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An Update on the Weaning Efforts

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Well, still no luck moving forward with cutting out the before bedtime weaning session. As I mentioned, we came up to my parents' house for the long holiday weekend. We got here on Wednesday afternoon with plans to stay until Monday morning. I figured that gave us five nights for mom to try and put him to bed.

A fine and dandy plan, but Emmitt refused to sleep much in the car which meant no nap and a grumpy evening. I couldn't see the sense in adding to the grumpiness, so I went ahead and put him to bed on Wednesday night. Thursday morning he started acting insanely grumpy. I checked and his infected ear was just full of thick yellow mucus. By 11am, he was screaming bloody murder and inconsolable. He'd climb in my lap and immediately hurl himself to the floor, then he'd climb on Greg and scream to be let down. He did the same to my mom. The crying combined with tugging his ears had me calling the Drs office.

The on call doc called me back and we spent about twenty minutes chatting about symptoms and such. The doc said it sounded like he now had an outer ear infection to go along with the stubborn inner ear one. So, he called in a third round of antibiotics and some ear drops as well.

Needless to say, I didn't even try to have mom put him to bed that night.

On Friday, he was doing a lot better, but still not great. He was pretty calm around bedtime so mom took him up. Unfortunately, he wanted nothing to do with her. She spent about ten minutes trying to settle him, but he just kept fussing. (Not freaking out, just fussy) So, up I went to settle him into bed.

We'll see how things go tonight. He's laughing and playing with Greg right now, but he's been pretty fussy today. We're going to put their pajamas on, give him his meds, watch a Christmas cartoon and then mom will take him to bed. I figure I'll probably end up finishing the job again, but we'll see.

Good thing I have three months to wrap this up.

Curious though...I know many of you have night weaned your kids. Care to share how? If I could get him night weaned and could occassionally get some sleep, I'd be happy to keep the before bed session and work on weaning him from that starting at the end of January.

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  1. Blogger Mademoiselle Oulla | 5:19 PM |  

    This site has lots of good advice about night weaning and weaning in general: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/index.html
    Hope Emmit feels better soon! Poor little guy!

  2. Blogger Mamaebeth | 5:22 PM |  

    for night weaning i started by laying on my back so that he had to sit up to nurse. if he was really sleepy, he would frequently just go back to bed.

    after that for a while, i added the "nursies are sleeping" and "you can nursey when the sun comes up"... he wasn't thrilled, but it worked for us.

    and then when that was going well, daddy started putting him to bed. so, it's just the morning session for us now.

  3. Anonymous Brenda | 5:35 PM |  

    Well my 1st son night weaned himself around 10 months which was great. Now my 2nd had a very hard time dropping his night time feedings. For him those were the hardest to drop- he actually dropped all his daytime feedings 1st and dropped the night last which was totally backwards from my 1st son. But once he didn't nurse during the day, he didn't seem to be interested in it inthe middle of the night- he just liked other ways of settling him down. For him it was kind of all or nothing- so if Emmitt turns out to be anything like him, once you get him off the daytime feedings then he'll want less and less at night too. But of course every kid is different. I wonder most days why each child doesn't come with a specific manual!

  4. Blogger Eilat | 5:45 PM |  

    Poor Emmitt :-(

    I hear you about the night weaning. Sometimes a good night's sleep just makes everything seem better. I night weaned my boy around 20 months (I should have done it sooner but its so hard to be motivated at 2am ;-) ) so my method might not apply to Emmitt, but...
    Basically, I told him one night, exasperated and exhausted, "we don't nurse at night, but you can hold it". And while I don't like having my nipples played with, it seemed like it was enough for him, so I was willing to bear with it for a while. I would also offer a carrot: "we don't nurse at night, only in the morning on the couch." So in the morning, the kid would run to the couch with great anticipation. After a few weeks he got so busy in the morning that he forgot about the nursing on the couch and we have been down to pre-bedtime nursing for months now. Also, once he got used to not nursing at night (a week or so of "holding it") he stopped waking in the middle of the night either.
    I'm not sure how much of this can be applied to Emmitt, though, since he is younger, but maybe you can borrow something from this to make it work for you. If he gets comfort from holding the boob then you may coax him to do that instead. And, as I've stated in a previous comment, it wasn't the gentlest process, with a good deal of protest and crying the first few nights...

  5. Anonymous Karen | 6:45 PM |  

    By "night weaning," do you mean getting him to sleep without nursing to sleep, or getting him to not wake up to nurse after having gone to sleep? Just curious, b/c for us the answer to both questions is the same. We Ferberized our son when he was about 27 months old. It was difficult, but it worked.

    Up until then, I had nursed him to sleep every night of his life, and I was sick of it. And once he learned to fall asleep without nursing to sleep, he didn't wake up so much at night and eventually stopped waking up at all.

