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Need help with weaning

Posted by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:44 PM
  • 10 Replies
Ds will be 2 in November and we are still nursing. It is not just sometimes, he still nurses ALOT. I don't bf when we are out and he doesn't want to when he is busy anyways. But if we are home he nurses all the time still, sometimes if I'm just sitting down he will just walk by every few minutes and latch on for a second and then stop. He does this all the time. He bf when he gets tired, is sick, and he still wakes up 3 times or more at night to bf. thank god we co sleep. I feel like he will never stop. It is actually starting to get on my nerves and I wish he would just sleep through the night and in his own bed. If I don't give him the boob he will throw the biggest fit and scream until he gets it. Any advice?
by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:44 PM
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aehanrahan
by Group Mod - Amy on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Start setting limits during the day. Nursing is not so magical that you have to allow anything and everything. You can pick certain times of the day when you're okay with him nursing or set a time limit on nursing sessions. Many moms use a song and say, "one more twinkle twinkle" or something like that. You could try night weaning. Have you read Dr. Jay Gordon's night weaning technique? I'll go find it for you.

aehanrahan
by Group Mod - Amy on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:52 PM

http://kellymom.com/parenting/nighttime/weaning-night/


Night Weaning

July 28, 2011. Posted in: How to wean,Nighttime parenting

By Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC, Becky Flora, IBCLC and Paula Yount

Breastfeeding is not an all-or-nothing process. Night weaning is a workable alternative for many moms, and baby continues to receive the many nutritional and immunilogical benefits of breastmilk.

Remember that sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone (like walking or toilet training) that different babies will reach at different times. At some point, your child will sleep through the night – even if you do nothing to encourage it.

If night weaning is not going well, then consider backing off and trying again a little later. The closer your child is to reaching this milestone on his own, the easier it will be for both child and parents.

Getting your baby to sleep is not a battle to be won, as it is so often portrayed in books and the media. The real goal should be for your family to get the sleep they need, while respecting the needs of the youngest family member(s).

  • Gentle methods of night weaning for toddlers
  • Is night weaning necessary to get baby to sleep through the night?
  • Additional information
  • Gentle methods for encouraging less night nursing

    Following are suggestions for easing your baby into less night nursing…

    Eliminate discomfort

    • Teething.If you suspect teething at all, it may help to give baby a pain reliever before bedtime (check with baby’s doctor for suggestions). Some babies nurse more often to try to relieve gum pain. Teething pain is often worse at night.
    • Room temperature.Find your baby’s temperature comfort level: some babies will wake if they get too hot or too cold.
    • Solid foods.Has baby recently started solids? Many babies (particularly those under six months) start or increase night waking after the introduction of solids, due to problems digesting the food. Try avoiding solids in the evening, or consider decreasing or eliminating the solids until baby’s digestive system matures more. Several studies have shown that adding solids to a baby’s diet does not help baby to sleep more at night.
    • Allergy.Babies with food allergies, environmental allergies or eczema may wake more at night due to discomfort.
    • Reflux.Discomfort from reflux may also keep baby up at night.
    • Illness.Illnesses like ear infections and colds can interrupt baby’s sleep, and result in increased night nursing. A bad diaper rash or other rash might also affect baby’s sleep. Anytime baby suddenly increases night waking, keep an eye out for illness.

    Maximize baby’s nursing during the day and during any night wakings

    • Nurse more during the day.Encourage baby to nurse more often during the day (perhaps every 2 hours instead of every 3), so that she takes in more milk during the daytime hours.
    • Minimize distractions.During the day, nurse in a room that is as free of distractions as possible. Turn off the light, close the door, pull the blinds, etc. Get your older children busy doing something before you start nursing. Try nursing while lying down. Sometimes babies can become so distracted during daytime feedings that they don’t take in enough milk and then have to make up for it with more frequent night feedings. One study showed that older babies can consume as much as 25% of their total daily intake of mother’s milk during the night, probably partly because of daytime distractibility.
    • Tank up before bedtime.Nurse often in the hours leading up to bedtime (at least every 1-2 hours). Some moms nurse on one breast only during this time period so that baby gets more of the higher fat milk available at the end of a feeding (this helps baby go longer between feedings). When baby wakes at night, try nursing on the other breast for all or most of the night, again so that baby gets more of the higher-fat milk.
    • Listen to your child.Only your child knows if she’s really hungry – don’t automatically assume that your child is not hungry or thirsty. Many adults wake at night for a drink of water or even to get a snack.

