Nightweaning/better sleep for breastfed 12 month old

(10 Posts)
Comebacksleep Sat 02-Jan-16 20:24:41

DC3 is 12 months old. Am still breastfeeding and ideally want to continue breastfeeding but need better sleep. He wakes often 2 or 3 hourly when I've been feeding him back to sleep.

Over the Christmas period, decided to nightwean (apart from a feed at 10pmish) but it's failed. He's tolerated not having any milk, generally got himself back to sleep about midnight, but at the following feed has generally struggled to get back to sleep - he's either awake for 2 hours, or I eventually get him to sleep in bed next to me but rouses easily if I move an inch! Last night awful again and decided to give up - decided with the school run coming back I NEED sleep to manage the other two, and at least if I feed him he goes back to sleep and generally in his own cot.

What's the answer? How do I get him to sleep through better? I've resisted controlled crying hoping that he would naturally wake less without the milk reward, and he gets hysterical if I leave him crying in his cot. What are the gentle sleep methods people talk about? Don't know if I've just forgotten but the other kids didn't seem so hard!! Thanks in advance x

FATEdestiny Sun 03-Jan-16 15:45:57

Is he breastfed to sleep? It might be better to focus on that first. Teach him to go to sleep independently in his cot at bedtime and naptime. Start feeding upon waking up, not upon going to sleep during the day to cut any association between breastfeeding and sleep. Then once settling to sleep on his own, he'll have the skills to be better able to do this at night too.

katienana Sun 03-Jan-16 15:58:03

Google no cry sleep solution. I think you're doing quite well to have him sleeping in his own cot so that's good. You probably need someone else to help you with nightweaning as if you go to him the smell of your milk will be like torture!

Comebacksleep Sun 03-Jan-16 19:39:49

Thanks guys. FATEdestiny, I've managed to stop feeding to sleep at bedtime which has improved things, but yes - in the night and for naps there's a pretty strong milk/sleep association. Wow, that'll be a biggie to break - can I handle it??!!

katienana - I did get hubby to deal with it with DS2 but this one seems a much more tender soul and I couldn't do it to him hence looking for a more sofly softly approach where he gets the reassurance I've not forgotten him allowing him to sleep better. Or maybe I've gone more soft....

Typically last night I got my best night for ages and went from 7pm till 3am - so at least I'm rejuvenated today!!

geekaMaxima Sun 03-Jan-16 20:20:26

Not sure how much this will help as the circumstances were quite specific, but here goes...

DS was exactly the same at 12 months. We went away for a week to North America, so the time difference threw his routine out. Due to flight delays, we were well past his bedtime getting to the hotel, though he had been dozing on and off in his sling. He fed to sleep and went down in his cot about 6 hours later than usual.

He slept through for 7-8 hours! (My boobs were bursting by morning blush). Next night, he went to bed at the same time as night before, and slept through 7-8 hours again, quick feed, then back to sleep for another 3 hours. He slept even longer again the next night. It was bliss.

Then the poor chap got sick and ran a fever for days... But by the end of it was sleeping through 11-12 hours by himself. And it continued when we got home, despite the time difference again, we also moved him into his own room the first night we got back...)

So errr... may I recommend jetlag?? I think a tired baby with a disrupted routine just can't wake up at the usual times, so it breaks the habit.

FATEdestiny Sun 03-Jan-16 21:19:19

What do you do to get him to go to sleep at bedtime? Could that work at naptimes in the daytime?

In terms of not feeding to sleep for naps and bedtime, it's just about biting the bullet and doing it. Put in cot and do all the settling to sleep in the cot. I would stay right by the cot all of the time, shushing, patting, tickling, singing, whatever works to reassure. The key is to try to not pick baby up, but also stay with him until he (eventually) drops off to sleep. Then gently over time reduce the amount of reassurance needed.

This is much more easily done in the daytime when you are less tired, hence my suggestion to 'crack' naps and bedtime first so that you can break the feeding and sleeping link.

Comebacksleep Mon 04-Jan-16 13:49:11

geeksMaxima - I love it!! OK, kinda extreem to organise but I'm tempted... Shows that we/they get into patterns of behaviour but they can be shifted by a change of circumstances

FATEdestiny - I know you're right - it would have a great impact, but the issue is juggling the other two. He had to nap if he can in the morning school days on the run, then in the afternoon buy the time I've got ds2 from nursery, got home and given them lunch it's near 1, and I have to leave the house at 2.35 to get dd1 from school so I really need to get him down quick to squeeze his nap in. That said, he's full from lunch so it is a behavioural thing to have milk then so it's got potential. I know the advise id sound - it's having the space/time to implement it. THANK YOU x

Just off to book a long haul flight somewhere... ;)

HeadDreamer Mon 04-Jan-16 13:52:28

Have you figured out if he's still hungry? Both my DDs needed feeding at 12mo still. DD2 is 15mo and has just slept through, without me doing any sleep training. She just went longer and longer, and one night at 15mo, she stopped waking up in the middle of the night.

I could tell she was hungry before because no amount of rocking can keep her asleep for long. She would wake up after 30min or so and crying again. But a feed would put her to asleep for 4-5 hours easily.

If he can self settle, it's quite likely he is just hungry. It's 2-3 hours you are saying he's doing. That means he's sleeping for at least couple of sleep cycles.

HeadDreamer Mon 04-Jan-16 13:53:48

Basically she just started going from 7pm to about 5-6am in the morning before christmas. And has stayed that way so far. It do just happen if they are ready.

FATEdestiny Mon 04-Jan-16 16:18:27

My youngest is DC4 so you don't need to tell me about fitting baby's routine in with school runs, nursery (and brownies, beavers, swimming, netball, athletics club etc.)

I dealt with it by making DC4 super routined, she would be woken and kept awake as needed and then put on cot when she was "allowed" to sleep (ie when our household routine allowed for it). I think it's done her a lot of good.

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