    I doubt I could even try to Ferberize a 14-month-old, but fwiw, although it was hard, it was easier than I expected. I thought that when we went back in to his room at the prescribed intervals, he would just get angrier, or ignore us and continue screaming. However, when we went back in, it actually did seem to reassure him, just like the book said. Just thought I'd throw that out for anyone who's considering Ferberizing.

  6. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 6:52 PM |  

    I meant weaning him from nursing during the night. I need to either drop the before bed nursing or the during the night nursing next and I'd prefer to drop the during the night nursing.

    Ferberizing isn't an option for me though. Just doesn't fit in with my style of parenting. Especially not for a 14 month old.

  7. Blogger Shay | 6:58 PM |  

    You want him to go to sleep without needing to nurse to sleep?

    I moved the nursing in the bedtime routine. Instead of it being last before sleep, I moved it to second last, than third last. Now we nurse, read stories and then rock for a few minutes and I put him in his bed. Sometimes he'll nurse to sleep(we're battling one awful ear infection too) but he can no go to sleep for Dad without needing to nurse to actually fall asleep.

    We have not begun to wean so I cannot comment on the rest.

    I started moving the nursing back in the bedtime routine at around 9 months and slowly got to where it is now at 13 months.

    I hope your son and my son both kick these ear infections quickly!

    Oh I have read it's easier to drop the middle of the night nursings if you keep the before bed and as soon as they wake up ones to be the last to drop.

  8. Blogger Amy | 7:06 PM |  

    I haven't night weaned and am in pretty much the same boat as you are. But my plan is that at one year I will stop pumping. I imagine that my daughter will then be drinking cow's milk (?) or another breastmilk substitute. Once she is comfortable with another beverage, at night we'll have a bottle of it ready by the bed. When she wakes, that is what she'll get. Hopefully she won't like it as well and we can wean off the breast. If it doesn't seem to be working I think I'll move to the couch for a few days and see how that goes. Not a fool-proof plan, but I like it.

  9. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:18 PM |  

    After my daughter's molars finished coming in at once, I knew I was ready to nightwean. My goal was never to nightwean completely...I would've been and still would be ok with 1-2 nursings a night. My daughter was seriously nursing 7-10 times a night up until that point. It was driving me up the wall. So once the molars came in, I made up my mind. I didn't have a specific plan. I really wasn't interested in reading what other people had done because it all seemed like it wouldn't fit into my situatuion for one reason or another. So, on D-Day I nursed her as usual but not until she fell asleep. Afterwars I read to her, gave her a glass of cow's milk (which she wasn't interested in) then rocked her. She fussed. She cried. But I was holding her the entire time. She was not in a room alone. I held her and walked with her like I did when she was a newborn. She cried/fussed on and off for an hour or so. She finally fell asleep for the first time in her life without nursing (or being in a car). The night after that she fussed even less. By the third night not even a wimper. She still stayed in bed with us. I still nurse her throughout the day, somedays more than others...somedays less than others. She doesn't ask to nurse at all anymore until 6-7am. I can definitley live with that! This is what worked for my family.

    I am hoping that you are not even considering any form of weaning until your son is well. I understand that you are going through a tough time, but please remember that "This too shall pass". No matter how irritating it may sound. I suggest that you turn the computer off and keep it off. All of this weaning controversy is surely causing you even more stress. Just my 2 cents.

  10. Blogger Bethany | 8:36 PM |  

    Good luck with the night weaning. I tried several times starting when my daughter was 9 months old, but nothing worked. She doesn't sleep with us, and it was just too much for me to try and implement another method out of my bed at 2am. But she eventually started sleeping through at 15 months, and it was a very gradual thing. It was no fun getting up at night to nurse, but I'm glad she finally stopped on her own.

    Does Emmit sleep in his own bed? If you co-sleep then maybe it will take moving him out of your bed so that "the goods" aren't right there (if you're open to that). If he's already in his own bed, I don't know what to tell you. Have you read "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley? It has some great tips in it if you're motivated enough to try them at 2am.

    I just worry that with your time schedule on weaning that you might have a lot of crying involved. Not that I'm against your wanting to wean him by your date, but I'm afraid he's really going to protest if he's that attached to nursing at night. And if you're anything like me, you won't be able to handle any crying and will go ahead and nurse him back to sleep.

    I hope some other moms have some better ideas than I did. Good luck!

  11. Anonymous yogamom | 8:38 PM |  

    Poor Emmit. Hope he feels better soon.

    At first, I would still nurse Christopher to sleep (or hand him off to his daddy after I nursed him so that I could help settle my daughter into bed). Then, I would bring him into our bed when he woke up around midnight or so and nurse him. After that, I cut out one nursing every couple of nights. At this point, I have cut out all but the bedtime nursing. He has not been very happy about it and there have been some loud, wakeful nights for my husband (who was used to sleeping through it all and didn't realize how often I'd been up with the kids). Now, Chris seems to sleep through more of them. Now, I am putting off my morning nursing so that it is after the time I get out of the shower instead of right before I get up. It is still a work in progress. Right now, he is working on a couple of new teeth, so he is less happy to go without. I also woke up in the middle of the night last night to realize that I completely gave in to him while I was fully asleep. That ought to confuse and frustrate him some more when I don't do it tonight.

