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Did night-weaning result in 'better' sleep for you and your baby? Or not...?

(18 Posts)
peacefuleasyfeeling Sun 11-Sep-11 23:27:43

I have recently been considering night-weaning my BF 16 month old DD, who wakes up 3 or 4 times a night, every night, for milk. It doesn't bother me too much as she is increasingly able to wriggle into bed with me (DP retreated good-naturedly to the spare room long ago) from her bedside cot and find my boobs of her own accord; my nights are just this benign hazy blur. I've spent some time looking through night-weaning 'How To' threads this evening and have found, to my great surprise and disappointment, that contrary to what I assumed, night-weaning doesn't automatically result in 'better' sleep, or sleeping through the night. Oh. shock
What happened to your baby's sleep when you night-weaned (and how old were they and did you co-sleep or put them in their own room)? I suppose I'm trying to discern whether it's worth the trouble I anticipate, especially as I don't mind the night-feeds as such, I just fancy having more than 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep again. Lying down and feeding back to sleep is a lot lovelier than shhh-ing and patting IMO...
I would be very grateful for your thoughts.

Zimbah Mon 12-Sep-11 10:29:02

I semi-nightweaned my bf daughter starting at around 9 months, basically I stopped bf'ing her between 11am and 4am (I very gradually reduced the length of time I fed her for between those hours, and then once stopped that I reduced my response to her wakings). It did result in her stopping waking up between 11 and 4am, bliss to have 5 hours sleep in a row! So yes for me it worked really well.

She then of her own accord started moving her early morning feed later and later i.e. it gradually moved from 4am to 6am, brilliant.

Zimbah Mon 12-Sep-11 10:29:28

Meant to add, I did have to shush and pat for a while after stopping feeding her but only for a couple of weeks and then she stopped waking at all.

LadyDamerel Mon 12-Sep-11 10:34:24

I stopped bfing dc3 just after his 2nd birthday and he still woke up at least two or three times every night for the next 18 months.

Being able to stay in bed and know they'll nod back off after a quick slurp is far more preferable to having to get up, settle them, get back into bed and try to go back to sleep yourself, imo.

I think if they bf on demand through the night then it does become a bit of a crutch to get back to sleep but no amount of sleep training made any difference to dc3 once he'd weaned, he just couldn't/wouldn't sleep.

In hindsight it would have been easier to carry on a bit longer and save myself the hours of sitting on his floor trying to get him to go to sleep again!

mrsbaffled Mon 12-Sep-11 11:49:24

Mine nightweaned themselves, just going gradually longer and longer between the 2 big feeds (so no shushing and patting). BUT I did force cluser feeding in the evening. I basically BF from 6pm to 8pm- helped at night though smile

LukeyLou Mon 12-Sep-11 12:58:48

I co-slept, and night-weaned my DS at 17 months. I'm sorry to say it made no difference to his night time waking.

I stopped when I did for two reasons. Firstly because feeding him no longer worked as a way of getting him back to sleep, and secondly because I came very close to being packed off to hospital by my GP because of an ongoing medical condition (totally unrelated, but felt I had to ensure it was possible for my DH to take over nights should he need to).

DS's sleep has gradually improved and matured in his own time. We moved him into his own room and big bed just after his 2nd birthday with absolutely no problems, when we felt he was ready. He is now 2.5, and generally only wakes up once a night and goes back to sleep very easily.

Not sure if this helps or not!

2ddornot2dd Mon 12-Sep-11 21:01:31

Mine both started sleeping through shortly after night weaning - did it by dropping one feed at once and just cuddling them instead. I am also a fan of the baby whisperer for getting them to sleep in the first place, but didn't bother doing it until they were weaned (12 months and 13 months respectively). By 15 months they could both put themselves to sleep and then go through for 12 hours. (and they were both very bad sleepers as babies).

Anecdotally the same has been true for at least two of my friends.

MoaningMinnieWhingesAgain Mon 12-Sep-11 21:17:34

DS nightweaned at about 19-20m IIRC. With a slight nudge from me, I tried just cuddling him to see if he would go back to sleep without it and after a few tries he did. He kept still climbing into bed with me for a lot longer though. (He went into a bed around 16/17m) I was quite fed of of the broken nights by then, TBH.

