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Night weaning a breastfed 8 month old - please help!

(17 Posts)
Annabella12 Fri 20-Nov-15 07:40:40

8 month old is finally eating a lot during the day. Mostly breastfed but since 7months has the occasional formula bottle.
He was born on the 2nd percentile and is now approaching the 25th, the health visitor suggested that he doesn't need feeding at night. I have been wanting to stop feeding at night.

He wakes once or twice won't stop crying/fussing till she gets breast! But recently even that hasn't been that reliable, now he doesn't always fall back to sleep after.

Husband says why bother, just feed him back to sleep and everyone is happy. But I have never had a nights sleep and I know now he doesn't need it. How do you night wean? What worked? I don't mind letting him fuss, but more than one hour and I just want to get back to sleep!

My husband has 5 days off work and will be doing cuddling and water, which I thought would work, but he's done three nights now and the first was a success (he woke twice and cuddled to sleep within 10/15 minutes) but last two nights he has been up for 2 hours in the middle of the night, refusing to go back to sleep.

Please tell me what you do?

Freezingwinter Fri 20-Nov-15 08:59:09

I haven't weaned my 9 month old yet, and won't be trying till Christmas or so because I think he still needs it? I thought 8 months is still quite young? Not sure though.

Freezingwinter Fri 20-Nov-15 09:00:10

Also health visitors are notorious for suggesting dropping night feeds in bf babies when the reality is a lot of them don't know a jot about bf.

Annabella12 Fri 20-Nov-15 21:52:14

It wasn't just on the recommendation of the health visitor, I've been wanting to for a while. He used to sleep really well (until we went to Canada for a month) so I'm fairly certain he doesn't need feeding, it's just a comfort thing. Also, we have family staying all Christmas so it's either now, or the end of January, and that's when I'm back at work.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 21-Nov-15 05:54:27

I used to have this problem with my DS except I would typically be up 4+ times a night and NOTHING would make him go back to sleep except a breast feed. Sometimes he'd be awake for hours at a time and I was exhausted. I was only getting about 4 hours broken sleep every night and I couldn't cope. When DS was 9 months old I hit the wall, I was about to crack up through frustration and lack of sleep so me and DH used a Sleep Consultant to help us stop the wakings and the reliance on breast feeds for sleep.

You have my sympathy OP, being in your situation is physically and emotionally draining flowers

Annabella12 Sat 21-Nov-15 08:16:46

What did the specialist advise? My problem is partly that when I do feed him, it takes both sides to get him to fall asleep (length of time, not quantity of milk) bit he'll then wake again 45 minutes later and not be content to feed for as long, and therefore not fall asleep.

Its just such a minefield, I wish there was one answer.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 21-Nov-15 22:08:30

She told me that in order to mend the sleep issues it was vital we break the pattern of feeding him to sleep as he needed to learn how to self settle.

She told me that firstly, when I do his bedtime feed in the nursery I should do it with the curtains open, the lights on and before he goes into his sleeping bag. She said that I must stop him feeding if he looks like he's about to go to sleep and then once I've got him stirred again only then I can then close the curtains and dim the light etc. I was then able to put him in his sleeping bag and then read him his bedtime story. She said it was important that he breaks the association of breast feeding = bedtime. At first I found it sooo hard to stop him falling asleep whilst feeding but after about 4 days he would stay nice and awake when feeding and then just unlatch when he'd finished.

Once that pattern was well established we then moved on to doing his bedtime feed in the living room with the lights and TV on to even further break the association between feeding and sleeping. We also did this for his naps.

We cracked it pretty quick and between the change in his bedtime routine, putting him in his own room and a few nights of CC the problem was fixed in just over a week and he reliably slept through from 7pm until 6am.

Annabella12 Sun 22-Nov-15 07:43:39

Thank you! But I have a few questions: Is he not then too awake to fall asleep? Does he take as much milk?

We feed in the nursery with lights on, out of grobag for both boobs, then I tend to wrap him up and turn lights off and do both boobs again, sometimes he falls asleep but not always. I find that if I don't wrap him up he won't take the additional milk, and then I worry he'll be hungry.

I'm also concerned about cc, but the no cry sleep solution isn't working!

Writerwannabe83 Sun 22-Nov-15 23:12:11

He would feed exactly the same as before, in fact he probably fed better as he wasn't falling asleep during it. He stayed awake, fed until he was full and then just unlatched himself.