    I felt so bad about hearing my babies cry that I didn't night wean my daughter until she was 2 years old. Once I did, I couldn't believed that I had waited so long. I am glad that I'm doing it with my son now (he is 13 months). Like I said, he's not so keen on the new plan. But my husband and I are right there reassuring him, so he knows he's loved even if he's not getting his "milkies".

    Good luck!

  12. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 9:03 PM |  

    Yep, it would be a lot easier if I was ok with letting him cry.

    I don't mind him fussing a bit...but if he starts outright crying, I don't let him go for more than a minute or two before I go in.

    I really like the idea of gradually changing the bedtime schedule. I think I may start nursing him and then singing to him. Then add in a book or something. Eventually, it should get easier to just skip the nursing.

    Thankfully, he doesn't nurse to sleep at bedtime. He nurses, then we snuggle a bit and then I put him in bed awake. I have to think that works in my favor.

    The middle of the night ones...those are harder to figure out. He was down to once a night before we hit the month of horror. With the teething/cold/teething/ear infection/cold bit, he's been as high as 7 or 8 times a night. Before that, he was down to once or twice a night and sleeping through about once every two weeks.

    The last two nights he's only been up twice a night. If he'll get back down to just once a night plus before bed, I'm fully confident I can pull off weaning him nice and gently.

    Mom was able to settle him back to sleep at his 11:30 wake up this evening, so that's good. We'll see what he does the rest of the night. (I'm about ready to hit the sack.)

    I'm going to be gone to Chicago overnight for a biz trip the first week of December. Greg's taken two days off work to stay with the kids and says he can handle it. I've got some frozen breast milk in the freezer, so I'll thaw that out for him to use at bedtime and overnight. I guess we'll see how it goes, though I'd love to have him off either before bed or middle of the night nursing by then.

    The Long, Slow Wean is seeming like a really appropriate title these days. ;)

  13. Blogger mommymichael | 1:37 AM |  

    at 9 months i wanted to night wean because he was waking up 2-3 times a night to nurse. I was about 3 months pregnant at that point and incredibly tired, it was really taking a toll. i read the no cry sleep solution book, and her ideas really helped. of course it kind of back fired and he stopped nursing all together, which i hadn't planned on.

    we also figured it was time to night wean because he still sleeps with us, and with a new baby on the way we're gently moving him to his own bed. still hasn't happened, but like i said. gently is our route.

  14. Blogger Natalie | 3:19 AM |  

    Night weaning was a tough one. My husband was in Iraq. I had got pregnant on his mid-tour leave and was still had a nursing toddler. I was getting stomach bug after stomach bug, cold after cold and a raging ear infection. I needed more sleep.

    So, around 13-months, I set limits on how long she would nurse at each session (there were one or two - depending on teething, colds, etc). I would softly explain that she was getting to be a big girl and that nursing at night was coming to an end. Then, I started nursing her on one side only. She didn't like it. But, she had a favorite small blanket with tags that she was attached to and I would nurse her with it and put her in bed with it tucked up under her chin. She would whimper, stand up in her crib and sign milk over and over again as I walked out the door. If she would start screaming, I would after 1-2 minutes, walk in and reassure her. It was exausting. But, after a few nights, the screaming turned into a soft cry and she would fall asleep just as I got back out of bed to go back in. I nursed on one side for two weeks. Then, I cut down on how long we would nurse on that one side. Instead of 5-15 minutes, I did 2-5 minutes. Finally, one night, I told her that it was our last night nursing in the middle of the night (I had been explaining to her night after night, what I was doing, how I was proud of her, etc). The next night, I went in, offered her a sippy of water instead, which she threw on the floor. I hugged her, told her I loved her, explained why she wasn't getting my milk anymore, told her she could in the morning, etc., and left her room.

    In my situation, I was completely alone. I lived in Alaska and my family lived in Vermont. No one could help me. All my friends had children and husbands also in Iraq.

    If I didn't start getting more sleep, I was going to land in the hospital and/or harm my unborn child. There was no getting my husband home from Iraq as he was a commander, and therefore, a health crisis would be, indeed, a crisis. So, there was a bit more crying on Olivia's part than I really wanted. I would let her whine, fuss and cry a normal, steady cry for up to 20-minutes before I went back in. I would not, however, let her SCREAM.

