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Weaning a 1 year old, a kind and gentle way


Janeway
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I need help here. My baby is 1 and a half now. He breast fed all night long last night. I spent the day exhausted, unable to do anything. No lessons, no cooking, no cleaning, nothing. I am not one that can nap during the day but I had such a headache from exhaustion that I did lay down for a while, unable to sleep. Totally worthless. 

 

I am not interesting in crying it out. And he sleeps in our room. I know it is odd that a child is up this many times during the night and all of you reading this probably had children who were sleeping through the night very early, but mine never have. This is the norm for my children.  When I weaned my 7 yr old, I slept in a different room and my husband dealt with him being up at night. It took a while, but I do not recall how long. 

 

Also, I do not think my 1 yr old eats enough during the day. As a reult, I suspect he is genuinely hungry. He also does not take a pacifier. 

 

 

When I get this tired, I start to get depressed. 

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I don't have experience with this, but I would start with nighttime weaning. It seems like lack of sleep is your biggest problem. Maybe have your husband deal at night, but then don't deny any requests for nursing during the day. I would think after a few days it would reprogram his wake/eat/sleep pattern?

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I had this kid - my last one DD15. I "had" to wean her because I needed surgery and drugs that she couldn't tolerate. She was about 18 months then. We went cold turkey in a totally gentle way.

 

We moved her to a cup because a bottle was totally rejected. If she would have taken a bottle, we probably would have gone that route for a while but she refused. When she woke up at night, I would put on a heavy hooded sweatshirt, get her cup of milk and we would sit in the rocking chair wrapped in blankets while she drank. First night was rough. Second night was better because she ate better during the day. When she wanted to nurse I would just say "all gone" and give lots of sympathy. Grandma, DH and the older kids all tempted her with food to get her to eat better during the day.

 

No crying it out alone - she was always held and cuddled while she vented her frustration about not nursing. Distraction, a cup of milk and just plain making nursing available.

 

Hugs. You do what you need to do for your health and the toddler. Lots of love and cuddling and you will both get through it.

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He is old enough to understand what you tell hm. Spend the day talking about how you will give him a bedtime nursing (whatever you call it) but that will be It until it's light outside. He's sleeping with you anyway, you're up all night anyway, so just tough it out. Cuddle him, rock him, sing to him, whatever, but do not nurse him. Offer him a cup of water or milk or even a snack at some point if you see fit, but do not nurse him. If you want to end nighttime nursing, just end it. It doesn't have to be a cry it out thing at all. Love on him, offer other soothing options, just not your boob. 😠A few nights and it shouldn't be an issue anymore, though I'd be very careful not to create replacement "issues". Good luck. I know ho tough this stuff can be.

 

Edited b/c iPads aren't as smart as they think they are

Edited by emmaluv+2more
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We did crying in arms with dad and water at night when we were reday tO night wean. So move play pen to dad's side, baby cries, dad gets baby water and tries to put baby to bed, walked around, sat in a chair. Repeat til baby is sleeping through the night or just waking for water aND going right back tO hed. My babes were seiously thirsty at night, so if they woke, we gave water. It never took long for us to night wean but it wasn't fun either. I start working on good sleep habit early on though, so maybe that helped. Baby will start eating more during the day when cUT off from ea ting at night. It's amazing how that worked. :)

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My 3rd was like that. She's 4.5 and has only slept through the night a handful of times. (Thankfully not nursing now!)

 

Dr. Jay Gordon has gentle night-weaning advice.

 

Could the baby have reflux?

 

Giving full fat Greek yogurt right before bed has helped with all my kids. I mix a little fruit purée or honey in with plain yogurt and put it in a squeezy pouch. Makes a huge difference for mine!

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I had this kid - my last one DD15. I "had" to wean her because I needed surgery and drugs that she couldn't tolerate. She was about 18 months then. We went cold turkey in a totally gentle way.

 

We moved her to a cup because a bottle was totally rejected. If she would have taken a bottle, we probably would have gone that route for a while but she refused. When she woke up at night, I would put on a heavy hooded sweatshirt, get her cup of milk and we would sit in the rocking chair wrapped in blankets while she drank. First night was rough. Second night was better because she ate better during the day. When she wanted to nurse I would just say "all gone" and give lots of sympathy. Grandma, DH and the older kids all tempted her with food to get her to eat better during the day.

 

No crying it out alone - she was always held and cuddled while she vented her frustration about not nursing. Distraction, a cup of milk and just plain making nursing available.

 

Hugs. You do what you need to do for your health and the toddler. Lots of love and cuddling and you will both get through it.

Aw, I love this. I had DH do night weaning though. He always helped with babies, but this is the major thing he did. I go through pregnancy, birth, nursing and night nursing. It's the least he could do. Ha!

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I wore a neck high top tight that had no ability for him to sneak a sip while I was asleep and lay down on his bed cuddling until he fell asleep. I would fall asleep as well and DH would wake me up so I could shift to my own bed. it worked as the child still had my body smell that was soothing to him. It took some time, after a day or so the child started to eat more during the day.

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Try feeding him right at bed time, something he likes with fat and protein. When I weaned my now two year old I fed her Trader Joe's frozen Mac and cheese almost every night, then when she woke during the night I would get her a cup of full fat milk. My night nursing toddlers sound similar to yours, not eating enough during the day and trying to catch up on calories at night. You'll need to plan to replace that with food.

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I put bandaids on my nipples and said they were broken. He was almost 2 and still nursing a lot. He preferred to nurse over eating food and trying to get him to cut back on nursing was not working. It was like still nursing a newborn. It just made him mad when I tried to redirect him. So I tried the bandaids. He was upset at first, but accepted it rather quickly. He would ask to see them to see if they were still broken. But after a couple days he quit asking.

