Our Night Weaning Journey,Your Questions Answered

 

This post is made possible by the generous support of Arms Reach Concepts makers of ARC cosleepers.

After Dreaming about sleep for years, The Piano Man and I decided to try Dr. Gordon’s method for sleep changes and the family bed and blog about it.  You can read about night 1, night 2, night 3, night 4, night 5, night 6, and night 7.

The last two nights Smunchie has slept 11 hours straight.  Yesterday I felt like a new woman.  As we’ve been sharing this journey I’ve been asked several questions so I thought I’d take some time to answer them all at once.  The questions range from the very practical (i.e. what’s your bed time routine) to more about our parenting approach or why we decided to do XYZ.  I am not a doctor or any sort of expert on any of this, all I am doing is sharing our choices as parents and why.  It is up to you to make as informed of a choice as you can for what will work best for your family.  I have included links that I think may be helpful to your research as they were to ours.

Why not put Smunchie in her own room?  Wouldn’t that help, specially if she wakes when you go into the room you share?

With our 3 older girls we did put them in their own room at some point in their first year, usually around 4 months.  However it didn’t really help us get sleep since we had to go to them and they often ended up in our room anyway.  Additionally we are a family of 7 living in a small 3 bedroom house (with one bathroom) and there’s not a room.  Everyone shares sleeping space in our family so it’s really not even an option.

More importantly and why we wouldn’t put her in her own room even if we could is because we don’t want to.  Over the years we’ve changed and learned a lot as parents and we have a better understanding of child development which has led to us making different decisions than we ever expected.  Including decisions related to co-sleeping/bed sharing.  I’ll be honest (always am), I don’t like bed sharing and don’t particularly care for co-sleeping even.  Just another thing in my parenting list I’m not crazy about.  I also don’t like changing diapers and sometimes I hate making meals.  But through research and personal experience The Piano Man and I feel that what our children need is to be with us and us with them, even through the night.  Over the years co-sleeping has started growing on me and I’m starting to enjoy and appreciate the practice more.  The research we’ve done strongly supports co-sleeping and bed sharing.  If you’d like to learn more about the sleep needs of infants and small children, I strongly suggest this very thorough review of co-sleeping by James J. McKenna and Thomas McDade of the University of Notre Dame.  This review may help some to understand better why we choose to co-sleep with our babies.

Wouldn’t it be easier to let her cry it out?

Easier for whom?  Ok, I wasn’t actually asked this question, or at least not so directly, just implied.  I’ve been asked even more direct than that in real life, however so I feel it’s one I should address.  The Piano Man and I feel that cry it out (CIO) or sleep training is not something that would be right for our family.  We tried it, once, 11 years ago, when Earth Baby was about 18 months.  It was traumatic and I believe greatly harmed our relationship, which I share a little bit about in the post I Dream of Sleep.  I know some people swear by it and I have friends that have used this practice and their children seem to have experienced no harm that I can see.  Still, it’s not right for us.  There are concerns about levels of cortisol in a child’s brain when left to cry it out and some associations with attachment disorder related to cry it out methods.  The risk and our own personal experience as well as our philosophy of gentle parenting eliminate CIO entirely as an option for helping us get more sleep.  These concerns have been covered in mainstream news outlets as well as reputable medical journals.  Even without that all it takes is one flashback memory to know I will never do that with my children again.

I don’t understand how you can do this, how can you deny your child her milk and how can she possibly understand?  Why would you ever do that?

It’s so neat to see that people care enough for my family and me to ask even the really hard questions.  I got a few emails and comments on Facebook asking me this and maybe even 1 or 2 on the blog posts, people genuinely concerned that night weaning would be confusing and harmful for Smunchie.  The concern and care is so appreciated and I am touched.  One woman said “…I just feel sad, when I read. I cannot ever imagine denying my babe milk day or night, nor can i think of a reason to try or want to try…I really cannot.”  I shared with her this list of reasons: Because I’ve been so exhausted when I’ve gotten behind the wheel of the car that later I wondered if I shouldn’t have driven. Because I’ve had conversations with my older kids and realized I couldn’t even pay attention long enough to remember what they said. Because my 12 year old some times needs someone to talk to late at night away from her sisters. Because I can’t keep my children prisoners in my house simply because I am lacking the energy to keep up with them and their activities. Because I struggle to get any sleep with a child at the breast and lack of sleep leads to me being irritable and not the kind of parent or partner or really even just the kind of person I want to be. Because with my history of sexual abuse sometimes I start feeling trapped and don’t want to resent my child. Because I have experienced doing things carelessly or dangerously simply because I was too tired to be doing them at all. Because I am educated enough to know that physically she can go 8 hours without additional calories and therefor can experience comfort in other ways. Because I know my child well enough and am and have been tuned in to her needs long enough to be confident enough in my parenting to know she’s ready for this and we have found a way that works for all of us- including her. Because I’m human and know that if things don’t change I will be facing depression stemming from deep fatigue and that is not good for my family. Because I want to remember her toddler time, not just get through it.