    After the age of one, I believe they start to know that crying helps them get what they want. They will cry often the rest of their lives. Cry b/c you won't give them dessert before dinner, cry b/c you took away a toy they hit their sibling with, cry because they don't want to go to bed, school, etc. Crying is normal. We all cry and to some extent, it can sooth us. A screaming, desperate cry is a whole other thing. It's the cry all moms know. That cry I don't allow.

    It took about two weeks for her to get used to no nursing at night. I kept offering the sippy of water and, eventually, she caved and still uses it to this day (she's almost three).

    She still got up at 5:30am for a second nursing session. I did the same thing with that that I did at the 3:00am nursing session. Some of my friends have handled that 5:00am nursing session differently. They just got their child up and gave them breakfast and nursed at a whatever reasonable hour they were willing to actually get up, nurse, and start the day. Most of the kids eventually just started to sleep later.

    I'm a firm believer that daddy needs to step in. And, daddy should start stepping in at night as soon as the thought of night-time weaning enters your mind. As in, daddy gets baby and brings him/her to bed so mom can nurse and then back to bed after. Baby starts getting used to daddy's presence. Daddy, eventually, rocks, walks and soothes through one nursing session. Daddy (or grandma - whoever helps on a regular basis and who child is very comfortable with) can stay with the child until he she calms down and goes back to sleep and/or the next nursing session time comes around and mom comes in. Exausting, you bet. But, mom and dad share the pain of it and child is comforted by a parent while being weaned of one nursing session at a time. Most children get the hint after a bit. And, slowly, you can wean one nursing session at a time. It can, backfire, b/c he/she will start to expect to be soothed instead of nursed. So, you have to be careful. But, it's worked for many I know and, though most father's hate losing sleep and helping out THAT much, they'll do it for a week or two.

    All that being said, every child is different. And, for me, just as I finished asking everyone I know for advice, the current problem would end and we'd be onto something else.

    Good luck!

  15. Anonymous elderberryjam | 6:58 AM |  

    My husband often rocks DD to sleep after I nurse the last time. He watches her during the day, away from me, often, so it feels natural for her. It has gotten so that she even asks for "'A-Da" (Dadda) when she's done nursing, for the rocking part.

    We have been giving her cow milk in a bottle during the night if she wakes up about 50% of the time (the other 50% she still nurses). I know dentists don't recommend that; however I did it with my 3 older children and their teeth were fine. If your child has good teeth, and you brush them, it really isn't that much of an issue as they make it. If they had bad or soft teeth, I wouldn't try it though.

    When she's having trouble winding down, we also sometimes give her a bottle of mild herbal tea - chamomile, mint or Celestial Seasons "Sleepytime," a little before bedtime. We put a little sugar in it, and give it to her in a bottle.

    She drinks out of a sippy cup at meals, and has never accepted a pacifier. The bottle is reserved for calm-down times when I don't want to nurse.

    She sleeps through the night most of the time. When she doesn't, I can, because my husband can settle her back down.

    It may not be the way of most extended nursing moms, but it permits me to continue to nurse her at times, and still get some rest myself when I need it.

    The ear infection and teething may be much of your battle right now, though. Try a heating pad, and Tylenol or Ibuprofen every 4 hours if you haven't already. Also, my sons got a lot of ear infections when they were small. VapoRub or some camphor or menthol product massaged behind their ears and on their cheekbones at bedtime seemed to help (my 18 y/o still asks me to do this!) The minty herbal teas also help. My children all got lots of back, neck and head massages when they were babies. I think it really helps. The 3 who are teens still ask for back massages when they want "mommy time." Of course I can't call it that to their faces, but that's what it is.


  16. Blogger Billy and Michelle | 1:12 PM |  

    Wow, ya'll are too good! I went cold turkey!

  17. Anonymous Jackie | 2:50 PM |  

    Based on my limited experience with my son who's 20 months old, I don't know that night weaning will work during illness/serious teething. At least it didn't with my son.

    Around 15 months old I decided I was done and started to send my husband in to soothe him when he woke up. He'd fuss for a while, sometimes cry, but eventually he'd settle down. He started sleeping through the night (for the most part) pretty quickly.

    After a few weeks, I could go in if he woke and cuddle him back to sleep without nursing. He never asked for it. Now when he's sick/teething and wakes and asks to nurse I can usually cuddle him without actually letting him. On the rare occasions he won't let me go without nursing I've been able to keep it short- to two minutes or less.

    He's still not a good sleeper, but he doesn't nurse when he wakes any more and only nurses every few days or so. He spent a night with my in-laws one night before he was totally night-weaned and did just fine. They seem to have an easier time of getting him to sleep than I do.

  18. Blogger MamaEscandon | 5:50 PM |  

    I don't have a lot of time to respond and read all the replies so I don't know if someone has mentioned this option before. I did try it, but it didn't work for us because we do co-sleep and I would let my baby nurse with out even waking up. Our biggest problem was me having to go to bed at 7:30pm every night with her and stay there. We did a variation of CIO and continue to co-sleep instead. But look at Dr. Jay Gordon, I think his "method" might work for you... although it takes a few days.

