Weaning from Night-Nursing


Advice from non-cry-it-out parents, only, please.

My baby son is 11 mos old. He has been a restless wiggly sleeper since he could move. He has nursed often at night from the beginning. I believe he sleeps with his mouth open and gets dry. He therefore pees a lot at night, so I am up diapering.

I am pregnant with our 4th child. Very exhausted because my 2nd child (see thread “Parents of Poor Sleepers - Help!”) doesn’t sleep well, and this baby is nursing/peeing a lot at night.

I am in the process of weaning him from night nursing and letting him sleep in a little toddler bed right next to our bed. He is not taking well to the transition.

Last night he was up crying his heart out, (such a heart-breaking cry!) for about an hour, and a couple more episodes later in the night. I am not a cry-it-out mother. I tried offering him water, holding him or rubbing his back, comforting him other ways but he just pushed away and didn’t want me to touch him. Just heartbreaking!

I am so torn!! I would love to continue to nurse him and sleep by him, but he just wakes me up so often I am just not getting enough rest. I have to go through this but I am unsure how to make it any easier.

Do you have any suggestions?


I am most definitely a non-cry-it-out parent. Let’s start with that. I have 3 children, ages 5, 2, and 1 and am also pregnant with #4. I know exactly what you are talking about with the no rest thing. The thing is, and you know this, you NEED your rest. It is sooo much harder being a nice mommy when you are tired during the day, and just being pregnant makes you more tired. Not getting enough sleep just adds to the frustration.

I got pregnant with #3 and #4 while still nursing the previous child, and I did continue to nurse for a few months after getting pregnant. I have also continued night nursings nearly until the baby was weaned (around a year). Both of the last 2 children seemed to get more restless in our bed as they got older. This was my time to get them in their own bed so that I could sleep. I didn’t let them cry for extended periods, but I did let them cry a little in their own bed, once they got used to their crib. I had a monitor, and I turned the volume on my end all the way down so I could barely hear it. That way, I knew if the baby was crying, but it is not nearly as loud as a baby crying in the same room! If it was a hysterical sounding cry that I knew would not cease on its own, I would go in and comfort… hold, nurse, whatever. We also use pacifiers, and that has always been my salvation I think. But of course if you haven’t used them before, it’s not gonna do the trick on this one.

In your case, I think I would put the child in another room, with a sippy cup of water in case he has a dry mouth as you suspect. Make it a safe room with nothing he can trip over if he gets out of bed. At that age, I used a crib, so I’m not sure how that will work if they are able to get out of bed. Do you have a pack-n-play or porta crib you can use? Have your husband help you listen for the cries and make sure he isn’t getting too upset. Maybe take turns at night, so you can at least have one night of good sleep. If the other room is not an option, I think I would still try maybe a pack-n-play in my room (hmmm actually, this is what we did until #3 was 11 months old, now that I think about it).

Bottom line, I think you need help from dad.

I just read over your post again to make sure I had the facts straight. It seems that you probably don’t mind nursing at night and he cooperates if you are nursing him, right? Could you just continue nursing for a bit longer at night? As far as diapering, does he mind a wet diaper? I don’t usually change diapers at night, unless it’s a poop, even if they wake up with a full FULL diaper! The diapers are so great now about soaking the wetness away from their skin, I don’t think it bothers them that much.

Wow, I think I just gave you cry-it-out advice, and then alot of useless nonsense. My 3 are running around like crazy so I can’t think straight. Maybe something I said will help.

I would probably just keep nursing at night and not change diapers (as long as you can sleep thru the nursings). If you are not getting sleep anyway while nursing, you might as well wean him, in which case you are going to have a long week or 2 on your hands, and you definitely need dad to help you. Guess that is my bottom line.


I hear ya, Mass4life–my little guy’s almost 11 months, too, and we’re never sure what each night will bring. He’s my first, though…God bless your efforts with 3.

I don’t know if you’ve looked into Dr. Sears or Dr. Gordon’s websites for tips. Both are attachment-parenting advocates, and whether or not that’s your style, neither one approves of “let-them-cry-it-out”, so that might reassure you.

Dr. Gordon has a systematic approach to the whole deal, but doesn’t recommend it til the baby’s a year.

I linked to Dr.Gordon’s sleep section, and below, Dr. Sears’ “s” section on his index. Good luck.

Sleep-deprived StephanieC.:yawn:



P.S: I don’t change wet diapers at night; only messy ones.
Also, I’ve noticed that if my son is having digestive distress (ate something constipating for dinner), he is often very wiggly and only wants me to hold him “just so” during the early hours.

How’s he doing with solid food? Do you think he’s hunger-nursing or cuddle-nursing?


Bless your heart!

Yep, get Dad involved. Can dad offer a sippy cup of sweet chocolate milk in the middle of the night? Shhhhh…that’s how I weaned…don’t tell many folks, but it worked.

I’m an attachment parent ALL THE WAY…hang in there.


I agree that you need help from dad!