I believe Smunchie can understand it because I’m with her and that even more than the breast, I am what she needs. We have each other and she understood before I even did that my breast is not the only way she receives comfort from me. Because she’s not going through this change alone, we are going through it together.  The way we are bringing about this change is mindful of her needs, attentive to her cues, gentle in approach and flexible to modifications.  Together we learn to give and find balance.  And no, I don’t think my 18 month old who can understand sharing a toy with her sister or a bite of her apple with me is too young to understand accepting comfort measures other than what she prefers.

Extended sleep deprivation is dangerous.  There comes a point when one must calculate the risks and I am certain that it was becoming increasingly dangerous for us to continue to try and operate at such a level of fatigue.  I feared for the safety of my children.

How old is Smunchie?  Why now?  Why not younger/older?

Smunchie is 18 months old, born December 28, 2009.

This is going to sound so unscientific: because now felt right.  Unscientific but important.  More and more we were seeing Smunchie seek other forms of comfort besides the breast and respond well to them.  She was also having fits at night that the breast wouldn’t sooth.  We observed that after certain foods offered at dinner she would sleep better with less wakings.  It seemed that she was not in the middle of any major milestone and would have a bit before something new would develop.  And I could tell my fatigue was becoming crippling at best, dangerous at worst with depression seeping into my daily life as a result of my exhaustion even when I forced myself to bed early.  Knowing that physically she could go longer stretches without requiring additional calories as well as being aware that often her suckling at night was not giving her calories, just comfort, I felt confident she could transition to  going without the breast at night.

While I have longed for a good night’s sleep for a very long time, doing so before now would not have been the right time for Smunchie and our family.  I believe she wasn’t ready until now.  In fact, I have found that research supports that before at least 1 year babies are not ready to go the night without waking and there are actually advantages to them waking frequently at night including a lower risk of SIDS.  As much as I would have loved to sleep more before now I do not believe that Smunchie was physically, developmentally and emotionally ready to do so.  If we had waited I’m afraid I would have begun to resent her and we didn’t want to continue the pattern we had begun to establish in our fatigue of not being the kind of parents, partners or people we want to be.

Why use Dr. Gordon’s method and not something else?

Since CIO wasn’t an option for our family there really wasn’t a lot left.  We like the No-Cry Sleep Solution but I was too tired to implement it well or even read the book again.  We did use the No-Cry method with Squiggle Bug and liked it at the time.  I think we would have liked it now too but we were looking for something more simple.  Back with The Storyteller we tried The Baby Whisperer and at the time we kind of liked it.  It was hard though and a little too close to CIO for us so we modified it greatly.  When I read Dr. Gordon’s Sleep, Changing Patterns In The Family Bed I felt that it not only fit our parenting desires but was also something we could manage and The Piano Man agreed.  Simple and compassionate.  I don’t care how great a method is, if it’s too complicated to implement when you’re exhausted then it’s probably not going to work.  I love that Dr. Gordon’s suggestions are not according to some arbitrary age that a child should be sleeping through the night and instead he encourages parents to do what works for their family.  He just shares the tools that can work when and if the family wants to use them.

How have you functioned on so little sleep for so long?  Why do you stay up late?

The sleep patterns of our little ones tend to change every few months so it’s not been the entire time that we’ve been waking every 2 hours or so, just since 12 months and she’s now 18 months so it’s been a 6 month stretch this time.  Before that it was more like 3-4 hours, there was a period with more like 5-6 and other times that it was every 2.  I’ve always been able to function pretty well on less sleep.  My natural rhythm is, unfortunately, out of synch with most of the world so I’ve adapted to a middle ground.  I become very alert around 9pm so going to bed early is very difficult, instead I just tend to do with less sleep.  And I like coffee, a lot.  I also take vitamins and try to stay very well hydrated and avoid processed foods.  Between my performance background in music and theater and my midwifery training (moms tend to labor at night) I’ve gotten pretty good at making just a few hours of sleep work for me.  The 8-midnight is my time to get work done, work for TLB, work for my other job and release my creative side.  This is important to my mental and emotional health, when I have neglected this I become depressed and bitter.  I have to have balance of all the various sides of myself which is why I find it important to Nurture the Nurturer.

