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For those who want to nightwean a toddler...success story

(9 Posts)
Littlehousesomewhere Fri 10-May-13 12:21:35

I really wanted to share this, I did update an earlier thread but I thought I would post a new thread about it as well, as it has made such a difference to all our lives.

DS (22 months) was always a terrible sleeper and a very keen night feeder.

I started shortening night feeds about 6 weeks ago (?). I started cutting back to 4 mins (I think) at first for a week or so and then I cut down to 3 minutes for another week and then 2 minutes for another week.

Then I cut down to 1 minute and at this stage he started sleeping through. He does wake maybe 2 times a week and I do feed him if he is upset but for no more than 1 minute and then he goes straight back to sleep for the rest of the night with no fuss.

I am having 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep for the first time since he was born! grin

The whole process has been very painless and although he did cry a bit at the start when I started shortening feeds, he adjusted pretty quickly and doesn't cry much at all now.

We have his last molars and transitioning to a bed still to get through, but I am really confident that we have finally turned a corner with his sleep.

I remember feeling quite hopeless about it all and I dislike hearing him cry at night so I never wanted to make big abrupt changes while night weaning, but it has all been so simple and easy.

I wanted to share so my experience could maybe help someone else who feels like night feeds will never end!

DefiniteMaybe Fri 10-May-13 12:23:24

How did you manage to shorten the feeds? Dd will not let me go before she wants to but I need to night wean her or something.

Littlehousesomewhere Fri 10-May-13 12:38:00

Also thought I would add that we tried night weaning at around 12 months with no success at all, he got very upset and although dh was comforting he continued being upset so we stopped trying after about a week of very disrupted nights (and days) I dont think he was ready at all at this stage.

Definite I started shortening them as his feeds were increasing in length up to 15-20 minutes a couple of times a night. He also would cry when I stopped him after that length of time so I decided that we would just have to go cold turkey on shortening them.

I just put him down in his cot as soon as his time was up. He did get upset and cried at first but dh did walk in/walk out every now and rubbed his back/talked to him and he settled down fairly quickly. I think the longest he cried was about 15 minutes.

As I kept shortening them he seemed to get use to it and stopped crying after awhile and when I put him back in his cot he just rolled over and either went to sleep straight away or lay quietly for awhile before going to sleep.

Also his crying was more like a tantrum/angry cry than a sad/hysterical cry.

Littlehousesomewhere Fri 10-May-13 12:42:52

To stop the feed I told said "finished no more" and slid my finger under to unlatch him. Then I put him straight down and walked out, Dh walked in a few seconds later if he was upset.

DefiniteMaybe Fri 10-May-13 19:46:12

Ah dd just wouldn't let go she's not against holding on with teeth if she doesn't want to let go.

rubyslippers Fri 10-May-13 19:48:34

weaning can often be less painful than we think

it sounds like you did it nice and gently

enjoy your sleep smile

feekerry Fri 10-May-13 20:24:47

hmmm dd is 14m. i am so tempted to give this a go now.
the major problem i have is dd wakes between 4.30am and 5.30am (as well as maybe once or twice thru the night.) and the only way i can get her back to sleep at 4.30am ish is to bring her into bed with us where she suckles endlessly. if i try only feed her quickly she won't go back to sleep as not tired enough and ends up too awake so thats us up for the day. which is a killer. what time was your ds waking....

Littlehousesomewhere Fri 10-May-13 22:58:39

definte he has only done that a couple of times and I just gently pinched his nose closed and he let go.

fee this is the only downside. He used to wake just before 7 and now he wakes nearly an hour earlier. He is still having long midday naps (2.5hours) which is why I think this is happening. At this stage I would rather he keeps having the nap (as i like the break) than to try shortening it to see if he will do a longer stretch at night. At the moment he is only having 10.5-11 hours sleep at night and goes to sleep between 7 and 7.30.

Before we started all this he was waking 2-3 times, 10ish, 2ish an sometimes 4ish. When I started shortening feeds after about a week or so he stopped waking more than once, actually he didn't fully stop waking as I did hear him rouse and cry out for a few seconds but he just went back to sleep himself.

Now the few times he has woken fully since he started sleeping through it has been around midnight and dh goes in to tell him to go to sleep or pats his back a bit and if he gets more upset I do feed him for just a minute and then he goes to sleep without a fuss.

The reason why I did it so gradually was because I was always worried about his eating as he is not the best eater and I didn't know how much he was relying on the night feeds for nutrition. He did start eating more pretty much straight away and I also noticed a big increase in drinking water (this is the only thing he drinks as he dislikes cow milk).

When dh is home (40% of the time) for bedtimes he puts him to bed without a breastfeed (we have been doing that since he was 18 months) but dh has noticed he drinks a lot more water now before bed.

fee you could try and see how it goes. As I said we tried doing it around 12 months but it didn't work at all and he was just too upset and must have needed it more. He cried for longer and kept waking a couple of hours after the previous shortened feed sad so I think he needed the milk or the comfort from breastfeeding a lot more at that age.

fhdl34 Fri 10-May-13 23:24:04

Thanks for posting this, dd has recently started sleeping through of her own accord and I'm trying to discourage her from feeding back to sleep when she does wake in the night. She's only woken for 2 nights since I started wanting to do this, both times I told her I'd count to 10 and then milkies were going to sleep. The first time she accepted this and said bye bye milkies and just went to sleep, the second time she wouldn't come off but when she did of her own accord, she said bye again. I'm pregnant so supply is fast depleting and she's not happy about no longer being able to feed to sleep

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