Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weaning My Wee One

In an attempt to get Ryan to eat more solid foods, I have weaned him from one of his nursing sessions during the day. I don't intend to fully wean him just yet....I think I'd rather wait until he shows clearer signs of wanting to stop. But I felt comfortable doing this because I know how important real foods are to his diet now. And he just hasn't been eating enough of them.
So here's what I did. I was breastfeeding him around 10am, 2:30pm, 5pm, 8pm, and then a couple times throughout the night, including early in the morning before getting up, around 6:30am. That's 5 times in a 24-hour period, if Ryan slept through the night. (which he doesn't do, so it's always at least 6 or 7 times) So I dropped the 5pm feeding. Ryan hasn't seemed to care, and he has actually started eating more at dinnertime. Now if only I could figure out how to wean him from his middle of the night nursings!! Right now that is the only way to put him back to sleep, but I know he doesn't physically need the milk during the night. I am so frustrated about this, but feel helpless. How do you get a baby to fall back asleep in the middle of the night, when they have been conditioned to only fall asleep by coming into bed with you and nursing? I need to break the habit. I need more sleep. Sigh.


  1. I can't offer much help as I stopped nursing long ago...but when Cam wakes during the night it's usually more of an arousal or startle reflex like wake and he calms himself and goes back to sleep after about 5 or so minutes. Have you tried to let him calm himself and see what happens? That is if he sleeps in his room. If he's sleeping with you then I have no idea unless you pretend to be asleep and basically ignore him to see if he can fall back asleep.

    Good luck.

  2. When Shea was around Ryan's age I was about halfway through my pregnancy with Maya and was DONE with night nursing (and pretty much with nursing in general... would have gone longer if I wasn't pregnant).

    Anyway, we had tried pretty much everything, and decided the "best" thing to try was for me to simply not be there.

    Adam's parents lived just a few minutes away from us in AZ, so after we put Shea to bed, I went over there to sleep (sleep! blissful sleep!) and Adam stayed to deal with her. I left some pumped milk in a sippy cup (though I knew she wouldn't want it, but it at least made me feel better), and of course she refused it. There was quite a bit of crying initially, but she got the message pretty quickly that it was just dad that was doing the nighttime parenting and that he didn't have the goods.

    I know there are other ways, and that it sounds kind of harsh, but it mostly worked. Of course she wasn't a miracle sleeper, but after a few nights of Dad Only I started sleeping at home again. She would still wake up in the night but we were able to get her back down easier and without nursing.

    I think we did a similar thing with Maya when I wanted to keep nursing but stop night nursing (a few months after her 1st bday I think... amazing how fuzzy it all is now!) and it was a similar outcome. I think I probably blogged about it if you search "the never ending sleep drama" category on my blog-- ha!

  3. I'm trying to get Remy to wean as well. But I've only been nursing him 3 times a day for a long while now. I'd like to be done all together!
    I think you're right about when the baby gets enough good calories from the food they are eating, they don't need to nurse as much. If dropping the 5pm feeding worked out, in another week I'd make some move towards what your other friends have suggested: drop the night feedings.

    I used the "Babywise" book (with discretion, not all of it is good) and my kids followed the pattern the book. My sister tried using it too, but her boy would not conform! She has trained him to sleep at night by consistency of routine.
    What my sister did instead of a night feeding was to offer a substitute, like milk in a bottle from daddy, or soother or other comfy toy that made him feel better. Then they let him cry. She even got earplugs for a while so she could go back to sleep.

    I think it ends up being the method you choose to be best for your family, and then you stick with it.
    I'll keep praying for your family!

  4. Kayla Croteau (April BDC)
    Our situations sounds exactly the same. I wish I had some advice for you but I'm in the same boat. Please let me know if you find a solution!

  5. We had Daddy go in, too (like Tara mentioned, but not quite as extreme!) She screamed... and screamed... and eventually would fall asleep. It was really hard to know that if I just went and nursed her she would go right to sleep, but we knew it was important for her to learn to sleep without nursing as well. At that point she was still nursing 4-5x during the day, and once in the early morning (4-5am) so it wasn't a hunger thing. (and she had been sleeping long stretches for a bit previous to this). She was maybe 6mos? 7mos?

    I also tried to stop nursing her to sleep for her naps, and that really helped her fall back asleep at night on her own (not that it will help you much, sorry!)

    When I did get up with her, I did try to console her and get her back to sleep without nursing (swaddling, singing, rocking, bouncing, patting, walking, etc.) but it rarely worked for me, although Daddy had some success. She knew I had milk and was withholding it! We both spent many hours pacing the hallway carrying a screaming baby, but we got lucky and it was a fairly short-lived experience for us.

    But yeah- the Daddy going in thing worked for us. There were still nights when I did nurse her, when Daddy had done all he could and she was just inconsolable. Or when he'd been up with her already a time or two, and it was my turn. Or if he had a big/busy work day in the morning.

    I did feel a little bad "making" him get up with her, since he works full time, and I was staying home then, but he liked being involved, and we tried to concentrate the efforts when he was off for a few days.

    Now when she wakes in the night (which happens several times a night usually), it's rare for her to have much of a problem going back to sleep. She will cry out when she wakes up, but if left alone, she'll be asleep again in a few minutes. Sometimes she'll cry for a minute or two even, but when we've gone in, she's still got her eyes closed, and only really wakes up when we go in. The times when we just leave her be, she goes right back to sleep.