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How should I night wean my 10 month old?

(8 Posts)
chloechloe Sun 08-Oct-17 14:26:13

I've decided to night wean my nearly 10 month old as she's clearly reverse cycling: refusing / too distracted to eat and drink during the day and then waking 7-10 times a night. I've spent the last two months trying to get more calories into her during the day and it just isn't working.

But I'm going round in circles trying to decide how to do it!

She falls asleep in her cot with a dummy and will generally resettle with the dummy for the first two wake ups. I usually end up feeding her once before I go to bed then bring her into bed with me and get my boob out at every next squeak (my fault, but I didn't want her waking our toddler).

I had an appointment this week with a sleep clinic offered at our hospital. The advice was to basically go cold turkey on the night feeds and resettle her in the cot, only picking her up if I feel necessary. I'm not sure I can do it though and am thinking about a more moderate way.

I keep reading the Jay Gordon method but find it a bit complicated and more suited to babies that are always fed to sleep, which she isn't.

The two main questions I guess are whether I should limit the number of night feeds, by only feeding after a certain time. And secondly whether I should put her in the cot or if it's ok to have her in bed with me.

Any advice for those who've been through it would be gratefully received!

Purdyandwheezy Sun 08-Oct-17 14:37:25

I night weaned my two at 13 months and 11months respectively. Although they were both only having a feed maybe 2-3 times a night at that point.
I did cold turkey. Basically didn't follow a set method, just winged it a bit. Tried dummy in a few times, if that really failed then picked up to calm down or patted to sleep in the cot.
It was bad for a couple of nights. Felt like giving up. Think with my youngest I was up putting her dummy in every 20 minutes or so for a good chunk of the night. However, they both slept a lot better.
My DS we didn't even properly wean,I offered bottles of milk at first. He slept through after 10 days of this. My DD now 13 months sleeps through 6.30 to 6-7 sometimes. Sometimes 1 or 2 dummy runs. Very occasionally I will offer water in a bottle if she seems to not be settling.
I would give the cold turkey a go, maybe offer water if you think they really need it but night weaning made a big difference for us. Good luck!

BakedBeeeen Sun 08-Oct-17 14:44:27

I've just night weaned a 7month old who was waking 2-3 times a night. I used to feed her back to sleep. I started cutting down the amount of milk she had at each feed, then one night I decided that was it, no more milk before 6am. If she woke, I would rock her back to sleep. It took over an hour the first time, but it became much easier very quickly. Her sleep is sooo much better now, I am very glad I did it! Good luck!

FATEdestiny Sun 08-Oct-17 19:01:45

I don't like the time-limit method of night weaning. I feel this is inconsistent and confusing to baby given that baby has no concept of time at all, especially when being asleep for most of that passage of time. So baby would have no concept (let alone understanding) of if 2 hours has passed when waking up or 6 hours. Therefore wouldn't understand why sometimes there is a feed and sometimes there isn't, apparently in a quite random way (to baby).

Given this, i would be inclined to go cold turkey and move to in-cot settling.

Babies can cope with being hungry for 12 hours overnight. As you move towards the toddler years (and I appreciate you aren't there yet, but nearly) it becomes important in the development of healthy eating habits to not be afraid of being hungry.

The feeling of being hungry isn't a bad thing, when you start thinking about an older child rather than a baby. It just means the child is ready for the meal at the next meal time. Put it in a different context, it's not terrible to say to a 3 year old "no you can't have an apple now, because your dinner will be ready in half an hour and I want you to eat your dinner all up".

So don't be afraid of your 10 month old being hungry. It's not a terrible thing. And now baby is older, hunger shouldn't be a distressing thing either. Have you heard of "hangry"? Toddlers get angry and bad tempered when hungry. But not distressed and upset.

So if 10 month old doesn't get a feed between 7pm and 7am, she may well be angry and grumpy at you most of the night, but not distressed. Then come the morning would be very ready for her breakfast. And her lunch and dinner and everything you offer in between probably.

Then the second night, she'll probably be less hungry so less angry ("hangry") at you through the night. Then the third night after another 12 hours without feeds she'll be hungry again for her breakfast... And so on. Within about a week you should be able to shift her calories to the daytime.

But.... And it's a big but....

None of this deals with the fact that night time breastfeeds are probably more about comfort than calories. It's all very well getting to the point that baby isn't hungry at night. That is in fact fairly easy and quick to achieve. But baby will still need, for a long time to come, a way to feel comforted in the night. If you can get dummy taking the "ahhh that's better" feeling that a feed used to give, great. But it seems at the moment dummy has always been second best to a feed.

chloechloe Mon 09-Oct-17 12:38:00

Thanks for the replies! It looks like cold turkey is the way to go, I'm just dreading the thought of it! I expect she'll be awake every 20 min as well purdy!

You make a good point fate that setting a time limit does not make sense to a baby! The Gordon method suggests doing so is a more gentle method but I expect it just prolongs the agony.

I think the time has definitely come to let her go a bit hungry as she simply does not eat well otherwise. She does feed well at night - she's too distracted in the day - and I can generally tell from the outset by her cry whether she'll take the dummy and sleep or if she wants a feed. She makes a little coughing cry when hungry and having come to recognise it, my half asleep instinct is to feed her. But she needs to start taking more solids and I think this is the best way.

She will settle quite well in her cot with a dummy for naps and at the start of the night, but thereafter it gets progressively difficult. I'm happy to resettle her in the night but the frequency is exhausting. She's hyper mobile and she sits up or stands at the end of each sleep cycle and wakes herself up.

I'm hoping she'll slowly start waking less often. Whilst I'm keen to night wean I'm worried she'll still wake as much but be more difficult to settle.

BakedBeeeen Mon 09-Oct-17 18:47:18

You will probably have a few bad nights, but the important thing is to decide what you are going to do, and then do it! Start it when you are feeling mentally strong, and just think of the phrase "tough love" because you will be teaching her to sleep much better, which will benefit you all! My DD has gone up a centile since I night weaned her, so I know she is eating a lot more in the daytime to make up for it. Be strong! X

stealthbanana Mon 09-Oct-17 19:42:24

Watching this with interest as my 10 month old DS is very similar - except that he doesn't settle in the cot (just stands up every time he's laid down hmm) and probably only wake 2-3 times rather than more. I would really like to night wean him as am back at work and really suffering from lack of sleep, but my resolve at 3am wanes as I just want to get him back to sleep asap!

Sounds like cold turkey is the only way to go...gulp....

chloechloe Tue 10-Oct-17 21:41:27

That's good news that your DD's daytime eating has improved bakedbeeeen!

My little one stands up too banana and I keep having to wrestle her back down! She has started to settle more quickly though in the cot once she finally decides to keep still. It must be difficult with being back at work - I tend to go for the oath of least resistance too!

I'm now just waiting for a good time to go for it - possibly at the weekend so I can sleep in in the morning. DH is pushing me to wait until we can get his mother to come and help. It makes sense to get more help with childcare but I'm not too keen on having MIL here during what will probably be a really emotional and tearful time!

I'm also worrying whether it will really make much difference to the number of night wakings as she seems to be sitting up at the end of every sleep cycle and waking herself that way. Gah!

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