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Trying to night wean toddler. hard!!! Anyone buck me up?

(32 Posts)
alittleteapot Wed 07-Jan-09 15:16:47

Dd is 18 months and has been a not great sleeper for the last year, with bf the only way to get her back to sleep, which means about six in the evening at night.

We're in the middle of trying to teach her to sleep for longer periods - essentially night weaning - using the Jay Gordon programme.

Here is my thread about it

It's hard! I don't feel like she's traumatised but she sure is angry, and I'm very tired. Last night I got her to sleep at the beginning of the night not on the boob, which was a real breakthrough, and not much crying. She woke at about 11 and that was ok too. But then at 2am she was furious and I ended up getting up and watching poker for an hour and then caved in because i was just too tired. which i guess will have undone all the good work.

anyway, any moral support or similar experience would be good to hear!

alittleteapot Wed 07-Jan-09 16:38:27


Grendle Wed 07-Jan-09 19:45:01

It sounds like a gentle plan for night weaning. I haven't experience of trying this method, but do have experience of being tired from breastfed children waking at this age (like last night for example <yawns>). When we night weaned ds, I enlisted dh's help to cuddle him instead of feeding. We got there in the end, though he still woke at night for some months. I'm not sure if he would have if he'd been in our room/bed, however.

Good luck smile.

Breizhette Wed 07-Jan-09 19:50:01

I tried everything to weaned DD at night and nothing worked until a doctor suggested my mum took over for a few nights. It worked wonder, she's been sleeping through since and there were no tears involved.
DS is now 5 months old and completely addicted to the booby.

fourlittlefeet Wed 07-Jan-09 19:54:21

same here; used DP. they can't give in and give them milk!

ChairmumMiaow Wed 07-Jan-09 19:59:59

We've just night weaned 12mo DS. He has a dream feed at 10, then sleeps through till between 5 and 6am (which is enough as I get a decent long period of sleep, and if he wakes at 5 he normally goes back to sleep in our bed for another hour or so)

Anyway, we don't cosleep any more, but we basically did the same thing. I still feed him to sleep if he will, but any wakings after the dream feed (or before around the right time) he only gets DH. He settled him any way possible (even lying down in the spare bed with him and accidently falling asleep for a couple of hours one night), and at worst it took a couple of hours to get him off from his one night waking, but once we'd added in the dream feed (we did this intermitently before) he started settling really quickly, and so far he's doing great.

Anyway, I imagine its a bit harder if you're cosleeping, but I think it was the fact that DH did the settling that really helped us.

Good luck!

mawbroon Wed 07-Jan-09 20:04:45

LOL, I know exactly how hard it is because I did it with my ds a while back.

I might have mentioned this to you before teapot, but 3 weeks after stopping night feeds, my ds's behaviour became appalling, so much so that I went back to night feeding and the out of character behaviour vanished.

He is a lot older than your dd though (he was coming up for 3 when we did this) so it may not have the same effect on her, but it is something to be aware of.

I hope it all works out for you! smile

BouncingTurtle Wed 07-Jan-09 20:13:41

ChairmumMiaou - the dreamfeed at 10pm, is it from a bottle or boob? I'm thinking that I would like to try again night weaning ds (12mo) but last time we tried it is was so traumatic, he cried his little heart out for over an hour, being held by DH and it was awful sad
But he is starting to wake up every 2-3 hours again and I'm knackered...

ChairmumMiaow Wed 07-Jan-09 20:27:20

BT - always boob! He's not having day feeds any more (well the odd one for a nap) so I put all the bottles away (He never liked them anyway)

I get in bed, and have the lamp on really low. DH brings DS in to me without turning the bedroom light on. He almost never opens his eyes, and often doesn't even make a noise, just wriggles a bit and settles as soon as he gets that nipple! He generally pulls off and sort of rolls of when he's done after about 15 minutes, and DH takes him back.

It never works as well if he's woken up on his own. I think you have to catch them in the right sleep phase somehow!

And the first nights were hard - DS was insistent he wanted his milk, but we knew that although he wasn't getting what he wanted, he wasn't really hungry (his night feeds had got really half hearted, and he's eating tons in the day) and he wasn't being abandoned. He had his favourite Daddy, and he always fell asleep eventually.

