Night weaning attempt #1: fail

11.17

I can’t believe it, but Jack is going to be a year old soon! My husband and pediatrician had suggested not night-weaning completely, but decreasing the number of night feedings for a while now, and I finally gave it a more serious try the last two nights. I kept putting it off because it’s so easy to just roll over and breastfeed at night, and then Jack goes right back to sleep (we cosleep with a crib sidecared).

My pediatrician who is pretty nice suggested picking one feeding (I chose the next one after 1am, so around 2 or 3am) to get rid of. He said try to pat the baby back to sleep or use another method besides nursing, and after a while the baby will learn to sleep though that feeding because he doesn’t have a reason to wake up and won’t expect food.

That makes theoretical sense, and I know Jack will got 4 hours without eating often during the day, so it seems reasonable that he doesn’t necessarily need to wake up every 2 hours at night for a short nursing session. However, I was really hesitant to try to mess with his eating and just naturally feel that he is doing what he needs to get enough calories or whatever.

Anyway, I tried two nights ago and last night because I felt like I should, and it did not go well. Both times he fully woke up after a minute or two of rooting around and being patted (which never works for us). He started crying really hard, so I walked around with him and put him in the carrier until he fell asleep, but as soon as I transferred him to the bed he woke up again and got really upset. It broke my heart to hear him that upset because of something I was doing :( I was also super tired and I hate having to get out of bed, especially multiple times, during the middle of the night. I ended up feeding him both times after a while, but it took a long time for him to calm back down and fall asleep, and he woke up a lot the rest of the night.

The following day, I was exhausted even though I napped with him. Waking up and walking around really messes with my sleep, while just waking up and feeding him in bed is not a problem.

I hope that I can try again later on and maybe he’ll be more ready. I can see how a method like this could work better for a baby who is easy to soothe, but Jack is more of a high-needs baby who easily gets very upset and doesn’t calm down quickly, even with my help (let alone by himself!) At least I’m so thankful we are cosleeping which makes breastfeeding at night really not a big hastle, so I don’t mind waking up every few hours for the next few months :)

Sleep update at 10 months

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We have been doing some form of co-sleeping with Jack since he was born, and using the “wait it out” alternative to “cry it out.”  At first we side-cared the crib to the bed, but he ended up always sleeping glued next to me and not in the crib. Eventually when he was a few months old we took off the crib and he slept between my husband and I. At that point we kept the crib in the bedroom as a playpen type area. Recently, now that he’s crawling we put the crib back as a sidecar (with the toddler rail up) so that it’s harder for Jack to crawl off the bed at night.

This has been working pretty well. I slide him over into the crib after he breastfeeds most of the time, and sometimes he sleeps next to me if I’m worried he’ll wake up if he’s moved. He has more space that way and doesn’t end up sideways and kicking someone in the face. I think it also might make him gradually eat a little less at night because it’s less easy to just breastfeed while I’m half asleep, but we’ll see.

When he was a few months old Jack was sleeping about a 5 hour stretch early in the night, but for the last several months he has been waking up every 2 to 3 hours (sometimes more). He often wakes up every hour towards morning. At least he sleeps from about 7pm to 7am and really easily falls back asleep after he eats unless he’s teething. I generally don’t feel that exhausted unless he’s teething and I need to walk around with him at night. That’s one reason I really didn’t want him in the crib with the sides up- I feel like if I have to get out of bed at all it wakes me up more and I really feel it the next day.

At this point I’m not trying to change his sleep since he keeps getting new teeth every week to every few weeks. We tried to stop using the carrier to put him to sleep, but that resulted in bedtime taking hours of lying there with him and then when he started teething I gave up and used the carrier so I wouldn’t go crazy, so all that stress was for no reason.

Maybe after he gets his molars and we have a break from teething for a while we’ll try to set up a better nighttime routine and gradually decrease the eating at night by cuddling him to sleep instead.  Facebook has been a great source of support with wait it out groups, since most people I know use cry it out. I’m really glad to have those groups and also that all our parents never did cry it out so that we have places to talk that are understanding.