I weaned my toddler from night nursing by having him sleep in a crib in his room and when he woke up crying, dad would go in with a sippy cup with water. Our son still cried some, but he was getting plenty of love and attention from dad so I did not worry. Eventually he got the message that he was not going to nurse at night and now he sleeps thru the night (most of the time)

Now we are working on the morning nursing! :slight_smile:


Yeah, I am attatchment parenting before they called it that.:stuck_out_tongue: I only have 3, well space apart so I never had your particular concern. Since you have already started him in the bed, just stick to it. Have the toddler bed close enough that you can reach out and touch him and help him go back to sleep. And get the chocolate milk in a sippy cup;)

I personally would not move him to another room. He already has alot to deal with and soon will have a lot more with a new sibling. Be there for his emotional and physical comfort. Just get him to take his comfort other than the breast, at least at night. And even though I nursed all of mine till much later, it might be easier to just full out wean him, easier on your body too. (I kind of look at more primitive societies on this one. Although they let kids nurse until sometimes 5, usually when a women gets pregnant, the child is weaned immediately.)

God Bless,


Oh good job everybody else. I love the nice short to-the-point answers, something I was unable to do for some reason!

I love Dr. Sears also and his advice is always so practical.


I will say, that if the separate room with Dad works, great. But I did not advocate moving him to another room because I know how tense and how little sleep I get when my very young children were not in the room. I just relax more with them in the room than out. We did use monitors, and the monitor was more detremental to my sleep than when they were in the same room. And then when they cried, I was more tense and upset with them out of the room than crying in the same room.

Just my :twocents:


i’m so right there with you. my DS is 19 1/2 months and it we were doing really well with nightweaning until his eye teeth started. We’re going to wait until DH has time off at Christmas and it is going to be sippy cup with dad while mom sleeps on couch.



Thanks for the advice! I loved the Jay Gordon website listed above. That sounds like a good plan. Sometimes getting up and walking around makes him quit crying, but that is VERY hard on my sleep. Plus he just starts crying again when laid down.

Our house is small and the setup we have is that he has to be in our room or the adjoining room. I have the same ordeal as the above poster who is more relaxed with baby in the room than using monitors.

I will try the Dr. Gordon advice tonight.


[font=Century Gothic]but that is VERY hard on my sleep.


one trick that works for us is reciting books he has heard many times. he finds that comforting. i don’t get up and read or anything like that. i just start saying the book outloud. but i don’t know if that will work for your younger baby[/font]


I really like the Elizabeth Pantley approach (it is no-cry based as well) — I did a modified version that worked for us, and honeslty don’t even really remember exactly how it went…(funny how your mind “forgets” those things – like labor…) – most libraries have the book – it was recommended to me on an attachment parenting board I used to go to…it basically uses the term “wean” literally – 15min turns to 14min, next night to 13min, next night to 12…remove the breast, if baby protests, give it back…keep doing that until baby doesn’t protest – it’s involved and longer than “two nights flat” or whatever the cry it out method professes…lol, but it’s way kinder and gentler…if what you go with doesn’t work or you don’t like it, this might be worth looking into? I think the book is called “The No-Cry sleep solution” – it’s funny, I have had so much easier of a time “weaning” my 2yo and I was so much more of an AP style with her – my first I tried to do right, but paid way too much attention to others thoughts and ideas…with my 2yo, I went with my own instincts, which involved a lot more contact and holding and loving…and everything else just seemed to go with it…the weaning, the night waking, etc…


If you want to keep him in your room, move his little bed to dad’s side of the big bed. Let dad comfort him at night (if he’s willing) —KCT


Okay, I tried Dr. Gordon’s advice last night and it went okay, better than the previous night. Still crying but less. The method he describes leaves me feeling more peace. I did have to change one diaper. He won’t abide a wet diaper.


more prayers for us both:blessyou: hope it goes well. if it does i may be inspired to start sooner than i’m planning


I had trouble with my last 3 kids, and I just had to wait until they were a little older when I could reason with them. When I was pregnant and nursing, by 3 months pregnant the milk really diminished and it was easy to wean. Also, I tasted the milk and it changed taste and was no longer sweet. I don’t know why I had an easier time with the older kids, maybe I put more effort into it, but my last 3 were poor sleepers

So, this is a very individual thing I found. I don’t think there’s one answer on weaning, sleeping through the night, etc, because I had very different experiences with each one of mine and different things worked or didn’t work. I never could let anyone cry it out however.


[quote=mass4life]Okay, I tried Dr. Gordon’s advice last night and it went okay, better than the previous night. Still crying but less. The method he describes leaves me feeling more peace. I did have to change one diaper. He won’t abide a wet diaper.


Good news, I’m going to have to look that up for if I’m ever back in your shoes again!! Glad to hear you’re making some progress!!!


[quote=StephanieC]I don’t know if you’ve looked into Dr. Sears or Dr. Gordon’s websites for tips. Both are attachment-parenting advocates, and whether or not that’s your style, neither one approves of “let-them-cry-it-out”, so that might reassure you.



I just wanted to update those of you who posted answers, this system I tried worked wonderfully!! Thank you StephanieC for suggesting it. I haven’t much time to surf the internet for advice and this was great.

My little son is up to sleeping 8 hours straight, until he pees or gets thirsty. Then comes to our bed around 5:30am. He is definitely giving me more rest and I feel so much better in the daytime, and am happier with my older two children.

I hope this site helps anyone who is trying to night-wean their little one. The method leaves me feeling much more peace than cry-it-out ever could.


YAY!!! I’m so happy for you! Hope your pregnancy is going well also and that you are feeling well (and rested now!) :slight_smile:


Hooray! Hooray! :clapping: :dancing:
So glad things are improving, and glad to be of help. Thanks for updating–it gives us all hope!

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