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First I wean during the day, as it is so much easier to distract with fun food or reading a book or going to the store or something.  Once that is well established (a couple weeks at least) I use those Mam pacifiers.  They're the only ones my kids like.  We co-sleep, so I wear sleep clothing that does not suggest the possibility of nursing, and also sometimes wrap myself up a bit in a blanket.  Then when they wake I play a soothing song (mine like electronica, specifically The Difference It Makes - Superpitcher remix and Fine Day by Holden (with Kirsty Hawkshaw)).  We dance around and rock and etc. until they go back to sleep.  It is usually one or two sort of rough nights  - no extended crying, but general fussiness for 10 minutes or so before going back to sleep.  I also offer a drink of water from a bottle or soft sippy cup - some have liked this and some not.  Then once that is good and the waking up can be soothed back to sleep without complaint with the song and dance (literally, hah) I transition to just rocking on the bed or dancing about without the song.  Then we move to sort of rocking back and forth in bed, then just rubbing of the back a bit, then they stop waking up.  The whole process maybe takes 3 weeks.

 

I do it at age 1, though.  Around that time I Just Cannot Stand Nursing One More Second.  Not One More Second.

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I put bandaids on my nipples and said they were broken. He was almost 2 and still nursing a lot. He preferred to nurse over eating food and trying to get him to cut back on nursing was not working. It was like still nursing a newborn. It just made him mad when I tried to redirect him. So I tried the bandaids. He was upset at first, but accepted it rather quickly. He would ask to see them to see if they were still broken. But after a couple days he quit asking.

Hahahahaha! I wonder if that would work on my husband when I'm not in the mood? :D I love that your little guy was inspecting for a few days to make sure the situation remained unchanged.

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I always night wean around 1 because I can't deal with a lack of sleep. I just start offering water and basically ignoring them during the night. I lay there and keep sleeping (that actually sounds kinda mean when I write it, but my kids cosleep and I will pat/rub back/etc, just not sit up or nurse). DH usually has to sleep in another room for a week or two because they fuss for a while.  My kids are always thirsty in the night. Even my current two year old wakes up for a drink 1-2x most nights, but he drinks a good amount and goes straight back to sleep so it isn't a big deal to me. 

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I always night wean around 1 because I can't deal with a lack of sleep. I just start offering water and basically ignoring them during the night. I lay there and keep sleeping (that actually sounds kinda mean when I write it, but my kids cosleep and I will pat/rub back/etc, just not sit up or nurse). DH usually has to sleep in another room for a week or two because they fuss for a while. My kids are always thirsty in the night. Even my current two year old wakes up for a drink 1-2x most nights, but he drinks a good amount and goes straight back to sleep so it isn't a big deal to me.

My kids wake due to thirst and can sometimes drink a whole glass of water and then their heads can't hit the pillow fast and hard enough.

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DD13, was 1.5 years old had NEVER taken a bottle, not for lack of trying on my part, and I just couldn't take it any more.  All day and all night.  I was able to wean her during the day because I let her eat chicken non stop but at night we co-slept and I was just to tired to fight with her.  We tried putting her in a crib in our room but she screamed all night long (I wasn't going to let her scream in another room either) and I can't sleep if they breath heavy so no one was getting any rest.  So my mom came up for Christmas.  She stayed 3 nights with DD in the guest room and tah dah! She was weaned with out the screaming.  Grandma held and cuddled her when she cried gave her a sippy cup and that was it.  She was able to come back to bed and except for an occasional whine for the first week we were good.  She still put her hand down my shirt when she was tired for another year but that was only a problem in public. :laugh:

Edited by foxbridgeacademy
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My kids are the same, all nursed at night.

 

At right about 18 months, we night wean. Like you, I kinda snap and feel the baby can understand verbal communication enough to know I'm not completely deserting him.

 

So, I pick a 6 hour time span, say 11pm-5am, and that's when DH is on deck. No nursing in those hours. I say the "b00bies are sleeping". The first 2-3 nights can be rough, so we start on a weekend so DH can sleep in if need be.

 

Once we get over that hump, I'll take over night waking again, but still no nursing.

 

HTH!

 

ETA, at this time, we take the crib down and put the crib mattress on the floor. Then we put a camping map and sleeping bag next to it so the parent can sooth the baby in his bed. We also use pacifiers.

Edited by carriede
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DD13, was 1.5 years old had NEVER taken a bottle, not for lack of trying on my part, and I just couldn't take it any more.  All day and all night.  I was able to wean her during the day because I let her eat chicken non stop but at night we co-slept and I was just to tired to fight with her.  We tried putting her in a crib in our room but she screamed all night long (I wasn't going to let her scream in another room either) and I can sleep if they breath heavy so no one was getting any rest.  So my mom came up for Christmas.  She stayed 3 nights with DD in the guest room and tah dah! She was weaned with out the screaming.  Grandma held and cuddled her when she cried gave her a sippy cup and that was it.  She was able to come back to bed and except for an occasional whine for the first week we were good.  She still put her hand down my shirt when she was tired for another year but that was only a problem in public. :laugh:

 When I weaned my now 2 year old, he became obsessed with other women's bosoms.  Spent rather a lot of time that summer attempting to talk my mother (who was staying with us) into letting him grope her. :)

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None of my kids naturally slept through the night until I night-weaned them as toddlers.  We were also co-sleepers.

 

I made a book with photos of each toddler. The gist was, "Day time is for playing and nursing. Night time is for sleeping, not nursing. If it is dark then I drink water form a cup if I am thirsty." I like using the sun as a marker for when it is ok to nurse, since many toddlers can discern that (mine could). We read this book repeatedly for about a week, had a blunt talk, and bought  a new sippy cup for water when sleeping. It took each toddler 2 nights to adjust. First night was rough. Hang in there!

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