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Night weaning - gradual or cold turkey?(8 Posts)
My 17mo DS2 still breastfeeds 3, 4, sometimes 5 times a night. I’m exhausted and I want to stop. I’m pretty certain he’s not actually hungry, just that it’s his association for getting back to sleep. With DS1 I took a very gentle, gradual approach to dropping night feeds, but this time round I am just so knackered now I want to get it over with! Anyone just gone cold turkey? How awful was it?!
Never managed cold turkey with any of mine. I think it’s easiest if you have a dp who can do it. I found it too traumatic as they knew it was there, and I didn’t have the will power after hours of screaming. I just increased the time I would allow the first feed gradually from midnight to 6am. It took ages each time.
I think it’s probably easier if you are weaning altogether but I wanted to continue with one feed a day until 2yo/through the winter.
Cold turkey. I had tried gentle methods (pantley pull-off and other ways of doing it gradually) and DS wasn't having any of it. I was on my knees with sleep deprivation and tbh it wasn't doing DS any good either. Spoke to a friend who is a child psychologist and advises on sleep training, she advised cold turkey and said it's actually kinder in a way just because it's easier for the child to understand. No milk at night is a clear and consistent rule. They'll object a lot at first but stop crying for milk more quickly. Whereas if they're allowed some milk sometimes but not others, they will probably struggle to understand and keep crying in the hope of getting it.
When we went cold turkey we split the night (between DH and I, mainly, but also got some help from family) and the one not on duty wore ear plugs. It wasn't actually as bad as we feared and DS was settling quickly within a few nights. BUT he would only settle in our arms and would wake/cry when put down; so phase 2 was training him to fall asleep in his cot and that was a bit harder.
Just had DC2 and we are trying to establish better sleep habits from the beginning, want to learn from our mistakes!
The sleep training did work though and no regrets, saved our sanity and we were better parents as a result, plus DS needed decent sleep.
I didn't go totally cold turkey but did it within a week. Dropped one feed at a time. I started from the morning end of night. First night I didn't feed after 5 and he cried until morning, second night he didn't wake up after 2, third night I didn't feed after midnight, but resettled pretty quickly etc. Took another few weeks to be consistently sleeping through and he still occasionally fancies a party in the night . I was dreading it but like you being woken every few hours and I was lucky he was ready and it wasn't actually as bad as I thought it might be - good luck!
@NameChange30 how old was your DS when you night weaned? And were you able to keep BFing during the day (no impacts on supply)?
My 6.5 month old feeds every 2-3 hours overnight and I'd like us all to get some longer periods of uninterrupted sleep. Had hoped to gradually wean him off, but I am wondering if going cold turkey might be the better option...
My LO is only 11 months but I have reduced night feeds from every 2 hours at 5 months to 1 or occasionally zero. It has not impacted upon his day time feeds.
I was lucky that I was able to send DH into settle him. At 6 months I stopped feeding him to sleep at night and my DH resettles if he wakes between 11pm and 3am. If he wakes before 11pm I feed him (treat it as a dream feed). If he wakes after 3am I feed as he is impossible to resettle close to morning.
Cold turkey, DH did it. Took 2/3 nights and wasn’t traumatic at all.
Thanks for the info everyone, we started last week with dh doing all bedtimes to cut the feeding to sleep (he settles fine for dh but with me often wants a boob!) which actually seemed to have an impact - on night 4 he unbelievably only woke once! - however since then it’s all gone to shit as he got a bad cold and sleep’s been awful! We’re going to start again - I think I may have to do a week at a time as I am just too tired to go through any nights of real crying. But @NameChange30 that’s really interesting, I can see the logic and makes it feel a bit more positive - he really needs more sleep as much as I do!