Night weaning


At 14 months Ethan had never slept through the night. Yep, that's right, not one single night since birth. He has always had a strict bedtime set by him ... He likes to be in bed settling by 6;30pm like clockwork and most mornings he is up around 6am on average with a few 5am and 7ams to keep us on our toes. The longest I think he has ever slept since birth is a 5 hour nighttime stretch. ONCE. 

Scott and I have coped admirably on little sleep I think but it hasn't been without its dark days. During some periods, Ethan would wake every 3 hours but at its worst, it could be every 45 minutes and the only way to settle him was nursing. Scott would try so hard to resettle him but after 30 mins of hysterics, it was left to me to nurse him back to sleep. Some weeks we would laugh and convince each other it could only get better, other weeks we resented, snapped and fought with each other. I read a million books from The Gift of Sleep, Save our Sleep, Sleeping Like a Baby and every other expert in between but none felt right for us and S wasn't onboard with anything that had a resemblance to CIO or CC. 

At around 7/8 months, we started doing the one thing we swore we wouldn't. We started co-sleeping. I knew the risks and was always anti but motherhood quickly taught me that the only right way is to do what works for your family and with both of us working full time, we needed sleep. Instantly E started sleeping better with more of the 3 hour stretches and we happily settled into a routine. We still had nights with hourly wake ups but resettling was so much easier until we reached 14 months and I hit my lowest point. E wanted to feed or comfort suck the entire night without pause and I just couldn't cope on no sleep with no end in sight. We read Sears and Sears and for the first time, we were both onboard. We tried moving him to a single mattress in our room and although he went down on it ok, the wake ups continued.

I sobbed during what I had previously treasured with my son and I cringed at his touch, dreading night times and bed more than anything. Scott was upset seeing me this way but I insisted on soldiering through, wanting only what I thought was best for our boy. Finally at 2am after listening to me sob for the 5th night in a row, he threw me out of bed and sent me packing to our guest room downstairs ... Where I sobbed some more about my failings as a mother. The next day, Scott and I talked it over and agreed we couldn't go on as things were and needed to find a solution. Sears x2 offered several solutions for our demanding boy and we realised for us, it was best to take me out of the equation full stop by sleeping in the spare room while Scott tackled the settling.

The first night and the few that followed involved a lot of tears and exercise in self control ... It took all I had to block out the screaming protests, stay downstairs and let S tend to Ethan. The first few nights had 2/3 wake ups and each took about 30-40 minutes of settling. Scott told me that during those nights, he would have to wake up E up by taking him to the lounge and offering him milk then water in order to calm him and he would settle easier. After a week of this, the wake ups became 1 only and the resettling was just a matter of S giving E a quick pat and he would be back asleep in 5 minutes with no tears. A few weeks on and this is now the norm with even a couple of SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHTS! Yes, we are excited about those. His bedtime remains 6:30pm and his wake ups are still varied but the consistent uninterrupted hours of sleep are doing us all the world of good, him included.

I haven't been well recently so I'm still sleeping in the guest room while we ensure this becomes routine to E. We have also decided to keep E on the mattress in our room until we move (we will hopefully find the right house to buy soon) and then we will put him in a bed in his own room. No point messing with what is working right now and for now, we are happy with the progress and where we are from where we were.

For those out there with frequent wakers and catnappers, trust your instincts and go with what works for your family. As we have just learnt, even the worst sleepers can learn and improve so there is always hope. We found it difficult to upset E so much by night weaning but this was the best approach for our family as a whole and we supported each other through it, not deviating from the plan and confusing E. 

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  1. Well done with the night weaning. It's not an easy thing to get your head around. My DD is 14 months and we have begun talks about night weaning. We also co-sleep. I think I will out it off until December.
    Were you open with family and friends re co-sleeping? I find so many people are against it. When I tell people we cosleep I sometimes feel ashamed to say it :-(
    It's such a taboo in the western world

    1. Thank you. It's not easy and it definitely requires some planning and lots of support. I wish you well when it comes time for you.
      Mostly open but yes we certainly had those who judged etc. it is sad it's taboo given western society are the only ones who practise otherwise. I am a reasonably confident person, particularly in my parenting and I guess I give no opportunity to others to share their opinions on my choices. It's not for everyone but it works best for some and most who know us and my boy can understand the necessity and why it works.
      Try to take no notice of those who make you feel ashamed of your choices and know that you know your baby best and are doing the best for them. Xx

  2. Just big hugs to you hon xoxo

    1. Thanks Sammie ... Couldn't gave got through it without you guys xx


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