Friday, March 30, 2012

Night Weaning - Week 3 of 3

Click here to read Week 1 of 3 and Week 2 of 3, if you haven't already.

Night 15

Despite sleeping in and having a decent nap, Sasha started crying for milk at 8:30. I was in the middle of getting Spencer to sleep, though. Then Sasha helped me make a batch of dough for Mama Jeeper's Oatmeal Lactation Breakfast Bars and we didn't finish until 10:30. She nursed, but not to sleep. We tried again an hour later, though she set her bear on Spencer, getting him started waking up.

She almost got to sleep on that second try. I find myself getting irritated when it doesn't work quickly, but I did let her nurse for only 5-10 minutes. I was hungry, too, and don't like to step out of our room for food when she is still awake.

The third try was a charm, but she didn't get to sleep until after midnight. I went to bed at about 1 and Sasha woke up shortly after 2. She settled really easily after going potty! Then she slept for... SEVEN hours!! Without help!

Night 16

I kind of hoped Sasha wouldn't nap, after sleeping in this morning. I'd like to back bed time up again. Having her in bed earlier was nice. She is taking up all of my quiet me-time. By the time she goes to sleep, I'm too tired to enjoy any quiet time. Alas, she took a nap at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

She asked for milk shortly after 10. She nursed for about 10 minutes, then wanted to go get Tyler (who had just gone to bed). We came back into our dim room and read some books. I was done before Sasha. She fussed and was ready for more milk / night night. That was at 11. Spencer had started trying to wake up while we were reading.

I put her into bed at 11:30, but she wasn't quite asleep yet. She fell asleep soon after, on her own. I rather like putting her down sleepy, but not asleep, and then her going to sleep on her own. I think this is a learning process for us and I hope she is benefiting.

Sasha started to stir at one point in the night and seemed to be trying to get comfortable. I spun her around in a better direction, covered her up, and she settled back down on her own, without ever having woken up all the way! She slept all night! She did wake up a little earlier than usual, but she got a full 8 hours of solid sleep. Woo!

Night 17

Sasha had a short nap in my lap today. In fact, I don't normally leave her attached once she has fallen asleep, but we were having our taxes done and I just left her there... until she bit down! AAACK! Reminder to self: Sasha bites down on nipple in her sleep!

She started asking for night nights around 9, though she asked for milk pretty much all day long. We nursed for 10 minutes at 9:30 and she went straight to sleep. I got her tucked into bed, under the covers, without her waking at all.

She tossed, turned and rotated in her sleep, but she slept until nearly 8:30! Without any parental tricks!! I don't remember the last time she slept 11 hours, but it used to be a regular occurrence.

Sasha asks for milk all the time now, but it seemed more like a bed time request starting at 9. I was having trouble getting Spencer to stay asleep, though, so I had my hands full. Besides, with her late nap, it was doubtful that she was actually ready for bed.

Night 18

Even having slept so well the night before, Sasha still napped from 2 until almost 4 o'clock. She started asking for Night Night Milk at 10 o'clock. She seemed awful chatty for bedtime, but I figured we'd give it a shot. We got ready for bed and I let her nurse for probably 15 minutes. When I put her to bed, she chatted with her teddy bear for a while.

She was still awake at 11 and we agreed on 1 more episode of "Bow Ba Bow" (Blue's Clues). We went back to nursing after the show. This time, she fell asleep in fairly short order. So she was in bed by 11:30-ish.

Sasha fussed a couple times in her sleep. The first time I set her bear next to her and she settled. She didn't snuggle him, she just settled. Later when she fussed, I covered her with her comforter. She wound up sleeping close to 9 hours straight!

Night 19

Sasha took a late nap today because of some running we did. She asks for milk all day, but seemed to be more of a bed time request around 9. I finally got Spencer down and then nursed Sasha just before 10. She nursed for 20 minutes before I put her to bed, still awake. Five minutes later she was back on the tit. I let her nurse for 10 minutes before putting her back into bed, awake. Again. It was a rough evening and I really just wanted her to go to sleep, but nursing her for too long turns my stomach. Within 10 minutes, she was up again.

Just before 11, Sasha literally asked for 5 minutes of milk. I nursed her for 5 minutes and put her to bed. She was literally up within 3 minutes, asking for 5 minutes of milk. I think I lost track of how many times she tried to nurse to sleep.

She finally went to sleep just before midnight, so it only took 2 hours to get her to bed. I was falling apart. I'd like to keep the long sleeping, but adjust to an earlier time, TYVM!

