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Please talk to me about night weaning...

(14 Posts)
Zimm Thu 23-Jun-11 07:47:51

Following on from my previous thread about return to work I think I want to night wean. Not a decision I have taken lightly as I would rather do things at DD's pace but I am exhausted. She is 10.5 months and having at least 2 if not 3 feeds at night. This affects her appetite during the course she feeds more at night, vicious circle etc etc. I don't mind the odd night feed - especially when she is teething or something but I can't continue this.

What should I do? At the moment I am thinking pass all night wakings to DP for 3 nights and just tank her up in the day. Is cold turkey best or should I do something more gradual? If you actively night weaned what was your experience?

Chulita Thu 23-Jun-11 08:08:45

I just weaned my 10.5 month old off his 2 feeds a night. He fed around 10pm and then around 2/3 am and up at 5. I dropped the 2/3 feed first by just going in and offering water, I also started a dreamfeed since he sometimes slept through the 10pm one. After 3 nights he didn't wake for the early morning feed so I then dropped the 10pm one. It took about 5 days in all, he's been sleeping from 6.30pm til 5.20am for 2 weeks.
I night weaned DD at ten months from 3-4 feeds during the night and did similar except with her it took 10 days of screaming to get her to let go of her night feeds and she then stopped bfing.
DS did cry for a couple of nights but not for longer than about 30 mins, tbh though, night weaning on the whole involves crying (us as much as them sometimes...)

DialMforMummy Thu 23-Jun-11 08:20:07

I assume your DD has a healthy weight.
I would deal with one feed at a time rather than go from 2/3 to 0. What time does she go to bed? Say if she goes to bed at 7pm you could the give her a dream feed at about 11 or so and then at this age, she should be able to go through the night really. But, be prepared, she won't go through without a fight!
We weaned our DS from his 4am feed at 6 months (he had still a dream feed) and it took three or four night of tears and after that he was fine. By then we already had reduced (gradually) the amount he was getting for this feed so we knew he was not relying on it. It was more a habit than real need asfar as I can tell. good luck.

Zimm Thu 23-Jun-11 10:18:04

Hi - thanks for replies so far. Yes - she above the 91st centile so not in danger of fading away! (She's very long - so nor is she fat).

My issue with dropping one feed at a time is that her feeds are erratic in timing and quantity - but I am convinced they are just her way of getting back to sleep rather than actually 'needed'. I have considered maybe saying no feed four hours after a feed or similar - but then she'd still get fed some of the time so I worry she would not get the message about no waking for milk.

Zimm Thu 23-Jun-11 10:18:53

Can't really reduce the quantity of milk at a feed as BF and feeds are five mins or anyway. I doubt she takes much.

DialMforMummy Thu 23-Jun-11 10:42:59

Well then you might need to go down the tough love route and let her cry....

Chulita Thu 23-Jun-11 13:06:47

DS had erratic feeds overnight too, when I say 10pm, I mean anywhere from 9 - 11.30pm and when I say 2 or 3am I mean anywhere between 1 - 4.30am, I just took the average time. That's the main reason I decided on a dreamfeed at 10pm if he hadn't woken before and then not feeding til he woke for the morning (around 5am) Any other time he woke up I offered water and shushed him/let him cry.

Notanexcitingname Thu 23-Jun-11 13:08:16

Zimm I adapted Dr Jack Newman's nightweaning approach to develop a block of hours during which I wouldn't feed. I also wouldn't start this until there is some semblence of feeding not being essential to settle at bedtime/.

With DS2, we did firstly Daddy for any wakings before 10pm, then 12am, 2am, and then he started going to 5am of his own accord. This took around 3 weeks, but my ds was older, around 18 months.

It really doesn't matter that the feedings are erratic, ime

Good luck smile

WickedWitchSouthWest Thu 23-Jun-11 13:26:26

My nearly 1yo DS has bf around 11pm and again anything from 3-5am, up for the day 7-8am.

With my dd we night weaned at 14 mo and I just sent DH in with a beaker of room temp water to offer her just in case it was thirst that was waking her. It was 3 nights of "no mummy at night time" and offering water instead and she got it and was happy with her dummy!

So we tried that method with DS a couple of weeks ago and after 20 minutes of hysterical crying I went in and fed him. He doesn't want a dummy so I'm stumped now.

The point is I've tried and it didn't go well. We'll wait a couple of weeks and try again so I'd say give it a go but if you're really not happy then wait a try again another time.

Zimm Thu 23-Jun-11 16:16:08

Thanks all. No, we won't be letting her cry - DP will be rocking or shushog her back to sleep. this will involve some crying of course but not baby left alone in a dark room crying!

Cosmosis Thu 23-Jun-11 17:05:43

I haven’t night weaned as such, but like you I wanted to cut down on them when back at work. We decided 1 feed at night was all he needs now and so DH dealt with any wakings other than the one we wanted to feed for. It took a couple of weeks but now he mostly only wakes once, at which point I feed him, and he’s slept through a grand total of 3 times grin (he’s 9m btw).

Zimm Fri 24-Jun-11 20:14:35

Thanks cosmosis for your comments here and on my other thread. Very reassuring.

RitaMorgan Fri 24-Jun-11 20:38:07

Does she feed to sleep at bedtime? If she needs the night feeds to get back to sleep I would first work on another way for her to fall asleep so your DH can do that in the night too. When I stopped feeding to sleep DP rocked DS to sleep at bedtime, and then moved onto just patting him in his cot. When we cut down on nightfeeds he would go in with water/dummy/patting.

I did a dreamfeed at 11, and then wouldn't feed again til 3am - if DS woke in between DP went to him. Then basically pushed the 3am feed up to 5am and once DS was sleeping 11pm-5am, I brought the dreamfeed 30 mins earlier every few nights. Once it was at 9pm I just stopped doing it, and now DS goes 7.30pm-6am without a feed (which isn't entirely the same thing as "sleeping through" but at least DP can deal with night wakings too!).

Zimm Sat 25-Jun-11 07:58:45

Thanks Rita - we will be doing something similar. She currently feeds to sleep - this is a regression, she was self-soothing (well with patting) but then we had a bad bout of teething. DP will now be putting her to bed and dealing with any wakings before 1am as a first step - once he is over this sickness bug that is going around!

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