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Has anyone weaned baby from night-nursing and has it helped with sleep issues?

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    rumnyc is offline Registered User
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    Has anyone weaned baby from night-nursing and has it helped with sleep issues?

    Hi there, I have an almost 14 month old who has basically not been a good sleeper since he was 5 months old. He's still nursing and won't take a bottle and wakes up at night every 1.5-2 hrs to nurse. I've tried co-sleeping, carrying, rocking, leaving him in his cot for certain lengths of time but to no avail. All he wants is breast and if he doesn't get it, he simply won't fall back asleep. Up until now, I went with it but at this point, I pretty much know he's not hungry but mostly just pacifies. Not to mention how sleep-deprived I am after all these months. I don't want to stop nursing but I want to stop night-nursing esp because I hear that night weaning often naturally leads to better sleep patterns.

    Has anyone had similar experiences with night-weaning? If so, please share and offer any tips or advice you think might be handy. This will obviously involve some tears and sleepless weeks, so any advice is appreciated. I'm sick of reading sleep books which make useless suggestions like dark room and calm and quite atmosphere and sleep routine etc., - because I've got them down to the last detail. Some have suggested using bitter substances on the nipple at night but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that kinda stuff, esp 'cause I'm not trying to wean him off the breast completely. I also know that most people think that night-weaning is best done if daddy goes in for the wakings for the first few nights, but a) we tried it once before, it worked well for a few nights but as soon as my husband stopped going in because of work the next day and I started going back in, my son started waking up frequently again and b) he has recently learnt to scream and now if my husband or helper goes in, he screams for a half hour to an hour which absolutely wears everyone down.

    So, ladies...help!

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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    BOTH my girls loved the "comfort nurse in the middle of the night" - but fortunately for me, it was only usually once per night. My oldest started it at 7 months and woke EVERY night until I forcibly night weaned her at 15 months old. My youngest never slept through until I night weaned her at about 8 months (from memory). What I did with both of them was to offer water instead of milk. Of course they were not happy and had a couple of nights of protesting - but once they learned that they would only be getting water and not milk, they stopped waking up. I found that offering them water meant that they could at least have SOMETHING rather than just not giving them anything... you could try that, but it's not going to solve all the problems in one day...

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    rumnyc is offline Registered User
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    thanks nicolejoy. at least it's good to hear that night weaning - although hard - did lead to good sleeping in the case of both your kids. that, to me, is reassuring. did you offer them water in a bottle? my baby doesn't drink from a bottle but i suppose i could offer in the straw cup he drinks from...not sure if that would work...also, when you stopped offering the breast, did you feel like you had to carry or rock them more in order to compensate or were you just able to pat them back down to sleep?

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    bagel is offline Registered User
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    My son would wake up every 2 hours for milk (formula from a bottle until he was 2 years old) so I diluted the milk with water and started increasing the ratio of water to milk. So first night, the bottle had 80 percent milk and 20 percent water, the next night I diluted 50-50 and so on until he could have only water. The torture lasted about a week and his sleeping pattern improved quite a bit.

    Hope this helps.

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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    My first baby was fully breastfed so I offered water in a straw cup (didn't want to introduce a bottle at 15 months old!!)

    My 2nd was bottle fed so I gave water in a bottle. The good thing about bottle feeding it is that you could dilute the milk slowly instead.

    You could also theoretically offer breastmilk in a bottle instead and see if that works too.... but that's a lot extra work - I wouldn't want to dilute breastmilk either, it seems too precious!!

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    Oh sorry, just noticed your other questions... at first it WAS harder to get them back to sleep without nursing/giving milk - but it was so worth it after the first week...

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    rumnyc is offline Registered User
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    thanks nicolejoy. so i've gone 4 nights now without nursing him. interestingly he hasn't screamed for the breast, though he reaches for it at times and arches his back in protest. but i'm usually able to hold or rock him back to sleep within 5-10 minutes. he doesn't seem to want the water from the straw cup, though i keep it and offer it anyway. but he's still waking up every 2 hours. i'm getting worried that now he's waking up to be rocked instead of nursed. what do i do?!

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    nicolejoy's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert by any means, but my theory was "gradually reduce" - so if he's waking to be rocked, can you rock him less? or rock til NEARLY asleep, and then put him down? Or pat his back instead of rocking? That's what I would try... hang in there, it does get better!!

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