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We are one week into our new night weaning attempt with Eleanor. We read Nursies when the Sun Shines with Eleanor for a week or so before starting... she loves the book (especially because they have a cat in it ) and seems to understand it. While reading, she will say night night to me, DH, the dogs, and "milky milk". And last night after our last nursing session before bed, she closed my shirt, said night to "milky milk" and then went happily with daddy for bedtime.
Our plan is that after she goes to bed, there is no more nursing until she wakes up for the morning. I thought about having a time cutoff, but then decided to follow her lead in the morning. If she cries, she needs more sleep, if she wakes up and calls me or knocks on her door, she is ready to get up. This is what she generally does anyway.
So the first few nights, we had frequent wakings, but she was easy to get back to sleep. The next few nights there were less wakings, but she was hard to get back to sleep. Honestly, nursing doesn't really seem to be the issue. She barely ever even asks for milk at night (one time each night at most). When she does ask, it is no problem to tell her milk went night night and she happily accepts a sip of water before cuddling down for sleep again. The problem is she doesn't want to go back in her bed. She doesn't want to lay next to me. She wants to be held. And she will go into full out psycho tantrum mode if it becomes clear that she is going to have to lay down.
I thought I was making some progress with the tantrums... I was listening quietly, telling her I was there, and then when she stopped flipping out completely at the sound of my voice or the touch of my hand, I would calmly tell her it was time to lay down and go to sleep in her bed, that she was safe, and that mommy, daddy, etc etc loved her. She seemed to calm for that routine.
Then last night, she slept a great 9.5 hour stretch (so amazing). I went to her room, she clearly wanted more sleep. She asked for milk, happily took a sip of water instead, then went to sleep in my arms. We did the dance of me putting her down, her sleeping for a few minutes then fussing, repeat for over an hour before she finally settled back into sleep, but no tantrums! Then I went back to bed and 10 minutes later she cried. It was getting late to try to get her back to sleep and since I already knew she was going to be hard to settle I decided to try getting her up. I went into her room, turned on the light, said good morning, and she FLIPPED OUT. Rolling on the floor, screaming, eyes closed, pulling at her hair... so I picked her up and she laid down on me. I turned out the light and decided she needed more sleep. She was already out so I tried to lay her down again and then we got 45 minutes of tantruming. Rolling in her bed, climbing horizontally along the crib rails, arching her back until her head touched the floor, she even climbed out of her bed, went into the corner behind her bed, and started banging her head on the wall. She was not listening to anything I said, I could not pick her up without her flailing and screaming, I offered milk and she ignored me, I turned on the light and opened the door and she just kept rolling around on the floor screaming. Finally after 10 minutes of the door being opened, she ran screaming out of the room and climbed up on the couch and just stopped. She has been absolutely happy and great today.
That tantrum was so draining for me that I feel like I didn't sleep at all last night. I just really feel like her sleep issues have not improved with any of our night weaning attempts and it is making me really depressed. I don't know how everyone deals with sleep deprivation for so long, but I need more sleep. And I feel like I'm not going to get it any time soon.
I'm not really looking for advice, just hoping for a little morale boost I guess. My only hope is that if I stick with it for another week or two, maybe there is a small chance we can break some of these bad sleep habits.
M can have tantrums like that they are super draining. It can be hard to figure out what the trigger is sometimes because she is freaking out too bad to answer questions or anything.
As you know, we also found night weaning to not be a silver bullet for night waking issues. M seems to be SLOOOOWWWWLY getting better at night but she has had a cough for almost 3 weeks and that has been waking her up at night, she refuses anything for it, including water and honey, freaks out if we try to make her take it, so DH basically sits with her and I lie awake in bed listening until she stops coughing and falls asleep again. She has a big girl bed now and usually is fine by herself all night, though, so that is some progress.
Thanks. I have read the articles there so many times They totally click with me, too. I will definitely look at that one and see if I get any new insights or just encouragement from it. I try to consistently respond to her night tantrums by following their techniques (or whatever I think think their techniques are, maybe I'm wrong)... just occasionally telling her I'm there or saying, "You're safe" or "I know it's hard" sympathetically. Then when she seems ready to settle, I will talk to her more or pat her back. DH isn't as good at a consistent response, so I have been doing all the nightwakings.
But this tantrum I was just all out of sorts because I wasn't sure if I should get her up or not, and I felt like I made a mistake by trying to wake her up, and then it was so intense that I didn't want her to hurt herself.
But thanks for the support. I hate those days where you just feel like throwing yourself a pity party!
I know how the second-guessing yourself can be!!!! Argh. Like every time M won't nap or is not going down at night well... I'm like, "what did she eat? Is she constipated? Did she get too much stimulation? Not enough exercise? Is she hungry or does her stomach hurt? Is it her teeth?" Etc. Most of the time I think I have a reason for it but it is usually something I can't really control, like her bowel movement patterns. Like she refuses to nap and then 30 minutes later has a yucky poop, so I figure that was the reason. But the hardest part sometimes is like what you had this morning, when they show ALL the signs of needing to sleep, but they WON'T, or they seem not ready to sleep at all so you don't try to force it, but then later on you think you should have tried to get them down even though they didn't seem ready, or whatever.
Anyway. You are not alone I hope you get a break soon!!
Second, I actually think it sounds like you've made amazing progress in a short amount of time. And the only real fix for this situation is MORE time. Give it another week and see how it goes. Maybe keep track of how many nighttime tantrums she has next week (a simple tally will do) and then again the following week to see if they are improving.
Maybe also you could find some kind of special thing to give her for bedtime. It may be that before she got nursies from you and now she isn't get that and is OK with that but is maybe NOT okay that she's not getting something special from you. Maybe she can have a special stuffed animal that you get her that is for bedtime only. You can make it out to be a very special thing, I'm sure. I don't know if that WILL fix it, but if the problem is wanting something special at night, that MIGHT help.
Positive reinforcement could go a long way, too. On the nights where she is really good, maybe you can do an extra special activity in the morning. Tell her "You slept so nicely last night and no tantrums, so mommy got lots of sleep, too! Now mommy has lots of energy to play (insert special game) with you this morning. I'm so excited!" or whatever.
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Rachel, you are right, 9.5 hours is really good for her... if we get more nights like that I will be ecstatic! She is notorious for randomly throwing in 1 good night of sleep every couple of months so I am afraid to hope it will become a trend. But it is a great night!
Lost, I like your ideas, especially for positive reinforcement in the morning. I am going to think hard about how to make it really work for Eleanor
I'm just having one of those drained, raw days, so I love that I can come here for support!