I woke at 5 to Sasha sitting on her potty! She has always (normally) fussed until I put her on it. She was a little difficult about settling back into bed. I finally got her into our bed with my back to her so she could hold my hair. She woke fairly early in the morning, too.

Night 20

Sasha took an early nap, but we had to scoop her into the truck (in the cold air) 45 minutes later. She still rested a bit during the ride across town.

She wanted night night milk and I put her off for a little bit because she didn't seem tired. I always give in, though. She nursed for 15 minutes and didn't go to sleep. If I'm a little sleep deprived, this behavior infuriates me. I can't seem to help getting absolutely pissed off. It makes me want to refuse to nurse her the rest of the evening. I think this is understandable if you look at nights like last night, when she nursed about FIVE times before getting settled in for the night.

Tonight, though... just some of me rethinking how we do bedtime and one flailing fit... 2 nursing sessions, nearly an hour apart. She finally went to bed by 11.

She fussed a little in her sleep through the night and even yelled in her sleep once in the morning! Still, I just re-covered her each time Spencer woke me and she did just fine.

Night 21

I really screwed myself on this one. I let Sasha go down for a nap at 4:30. And she napped until 7:30! Then I realized we were going to have to get up early the next day, too. Spencer had an appointment at 9am. I did let her nurse again at about 8:30, juuuust in case she might go back to sleep. Nothing doing. I did, however, manage to get her to bed by 11:30.

Sasha woke up by about 6:30 and with Daddy being home... she just would not settle. She wound up in front of the TV in the living room while I tried, desperately, to get a little more sleep. I think I wound up with 3-4 hours of sleep total.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. We've been at it 21 days and I've definitely seen an improvement! I consider her night-weaned, even though she still asks for milk. We'll stick with this routine until such time as we feel it doesn't work for us anymore. I think if / when she gets sick, I might feel differently about letting her nurse during the night. As it is, I feel like letting her even once would set my nights up for disaster again as far as refusing to let her nurse. I've certainly seen that letting her have milk more often during the day has trained her to ask for it all day long.

That may be my next issue to tackle. I've found myself thinking of weaning altogether. I loathe to consider weaning on my terms instead of hers, but sometimes when she nurses for a long time (over 10 minutes), my stomach turns. I don't like the way it feels and I'm just uncomfortable with it. Other times, its fine. Even when it feels like she is pulling milk all the way from my spine, I don't mind it. I appreciate that her nursing is (hopefully) helping with my dwindling milk supply.

When I'm nursing her with sleep (nap or bedtime) in mind and she doesn't fall asleep, I find myself getting irate. I don't like the attitude I get toward her in those situations. That said, I don't like feeling as though she has duped me into nursing her under false pretense, either.

Have you experienced anything similar? How did you handle it?


  1. I always feel that a nursing relationship has to work for both mom and child. You have a lot on your plate right now, so if you do decide to wean Sasha I don't think anyone would blame you. It gets so tiring when it feels like they really don't need it any more but they're like tiny addicts. Then again, time flies so quickly and she'll be big before you know it. Maybe cutting down gradually will work for you. I hate to advise any one particular thing since everyone's situation is different. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the support, Elisa. I weaned my first born at 6 months, but I was such a different person then. Then my second was easy to nurse to the point of self-weaning. I never had to place any sort of limitations on her at all. But she was raised as an only child, too. She weaned at 3½, though she hadn't been nursing much at all toward the end.

      I had hoped it would all go just as smoothly (and easily) with my youngest two. Perhaps it was simply too much to ask. :-P

  2. I am at the point now that our nursing relationship is not working and I am growing irate with my son when he asks for it a lot (he's 22 months old), but mostly at night though. So now I've decided to set the limitation of nursing only to fall asleep during naps and bedtime and to use cuddles/rocking when distressed or if he wakes up while sleeping. It has only been a few days of this and already he gets it. However he has asked for nursing during the day and when I deny him he then tells me:"okay naptime boobies, come lie down mommy!" even when it is clearly not naptime yet. So I either distract him or hold him while he cries his sadness about it in my arms. I just cannot take the amount of nursing he has been doing anymore, it is affecting my mental health in a very dark way. I figure that as long as I am honoring his feelings about it and letting him cry when needed and still be present for him, that the transition will go smoother and over time (as I don;t want it to be too sudden) he will not nurse so much and self-wean.

    1. What a fabulous way to look at it! I've been dealing with a lot of guilt over my daydreams of weaning her. We're doing 10 minutes of Mommy Milk before 1 nap and 1 bedtime per day now (+ a few minutes of Morning Milk), whether she falls asleep or not. Once she gets used to falling asleep without, then I figure I can consider whether to push further.