    Maximize sleep for the entire family

    • Dream feed.Nurse baby right before you go to bed (even if baby has already gone to bed), so that you get a longer period of sleep before she wakes again. Many babies barely wake at this time, even though they may get a good nursing in.
    • Try to begin settling baby before he’s overtired.Some babies have a hard time going to sleep when they’re overtired, so keep an eye out for signs of sleepiness.
    • Try different sleep arrangements.Find out what sleeping arrangement work best for the entire family while continuing to meet baby’s needs.
    • Full-time co-sleeping.Many babies sleep better when they are close to mom. Consider sleeping with your baby – many families have found that baby and the rest of the family gets more sleep this way. Sleeping with your baby and nursing baby to sleep will not teach bad sleep habits. All the co-sleeping babies/toddlers who I know have begun to sleep through the night at some point without any type of training or encouragement or change in sleep location.
    • Part-time co-sleeping.Part-time co-sleeping works for many families, where baby sleeps in her crib until the first night waking and then joins mom and dad for the rest of the night.
    • Separate beds.If you’re not comfortable with baby in your bed or if you are currently sleeping with baby and no one is getting any sleep, then try other options. Consider placing baby on a pallet on the floor beside the bed, or place baby’s crib with the rail down beside your bed. That way, baby will be close enough that nursing won’t interrupt sleep quite so much (such as when you get up each time and go to baby’s room). Another option that works for some families is putting a bed for just mom and baby in baby’s room for awhile, or Dad might instead choose to sleep in another location himself.

    Gentle methods of night weaning for toddlers

    • Limit Access.After you nurse, place the baby back in her area, or slide her away from you so that close proximity doesn’t encourage more frequent nursing. Wear clothing that makes it harder for baby to access your breast at night.
    • Get Dad in on the nighttime routine!If your baby appears to be waking only for comfort during the night, she may accept Dad as the comforter (and won’t expect Dad to nurse her). Dad can comfort baby in other ways, such as offering a drink, just lying next to her, holding her, etc. Dad may even be able to sleep with baby in another room or on the couch with less interruption than if baby were sleeping near mom. The links below to articles by Bill & Martha Sears have many great suggestions along these lines.
    • Increase daytime contact.Allow baby unlimited nursing and cuddling during the day. Sometimes toddlers will seek out the breast more at night when they aren’t getting enough close cuddling during the day. Sometimes we as busy mothers, especially if we have other children, forget to pick these little ones up often during the day and just sit and cuddle with them. If you can increase this close contact during the day, she may need it less at night. If you work, night nursing may be her way of trying to reconnect with you.
    • Talk to your child.With an older child, you may be able to explain something like this, “When the sun goes down, or when we go night-night, num nums (or whatever she calls them) go night-night, too. She probably won’t accept or understand this completely at first, but if you say it before bed each night and repeat it each time she awakens, in time she’ll “get it”.
    • Just say “no”… or “later.”With an older child (over 18 months), feel secure enough to say “no” (at least some of the time) while staying sensitive to your child’s needs. At night, you might say, “not now, but we will later.” She may – or may not – awaken again to nurse later.
    • Substitute other comfort measures.You also may try other things to settle her, such as a back rub, just holding and cuddling, getting her a drink of water, humming softly, etc.

    Is night weaning necessary to get baby to sleep through the night?

    People may tell you something to the effect of “If you nurse your child at night (or sleep near your child, or a zillion other things), you won’t be able to discontinue it in the future.” This sells books, but it isn’t true at all!