Most nights he now sleeps through and just gets in my bed when it is practically getting up time anyway, today I had to wake him at 8am for nursery and he was still in his own bed. It was slow progress but no trauma for either of us.

Tgger Tue 13-Sep-11 14:12:33

Yes, gradually cut back on the night feeds from 8 months (I was struggling with the sleep deprivation and had a toddler to look after too). Did it gradually and maybe after a month only one feed was left at 4/5am (didn't do 11pm feed either). That feed did stay there until about 13/14 months and then gradually got that one later, 6am then 7 am. Then quit BF at 18 months.

Stangirl Tue 13-Sep-11 15:06:09

I weaned at 6months. Biggest difference was moving DD into separate room - we stopped waking each other. Gradually went longer between feeds - she was sleeping through after a fortnight and has since always slept 12-13 hours at night. We also put a blackout blind up in her room as daylight wakes her.

peacefuleasyfeeling Tue 13-Sep-11 19:21:56

This is so helpful! It's good to have a realistic expectation of what the outcome might be. Thank you all very much!

TheRealMBJ Tue 13-Sep-11 19:24:59

No difference in sleep here either. Still wakes at 11pm, 2am, an 4am ish. St no longer 'hangs of my boob'.

I have found it better for me mentally though as I was hating the night feeds and starting to resent DS (he's 21 months now 18 when he night-weaned)

sheeplikessleep Tue 13-Sep-11 19:28:28

I night weaned DS2 at 10 months, when he was still waking twice a night. He was in his own room from 6 months.

We did the cuddling back to sleep strategy (well DH did) and after two nights, he was sleeping 7pm - 5am.

He still wakes at 5.30am now at 18 months, but he does sleep through to that point. I've just stopped bf'ing at 18 months.

Haggisfish Wed 14-Sep-11 20:24:12

We have just night weaned at 14 months - Lo was not really drinking much when she woke many times in the night -just sucking back to sleep really. It took us a week - OH went in every time she woke. Most times she went back to sleep fine when he put dummy in - a few times she needed a hug/sometimes came downstairs for a play if before 11pm, but she has slept through (7-7) pretty reliably for a week or so now. i am still waking a couple of times, through habit, but am hoping I grow out of it soon!

rubyslippers Wed 14-Sep-11 20:27:20

Yes to worked very well - did it at 6.5 months old and it took two weeks. She slept through from her dream feed until 6.30 am

Kpt the dream feed until she was 11 months

AnyoneButLulu Wed 14-Sep-11 20:37:46

I nightweaned my two at around 7/8/9 months (I think, something like that) and they started sleeping through at that point. I fed them as much as they could possibly take during the day and substituted lots of cuddles and a bottle of water at night instead of a feed and they just decided they couldn't be bothered waking up if there was no milk on offer, took a couple of days as I recall.

But I had already done a bit of (very) controlled crying at bedtime so they had got the hang of going to sleep in the cot by themselves. I don't think it would necessarily work with a baby who always bf to sleep in the evening.

motherinferior Wed 14-Sep-11 20:41:24

Yes, of course. On account of both of us being able to sleep through the night.

AngelDog Wed 14-Sep-11 22:07:51

Yes at 7 months, but not at 10 months (same child) - the second time I had to rock him in the rocking chair for 10-15 mins 3-5 times a night which was far worse, so I went back to feeding every time he woke (we co-sleep so it's not a great big deal). At 13 months he suddenly dropped from 3-5 feeds to 1 on his own. It's more now again due to developmental stuff and teething.

I'd say it's worth a try, but don't be afraid to undo it if it doesn't work for you.

Don't forget that teething, developmental leaps and separation anxiety are likely to lead to periods of more waking irrespective of night weaning. There's a big sleep regression at 18 months. Personally I wouldn't have tried nightweaning because feeding to sleep is so useful for sleep regression periods - but in the end DS wasn't even affected by the 18 month developmental leap.

IME if a child feeds to sleep and wakes every 1.5 hours then night weaning is pretty likely to be successful as they think they need bf to move from one sleep cycle to another. But if they wake less frequently there's less likelihood of it working IMO.

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