to sleep.

Night 2, 2 wakings

Night 3, straight through without a wake up. It's been a few weeks now.

DS was 2 when we started blush

KingRollo Thu 22-Aug-13 20:20:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

haloflo Thu 22-Aug-13 20:23:26

I nightweaned DD1 when she was 15 mo (when I was a couple of months pg)

I sent her to my mils who is the sweetest nanna ever and has a great bond with DD. DD woke twice and was cuddled back to sleep. MIL tells me it took 20 mins each time. She may have lied but at least DD was with someone she loved. The next night at home she slept til 5am without a feed.

From then on I refused to feed before 5am as I decided she didn't need it. She wasn't bothered although it took a few more weeks for her sleep to settle as she lost her crutch (she wasn't upset just often awake in the night for a couple of hours) Gradually she slept better and better and has been sleeping through regularly since 20 months old.

It did end our breastfeeding though. We kept going with the 5am and 7am for a while but then she slept past them and I went to work. After 3 days of no feeds at nearly 17 months old I realised I'd never feed her again.

I hope to nightwean DD2 earlier (currently 6mo) but not sure I'll use my MIL again and if I do it won't be until after 1 year.

Pitmountainpony Thu 22-Aug-13 20:37:52

You poor thing. Honestly those night wakings make you feel awful.i am soon to night wean my17 month old as I am so irritable from the broken sleep...I reckon one or two wakings then on and off the boob from5.30 am.
Last time we did jay Gordon but my son was nearer to 21 months so understood when I explain no milk at night time.
I feel your pain. All I can say is as soon as you night wean successfully you will feel so different .
Sleep deprivation is horrid and do what you have to do to survive.

imip Thu 22-Aug-13 21:22:28

I've night weaned 4dds and have generally used the same method with varying success. First I get them to sleep the usual way (usually breastfeeding to sleep) then on each awakening til midnight I don't feed to sleep. Yep they cried, yes it sucked, I just couldn't keep feeding for hours every night. also, they really were not actually falling asleep when feeding, just resting. I didn't leave them when they were crying; shush, pat, music in the background, held their hand - whatever! It worked with varying degrees of success. Then from midnight I feed. After a few days I would extend it to 1am, then 2am etc.

I did dd4 this march when she was 15 months, it was spur of the moment, just couldn't do it anymore. Almost eight years of constant breastfeeding, pregnancy, sleep deprivation. It is hard work. Since march we have travelled to France camping twice, and truthfully it is only in the last week or two that she has slept through. She is early waking, say from 4:30am about 50% of the time. It took about two weeks to cut her breastfeeding til4am and I kept feeding til four am until about two months ago.

Now she breastfeedds before she sleeps, her cot is next to my bed - cannot be arsed getting out of bed! I'm hoping over the next week or so she will go down without tears. She has only stopped crying when she lies down.

I am motivated by the fact that dd 1 who is 6, dd2 5 and dd3 3 are all asleep on bed and go down without much complaint. I'm sick of sleep deprivation and I have successfully night weaned. I will probably give up breastfeeding soon. I do think night weaning is the key, but is isn't neccescarily the total solution.

When considering night weaning dd4 I looked on mn for advice and saw people recommend jay Gordon, I was pretty surprised when his method looked a lot like mine! Good luck!

PenelopeChipShop Tue 27-Aug-13 15:02:41

Ooh thanks for posting Imip, I really like your idea of moving the time later each night so it's not so sudden. We started jay Gordon last week but ds beat us basically - just screamed til he was almost sick and I cracked basically. Also DH just can't handle the sleep deprivation and still work so it's down to me I think but of course, as soon as ds sees / smells me he only wants one thing! Is so hard isn't it. You have done v well to bf four in quick succession!! I feel done in with one 14 mo :-(

flipflopson5thavenue Tue 27-Aug-13 20:02:26

am in same boat, could pretty much have written the same post. DS is just over 13mo and the last few months in particular have been awful. Waking 3/4 times a night, only accepting boob, crying each time I put him back down in his cot EVEN IF HE'D FALLEN ASLEEP ON ME AND I"D SAT IN HE BLOODY CHAIR FOR 40MINS!!!!! Sooooo frustrating. He's pretty much ended up in our bed at some point in the night for weeks. DP has found me on the loo sobbing at 4am many a time.

