13 answers

Weaning Breastfeeding 14 Month Old

Hello! I am currently still breastfeeding my 14 1/2 month old at night to bed and througout the night! I really enjoy the night time nursing and I would like to continue that for a while until he weans himself but my husband and I are really tired and have come to our breaking point in need our son out of our bed and off of my breast! I was wondering if any other moms have had this problem and if so what you did. He wakes up at about 1:00am and then 2 - 3 times after that. I know at this age he should not be hungry ( he is a good daytime eater but not milk drinker)so I think he is use to not going through the night without eating. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to wean him from middle of the night nursing? My mom suggests letting him cry in his crib and going in there to reassure him everything is fine but I don't know if I have it in my heart to let him cry! Thanks!!!!

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for all of your responses! I followed Dr. Jay Gordon's method of weaning nighttime feeding and it worked great!! It was a lot easier than I thought and my son is back to sleeping 10 - 12 hours/night :) I would recommend this method to anyone! Thanks again!

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I have never been an advocate of the "crying it out" thing. I think it is cruel and unusual punishment! You might try getting up with him, no talking, and just holding him. He probably is just missing you and breastfeeding is very comforting to him. You could then merge into just patting his bottom in his bed for a shorter and shorter amount of time. He'll get it eventually. :)

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I weaned my son from nighttime feedings by picking one feeding (1am, 3am, etc) and slowly start nursing less and less. First I'd time the average nighttime feeding (say it was 10 minutes). The first night of "weaning" I'd nurse him only 8 minutes, then step down by a minute or two from there until I would just rock him for that feeding. Eventually, he'd sleep through that feeding. I think his body just stopped expecting that. After about a week or two of his being comfortable with not nursing at that feeding, I'd start with the other. I know it sounds long and tedious but I found that it was a lot more painless than letting him cry it out in the middle of the night. And after I was done, he'd sleep through the night! (And I found with the second feeding, it took a lot less time than the first). Good luck and I hope you get rid of sleepless nights very soon!

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I know others will disagree but letting babies cry it out is just cruel. They have no sense of time and where you are and feel abandoned and terrified. He wants to be near his parents and, around the world and down through the centuries, this waking through the night is considered quite normal. In fact, it's a sign of health - both physical and emotional. I wouldn't change anything for several months. I never tried to get mine to sleep through the night till at least 18 months, then had someone else get up with them to reassure them until the sun was coming up when they could come back into mama's bed and nurse again. I know others feel adults have a right to sleep thru the night but that's for the benefit of the parents and not the children. People who have children have to be available to them 24x7. Kids who grow up this way are secure and healthy. It's short-term gains for the parents vs. both short and long-term gains for the kids. I'm sure others will disagree, but there it is.

Sounds like you are describing my 13.5 month old! Two weeks ago I decided he is healthy, happy, and shouldn't be getting up during the night to nurse (1-2 times per night!). So I let him "cry it out." He whined for 30 seconds and that was it. He's been sleeping through the night ever since. The night nursing was a comfort to him.
I also have a friend whose son was doing the same thing around a year old. She had to take medication and had to stop nursing at that point. Her son cried and she went and laid him back down in his bed. This happened for a few nights in a row, but he soon understood that there would be no midnight nursing, and stopped getting up.
Good luck!

My son is 14 months and at 12 months was nursing every 2 hrs. through the night. Now he only nurses once, at bedtime. I wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I just pushed him back an hour each week. So week one I didn't nurse at midnight, but made him wait til one. Then the next week I made him wait til two and so on. We had a couple set backs due to illness, but otherwise, it didn't go that bad all.

The way I handled the crying was to offer him a drink of water from his sippy cup when he woke to nurse. Sometimes he took it and sometimes he didn't. Then I rocked him back to sleep in his room. I sometimes pressed my cheek against his cheek to soothe him if he was particularly upset (since I figured it might feel a little like being pressed against me to nurse). That usually helped at those times. Then, when it was time to nurse, I would nurse him in my bed. That way we had a separate nursing and no nursing zone.

After skipping the midnight nursing for a week, he got to where he didn't even wake up at mignight anymore. The same thing happened as I eliminated the other hours. Now he only wakes at around 4 or 5 and goes back to sleep quickly after I rock him.

Good luck. You can do it!

Hi L.,

First, let me say WOOT on the breastfeeding!! YEAH! You've given your little guy such a GREAT start in life. Second, no worries on the milk thing. My daughter doesn't drink milk. Just make sure he is getting a good amount of GOOD fat in his diet through the day. Olive oil, avocado, Cod Liver Oil - Nordic Naturals is a good brand with flavors. They only need whole milk for the fat content for healthy brain development. There are plenty of other ways to get that fat.

Ok... onto breastfeeding. My daughter nursed until she was 18.5 months old. At 13/14 months she too was still waking in the night to nurse. I was certain it was NOT for nutrition. When she nursed to EAT it felt much different. Now, granted, it took me a little while to realize this ... I actually had to really wake myself up and pay attention to how she was nursing.

I too am not a cry it out mom. Sometimes baby needs to be assured that mom and dad are still there. So, what I did was ... when she woke up, I would go in, rock her and tell her 'it is not time for milk'. We would cuddle and rock and then she would go back to sleep and be fine. It did take some time, but we got there.

Then, around 15 months old I really started working on putting her to bed AWAKE. My daughter is a very very busy little girl. She needed a lot of help settling down and just relaxing at night. I made sure we had a really good night routine. Once in her room, we rocked, I sang a night night song, we said her prayers, and then I would say 'it's time for night night now. Mama is going to put you in your bed.'

