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Night weaning... and we're stuck


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  #1  
February 16th, 2013, 09:15 AM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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We have been working hard on night weaning Eleanor for about 2.5 weeks (I can't remember exactly when I started ). She had started lengthening her second sleep stretch on her own, so I just decided to go with that and focus on that part of the night. She had started going 4 hours after her first waking/nursing, and I kind of easily stretched it first to a 5 hour and then to a 6 hour cutoff for her next feed. I was hoping we would be able to just stretch her right out to 8ish hours so that she was waking around 11 and then sleeping straight through til morning. But we are stuck, and I'm not sure what the issue is.

Within the first week of working on it, we were already at the 6 hour cutoff, but I haven't pushed it further because she isn't doing it consistently without a lot of waking. I would say that about half of the time she will either sleep straight through for 6-8 hours or wake once and go back down quickly. The other half of the time she is waking frequently (like every 30 minutes) or waking and not fully settling back into sleep for 1-1.5 hours. She will do 1-2 good nights, followed by 1-2 bad nights.

Usually, once I feed her at 11, I then send daddy in until it's time for her to nurse again. She has been doing okay with him. The few times she has had a bad night when he has a meeting early in the morning, she has not settled any better/easier for me.

Here are my ideas:

- could we be confusing her by feeding her early in the night? Should I just try to work on eliminating that 11 o'clock feed instead?
- is she not getting the idea because she needs more of a cold turkey, whole night weaning approach?
- could she be dealing with teething, and she is just not going to be a good sleeper for a while, regardless of whether she nurses at night?

What do you think? Any other ideas or tips?
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  #2  
February 16th, 2013, 09:57 AM
Platinum Supermommy
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- could we be confusing her by feeding her early in the night? Should I just try to work on eliminating that 11 o'clock feed instead?
Maybe. I know often when I wake up at night, I have no idea what time it is. I just know I am thirsty or have to pee or whatever. Maybe she is frustrated by the apparent randomness of why she gets boob sometimes but not always?

- is she not getting the idea because she needs more of a cold turkey, whole night weaning approach?
That is always a possibility. I found with weaning M that having an explanation and story for why/when we were stopping nursies, helped her acceptance a lot. She knew what to expect. We did cold turkey night weaning as our last step in the weaning process, with a lot of forewarning and discussion, and DH had a couple of rough nights with her where she had one or two longer wakings and cried for awhile (I slept at my parents' ). And we would give her a sili squeeze of yogurt if she was really upset and water wasn't doing it and she said yes to the yogurt, that always helped a lot. Pretty soon she stopped asking for yogurt ever.

- could she be dealing with teething, and she is just not going to be a good sleeper for a while, regardless of whether she nurses at night?
That happens too of course!! but even when M wakes frequently, she generally goes down again pretty fast as long as someone goes to lie down with her or give her the water bottle. I think Eleanor being hard to get down again has more to do with not getting what she wants and expects than with just teething.

What do you think? Any other ideas or tips?
I have heard (maybe Mariah mentioned awhile back) of a book called "Nursies when the sun shines" or something like that. Since Eleanor is very verbal, it may help her to have a book about it and then you can follow that program too. When you do her bedtime feed, remind her gently that this is the last feed until the sun shines again, but she can have water or whatever other favorite snack if she is hungry at night, just tell us and we will get it for you. That would be what I might do anyway.

Hope that helps!!! Good luck and hope she starts sleeping more soon!!!!
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  #3  
February 16th, 2013, 10:07 AM
joonzgurl's Avatar Proud mama of 2 girls
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I have that book, it's awesome! Home | Nursies When the Sun Shines

I think if I were in your situation I would go for an all or nothing approach. No nursing between bedtime and what you feel is an acceptable time to wake up for the day. 5:30 is what I had decided on... but Avery has been pushing it back, today was 4:45. Soon I will be weaning her from her morning feed so I hope she sleeps in later.

That is my suggestion. No night nursing at all, just offer water in a sippy.
Good luck, keep us posted!
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  #4  
February 16th, 2013, 10:23 AM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Okay, sounds like you ladies are confirming what I've been thinking. I think when we go for total night weaning, we are going to be in for a few rough nights, though. I am going to see about finding that book and give her a few days warning on the total night weaning so she can be a little prepared.

Keeping my fingers crossed that we can all get some good sleep soon!
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  #5  
February 16th, 2013, 11:50 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I probably would have just slowed down. Went back to 4 hour stretches and stayed just there for another week or 2. Then try 6 hours, and stay there for a week or two, then try going to 8 hours. Giving water instead is a good idea, too, but not 100% sure how I feel about that. I might give breast milk in a sippy (this way if she's nursing because she NEEDS milk she still gets it, but if she's nursing because she wants to comfort nurse, you aren't giving that). Really no right or wrong here, just different options. Sounds like you have made amazing progress so far! We like to take it slow, and I know that's not ideal for everyone.
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  #6  
February 16th, 2013, 09:11 PM
IronMamma's Avatar Intactivist
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I do not really have any advice in this topic I am sorry. I would love to hear how you have been doing, so please KUP.
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  #7  
February 18th, 2013, 05:53 AM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I think DH and I have decided on a bit of a compromise. When I asked DH about what he wanted to do, he said he wanted to go back to feeding her more often for a little while (I think this is totally because he is tired from having to get up in the night and would rather that I have to deal with it, and I am kind of annoyed, but that is another story, I guess). We can't get a copy of that book until the end of the week, anyway, so we will do a week or so of a 4 hour cutoff and then most likely go for cold turkey night weaning. That way, DH and Eleanor will hopefully be able to catch up a little on sleep in the meantime.
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