G.M. asks from Arcadia, CA on January 05, 2009
Weaning - Arcadia,CA
My little one sleeps with me and I am still nursing at night mainly. Trying to wean him. I guess I have two things going on. One baby in my bed which I am not too worried about despite mixed thoughts from others on co-sleeping, but the weaning part is difficult. My baby falls asleep only by nursing and then he wakes up at night and uses my nipple to self-soothe himself back to sleep. I can't break this pattern. I've tried letting him cry it out, but I feel bad. Any advice would be greatly appreciate.
So What Happened?™
First of all thank you for all your responses. Some time has gone by and nothing has changed, BUT I will be utilizing some of your techniques. I think it is more me, but at the same time he wants what he wants. It's sooo hard to hear him crying. I am really tired in the a.m. though because he still doesn't sleep through the night. Not sure if it has to do with the nursing/soothing back to sleep. Anyhow, thank you all very much.
T.F. answers from Los Angeles on January 07, 2009
R.L. answers from San Diego on January 06, 2009
Your baby is still a little young to understand that Mommy's breasts are closed at night... But if he has teeth (which I bet he has) it's a good time to stop the all night nursing. I'd try putting bandaides over my nipples as a reminder to me to not let him nurse and try shaking his toosh from side to side. Strange, I know, but my Brazilian mother-in-law taught me this and it works a lot of the time. Softly rocking his toosh back and forth rocks the entire body and can be quite soothing. Basically you'd be teaching him another way to sooth. Once he gets hooked on this and stops the middle of the night breastfeeding, you can shake it less and less until he doesn't need it anymore. It's a long process but it's easier than crying it out.
You don't have to stop weaning entirely. He can still breastfeed to sleep. Take the weaning slowly...
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D.M. answers from Los Angeles on January 05, 2009
The key to weaning and any other major transition is to make sure it is consistent and calm.
I am a co-sleeper...and very dedicated to it and attachment parenting. So, hears what I think might be worth a shot...
It sounds like what my son did at night while he began to teeth, after self weaning himself from the nightfeedings. You may want to invest in Drops or Tablets for teething at night.
But, if he is rooting for the nipples for soothing back to sleep then I would make the nipples less avaiable. Wear a sports bra, or tank bra that covers them and denies him access.
Talk to him about what is happening, and make sure he understands that you are doing this for the both of you. I use the word 'team' a lot with my son, and now that he's older he'll even remind me that we're a 'team'.
You could introduce another form of comfort...a lovey or pacifier. My son had a his 'dino' that we picked out together, and my sister came with us and purchased it for him. We made it a big deal and he loved it. This way at night he would look for the lovey and not Mommy...it took a few weeks though.
There are NO fast cures for this kind of stuff, and using the CIO Method with co-sleepers is kind of counterproductive. Plus, lots of bad information keeps coming out about how it affects brain development and emotional development/attachment moving forward.
The link below is from Dr. Sears a big advocate of attachment parenting...and, great advice for co-sleepers.
Good Luck and keep up the good work!
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K.M. answers from Los Angeles on January 06, 2009
G., Congratulations on The Experience! Enjoy every minute of it...don't wean, wait till your boy weans himself... they do do this...they also decide they don't want to sleep with you anymore! Sometimes it happens suddenly, overnight, and there's no going back. Other times it happens gradually.
My second litter (I have two teen daughters 16 months apart- my first litter- and two preschoolers 13 months apart- my second litter) breastfed until they gradually wanted more of everything else than me...and they had their own toddler bed/crib since birth, but they co-sleep with us whenever they want...only a few hours a day, in the morning or right before they're ready to go to their own bed now that they're older, when infants they co-slept almost all night every night and we've had both of them together in bed at once too, we DO get sleep, it just takes getting used to snuggling a lot!
It is so nice to have that together time, specially if you have to work...why would you want to cut it short? If you had him next to you every night for the next year or two, you'd be sooo lucky! Enjoy!
T.F. answers from Los Angeles on January 07, 2009
Changing the Sleep Pattern of the Family Bed
by Dr. Jay Gordon (Santa MOnica, CA)
That article may help. He is very pro-breastfeeding, attachment parenting, but that article outlines a way for you to change the dynamic.
S.F. answers from Los Angeles on January 06, 2009
I found a good solution in the "No-cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers" (or something like that title) by Pantley (she does a couple of No-cry Solution books).
It has a section for cosleepers (both who want to continue and who want to stop) as well as night weaning and/or training to fall asleep some other way (besides nursing to sleep). It was helpful.
Others have told you, and I completely agree, the one who should decide whether having your baby in your bed is a problem is YOU (and maybe your spouse, lol). Don't listen to others, listen to your heart. You're doing just fine.
L.E. answers from Los Angeles on January 06, 2009
I am trying to wean my baby, too. I wish that I had advice for you, but I'm in the same boat as you.
By the way, how can you be a psycho-therapist without having a license? I'm asking because I'm a graduate psychology student and would like to more about the profession.
A.S. answers from Los Angeles on January 06, 2009
Hello! You already have some good responses but I am going through this right now so thought I'd respond. This is my experience and may or may not be the same as yours. We also cosleep and my baby is 16 months. We started Friday night Jan. 2 and it is now Mon. Jan. 5. Up until Fri. night he was waking up 3-5 times per night to nurse and we loved it. We nurse during the day when we are together and not when we aren't. I am very happy about the choices we made to nurse, night nurse, cosleep and so on up to now, but things had gotten to a point with the sleep interruption that it felt necessary for our family. We bit the bullet and when he woke on Fri. night my husband took him, holding, rocking him as he cried, while I lay in my older son's bed. It was very difficult to hear him crying and not go to him. He cried a lot that first night but his father was always there holding him. The second night he cried a lot less, and the third just one time though it was several long minutes. Tonight he has so far woken only once and took less than 1 minute to settle back down with husband--I didn't go in and am online at this hour (1:45 am) which never was possible before. Not that I want to be doing this a lot. He slept tonight for 4.5 hours straight, a first for him. Not sure if when you said you tried crying it out that meant with his dad or without. With dad seems to have worked for us though it means we are both tired the next day. Luckily it will lead to better sleeping for all of us later. Good luck with your process!!
S.H. answers from Honolulu on January 05, 2009
First decide IF you do REALLY want to completely wean.
Never-mind about comments other people make to you about co-sleeping.. that is a private matter. In fact, many parents co-sleep, but they don't go around announcing it to every person they know or meet. And not all parents will "admit" to it, except on MamaSource! :)
He is only nursing at night.. so he IS weaning. This is the many forms that "weaning" takes. It's normal. Weaning is a process...not a slam-dunk one occasion thing.
You can either let him self-wean (which I did with both my kids)... or not. But if not, it will take patience and time. He's still young... so, verbal explanations will probably not take too well at this age.
Or, some parents introduce a bottle, or a pacifier, or my friends actually put band-aids on their nipples explaining "Mommy has a boo-boo..." or "Mommy's milk doesn't work now..." But, this was done when the child was older.
See what will work best for you and your baby...but I would not do it just because others are making comments to you... and besides, co-sleeping has been around for ages.. and in many cultures. It's nothing "new." Just misunderstood. MANY MANY families do this, and with older children too. No worries. And no, co-sleeping does NOT hinder a child or make them "dependent"... I know, because we co-sleep with my kids and they are certainly NOT hindered or dependent....and in fact are very confident, secure, and independent individuals.
All the best,