I started back at work today, and DS has started nursery. We're giving him a couple of weeks to settle in, then we're trying Dr Jay Gordon method. Like you, have tried No Cry for a few months, mainly just the putting down awake at bedtime, and it did help in that it often meant he'd have one less awakening at night, but was taking almost 2 hrs to get him to sleep. I think I decided I'd rather have my evenings back!

Anyway, after we'd picked a date to start and circled it on the calendar, DS slept through the night last night!!! It's as if the little bugger knew! anyway, am sure it was just his end of maternity leave gift to me and was a total fluke.

We considered going cold turkey and just sending DP in but decided that the thing we have to break is the sleep/boob association. We're worried that DS will learnt to go back to sleep with DP without milk, but as soon as I go back in, he'll just regress and want milk again.

I agree with another person about sshhh patting etc. How do you pat and comfort a baby who is batting you away and standing in the cot and screaming and pulling at your hair when you try to cuddle/comfort?? Do the people who write these books even HAVE babies??

imip Sat 31-Aug-13 17:51:39

When the dds have kept standing up, I lie them back down and say, "it's time to go to sleep". I repeat this sentence frequently and it becomes a little 'cue'. It's a pain the arse, I'd be bloody rich if I had a penny for each time I have done it to a dds.

Also, and a pretty big key for me, is that we have the cot pulled right up to our bed with the side off. So, I can lie down in bed with dd to breastfeed and then CAREFULLY roll back over into my bed. I've always ended up holding hands with dcs to get to sleep and I just moved slowly. I guess like that method 'gradual withdrawal'. In the last two weeks dd4 feeds sitting on the edge of the bed, gives me a kiss and lies in bed holding my hand to go to sleep no tears, hurrah. It does work, just a lot of effort. However, personally, I could never contemplate controlled crying.

I did Jay Gordon's method while we were still co-sleeping (I think she was 11.5 months). I'd been doing the pull-off thing for a while, so DD was sort of used to not being allowed to completely fall asleep on the boob. She was, however, feeding hourly (and had been since 8 months). I was exhausted, so it had to stop.

Night 1: Awake and crying a lot for 90 mins. I lay on my tummy (so no access to boobs), stroked her and told her to go to sleep. Her sippy cup water got thrown across the room a lot. Then slept until 6.

Night 2: Awake twice for an hour each time, less crying, but still very cross. Water flung across room. Then slept until 6.

Night 3: Awake for 20 mins. Drank water. Slept until 6.

Night 4: Slept through.

She then slept through reliably (even forgoing her 10 p.m. feed) until we moved her into her own room at 12.5 mo. That was pretty awful for another month, and I did feed her sometimes in the night. But then I got tough, moved my mattress out of her room, and if she woke I would only kiss her and then say night-night. No more boob. It worked.

She has her sippy cup of water refilled at 10ish when we go to bed (she drinks quite a bit as she's falling asleep), and if she wakes (rare) I just recite one of her story books to her in a droning voice until she falls asleep again. DH would rather I just left her to cry, but I don't feel comfortable doing that.

She did up her milk consumption dramatically during the day after I nightweaned. She went from six feeds to ten or something. But I didn't mind. I was happy she was sleeping! She's now down to one feed at naptime and one before bed, and even those seem to be waning (I'm 16 weeks pregnant, so I think my milk is drying up).

It's really easy to say once it's over that this or that method will work. But when you're in the middle of it, and DC is crying and you're knackered, you have no way of knowing when, or even if, it will ever end. But I promise it will, eventually.

And just to add to my previous post: ironically, I wasn't more tired after nights 1-3 of nightweaning that I had been previously. After night 1, I realised I could cope whatever she did, because I'd been running on so little sleep for so long anyway. Which helped on night 2 when she woke up the second time. I knew I wouldn't crack. And I'm so glad I didn't! It really was worth it.

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