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so tired, trying to cut out night time breastfeeding, no success - 11 months.

(23 Posts)
iccarus Wed 24-Aug-11 15:23:00

Hi Everyone, I posted pretty much the same thread on the feeding section but am thinking now this might be more of a sleep than a feeding issue. Apologies if you have already read this before. I need a bit of advice really. My DS is 11 months and we are still breastfeeding. I've been thinking for a while that I might like to stop by his birthday, however, am now wondering how much is me actually wanting to stop and how much is pressure from my Mum, MIL and friends/colleagues. I think I'd be happy to continue until he self weans, apart from the night feeds. I'm back at work now, ony part time but still... and getting up so much at night after 11 months is really starting to get to me. On the odd occasion when he sleeps better and I get more rest I feel like a much better mum with more energy for him during the day and I'm worried that by trying to do the best for him with feeding he's actually missing out on fun mum because I'm so tired in the day. He wakes up anything from 2-6 times a night and is usually wide awake for the day between 5 and 6am. Most of the time he doesn't actually want milk, he just wants the boob and a cuddle. He has a dummy and a teddy but most of the time they don't help. Sorry for the really long post, just want some advice on whether I can just night wean and how to do it, or whether i'd be best stopping feeding all together.

Amykins Wed 24-Aug-11 15:50:25

Was exactly the same with my daughter: she suddenly went from waking twice for night feeds to sleeping through for hours and hours (this happened when she was about 13/14 months). Thought it would never happen.

Also understand pressure from mother etc to stop breast feeding. No advice really, but do sympathise.

You'll get there and you WILL get lots of sleep sometime soon.

CamperFan Wed 24-Aug-11 18:28:12

I understand how you feel as I was getting frustrated with feeding DS2 (10 months) several times a night. So we did some controlled crying on Friday night and within 2 nights he was happy to go without a feed and last night he practically slept through. My thread is "My CC Diary". I was never one for CC before, but we've actually had a minimal amount of crying - I figured that he was going to cry whatever we did as the boob would be only thing that has settled him. It's been lovely feeding him first thing (would never do this normally as feeding in the night) after a good nights sleep! And now I feel like I can go on bfing. Of course there are other things you can try, but I found that if this has worked then it has been rapid and fairly painless!

rockandrose Wed 24-Aug-11 18:37:24

Hi, I have just stopped night feeding my 15 month old, last feed at 6.30pm and then into cot awake, no matter how much he crys or for how long I just sit next to his cot saying sshhh. When he wakes in the night I do the same thing, don't pick him up, just say ssshh and sit next to the cot.

The first night it took 2 hours and by the 4th night it was down to about 20mins. He is still waking in the night but I have stopped feeding him (first morning feed at 5am), so have more energy.

We hope this will lead to him sleeping through. So similar to CC but for me less upsetting as I am there...good luck with whatever you decide.

Oh and we used the sleep sense book to help us.

bigkidsdidit Wed 24-Aug-11 18:37:28

Poor you! I know exactly how you feel. I night weaned DS at six months ish as he was clearly not hungry but using it as a way of getting to sleep, and couldn't get to sleep without it - he was waking every 45 minutes. Aaargh. Now he sleeps through smile we didn't do cc as he was too young at that point and I wanted a no cry method.

I think, if this is possible for you, a good way of doing it is to get your DH to do all night wakings for three or four nights. Maybe this bank holiday weekend! How handy. I started by feeding once after 12 then pushed it later and later. I found he adjusted how much he had in the day and as camper says he became hungrier first thing. So for example your DH settle him, however he can, till 12, then you feed at the next waking, then your DH again. Or just cold turkey and you sleep on the sofa! Would that be possible for you?

Cbell Wed 24-Aug-11 18:57:36


Can I join this thread as I am in a very similar position with my 7.5mo DD. We've been pretty much co-sleeping for the past two months and she feeds between 2- 6 times a night. Last night I was in tears...I just couldn't take it any more.

I'd like to try night weaning this weekend. bigkid accepting that every child is different could you give me a bit more of a run through as to what you did. I don't think I am happy to leave her by herself but maybe with my hubby.

iccarus I know precisely what you mean about night time parenting exhausting you so much that you feel as though you don't have the energy for the day. This has been running through my mind too and it surely can't be a good deal for our children.

Please, please, please help...I am so very unhappy

doIreallyhavetohaveanickname Wed 24-Aug-11 19:41:47

I have just googled mumsnet for the first time for this exact problem!