    Remember that night waking in babies and young children is temporary!

    Children grow out of night waking, even when we do nothing to discourage it. This period of time will be a very tiny part of your child’s years with you.

    A child’s internal timetable for sleeping through the night can vary greatly. Some parents are comfortable with letting the child lead when it comes to night weaning, but for others night nursing truly interferes with their quality of life. If night nursing is not working for you, then encourage changes while taking into account the needs of your child.

    Your goal is to maximize sleep for everyone, and if what you’re doing works, then you’ve met your goal. If it’s not working (or stops working) then you can always do things differently. All parents find that they change the way they do things as their child grows older and reaches different developmental stages – sleep is just another thing that changes as your child grows.

     

    Additional information

    @ kellymom

    @ other websites

    aehanrahan
    by Group Mod - Amy on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html


    Sleep, Changing Patterns In The Family Bed

    I can only imagine a mom and dad who are as tired as anyone can be, eager to see this article on sleep, and finding that we had made it unavailable for a little while!

    We had to do that because I didn’t write the article clearly enough and need to clarify some very important facts.

    It would be hard to find as strong a proponent of the family bed as I am. Yet, I have received email commenting that there were sections of this “plan” which were easy to misinterpret as being just another angle on “sleep training” for young babies. It is not meant to be that. Not even close to an endorsement of the benefits of getting your baby to “soothe herself to sleep” during the first year.

    Here’s what I really want to do: I want to offer an alternative to Ferber and Weisbluth and the Whisperer. I never want to see my ideas applied to a four month old or even a seven month old baby. As a matter of fact, I am not too excited about pushing any baby around at night but I know that sometimes it will be done and I’d like to offer a gentle, supported plan for after the first year.

    Before I go any further, let me express my overriding concern. Babies do better when we answer all their questions as best we can and meet their needs as best we can.

    Most of the families I have taken care of in my pediatric practice sleep in a family bed.

    Their babies tend to breastfeed for more than one year and they don’t sleep through the night any better than most of us would if we napped and cuddled within inches of the best restaurant in town and knew it was open 24 hours a day.

    This arrangement is not just adequate and tolerable, but actually feels easier to moms who can just roll over, nurse a while and fall back to sleep with their babies rather having to get out of bed to nurse or, alternatively, refuse to nurse and get their babies back to sleep some other way.

    Lots of parents continue this pattern through the first year and well into the second and beyond, but some get tired of it — or just plain tired — after a while and are looking for a way to change things. Saddest of all, some moms and dads think that total weaning from breastfeeding is the best way to get more sleep. They choose not to look into nighttime weaning as a good option instead.

    There are dozens of confusing books and magazine articles implying that there can be some quick and easy way to get your baby to sleep or to not nurse through the night. I have yet to read one which told parents the complete truth: It’s not easy, it’s rarely quick and it’s usually a little loud and heartbreaking for a few nights . . . or more. I have seen too many families needing help and getting offered choices they didn’t like at all.

    I have a better alternative to completely weaning or to letting the baby cry it out. Babies wake up for the optimal interaction with their moms, breastfeeding back to sleep. If we offer them a little less than that for a few nights and then a little less and still less in the ensuing nights, gentle behavior modification will lead them to realize that it might not be “worth it” to knock on the door of a closed restaurant, so to speak.

    I don’t recommend any forced sleep changes during the first year of life. Probably the only exception to this would be an emergency involving a nursing mom’s health. There are many suggestions in books and magazines for pushing “sleeping through the night” during a baby’s early months or during the first year. I don’t think this is the best thing to do and I am quite sure that the earlier a baby gets “non-response” from parents, the more likely he is to close down at least a little.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the family bed, child-led weaning and cuddling all through the first, second, third year or more if it’s working well and if the family is doing well. Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a harmful choice or that there will be “no way” to get him out of your bed if you don’t do it now. Don’t believe anyone who says that babies who cuddle and nurse all night long “never” learn to self soothe or become independent. This is simply nottrue but it sells books and the myths stay in our culture.