I resolved I would not let her cry more then 15 minutes.. then I would go in and comfort. She cried for 12 minutes the first night and then fell asleep on her own. 5 minutes the second night and fell asleep and just a little whimper the 3rd night. Since then, she has slept 11.5 -12 hours consistently every night.

I'm just a firm believer that no waking in the night is developmental. I would not even consider any kind of sleep training before 12 months. I believe before that baby needs to be reassured mom and dad are there, or may need something else. But, once they are eating well during the day, and are past separation anxiety issues...then you can do the sleep training.

For us, the night weaning and sleep training sort of coincided. My daughter took bedtime milk until she was 18,5 months old. THen she just stopped asking for it. That was how I wanted to do it. No drama. Just her deciding we were done.

So, that is what we did. Hopefully I've given you some information you can use as you find what works for you and your little guy.

Good luck!

I feel your pain, I have a 12.5 month old who does the same thing. We're going to do a loose version of the Jay Gordon method when the time comes. Here are some articles about it:

http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp

I really recommend you read his book called "Good Nights", and I HIGHLY recommend you pick up The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley. It helped put a lot of things into perspective for me and answered a lot of the questions I had.

Good luck!

I went through that too. It was tough but you have to try to stay strong for a week or two. When he wants to nurse, just don't let him. Rub his back and snuggle with him and just say "no more at night. When the sun comes out, you can nurse again. Only when the sun is up." He'll cry a bit, or a lot, but it's better for him to get out of the habit and much better for you too. You need sleep! Your mantra should be "I'm doing what's best for both of us." He doesn't need to nurse at night. You are more of a pacifier. Break the habit sooner than later.

I have never been an advocate of the "crying it out" thing. I think it is cruel and unusual punishment! You might try getting up with him, no talking, and just holding him. He probably is just missing you and breastfeeding is very comforting to him. You could then merge into just patting his bottom in his bed for a shorter and shorter amount of time. He'll get it eventually. :)

Start shorenting the nursing times and do not offer. Only nirse as a last resort. He is not used to eating at night, but he is nursing for comfort at night. We replaced the bedtime nursing with singing and rocking, so we still had our close quiet time, but with out nursing. My daughter was 17 months at the time and did not even ask until about 2 weeks later and there was no more milk. She asked and I got her attention on something else and that was the end of it.

My son is 10 months and I just weaned him from his 4 am feeding. I tried the CIO method and it was really quiet painless. I just went in and told him "night night" like I always do when it's time to sleep and turned on his mobile. He pretty much just fussed on and off until his normal waking time but he only did it for 2 nights, he third night he slept right through. I don't like letting my babies CIO either but this was really not that bad...they really don't need the feeding once they are older, the just become accustomed to it. It might take their bodies a few days to adjust (my son is definitely eating more during the day now). Just thought I'd share my experience, good luck!

Cry it out is all you can do. I nursed 3 babies all for 16 months. First one stopped waking to nurse at 8 months. One night I said I am not getting up anymore, I'm too tired. She cried for 10 minutes, and went back to sleep. Second night she cried for 5 minutes and fell asleep. After that she slept 11 hours straight at night. Second baby, I didn't want to nurse anymore at night at 3 months. He cried for 20 mins. the first night, and 3 minutes the second. Then slept 12-14 hours straight. He is 5 now and still sleeps 12-13 hours a night. Good thing I did it early with him, with all the sleep he requires. (Unless that's why he sleeps so well, because he learned early on?)I did go in after 5 and 10 minutes and say shhhh, go night, night. My 3rd baby, I let her nurse on me at night (which was like 5 times a night even at 5 months) until almost 6 months. Then I said "I'ld had enough of constantly being woke up". She cried for 3 nights. 25 minutes the first night, then one other time that night for 10 minutes. Second night, 10 minutes, 3rd night maybe 2 minutes. She is 2 1/2 now and I lay her down and she sleeps from 8 until 8 a.m. Crying it out is quick and easy. Easy because it works, but difficult because you hate to hear them cry. You taught him that when he wakes up, he can soothe himself back to sleep with your breast. He is quite old now, so I wouldn't be surprised if it took a little longer with him. He has a longer memory now, and can remember nursing back to sleep. So it may take him a few more nights. But who knows? But let me just tell you, it is nice to sleep uninterupted, and to know your baby is getting a deeper, more nourishing sleep, without waking up for the boob. Good luck.

I have a four month old and my doctor told me at the two month visit that he can go all night without a feeding. I use a pacifier and just put it in when he woke. Now I feed him around 11:30 and he goes until 7:30 in the morning. At fourteen months your son should be able to sleep at least ten hours without a feeding. I would just have your husband soothe him when he wakes the first couple of nights so he won't smell your milk. It sounds like he's just stuck in the rut of the routine. He needs sleep way more than your milk at this point.

I don't know how to do it without crying, because he is old enough to know what he wants. I would like to just reassure you, that he does not NEED to eat in the middle of the night, and at this point, the sleep is more important for him as well as for you! His middle of the night waking is normal, but the crying is a habit because he has been trained that he will get milk, comfort, etc. when he cries. He doesn't know what else to do. However, at his age, he is very capable of putting himself to sleep and back to sleep. Like all other things, he will have to learn it sooner or later, and for your sanity, better sooner than later!

I can also tell you that my daughter has gone through periods where she would cry when put down at night, especially after being sick when we might rock her more or something, but it always only takes a night or two at the most of crying a bit before she figures it out.

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