I found that the story time would wind him down enough in order to get him off to sleep nicely. He soon learnt the routine of upstairs for bath, feed, stories and bed. As soon as I finished his last story (he would have two) and turned off the lamp he would wrap his arms around me and snuggle into my neck - he clearly knew bedtime was on the cards. On many occasion he would pull away from the cuddle and point to his cot to let me know he was ready to go in it. Some nights he falls asleep straight away and other times it takes a while. Sometimes he is too wide awake to go to sleep but he still goes in his cot and he will chat away to himself or play with his cuddly toys for half an hour etc.

The CC was a lot easier than I thought, the longest he was ever left alone for was 8 minutes. The first night was the worst as it was almost 50 minutes before he fell asleep but then it improved with each night. During the first week he would still wake at least once a night and we'd have to do the CC routine again whereas previously I would BF him but he soon stopped doing that too.

Is your son in his own room? Prior to making all the changes to my DS's routine he was still in our bedroom and I was told by the Specialist that I had to put him in his own nursery and I believe this also played an important role in fixing the sleep problems.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 22-Nov-15 23:19:42

One thing the Specialist said to me that was very poignant is that for babies who are fed to sleep it can be very scary for them to wake up alone in a cot.

She told me to imagine how I would feel if I fell asleep in my bed and then woke up to find somewhere completely different with no idea how I got there. I closed my eyes and really focused on that thought, I really did imagine it happening and I thought that I would sh*t myself if I woke up somewhere different to where I fell asleep with no clue as to why.

She said when a baby stirs in their cot in night after falling asleep at the breast they actually spring into action because they're confused and scared and they are crying out because they need some kind of reassurance or they need to see a similar face to know they aren't alone.

She said that if a baby stirs in his cot at night, and he was put in there awake at bedtime then it's easier for them to self settle back to sleep because he knows where he is and doesn't feel fearful.

I found her theory very logical.

Annabella12 Mon 23-Nov-15 06:53:59

Thank you! We did cc last night, he woke up 4 times but each time fell asleep before we got up to go and comfort him; one of the best nights sleep we've had in months! I also put him down awake, I've heard that logic before, I guess it just wasn't convenient to listen to it before. He's been in his own room since 3 weeks old, he hated his Moses basket and our room isn't big enough for for his cot. We have a video monitor too so we can see if he's okay without needing to go in.

Thank you so much!!

TheVeryHungryScreamerpillar Wed 25-Nov-15 12:12:55

I've just night weaned my son. He's 9 months and stopped night feeding about a month ago.
I found that I could get away with just cuddling him and rocking him in his rocking chair. I used to rock 200 times, counting in my head and then would put him back in his cot with his mobile on. He'd cry for a couple of mins and then go back to sleep.
We added a couple of teddies which he'll sometimes sit up and play with for 20 mins at 4am before going back to sleep.
You could always offer water in a bottle if necessary.

KittenOfWoe Mon 07-Dec-15 23:55:00

I'm desperate to try getting wee man's sleep sorted, now more than ever - got into the habit of boobing him back to sleep bent over the cot bars!! Recovering from gynae surgery at the mo so that's totally out of the question now. DH is doing nights but boyo is taking hours to settle and they keep ending up sleeping in the lounge sad
Really need to get this sorted while he has this week off work to help me so can help with nights.
Wee man is 7.5 months, teething, and just entered WW leap 6. What could possibly go wrong?! confused

rightguard Sun 13-Dec-15 09:16:47

Writerwannabe that's interesting thanks. I have an 8 mo ds, slept through the night from a week old til 4 months but now wakes anything up to 6 times a night.

He goes to bed at 8, usually without a fuss, but wakes about 11 for a feed. From then, sometimes he'll only wake another 2 times, some nights he just won't settle and is waking every 30 minutes. He doesn't need feeding every time but obviously associates me with milk and will scream until I give in and feed him. Quite often ill fall asleep feeding him but then I don't sleep well and wake feeling g worse than ever.
Dh is pretty good and will take him if he hears him, but 95% of night wakings are left to me. I work full time and I am wiped out.

I'll try disassociating sleep and food and see how that goes.

LalaLeona Tue 15-Dec-15 09:00:15

Sorry to hijack but someone up thread mentioned a sleep consultant, does anyone know how much this would cost

Jahinata Sun 01-May-16 08:30:32

What does CC stand for?

StrawberryLeaf Sun 01-May-16 09:18:58

Controlled crying

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