    Some moms just don’t want to do this after some months or years and there should be a third choice to the dichotomy of crying it out or giving in to all-night nursing. Again, I support the family bed and frequent night nursing for a long time and even attempt to pull some parents along “just a little farther,” but I often have to switch tacks and support and help families with difficult choices.

    Here’s what I recommend for older babies:

    Choose the most valuable seven hours of sleep for yourselves. I personally prefer 11p.m. through 6 a.m. but you might have a slightly different idea.

    Change the rules during those hours and be comfortable that a “well-built” family bed baby’s personality can withstand this rule changing and the mild inconsistency of getting everything he wants all the time . . .oops, almost all the time. That’s the word we want to show this baby. The word “almost.” If only we could explain to him that “tired moms and dads take their children to the park a little less and that children of well-rested parents get to go the zoo and for hikes a lot more than children of exhausted parents.” If that explanation only made sense to kids somewhere before the third birthday (and it doesn’t!) they would simply roll over, say, “See you in the morning,” and let us get the sleep we want.

    I try to do this in three- and four-night intervals.

    I’m assuming that you have a wonderfully healthy 12-, 15-, 20- or 30-month old baby who still loves to wake up every 2 to 4 hours to cuddle, eat or . . . whatever. I’m assuming that you have thought this through, decided you want to make changes and alerted the neighbors that it might be a little noisy for a week or so.

    I’m assuming that both parents agree — or almost agree — that this is the best thing to do. And, most important assumption of all, you are willing to go “in a straight line” to the goal of seven straight hours of sleep.

    The reason for that last statement: If your baby learns that crying, squirming and fussing (euphemisms, let’s just say “crying” . . . sorry) for an hour will get him fed you will set yourself back quite a bit. This is the best program I have seen but it’s far from easy. And now, to say it again, I really like what you’ve been doing. Cuddling, nursing, hugging through the night. Don’t change this with my program or any other if you’re happy doing what you’re doing. But . . .

    The First Three Nights

    At any time before 11 p.m. (including 10:58) nurse to sleep, cuddle and nurse when he wakes up and nurse him back to sleep, but stop offering nursing to sleep as the solution to waking after 11 p.m.. Instead…..

    When your baby awakens at midnight or any other time after 11 p.m., hug him, nurse him for a short time but make sure he does not fall asleep on the breast and put him down awake. Rub and pat and cuddle a little until he falls asleep but don’t put him back on the breast (or give him a bottle if that’s what you’ve been doing). He must fall asleep with your comfort beside him, but not having to nurse to feel comforted enough to drift off.

    Now, he will tell you that he is angry and intensely dislikes this new routine. I believe him. He will also try to tell you that he’s scared. I believe he’s angry, but a baby who’s had hundreds of nights in a row of cuddling is not scared of falling asleep with your hand on his back and your voice in his ear. Angry, yes. Scared, no, not really.

    During these first three nights, repeat this pattern only after he has slept. He might sleep for fifteen minutes or he might sleep for four hours, but he has to go to sleep and reawaken to get cuddled and fed again.

    These will be hard nights.

    You may have decided you’re really not ready to do this. That’s OK. Stop and start over again in a few months if you like. Choosing the right time is crucial and many people choose a time suggested or pushed by friends, doctors or in-laws. This doesn’t work as well.

    Is it better to do this in the family bed, a crib in the same room or using a crib in another room? I prefer to continue the family bed even though it might seem harder at first, but it has always seemed harder to me to be putting a baby in and out of a crib. However, a crib or toddler bed in your room may be what works best for you. Another option is to expand your bed’s limits by placing another mattress against your mattress. A bit more space for each family member may help to solve some of the sleep issues. My least favorite choice is a crib or bed in a separate bedroom.

    Again, during these first three nights, between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., cuddle and feed short, put him down awake, rub, pat, talk until he falls asleep and repeat this cycle only after he’s slept and reawakened. At 6:01 a.m., do whatever you have been doing as a morning routine ignoring the previous seven hours’ patterns. Many babies will roll over, nurse and cuddle back to sleep and give you an extra hour or so. Some won’t.

