Thinking about night weaning options at 21 months

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Jack is 21 months old now, and we are thinking about trying to night wean (again). I am fine waiting until Jack does so naturally but my husband wants to do it now, so we are going to try a gentle and gradual approach. I have read so many different approaches to it, so here are some of the ones I was thinking about (I tend to overthink things a lot, and want to minimize sadness for Jack and imagine what I would prefer if I were in his situation). Any of the things we choose would NOT leave Jack to cry alone, ever. However there will likely be some crying because Jack is very “spirited.” The crying is always so hard on me especially because he doesn’t like me to touch him so I can’t hold him, but at least a loving parent will be with him to support him, so I think of it as crying in arms, not cry it out.

1. The method I’m going to try first is having Jack wait longer and longer periods until he can have milk. I think I will start at his first wake up after 11pm, so that eventually the goal is him sleeping from 9:30 to the morning without his every other hour wake ups. I will start with a few seconds of him waiting and gradually increase it to a minute, then eventually longer and longer. The goal is that at some point he will fall asleep during the wait and get more and more practice sleeping without nursing. I will tell him that the milkies are busy making more milk, but we can have some later. I think that makes sense to me, and also doesn’t rely on him understanding about the day versus night which I don’t think he does yet. I like that he knows he will get to nurse eventually, and that I can feed him if he gets too upset. I just hope he is able to wait long enough to fall back asleep…

2. My next option in case that never works is nursing him to sleep and then making him a little to see if he can go back to sleep on his own while very groggy. (If it didn’t work, I would nurse and  barely wake him the next time). Once that worked consistently and Jack was a little more used to falling asleep that way, I would try to nurse him to 95% asleep and take him off my breast to see if he could fall asleep, and then keep shortening it.

3. The next option I would try is letting him nurse a little and then refusing to nurse again until he sleeps and wakes up again. I tried this several months ago and only was able to get him to sleep in a baby carrier but then he would wake when I put him down and get upset again.

4. We tried once having my husband put Jack to bed, but that was a disaster several months ago. This could be an option if nothing else is working, but I feel bad having Jack lose not only his main way to get to sleep but also his favorite parent. I think if we tried this I would set a cutoff for how many minutes he could cry and then I would come back and we wouldn’t do this method any more.

Even though Jack waking every 2 hours is kind of tiring, it’s not that back because we cosleep. I’m really not looking forward to having him possibly get upset at night and then be up for hours because he gets all riled up :( I hope by some miracle he can just so gradually get used to something that there are no tears!

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