My baby is 9 months old and still waking twice a night for breastfeeds. I'm going back to work in less than a month and desparate to get more sleep. He has never slept through but since he started weaning he won't take any milk (breast or bottle) during the day so his only milk intake is at night plus a little in porridge. He only takes sips of water from an open beaker too so he's not getting much fluid in. I'm worried that if I leave him to cry at night he's actually thirsty. My neighbour and her nanny both advocate controlled crying and cluster feeding (feeding him several times in the evening - not sure how to do this and look after my 3 year old). They warned me I might have to go to him 150 times in one night! I feel really uncomfortable with the idea of leaving him to cry for hours. Is there an alternative?

bigkidsdidit Wed 24-Aug-11 19:45:08

Well as you say each baby is different and when we did it he was less mobile etc an not sitting up, which meant the mattress was at the top of his cot bed and I could lie the top half of my body next to his for a cuddle which was useful!

After a while of cutting out feeds it was blindingly obvious DS just wasn't hungry at night (wouldn't feed in morning etc) so I cut out all feeds and DH did three nights straight while I was on the sofa. I think he started by cuddling, singing wind the bobbin endlessly and stroking his head. After that we did half the night each. We comforted him in the cot as much as possible, kissing nose and stroking face and singing etc. If he got upset we did PUPD. After about a week we gradually reduced the amount of stroking and gradually went more silent. At the end I could go over, put my hand on his tummy and he'd go to sleep.

I think one of he most important bits was I also stopped feeding to sleep, even naps, and always put him awake in the cot. He gradually learnt to go to sleep without me - it took about six weeks and then his sleeps got longer and longer. He never cried much I think because we were always there wih him.

I can't think of important bits to say! Ask me any other questions if you like smile

bigkidsdidit Wed 24-Aug-11 19:48:38

Oh forgot to say that it was tough. But even the first night, when he didn't know what was expected and we put him down awake for thefirst time, the first time I'd not fed to sleep, it was better and more hopeful than all the nights previously.

CamperFan Wed 24-Aug-11 20:52:14

doireally, I have to add that I was very worried about doing controlled crying, but if you look at my other thread it has consisted of:
- day 1, first wake up cried for 40 mins, we went in every 5 mins, patted, second wake up 15mins
- day 2, first wake up 20 mins, second wake up 35 mins, again going in every 5 mins
- day 3, awake for an hour n the middle of night, but no wailing, just grizzling and chatting, we went in about 3 times to help him lie back down
- day 4, awake for 20 mins, no wailing, went in once I think
- day 5 (last night), awake for 10 mins, didn't go in as what not crying

For us this is amazing as I've been feeding him 2-3 times in the night and nothing else has settled him. And as you can see, we were not leaving him to cry for hours.

Can you feed your DS in a quiet dark room in the day? After naps when he is sleepy? Can you make more food with dairy in? I have also offered water at night the last 5 nights and leave a little beaker with him.

rubyslippers Wed 24-Aug-11 20:55:59

I night weaned by reducing the time of each feed by one minute every other night

I started at 10 mins and cut the time down as above

It took 2 weeks and very few tears - by the time I got to 3 mins per feed i stopped and she slept through

DD was 6.5 months and feeding every 3 hours

I kept the dream feed until she was around 11 months and then cut it out in the same way

cleanandclothed Wed 24-Aug-11 21:01:56

If you have a DH/DP, get them to go it in the night instead of you. We did this for 1 month with DS when he was 9 months and was just feeding for comfort instead of hunger. The first 3 nights he cried, but at least someone was cuddling him. Then he fussed much less, and by the end of the month was sleeping through and then after that if he did wake the odd night he didn't need milk even if I went to him.

iccarus Wed 24-Aug-11 21:06:37

Thanks everyone, there's some really helpful suggestions especially about getting my DH to help and maybe trying cc. We have sort of tried my DH going to him before but it never lasts for more than a couple of minutes before I go in because DS just screams so much when he realises mum hasn't arrived with booby. At my wits end at the moment. Maybe we just need to persevere with this idea.

doIreallyhavetohaveanickname Wed 24-Aug-11 21:13:26

It is great to hear some new, less-confrontational ideas. Thank you everyone.

circlehead Wed 24-Aug-11 22:28:59

Am currently wondering how on earth to cut out night feeds with ds (12m). Have tried before but never persevered for very long, as all I want to do is go back to sleep asap! I have to battle with the double whammy of being an LP, and living in a very poorly sound-proofed little block of flats. So no-one to go in instead of me and can't leave ds to cry!
He will generally go back to sleep on my shoulder in a couple of mins with a sip of water, although still grizzling, after 1st wake up. But as I say, after that, when I have to get out of bed at 1/3/5am, there is no contest : drag into bed with me, boob out, back to sleep.
I am just hoping against hope that he just grows out of it [crosses everything].
But sounds like there are some great suggestions on here if you have the capacity to let your ds cry a little.