  19. Anonymous Abby | 7:09 PM |  

    We didn't Ferberize, but we did start letting Nour cry for about 5 minutes. The first few times, I did have to go in and get her back to sleep, but after a few times, after 2-3 minutes, she'd stop crying.
    I know it's hard to let them cry, and I don't agree with letting a baby cry for a long time. We tried it once, and it was awful for everyone.
    I would try with letting him cry for a few minutes, and if it gets loud, go get him, but if he stops, let him be. The hardest thing for me was getting used to not getting straight up to get her. I think if he gets used to the fact that you aren't going to come get him the second he wakes up, he will slowly get used to not nursing.
    If that doesn't work, just start going in to rock him, but not nurse, lay him on your shoulder instead of across your lap.
    We did a bit of both, but in time, you'll figure out what works best.
    I hope he gets over those infections. It's hard to have a sick baby, especially for a tired mommy.

  20. Blogger Ahmie | 8:05 PM |  

    Hadn't seen anyone else mention it so thought I'd put it out there in case you've been substituting cow milk for breastmilk - sometimes dairy sensitivities can show up as colds and ear infections. I just mention it since the colds and ear infections are counter-productive for your weaning plans. You may want to at least cut down/out dairy in BOTH of your diets while he's getting rid of this ear infection (I find that unsweetened vanilla almond milk is a better replacement than soy in coffee and cereal - baby Del seems to be a little sensitive to dairy, if I have too much he spits up more). Not sure of your dairy consumption but with the holidays and pumpkin pies and such it tends to go up.

    As for night weaning, you're more likely to get him to sleep through the night if you're sure his stomach is staying comfortably full through the night. Liam digested milk too quickly and would be ravenous in the middle of the night. A late-evening snack of oatmeal helps a lot since it's slowly digested and not a big sugar-spike food (I eat a night bowl of oatmeal myself for the same reason sometimes - with three squares of Trader Joe's Pound Plus dark chocolate and two big spoonfuls of Trader Joe's salted crunchy peanut butter, good fats and antioxidants, fairly low in sugar and YUMMY ;) ). Tank him up at bedtime and he'll be able to sleep longer over night. We co-slept (and I don't know your reasons for not doing so, but boy would having the babe sleeping on a different floor of the house have drastically negatively impacted my nursing relationship), Liam still sleeps on a "side-car" in our room on Daddy's side with baby Del in an Arm's Reach mini-cosleeper on my side (yes, wall-to-wall bed, our BEDroom is only 10'x10', with dressers at the foot of the bed and enough space to walk between them and the bed). When I was pregnant we switched Liam to Daddy's side of the bed but he'd weaned from the middle-of-the-night nursing before then, he'd start to wake and I'd pat his back and calm him. He's still in our room at 3.5yrs old because it works for us, especiall because he goes through regular bouts of night terrors (complete with inconsolable screaming and sleep walking), but I know it doesn't work for every family. Experience and anthropology tell me it makes the nighttime nursing a lot less stressful though. If there's room, at least setting up an inflatable bed for yourself in his room while going through this might help you both get more sleep, to rouse yourself to make calming noises/pats/etc when he first starts to stir instead of having to haul yourself from an entirely different room when he's already much more upset and awake. I was surprised at how gentle night-weaning was for Liam when we just offered comfort techniques when he was barely rousing from sleep instead of letting him fully awaken before comforting him. He settled much more quickly that way and so all of us got more sleep.

    I don't presume that it'll work for you, every kid is so very different, but I hear the desperation for quality sleep loud and clear, and how it's conflicting with your gentle parenting ideals, so hopefully this may be an option that meets all those?

  21. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:44 PM |  

    I agree with pp...Dr Jay Gordon worked really well for us. I did it at about 15 months old, since we hadn't gotten more than 2-3 hour stretches since he was born and I was a nervous wreck from lack of sleep. It was very gentle and slow, with lots of opportunities to ease back a bit if he seemed to need it, and now we're getting 8-9 hours stretches more often than not. It took about two weeks for him not to wake and ask for it; it supposedly works a bit fast for some, a bit more slowly for others. We cosleep, so I had to find something compatible with it.

    By the way, I read a lot of the controversy...and I totally support you. I have been taking quite a bit of flak for moving toward weaning myself at 22.5 months, with the goal of being done by 25 months. The group of women I spend time with have never nursed their children for less than 3 years in each case, and sometimes more...so the pressure and disapproval is crushing at times. But it's what is right for us. As soon as I allowed myself to make the decision to do it, I felt instantly better -- when we cut all but nap and night time I felt better still. As someone who willingly and lovingly nursed up to 12-15 times a day until a month ago, I was surprised by how relieved I could feel to see the end in sight. Does that make less of a mom? No, absolutely not. Does it make you less of a mom for doing it a bit earlier? Absolutely not. Anyone questioning that needs to turn that microscope around.