BouncingTurtle Wed 07-Jan-09 21:26:43

Cheers, Chairmummiaou! My ds won't take a bottle either, so it is something to consider doing. Though I think it might be a bit late in the day to introduce a dream feed! I think I did try to do it when he was much younger but he always woke up or it didn't make a difference to when he next feeds!
I think he'll go longer in his own time, he has had spells when he has gone 7pm-4am, so maybe he'll do it again!

sfxmum Wed 07-Jan-09 21:33:25

I bf dd during the night until she was 2 which with hindsight was rather foolish of me
but I took advice from the 'no cry' books gentle weaning type and it worked

I told her there would be no more 'boobie milk' (as she called it) during the night, I did said thfor about 2 days during the day iyswim then on D day when she woke up ans asked I said no more boobie milk
it wasn't easy she cried and was quite upset and we had a few (3-4) disrupted nights
I would cuddle her and do as normal but not feed

it worked just fine but I found it quite hard too
Good Luckis

alittleteapot Wed 07-Jan-09 21:37:27

Thanks for your interesting experiences. I don't think it would work for dp to deal with it - he's not home in time consistently and also she goes into major meltdown with him.

Interesting Mawbroon about your ds's behaviour. tonight dd was so furious and i suddenly got concerned that she was learning a whole new level of tantrum and that's a bit worrying. Also, her sleep has gone haywire. she seems to have suddenly dropped her lunchtime nap, and just doesn't seem tired in the evenings. it's all a bit bizarre.

dp came home tonight saying he thinks we should put her in her cot across the room. I know this would mean major meltdown and just can't face it - it's too different from our parenting philosophy so far. So what i've said instead is that we'll step back a step so i still feed her but she has to learn to fall asleep off the boob. then maybe in a week or so we'll try again to skip the feeding altogether.

I feel a bit down about it all tonight. i'd love there to be a natural progression to night weaning and better sleep but at the same time it does feel like something's got to change.

I also think we might start putting her to bed in her own room and play that by ear.

I know we'll look back at this with laughter in a couple of years but right now it feels very important and very difficult.

alittleteapot Wed 07-Jan-09 21:43:48

sfx mum, did you just go cold turkey on her all night? part of our dilemma is the jay gordon programme suggests you select a seven hour period in which to refuse milk but you can feed as normal at other times. we wonder if this is inconsistent and giving mixed messages to dd.

Grendle Wed 07-Jan-09 21:44:32

>Interesting Mawbroon about your ds's behaviour. tonight dd was so furious and i suddenly got concerned that she was learning a whole new level of tantrum and that's a bit worrying. Also, her sleep has gone haywire. she seems to have suddenly dropped her lunchtime nap, and just doesn't seem tired in the evenings. it's all a bit bizarre

This could just be an age thing though, nothing to do with weaning necesarily. My dd is getting a bit like this, and I'm not trying to wean her. [though I would love it if she'd stop her current obsession of trying to sleep with her head actually touching my face continuously overnight, as I find it a bit disruptive]. Dd also goes into meltdown with dh, which ds never did sad.

alittleteapot Wed 07-Jan-09 21:46:31

sigh. i wish she would just feed a couple of times a night and then i'd just let nature take it's course...

sfxmum Wed 07-Jan-09 21:54:18

alitleteapot yes cold turkey but as I said dd was just under 2 she had gone all night with no feed before just because she slept through she had also gone over a day without a feed

I see what you mean about mixed messages did not consider just partially stopping the feeds as the main objective was to help her go back to sleep without the boob

we had already stopped feeding to sleep many months previously, since stopping night feeds she has slept through more consistently
but the thing is she stopped asking to bf altogether shortly after her 2nd birthday and I criedgrin
dd is 3.7 now

alittleteapot Wed 07-Jan-09 22:24:12

my dd can go all day without a bf - it's just nights. i'm going to concentrate now on helping her sleep off the boob but not going to withold feeds altogether right now. i'm just too tired. and it feels too sad! i just fed her to sleep and, well, it really is the most beautfiul thing! We'll see...

ches Thu 08-Jan-09 02:25:22

I remember when I read Dr. Jay's book that I laughed and laughed at his 10-day time table. I think it takes a lot longer to make the transition from Nursing A Lot to Nursing A Little and then Not Nursing At All IYSWIM. I would throw out Dr. Jay's schedule and look back on where you were a week ago, and celebrate your progress, then give yourself and DD a break (without backsliding) before going to the next step. She's probably in the midst of molar/canine teething, or a verbal explosion, or who knows what?

mawbroon Thu 08-Jan-09 08:02:26

teapot - this pattern of ds's behaviour sliding has happend three times now so I doubt very much if it is a coincidence.