    For me, one of the most reassuring parts of this “sleep plan” is seeing that babies wake up fine, happy and grudge-free about the change in the rules. You’ll see what I mean, even if the first few minutes of the morning are not exactly as they’ve always been.

    The Second Three Nights

    Again, the nursing to sleep stops at 11 p.m. When he wakes up, hug him and cuddle him for a few minutes, but do not feed him, put him down awake. Putting him down awake is a crucial part of this whole endeavor because it really does teach him to fall asleep with a little less contact and then a little less. Not feeding is the big change during these three nights. One-year-old babies can easily go for those seven hours (or more) with no calories. Theylike to get fed a little through the night, but physiologically and nutritionally, this is not a long time to go without food.

    If I could wake my wife a few times each night, ask her to squeeze me a little fresh orange juice (my favorite drink) and rub my back while I drank it, I wouldn’t choose to voluntarily give up this routine. My wife might have some different ideas and get tired of the pattern quickly. Babies rarely give up their favorite patterns and things — day or night– without balking and crying.

    I really don’t like listening to babies cry. I actually hate listening to babies cry. Unlike them, though, we adults can truly understand the implications of lack of sleep for a family of three, four or more people. Sleep patterns sometimes have to be changed. The incredible safety and reassurance the family bed has provided, and continues to provide, supplies the best context and location for these changes.

    During these second three nights, some babies will cry and protest for ten minutes at a time and some will go for an hour or more. Your toddler is aware that you are right beside him, offering comfort and soothing. It just isn’t the mode of comfort he wants at the moment. It is hard to listen to him fuss, but it will work. I believe that a well-loved baby, after a year or more in the family bed, will be the ultimate beneficiary of his parents getting more sleep. Not coincidentally, the parents benefit “big time,” too.

    “Yes, for the past many months we have enjoyed voting “1 to 2″ — non-democratically — in favor of . . . the baby. ‘Anyone want to get up all night, feed and walk the baby and be really tired all day and the next day too?’ Well, the vote is 1 to 2 in favor of the baby.”

    Now, what we’re saying is, we will sometimes be voting two to one in favor of the baby’s family. This “baby’s family” concept may be abhorrent to he who considers himself the King of England, or Emperor of the Whole World, but our knowing he has that feeling of power allows us to confidently demote the dictator to a majority-respecting member of the family. His family.

    By the end of the sixth night, your baby is going back to sleep without being nursed or fed. He’s going back to sleep after a nice hug, a cuddle and with your hand on his back and your words in his ear.

    If, at any point this is feeling “wrong” to you, stop, wait some months and start over. Don’t go against your “gut instincts” which tell you that this is the wrong time to get longer sleep intervals from your baby. Your instincts are better than any sleep-modification program ever written.

    The Next Four Nights

    Nights seven, eight, nine and ten. Don’t pick him up, don’t hug him. When he awakens after 11 p.m., talk to him, touch him, talk some more, but don’t pick him up. Rub and pat only. No feeding either, obviously. He will fall back to sleep. Repeat the rubbing and talking when he reawakens. By the end of the ninth night, he will be falling back to sleep, albeit reluctantly for some babies and toddlers, with only a rub and a soothing voice.

    After

    After these first ten nights, continue to cuddle and feed to sleep if you like and he wants to, but do nothing when he wakes up except to touch a little and talk to him briefly. This may continue for another three or four nights but occasionally keeps going for another week or more. Then . . . it stops. He has learned that he is just as well-loved, gets virtually everything he needs and wants all day, but must give seven hours per night back to his parents and family.

    What happens if you travel, he gets sick or some other circumstance demands a return to more nighttime interaction? Nothing. You do what you need to do (cuddle, nurse, walk, in the middle of the night, as many times as you need to) and then spend a night or two or three getting back to the new pattern the family has established.