    I have enjoyed your blog for months, and will continue to enjoy anything you write, on lactivism or not. Keep on going on, Jen...there's thousands of nursing moms who are deeply glad you are here.

  22. Blogger Ahmie | 7:45 AM |  

    Oh, i forgot to mention - the reason I have a problem with leaving the kid to cry/focusing on "self-soothing" when a kid is pre-verbal is because I believe what they're really learning is "learned helplessness" and this can have negative ramifications down the line. I chose to focus on *why* the babe is waking - is it because s/he is uncomfortable and can't change position? wet (or in our case since we're ECing with this babe, does he need to potty - squirming in his sleep is a pretty sure sign here for us)? Having a bad dream? Actually hungry?

    This is why I think I actually had an easier time night-weaning Liam than I would have if he was sleeping in another room - as soon as he started fidgeting in his sleep and showing signs of waking, I STOPPED automatically offering him a breast (which he would take regardless of what was really causing the wake-up) and started with just verbally telling him he was safe and that I was there in a gentle voice. Sometimes that was enough and he went back to sound sleep (likely a disturbing dream or he just peed in his diaper). Sometimes he'd keep progressing toward a wake-up and so I'd add patting his low back (in a slow, steady heartbeat rhythm - we'd done this to help calm him since he was newborn) to the calming vocalizations. Only if he still continued to rouse did I offer a breast, but the majority of the times (especially if I'd tanked him full of milk before bed and given him some late-night filling and slow-digesting solid food snack like oatmeal) he didn't need it and over a matter of days he went from nursing about 4x/night to nursing just once if that (and often those were night terrors anyway, I wish he was still nursing every time he has one of those as it was like flipping a switch to stop them if I let him nurse through it, so heartbreaking to watch him have them and not be able to help stop it now!).

    Try baking up a batch of homemade oatmeal cookies with healthy ingredients (add some peanut butter if he's had it already and isn't allergic - can never remember the recommended ages for that one), maybe substituting a banana for the egg and some of the sugar if he really likes bananas to up the healthiness of the cookies even more, and let both kids have one before teeth-brushing (don't want Nora to get jealous). Might help keep the little tummies full through the night and have them not so ravenous in the morning (I need to get back to this even tho Liam is completely weaned because I'm just not that with it in the cold mornings when he wakes starving, my fibromyalgia's been acting up so my brain isn't fully functional until about 10am).

    I can send along my recipe if you'd like, regardless of if you like the idea of night cookies or not. They're pretty tasty. ;)

  23. Blogger Danielle | 10:13 AM |  

    You and I have had our differences, but I wanted to say this...
    I read a lot of stuff being said about you online about this, and I'm sorry you are going through this. Even after all you have done, so many women want to be so wicked to you.
    I enjoyed your post where you pretty much said, "If you want women to nurse that long, then equip them". Well said. Crunchy moms are not equiping other moms to breastfeed and or nurse. They are doing the opposite, imo.
    If so many of them have been so downright horrible to you, then you can imagine how hard they are on brand new moms in a fragile emotional state. Yuck.

  24. Anonymous elderberryjam | 12:06 PM |  

    One of my sons who had the worst frequent ear infections as a baby and child turned out to have severe sinus allergies. We didn't discover this definitively until he was tested at age 7. Of 4 children, this was only a problem with one.

    The trick to keeping his ear infections away was to keep him decongested. A congested nose fills up the eustacian tubes pretty quickly. Full eustacian tubes get infected with bacteria easily. You have to stay on top of noticing the first sign of congestion and treating it right away, to avoid another round of infection and antibiotics.

    The worst offenders when we finally had him tested, were cats (which we had) and tree and grass pollens. So the cat had to go outside, which was possible in our situation. She was already an indoor/outdoor cat. During tree blooms in early spring, and grass blooms during late summer and fall, he was on temporary, but regular decongestants. Herbal teas, menthol ointments and lots of garlic and onions are very helpful for such allergies also.

    Sometimes babies that get ear infections just have immature eustacian tubes, but often it is an early sign of allergies.

    Milk can be an offender, but for him it wasn't that I know of. If you're worried about milk allergy, warm herbal tea with about 1/2 tsp sugar might help, if he takes it. The caffeine in chocholate of any kind makes all of my children (and myself) have trouble falling and staying asleep - we try to stay away from it at bedtime if we need a good night's sleep. Stimulants sometimes have a sedative effect on children, but caffeine defies this theory with my children. It does work as a mild decongestant however. Most stimulants do.

    A snack that sticks to the ribs at bedtime is something we try to do, and helps immensely with the nursing hunger problem. I didn't mention that, but totally agree with the suggestion.