One time, as I described, was when I stopped night feeding, another time was when I stopped feeding in the day (both partial weaning attempts were in the hopes of getting pg) and the third time was when I started using the buggy instead of carrying him. He used to walk a lot and I would put him in the Ergo when he was tired, but with the buggy, he wanted in it from the off.

Each time, it took three weeks for the change in behaviour to happen, and each time it disappeared in an instant when we went back to feeding/carrying. I think that he really really needs to be in close contact with me a lot.

alittleteapot Thu 08-Jan-09 08:55:52

Mawbroon i think our dcs are simliar - dd is same - has always needed to be carried and fed alot. which i love, just feels time to move on a bit.

Ches I think you're spot on. Last night I just fed on demand and she only woke at 11, 2.30 and 6 which is pretty good for her. Also, she is absolutely in the middle of a verbal explosion which seems to be lessening her need for sleep at all.

thanks for your posts, i feel a bit better about life again.

just need to get pg, then it'll all happen naturally (she hopes!)


madmouse Thu 08-Jan-09 08:57:40

teapot I am going to be a bit blunt maybe, but it sounds to me from reading your posts on this thread that you are the one who is not ready to stop?

yes, your dd will tell you she does not like it, no one likes change. as adults we moan at our partner, post on mumsnet and sulk in the bath. As babies we just get cross. but change is sometimes necessary and a normal part of life.

My ds (almost 1) is having his last bf tonight. Three weeks ago I thought I would never be able to. He fed at 8 pm, then wake at 9.30 to be cuddled to sleep, fed 11, fed 2, woke 4, fed 5. And I was working pt and exhausted.

So I did some (yes I know don't all jump at once!)controlled crying. He was a fast learner. Learned to go to sleep by himself (not cry himself to sleep, just turn and go zzz) in three days, dropped feeds, upped solids, slept more, dropped more feeds, ate more solids. He has just gone 8.30-8 for the first time ever.

Don't be so afraid to 'traumatise her'. a few tears won't do that. hmm

alittleteapot Thu 08-Jan-09 09:03:40

hmm, i think youv'e got a point madmouse. i think it is a lot about me. i will miss the cuddles and the closeness, but also i'm so knackered at the moment and i could do with more support to see it through. my dd is not a fast learner but when we started jay gordon three months ago she did learn quickly to fall asleep off the boob. feels harder this time and i do wonder if mawbroon has a point about developmental spurt not helping. but you're right and i will bear your wise words in mind... congrats on progress with your ds.

madmouse Thu 08-Jan-09 09:10:24

I miss the snuggles too. I grab him now at intervals just to hold him close and sniff him, and on the two days that I work full time leaving the house before he is awake is really hard, but if I cuddle and touch he will wake up and then dh needs to get up early too, so I leave him.

Grendle Thu 08-Jan-09 09:36:27

Littleteapot -if madmouse is right and you don't feel ready to take this step at the moment, then I wonder if there are things that might help you to cope with the current situation better without taking that step yet? Can you identify what you find hardest about how things are just now?

alittleteapot Thu 08-Jan-09 23:09:04

grendle, the most difficult bit for me is actually the evenings. at night i can just pull her on the boob and, except when she's teething and it goes on for hours, i can just doze on back to sleep. but in the evenings, even though she's now a million time better than say a year ago when she woke every 20 mins!! she still wakes about every hour and even if she goes to sleep within 10 mins, it still means i haven't had an evening and that's hard after 18 months.

anyway, tonight i've gone back to rationed feeding (3 mins only) then putting her down awake. it's gone well so far tonight and i think ches is right that jay gordon's 10 day time table is a tad unrealistic. so i think i'll try and go at my own pace, as suggested, but without stepping back.

thanks again for all your posts. feeling better tonight but still v tired, partly because of too many winter lurgies!

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