Night Weaning Questions

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2007
Night Weaning Questions
Fri, 01-08-2010 - 2:48pm

Hi Everyone-

We are going to start "operation night weaning" tonight--and I was hoping to get some feedback as to personal experiences on how to best way to accomplish this both for us and for my daughter, Madeline.

I was OK with night feedings (she got up once a night, nursed and went back to bed), and in Nov she actually STTN a few times--but then teething started, and she started getting up 2-3 times per night again. We thought it would stop when teething stopped, but no, still going on. I have been getting horrible migraines because I am so tired and am like a zombie, so with the OK from her ped, I am going to try and night wean her.

I read up on the night weaning info on Kellymom, and over the past month have tried the following things to no avail:

1). Increasing day feedings, 2). Trying to nurse in quiet, dark areas to maximize her feedings, 3). Increasing feedings right before bed, 4). Having my husband give a bottle of water, 5). Me going in and just holding her.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Fri, 01-08-2010 - 3:23pm

How old is baby? Generally night weaning will work better closer to the 18 month mark or so and that is about when we would recommend doing so if mom desires. Keep in mind that just because a baby is "night weaned" does not mean she will not wake. Many moms find it easier to continue nursing at night since the wakings are shorter and that it is easier to get baby back to sleep. Are you co-sleeping? That is a good way for everyone to maximize the amount of sleep they are getting.

We did do some gentle night weaning around 19 months with DS #2 (he was waking every 2-3 hours). Basically I would tell him that the nur nurs are sleeping and when the sun came up the nur nurs would be awake and he could nurse. At that age they have some comprehension, but if she is much younger this probably will not work. Also since we co-slept this was easier too - I could rub his back etc to comfort him in another way.

Also the closer baby is to meeting this milestone on his or her own the easier it will be. Night waking is common for AT LEAST the first 24 months.

Dr. Sears also has some good info on his sleep pages:

Two books we recommend on Sleep are Good Nights by Dr. Jay Gordon and the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elzabeth Pantley. I have a personal preference for Dr. GOrdon's book, but they are both good. Dr. Sears also has a sleep book that expands on his online info.

WE are not supporters here of CIO and would not encourage you to do that. If baby is waking and or crying at night it is because there is a need. That need may be for BM, comfort reassurance, pain, or etc. Regardless that need is VERY real to your baby.

There is a good deal of research and information that CIO is not healthy for baby - physically or psychologically. If you want to investigate more on why it may not be good to CIO, or reasons folks choose not to, you might look at the resources below. If you read nothing else I suggest you AND DH do read the last one as it really makes a good point.

Science Says: Excessive Crying Could Be Harmful to Babies Dr Sears

What parents and caregivers need to know!
by Phyllis Porter, M.A.

Crying for comfort: distressed babies need to be held - Art of Mothering
Mothering, Jan-Feb, 2004? by Aletha Solter

The Dangers of Leaving Your Baby to Cry
By Margaret Chuong-Kim, M.A.

The Science of Attachment:
The Biological Roots of Love
by Lauren Lindsey Porter

The Emotional Infant Brain
Part 1: The developing emotional subsystems of the brain process various information, including how to relate the state of the world with xpectations.

Stress in Infancy
by Linda Folden Palmer, D.C.

The Science of Attachment
By Kelley Shirazi

Mistaken Approaches to Night Waking:
Excerpt from Sweet Dreams: A pediatrician's secrets for your child's good night sleep, Lowell House, 22-28 By Paul M. Fleiss, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., 2000

Dr Sears

The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health:

Loving Responces to a baby's cries
Copyright (c) 2001 By Ingrid Bauer:

Fatherhood Basic Instinc
A dad can do so much more than defend the cave. New research shows that he too has the biological goods to nurture baby
By John Hoffman

Amelia Hill

Why babies should never sleep alone: A review
of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS,
bedsharing and breast feeding
James J. McKenna* and Thomas McDade

Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say
By Alvin Powell

CIO? No! The case for not using "cry-it-out" with your children
By Gale E.Ward

The con of controlled crying
By Pinky McKay

"Is Your Baby Sleeping Thruough The Night Yet?"

and the CIO Myth from the same site:

Woman Uncensored:

Follow up with questions.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2007
Fri, 01-08-2010 - 7:01pm

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I recognize that night weaning and some CIO is a rather controversial topic, and one with many opinions. It is a diificult decision for any parent to make, and obviously since I am asking for support/advice, I too am struggling with what to do.