  25. Anonymous Ms Vandelay | 12:15 PM |  

    My baby boy's name is Emmet too (well, different spelling); it was my grandfather's name.

    I'd love that healthy cookie recipe myself - can you post it back here?

  26. Blogger Ahmie | 5:46 PM |  

    per request (or Jennifer feel free to turn it into a post if you like)

    Honey Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies recipe

    Honey Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies (or as I'm taking to calling them HOP-B Cookies)
    1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
    1/2 t baking powder
    1 c plain oatmeal
    1 c brown sugar
    1/2 c butter (or use the no-trans fat Crisco, add some butter flavoring if you have it - haven't tried this way yet but had noted it as a way to veganize the recipe)
    1/2 c natural peanut butter (I like it with crunchy, original recipe called for creamy, and I used the Trader Joe's brand)
    1/4 c honey (possibly substitute molasses?)
    2 eggs (or bananas)
    2 t vanilla (use the real stuff, not that imitation junk ;) )

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees
    Wisk the flour, baking powder, and oatmeal together in a medium bowl until combined, set aside.
    Beat sugar and butter/shortening together until you get a grainy paste texture
    Add peanut butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla to the paste, beat until smooth
    Slowly incorporate the dry mix into the wet, small batches at a time while scraping down the sides of the bowl, until all ingredients are combined evenly.
    Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in 300 degree oven for 23-25 minutes or until bottoms of cookies turn golden.
    Upon removal from oven, immediately transfer to a cool flat surface with a spatula.

    Yeild: ~3 1/2 dozen cookies

    (I have several vegan friends so I teak cookie recipes to bake for them, this recipe's adaptions in parenthesis are untested)

  27. Blogger Rachel | 7:08 PM |  

    We shortened breast feeding sessions by only allowing nursing for the time it took to sing the ABCs. This works well because if things are going well you can sing slowly, if not, sing quickly.

    When it came time that I needed to wean entirely, Lil was only nursing to sleep at night. We tried a lot of gentle methods, including switching the bed time routine, adding daddy time, etc.

    Eventually the only thing that worked was for me to stay with her at the end of nighttime routine without nursing until she fell asleep. The first two nights she cried a lot and did not fall asleep for 1 - 2 hours. I empathized and repeated that we weren't nursing anymore. The next five or six nights were easier, with less to no crying and less time. Then I got mastitis (I guess I was producing more than I thought!) and weaning was complete because no one could get near my breasts without pain. :(

    I struggled with the decision to wean because it was not child-led. Lil was almost 24 months but I am confident she would still be nursing today if I had let her. Toward the end of our nursing relationship that I was dreading nursing and that feeling was preventing me from wanting to be physically close to her at times. I finally realized that I could be a much better more attached mama if we weaned.

    I am sorry you received even the slightest flack for your weaning decision. I wish you the best of luck and good health.

  28. Anonymous homefly | 10:41 PM |  

    Here's a quote from Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC, from her editorial, "Watch Your Language!"

    "Breastfeeding. Most other mammals never even see their own milk, and I doubt that any other mammalian mother deliberately "feeds" her young by basing her nursing "intervals on what she infers the baby's hunger level to be. Nursing quiets her young and no doubt feels good. We are the only mammal that consciously uses nursing to transfer calories...and we're the only mammal that has chronic trouble making that transfer.

    Women may say they "breastfed" for three months, but they usually say they "nursed" for three years. Easy, long-term breastfeeding involves forgetting about the "breast" and the "feeding" (and the duration, and the interval, and the transmission of the right nutrients in the right amounts, and the difference between nutritive and non-nutritive suckling needs, all of which form the focus of artificial milk pamphlets) and focusing instead on the relationship. Let's all tell mothers that we hope they won't "breastfeed"--that the real joys and satisfactions of the experience begin when they stop "breastfeeding" and start mothering at the breast. "

    Now, as a "lactivist", I'm sure you've read that before. I quote that, because it's in this segment that you and the other more strident lactivists seems to differ. Lately, you've been using language referring to you getting your body back, happy mom/happy baby, and weaning being the best "choice" for your family. I don't have to tell you who's language that sounds like. I don't think you think of breastfeeding as a different mothering paradigm from the more conventional parenting styles such as your own. I think you think of nursing as just another (better) food choice. That's too bad, and I think that's why many breastfeeding advocates are dismayed. Good luck with the choices you've made.

