Sleep Training and Night Weaning Update

I’ll sleep anywhere as long as I have Doof. Oh, and Mama.

So, I talked here and here about my attempt to sleep train and night wean W, and I thought you all might like an update (well, that, and also a reader asked for an update), so here’s the scoop.

Shortly after I wrote the second post on sleep training, we totally gave up on it. There were a few reasons for this, one of which was that I wasn’t emotionally stoic enough to handle her crying and carrying-on (sigh…weak, I know…and may I just add that it’s probably MUCH easier to sleep train a preverbal child than one who can yell MAMA in piteous tones), and one of which was that I realized, in the course of trying to sleep train her, that I like having her in bed with me. I determined this when, on the two occasions that she actually fell asleep in her crib and was still snoozing by the time I was ready for bed, I found I couldn’t sleep without her annoying, sharp little feet poking my thighs, and her sweet-smelling hair in my nose. Consequently, on both occasions, I lifted her out of her crib and into bed with me. Anyway, the sleep training went out the window, and I don’t regret it. For one thing, it’s made summer travels a LOT easier than they might otherwise have been. W is “at home” no matter where we sleep, whether it’s in a motel, at Nana’s house, or in a tent…all she needs to be happy are Mama’s arms (and Doof-the-lovey, of course).

I also (temporarily) gave up on the night weaning when I gave up on the sleep training; it just didn’t seem like she was ready, and since we got a respite in teething for a while, she dropped back down to only one nursing a night, which I was fine with.* Teething resumed about two weeks ago, though, and night nursing requests increased again.

*She still only has 6 teeth at 18 mos. What’s up with that!?

After one night in the tent during which she asked to nurse every hour on the hour (followed by a day during which I was an absolute beast because I was so tired and cranky), I decided enough was enough. I talked to her during the day about what a big girl she was (always a good way to get her to cooperate…she’s really into the notion of being a BIG girl), and told her that while babies needed to nurse at night, big girls like her didn’t need to. At bedtime we did her usual routine, and then I told her that “nene” (both the state bird of Hawaii and, oddly, her name for nursing) was going night-night too. Nene, I said, will be waiting for you in the morning. She did her pre-bed nursing while absorbing my running commentary, happily drifted off to sleep, and woke up at midnight demanding nene. I reiterated, but she was having none of it. She cried, she cajoled, she screamed, she hit and bit; as tantrums go, it was a solid 8…maybe an 8.2. Still, I held out. I cuddled her, rocked her, sang to her…and she slept in fits and bursts (though, short as they were, I did not) through the rest of the night, waking at intervals to yell at me and demand nene. We had three really bad nights, but on the fourth, her first request came further on toward morning, and her protests were weaker. A week out, we were sleeping through the night.

I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. I thought the day would never come. {happy dance}

So, that’s where we’re at. She’s sleeping with me, but she doesn’t expect to nurse until dawn. Every few nights she’ll fuss around 2 am, asking to nurse, but I just cuddle her and remind her that nene is sleeping, and she goes back to sleep herself.

Based upon some of the stories I’ve heard, honestly, I think I got off pretty easy with only a week of fit-pitching (knock on wood).


How about you, ladies? What’s happening on the sleep-and-feeding front?



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alice Callahan
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 22:08:04

    It sounds like you found the “just right” solution for your family and life right now. As you witnessed in our brief time together, my sleep-trained, through-the-night-every-night toddler sleeps like crap when we’re out of our routine. I’m sure that sleeping with you gives W lots of reassurance amidst all your adventures this summer. Sleeping through the night has got to feel good! Congratulations to both of you!


  2. Ashley @ C is for Cockerham
    Aug 10, 2012 @ 08:14:58

    I am so happy that you found something that worked for you and W! {happy happy happy dance} Amazing where some trial and error and mommy intuition will get you. You didn’t just have to “hang in there”.

    With the exception of the past few nights (runny nose, congestion, sickness), we are still sleeping through the night 7:30 – 7:00. T only co-slept until somewhere between 6 & 9 months. Teething was the pits for us too, but luckily we’re off the hook until those two-year molars surface. I can’t even write about feeding–it breaks my heart. T weaned himself at 15 months. I am still just as sad today as I was a month ago. {sad sad sad cry} I am happy that another baby will hopefully be nursing in a few months though!!!


  3. Jem
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 03:02:43

    I’m glad you found a solution that worked for you 🙂 I have also noticed that Isabel is happy to sleep anywhere as long as one of us is somewhere nearby.

    I miss having Isabel in bed with me, even now. The grand plan was for Isabel to start the night in her bed (as she had been asking to do for a couple of months prior to me giving birth again) but ultimately both her and Oliver (#2) would share with us when she came through. However, the first night home was disastrous. Oliver woke to nurse and at the time was so noisy that he was waking Izz, so she would wake and then toss and turn to get back to sleep. No sleep was had by the grown ups!

    We now have Isabel starting the night in her bed, and she then climbs in with Daddy some time around midnight who is in the spare double bed in her room. Oliver is in with me. In the next few months we’ll probably try moving Dad back in with me and see about sharing with both again now that Oliver doesn’t fuss when he wakes.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling!


  4. Trackback: 30 Blogs For Sleep Training Fussy Babies | Find A Nanny

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