      Thank you so much for your comment, it is reassuring to me.

    2. This whole series is helpful to me too as I look to the future of our nursing relationship. I've always wanted to wait to cut out the night nursing until my son is old enough to "get it" like FabulousMamaChronicles said. I'm glad she gave her son's age because that helps me have an idea in mind. My son doesn't nurse much- just when he wakes up, before his nap, and before bed, but time to time he needs it to settle back to sleep while napping or during the night. I'd really like to soothe him in other ways during those times, but he's not old enough yet to understand (or so it seems to me?).

    3. I kept thinking Sasha couldn't "get it," either. In the end, it didn't matter. Though if she could "get it," maybe it wouldn't have been SO hard.

      Sometimes, though, I think we underestimate our children because we, as mothers, aren't ready.

  3. I can't tell you how glad I was to read your first post about night weaning - it came at a time when I was really struggling and gave me the encouragement I needed to do something about it. My son was more than happy to wean at 19 months (when I was pregnant) with merely a suggestion from me but my daughter is a whole different kid. She would nurse all day every day (and night) if she could, even now at 20 months. I couldn't take much more, and it was affecting the kind of mum I was being during the day so I knew I needed to do something. We are now on night 4 and its going really well. Each night she sleeps a little longer (last night she went down at 7.30 and slept until 1.30!) and is going back to sleep with just a cuddle and a few protests. Its still early days, and its definitely affected her behaviour during the day but we're riding that out and I'm trying to take more time to nurse / spend with her instead of getting stressed about all the stuff I SHOULD be doing ;o) Thank you x

    1. I'm so glad this helped! It was definitely tough at first. And my daughter would gladly nurse all day as well - and she is 30 months now!

      I promise it gets easier, in fairly short order. She now fusses in her sleep sometimes, but usually settles back down on her own without really waking.

  4. It seems as though you have made really good progress. It seems like she isn't falling into a deep sleep at night and is easily woken by noises, movement etc. You might be able to help this by slowing introducing a desk fan in the room (face it towards the wall so it isn't blowing on anyone), start it on low for just a little background noise, once you all get used to that, then turn it to medium, then high, or get a more powerful fan.
    I went though quite a while of the up all night with the slightest noise. I was considering spraying orange paint on the floor where the floor would squeak when it was stepped on so no one would wake the baby. Introducing the background noise really helped, in addition to letting her have a sippy cup of water in bed to quench the thirst. I also ended up taking her to the store and let her pick out a few sippy cups that were her very own special cups so she could drink out of those during that day and allowed one morning nursing and one night nursing. That way she was directed to her cup during the day and I wasn't hunted down every time I sat and asked for nummies. It also got to the point where I set a timer so that when the timer went off time was up and she had a way to know that it was time to be done and go to bed.
    We also went through 2 months of bedtime hell as it has been called in our home. The only thing we found to fix the insanity was to institute a strict bedtime schedule and awake up time. It sucked for us because getting up at 7:30 if the baby was still asleep was KILLER especially on weekends, but it helped my daughter figure out a sleep cycle. We made a mandatory bedtime at 9 and started the process at 8:15, so there was no setback in the process. I am also pumping, so that if the baby is screaming for food during that time he is passed off to hubby and I am still able to change to pajamas, brush teeth, read books and nurse til the timer, go potty and then we turn on the night light (which is one those that is timed so it automatically turns off at 730), so she knows even if she wakes up in the middle of the night or if it is light outside you have to stay in bed and read books until the light turns off.

    We did end up moving her bed away from our bed so it is now against the opposite wall and she isn't able to roll up there, so she has a little more space and her potty is right by her bed along with books. I think blocking our background noise was super helpful for us and then establishing that no questions asked schedule. It sucked in the beginning but once we did it, the nursing fell into place nicely around it.

    I wish you luck!

    1. The first time I read your comment I wanted to wait a bit to respond. A lot of good info here! We were using a humidifier at the time, so that made for good "white noise." I would also sometimes leave the PS3 (that we use for NetFlix, too) on because the fan in it was kind of loud and I didn't want it to go quiet while she was only lightly asleep, I'd wait a while to shut it off.

      I'm not one for set routines and we don't have a set bedtime, but we have instituted a routine now. I've made a big checklist in the bathroom to help get through it. Maybe it helps because it now takes less than 10 minutes for her to nurse to sleep! That could also be because she has dropped naps almost entirely.

      She'll still call for us or come get us if she wakes, but she rarely wakes anymore. Since writing this post we've moved and the sleeping arrangements are different, too.

      Thanks for all the helpful suggestions!


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