  29. Anonymous Jem&Ella'sMama | 10:55 PM |  

    I finally had to let my daughter cry when she was about nine months old as well. She was waking up every two hours at night to nurse, and I have a three year old to look after, and I seriously just could not take the all-night nursing marathons.
    I did follow Ferber's method, which does not advocate letting your child just cry until he/she falls asleep. I would nurse her, put her in her bed, and then leave. I would let her cry for three minutes. I'd go back in, cover her up, pat her bottom, reassure her and tell her it was night-nights time, then leave again. I'd stay gone for six minutes, then go back in and do all of those things again. I'd leave, stay gone for twelve minutes, and go back in every twelve minutes to reassure her until she went to sleep.
    It was hard, and I HATED doing it, but I cannot deny the results. After about three nights, she wouldn't even make it through the first three minutes before she was already asleep. And then she would proceed to sleep for about eight or nine hours (sometimes ten!)
    After sticking to that method pretty closely for about a month or so, I started rocking her to sleep again. Now, I put her in the crib after nursing (and she's sound asleep) and nine out of ten nights, we don't hear a peep from her until the next morning. There are exceptions, of course, but as a general rule she has gone from a baby who wouldn't sleep at all (nap or night time) to a baby who takes a two or three hour nap every afternoon and sleeps ten hours every night.
    The simple fact of the matter is this: Both of us needed uninterrupted sleep. Both of us did. She wasn't going to do it on her own, because she wouldn't sleep without a boob in her mouth. So I had to do something proactive to make that happen.
    We still nurse ad lib during the day, though, and she's about thirteen months old now.

  30. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:30 AM |  

    You know, you might consider putting your son on a follow on formula. Babies in their second year still need many nutrients that they might not get from solids, and they can't get from cow's milk either. I know for myself, when my milk dried up during pg, my son did MUCH better on a follow on formula than cow's milk alone. Even Dr. Sear's recommends it: "At present it would seem prudent to continue giving your baby iron-fortified formula during the second year of life and very gradually wean him to dairy products, beginning with yogurt. If your toddler generally has a balanced diet and routine hemoglobin tests show that he is not even close to being anemic, then switch from formula to whole milk sometime during the second year, but don't be in a hurry." It really is a prudent choice! Good luck.

  31. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 6:38 AM |  

    Well, considering my son is the human vacuum cleaner and will eat nearly anything that we set before him, I'm not worried about nutrients.

    I also have no worries about iron deficiency as studies have shown that babies who are allowed to keep their cord blood have dramatically lower instances of iron-deficiency between the ages of one and two.

    When he finally does wean, we'll simply move to whole cows milk, water and watered down juices as we did with my daughter.

  32. Blogger Anna | 10:26 AM |  

    When Emmit wakes at night, how awake is he when you go to him?

    I did not sleep through the night until Gracie was more than 17 months old. In retrospect, I believe that's largely because I was going in to nurse/comfort her too soon. One night I thought, "I'm just going to give it five minutes." Guess what? She went back to sleep all by herself, with very little fussing!

    I kept it up over the course of a few weeks, and only a couple of times did she move beyond fussing a little to really crying, and I went to her at those times. Otherwise, I might hear her for as long as 15-20 minutes, but she would just be in there babbling to herself, and eventually would go back to sleep.

    Turns out, that's just her thing. She still wakes frequently at night, but she only rarely actually *needs* anything.

    Obviously, Emmit has had lots of other things going on lately to disrupt his sleep, so it might not work right away. However, once he's well, you might want to try a "wait and see" approach when he wakes at night. You might be surprised. :-)

  33. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 10:40 AM |  

    Totally awake.

    Nora was like Gracie. She slept through the night early on, but she was a very loud sleeper. She'd toss, turn, talk, cry, shout, etc... all while still being asleep.

    So with Emmitt, we watched for the same thing. He probably wakes two or three times a night to fuss, or make noise, and then goes back to sleep on his own. The other times he wakes up, he's generally full-term wound up, I WANT SOMEONE NOW. ;)

    Going to make a new post this week with updates on what's going on. I did actually get some sleep last night though. He was up at 10pm, 3:30am and then slept until 8am. YAY!!!!

  34. Anonymous Ms Vandelay | 2:02 PM |  

    Thank you Ahmie!

  35. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:53 PM |  

    Good to know that your baby eats well. I know that cow's milk along with solids is often adequate for most babies, but I thought that you might be interested in something that's enhanced and provides optimal nutrition. I know my husband was put on whole milk when he was not much younger than your son (9 months), and he did just fine. I'm sure your son will do okay as well.

  36. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 4:06 PM |  

    I'm pretty confident that nearly every toddler in existence would do just fine without toddler formula or Pediasure.

    That said, I commend their marketers for taking the natural phenomenon of the "picky toddler," combining it with "worried parent" and creating a commercial gold mine. ;)

  37. Blogger JudyBright | 8:22 PM |  

    I was skimming the comments and noted the phrase "routine hemoglobin tests." LOL

  38. Blogger saraH | 9:01 AM |  

    hi, sorry i don't have any weaning wisdom, i found your blog by googling ohio homebirth, i love your posts!
    i was wondering who your midwife was? i'm researching for my next birth because i'm determined to acheive a VBAC.
    Thanks for anything you can tell me.
    you could just comment on my blog if you like.

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