Night weaning. I remember hearing that phrase and wondering what the big deal was. I couldn’t understand why someone would be in such a hurry for their baby to grow up. Because really, what is so hard about feeding your baby when they’re hungry?
Clearly I was a first time mom. A first time mom of a baby who enjoyed sleeping 7 – 10 hours in her own bed from very early on. I assumed she was the norm, and not the exception to the norm. We never did any sleep training, we never encouraged her to sleep alone. In fact I cried when we moved her to her own room at 7 weeks. I wanted to keep her with us longer, but she was sleeping longer stretches, and she seemed to be easily disrupted by our rolling over in bed. So there was no ‘night weaning’. Every new tooth, cold, or growth spurt found her waking up again at night for milk with mommy, but it didn’t last very long before she was back to her old routine.
I kind of expected the next one to be a little more difficult. I really had no idea what I was in for. Night weaning wasn’t something I really thought about until my lovely baby turned 2. When she hit 2, I hit a wall. Maybe it was the couple of nights in a row she gave us, hinting at her readiness for a full night’s sleep, and maybe it was just my own mental block. Either way, this is when I decided that night weaning was something I needed to look into.
I had started reading about night weaning, but I was already exhausted, and the thought of something that was going to take lots of energy from me just weighed me down. By this point both girls were sleeping together, sharing a queen sized bed. We had hoped that having her big sister near by would help our little one sleep better. Nosuchluck.
We started on the no milk when the sun is sleeping plan. We would nurse at bed time, but then no more milk until the sun came up. There were a few rough nights where I was trying to console a very angry two year old who JUST.WANTED.MILK. But I didn’t give in. Except for the nights where I was so tired I didn’t even notice her crawl into bed and help herself. Whoops!
Once we got past the sun up plan we started working on the until the alarm goes off plan. We’re not finished with this stage yet, and most mornings I have a visitor jump into bed with me between 6 and 6:30 AM, about 45 minutes before the alarm. We’re still working on making it until 7:15. I’m hopeful we’ll get there soon. Right now she has a hide and seek lion riding on it. One full week of sleeping until the alarm goes off and she gets a super cool toy. Yes it’s bribery, and maybe not the best lesson to teach her (do want I want and I’ll give you a TOY!), but I sort of assumed it would work right off the bat. I thought a fun toy might motivate her enough. She talks about it. She tells me every night that she has to stay in bed until her alarm goes off. She is only allowed to go potty, and she can’t come have milk. She gets it, she just has to be ready for it. She’ll get there….eventually!
Do you have a night weaning story to share? I’d love to hear it.
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