What is concerning to me is that the night wakenings seem to be occurring more frequently and are in fact, interrupting her sleep. Whereas she used to go right back to sleep after nursing, she now screams if she is not being held and will stay up longer. Both her sleep and my sleep are interrupted; her daytime naps have become less structured and have decreased in length. She is waking up 2-3 times per night. Our pediatrician advised us to do this modified version of CIO by having my DH stay in the room with her until she is calm, but not feed her. He told us that the behaviors will only get worse as she gets older. I have mixed feelings about it because I agree, that the more we go in and hold her and soothe her, the more she is waking up AND the longer she is staying awake. But, it is tough not to go.

We do not co-sleep and that is a decision we made at the beginning that both my husband and I agree with. We did not really have too much of a problem with her

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Fri, 01-08-2010 - 8:34pm

You mention you baby is teething. It can happen (did with one of mine) that he was STTN earlier, and then stopped STTN when he was teething. Nursing was the ONLY thing that would comfort him and get him back to sleep quickly. I waited many months before I was able to try other things to get him to settle at night.

A dream feed is a great idea. Try that, and it may save a least one of the awakenings while you are asleep.

Each to their own as far as co-sleeping goes. However, I did it in a modified sort of way. I would start the baby in the cot. But after they woke up in the night and had a feed, I often ended up with the baby in bed with me for part of the night. If your sleep is being seriously disturbed, this is one way of lessening the disturbance.

You still have not mentioned the age of your baby. As has been pointed out, if the baby wakes at night, night weaning will not stop the baby waking at night, if they still need to wake. Nursing again is usually the quickest, easiest and most comforting way to settle your baby again. Do you nurse lying down at night? That is easier. If you are sitting up in a chair in baby's room, then you are getting no rest.

If you don't want to put the baby in your bed and nurse lying down and resting, at least consider having another mattress where you can lie down and nurse the baby, while you are also able to rest.

By the way, what you have described, sleeping fairly well, until the baby begins teething sounds pretty normal for babies in general. And night weaning will not stop teething nor will it stop baby waking because of teething.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2009
Sat, 01-09-2010 - 1:05am
Thanks for this info.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2006
Sat, 01-09-2010 - 10:39am

I'm not sure the age of your baby but she looks pretty young in your photos.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2007
Sat, 01-09-2010 - 12:00pm

Thanks for all of the advice. Sorry for not posting the age of Madeline--she is a little over 12 months old (the picture in the siggie is from when she was 5 months old!)

We tried dream feeding last night. It did help with taking it down to 1 feeding in the middle of the night--which I mentioned before was managable.

As I stated, my reasons for wanting to do this are related to my health, and almost daily debiliating migraines, which I cannot fully medicate because I am nursing. So, if I can get my sleep up back up to reasonable (5-6 hours nightly) I am hoping that will help!

Maddie 6month siggie
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Sat, 01-09-2010 - 12:39pm

Just pushing back on the fact that you can't medicate your migraines because you're nursing. There ARE migraine meds that are safe to take while nursing. Which meds would you typically take if you weren't nursing and where did you get the info that they weren't safe to take?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2007
Sat, 01-09-2010 - 12:55pm

I am limited in what works for me.

I am currently under a neurologists care.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Sun, 01-10-2010 - 12:32am


There is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed of taking any particular medications. My apologies if there is some other reason I haven't considered as to why you are reluctant to share names of your meds here. Since you don't want to mention the names of the meds here may I suggest you check out this link to the website of Dr. Thomas Hale, a preeminent medical researcher who studies the safety medications and breastfeeding:

At the above link you should find different forum folders here discuss the safety of different drugs while breastfeeding. Hopefully you can find particular post regarding the drugs on question there that you can read anonymously. Pleas note that only health care proffesionals can post new questions to the forum but anyone can freely read the forum. You may be able to find on forums more up-to-date info on the drugs you where using then what your doctor was relying on. Also, any good LC should have a copy of Dr. Hale's book on "Medications and Mothers Milk" which might have more info then what's available on the forums. At least one person on this board has copy of that book too but since you are uncomfortable sharing the drugs names on this board you may find the LC are more confidential resource.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2007
Sun, 01-10-2010 - 7:16am


Thank you for the information. I already in fact have Dr. Hale's book. The reason I did not want to post my medications online is not due to embarassment, but because I do not want online assistance in treating my medical issues. I trust my