HerdOfTinyElephants Wed 24-Aug-11 22:46:16

The way we've night-weaned has always been (a) to expect a rough few nights -- so over a bank holiday weekend or something is ideal and (b) to have DH handle the whole thing. From the point of the view of the DC I was "sleeping" (actually just pretending furiously). I have huge respect for anyone dealing with it as a LP.

CamperFan Thu 25-Aug-11 07:41:08

Icarus, that was exactly the problem I had. DH could sometimes settle DS2 him eventually with a lot of back stroking, but generally I would just feed him because of the wailing and for an easy life. So I figured as he cried anyway when we tried to settle him another way, that we should do something constructive and consistent, rather than sometimes trying to settle him, sometimes feeding, etc, which I don't think is really fair on him. And like I said, only 2 night of the same kind of crying we would have got anyway, the difference being I didn't give in and feed him after 5 mins like I normally would. It's been 6 nights since I fed him in the night now and I can honestly say he is not bothered in the slightest. He woke at 12am last night, back to sleep in less than 10 mins, I just had to help him back onto his side smile. Awake for the day at 6.30am for a lovely feed with a well rested mummy (well, sort of, had to get up twice with DS1 hmm )

iccarus Sat 27-Aug-11 22:10:23

Just a quick update. Things are going a bit better. The first night after a lot of PUPD, singing, cuddling etc. I just put him back in his cot and said No, quietly but firmly about 3 times and he went back to sleep.I was pretty amazed. Only problem was it seemed to inspire a nursing strike and weve been fighting that for the last day or so. The poor little guy can't know whether he's coming or going and I feel like the wicked witch. I was so sad when I thought feeding might be over on a bad note. He has had a bit today but the second night in a row when he's refused it before bed, which is so strange as usually its his favourite time. He's been very clingy with his dad as well and not so much with me at all. What have I done? I really hope I havent damaged the bond we had. sad

iccarus Sat 27-Aug-11 22:17:51

I supose when I said its going better its not really is it, sleep is better but i think id rather have sleepless nights than this. careful what you wish for i supose.

aledwasago Sun 28-Aug-11 19:33:43

How's it going iccarus?

Cbell Sun 28-Aug-11 21:00:08

I thought I'd update you all on our efforts to night wean. As I said DD is 7.5 months and was feeding between 2-6 times a night.

So for the last two nights I have slept in a separate room and DH has stayed with her. He has been quite able to comfort her with a bit of hugging and the use of her dummy.

I BF at 3.30am the first night and 5am last night, tonight we are trying for no feeds.

There have been some glitches.

1) She has a cold and I would have abandoned this plan if DH hadn't sworn to come and get me if he feels she really suffering. I just wanted to give up but I think my hubby is aware that this three day weekend was one of the few opportunities we'd have where he could help. Still feel like a cow...but the cold isn't that bad (honest)

2) I hate sleeping away from her. As I said we usually co-sleep and I am hoping to go back to this after this week. When I went in to feed her at 5am I so wanted to stay next to her little sleeping form. Is this an issue for me...who knows!

I am also paranoid that I am damaging our bond. Bloody hell this is tough and I've been getting more sleep so I really shouldn't be moaning.

So off to start night 3....

bigkidsdidit Mon 29-Aug-11 19:13:47

You don't have to do it! YOu could keep one feed?

I promise your bond with her will be ok though smile

TheresAHuppoInMyHouse Tue 30-Aug-11 19:45:06

Hi Iccarus, just wanted to say don't worry about the bonding. I cut out night feeds afew months ago in an effort to improve DD's sleep, and also put her on formula during the day so she could have milk at nursery. So I was left with just the morning and evening bfs. It can be quite a fight at times and like you, I thought I might have to end them, which I felt sad about. She takes a while to settle into it, she might refuse one side, or suck a bit and then pull off. But I've found that by swapping sides, continuing to offer bfs, she will eventually take them and it calms her down. It hasn't spoiled the bond at all, I think it's all part of her development, and intend to keep up the morning and evening bfs for as long as I can. I haven't had any problems with supply either, which was another worry.

(She's back to waking overnight at the moment, with teeth and temperature problems, and being able to offer a bf to settle and comfort her is blissful ...) smile

Sorry, should have put this on the bf thread but it's all linked, isn't it?

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