    By the way, pay the baby. Make sure that he really does get a lot of the benefit of your getting a good night’s sleep. Go to the park more often. Do all those things with him you said you’d do if he ever let you sleep longer. Explain it to him as you’re doing it. He’ll understand in an ever increasing way and will be OK with all this.

    MommySarah986
    by Member on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:54 PM
    I try to set limits, but he is going through his terrible 2 phase now and everything has to go his way or else. He screams bloody murder if I take the boob away or not give it to him. I guess I'm ok with day time nursing when we are home but I can't do the night time anymore. I need better sleep. I haven't heard about dr. Gordon yet.


    Quoting aehanrahan:

    Start setting limits during the day. Nursing is not so magical taht you have to allow anything and everything. You can pick certain times of the day when you're okay with him nursing or set a time limit on nursing sessions. Many moms use a song and say, "one more twinkle twinkle" or something like that. You could try night weaning. Have you read Dr. Jay Gordon's night weaning technique? I'll go find it for you.


    aehanrahan
    by Group Mod - Amy on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:57 PM
    1 mom liked this

    How do you treat his other tantrums? Tantrums about nursing are treated the same.

    Quoting MommySarah986:

    I try to set limits, but he is going through his terrible 2 phase now and everything has to go his way or else. He screams bloody murder if I take the boob away or not give it to him. I guess I'm ok with day time nursing when we are home but I can't do the night time anymore. I need better sleep. I haven't heard about dr. Gordon yet.


    Quoting aehanrahan:

    Start setting limits during the day. Nursing is not so magical that you have to allow anything and everything. You can pick certain times of the day when you're okay with him nursing or set a time limit on nursing sessions. Many moms use a song and say, "one more twinkle twinkle" or something like that. You could try night weaning. Have you read Dr. Jay Gordon's night weaning technique? I'll go find it for you.


    gdiamante
    by Group Mod - Gina on Sep. 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM
    1 mom liked this

    Exactly.

    I think that's the bad side of the nursing PR pitch... everyone thinks its this warm fuzzy magical thing so we get reluctant to apply the usual rules to it. 

    Tantrums always get the same response, no matter what the cause. The response is up to you, of course.

    Quoting aehanrahan:

    How do you treat his other tantrums? Tantrums about nursing are treated the same.

    poosey08
    by Member on Sep. 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    I told my son Nursey was sleeping! It worked and now he just does at nap and bedtime. He was like your son wanting it day and night and it was causing him to eat poorly and sleep poorly. He still wakes up for it once or twice. Seems to be getting better! He is 2 also. Is your little guy a good eater? 

    MommySarah986
    by Member on Sep. 4, 2013 at 11:47 PM
    No he doesn't eat alot at all. He snacks a little but bm is his main food. I try to get him to eat during meal time with us but he isn't all that interested. Maybe 1 or 2 bites and he is done


    Quoting poosey08:

    I told my son Nursey was sleeping! It worked and now he just does at nap and bedtime. He was like your son wanting it day and night and it was causing him to eat poorly and sleep poorly. He still wakes up for it once or twice. Seems to be getting better! He is 2 also. Is your little guy a good eater? 


    poosey08
    by Member on Sep. 6, 2013 at 10:19 PM


    Try not to nurse before meals. I was doing that same thing and stuffing him on breastmilk. Now I nurse him after and he eats much more!

    Quoting MommySarah986:

    No he doesn't eat alot at all. He snacks a little but bm is his main food. I try to get him to eat during meal time with us but he isn't all that interested. Maybe 1 or 2 bites and he is done


    Quoting poosey08:

    I told my son Nursey was sleeping! It worked and now he just does at nap and bedtime. He was like your son wanting it day and night and it was causing him to eat poorly and sleep poorly. He still wakes up for it once or twice. Seems to be getting better! He is 2 also. Is your little guy a good eater? 




    SewingMamaLele
    by Leanne on Sep. 6, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Nightwean.  He's plenty old enough... that's the first step, IME.   Just tell him no, wear three shirts to bed and rub his back or sing to him instead. 

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