However, if I go very long periods without decent sleep I can certainly feel it’s effect.  Less than 5 hours for more than a few days and I feel nauseated, grumpy, struggle with memory and I notice the very mild heart condition I have starts making me feel uncomfortable.  When that happens I try to find some way to get more sleep such as The Piano Man taking the girls out or putting a movie on and me sleeping on the couch.  About twice a week I go to bed “early”, between 9.30 and 11pm.

What’s your bedtime routine with Smunchie?  Does she nurse to sleep?

Around 7.15-7.30 or even 7.15-8.30 (flexibility is crucial in our family, the reality of having older children with activities) we start getting ready.  A story or two (usually French selections daddy reads) with Smunchie and Squiggle Bug on the couch while Squiggle Bug drinks a cup of milk and Smunchie a cup of almond milk.  Then brushing teeth and getting into pajamas.  After giving good night kisses to the entire family we split up, The Piano Man taking Squiggle Bug and Smunchie is with me.  On night’s that he’s working I work it out on my own.  I nurse Smunchie for a bit while reading to her but I haven’t let her fall asleep consistently on the breast for a long time now so when she’s done she sits up and we read a few more books.  Then I say a little prayer with her, we snuggle, I start singing something and stand up, she hands me everything she wants in bed with her (usually a couple cooks, her lovey and her doll and sometimes random things like shoes), I lay those down and then she reaches for me.  We stand just outside her bed hugging then give kisses and say night-night while I continue to sing and lay her down.  I stay in the room but out of sight singing or mm-hmming for a bit until I can hear her settling and then I slip out.  She doesn’t usually cry or fuss at all but if she does I go to her, pat or rub her back and stay close by.  Every great once in a while she will nurse to sleep if we’ve been out too late or if she just can’t seep to settle but it is, by now, the exception.

How did you get Smunchie to take a lovey object?

I planned for it before she was even born.  While I was still pregnant I slept with the little blanket we picked to be her special object so it would smell like me.  From birth it’s just been “around.” Once it was safe for it to join her in her bed we would lay her down with it.  It just stuck.

I was asked a few other questions including some regarding how I fixed her lazy toddler latch and using the phrase “bobbies all done” and her accepting that.  There is a future article planned on breastfeeding a toddler some where I share more about these and other tips related to breastfeeding an older baby or toddler.

We’re not experts, just figuring it out as we go along like most parents.  Along the way we’ve adapted and changed as we have adjusted to the different personalities and needs of our different children and shifting family dynamic.  Identifying what is important to us we make it work with flexibility.  What works for us may not work for you and what’s important to us may not be important to you.  Hopefully with parents sharing their stories and experiences along the way combined with taking responsibility to research and surround ourselves with knowledgable doctors and experts as well as those willing to help and support us in our goals/desires you and I can make the best decisions we can at the time with the information and resources available.  Thanks for letting us share our journey with you.

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Do you have other questions for us about the night weaning process?  Or something else?  Post your questions in the comments below and I’ll try to get to those as well.  No question but have some thoughts on what you read here?  You comments are most welcomed, I look forward to reading your opinions and experiences as well.

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Comments

  1. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience! My son is only six months old so any kind of weaning is nowhere on the horizon for us…but I also haven’t slept much more than two hours in a row since he was born. I can sympathize with you exahustion, and I can’t imagine having to care for five kids in this zombie state!! He is my only child and my butt is kicked to the point where I don’t think we will have any more. It’s starting to get a little better…some nights I don’t have to get out of bed at all (we bedshare.) Those are good nights. Some nights he wakes up crying and needs to be rocked back to sleep over and over and over…I know he needs me, I know this stage will eventually pass. But, I loved reading about your success and your much needed sleep! It’s wonderful to know that night weaning can be done so gently. Thank you!

  2. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts about this process. Thank you so much for sharing! I know it is so helpful. I wish that night weaning my son had been the kind of fairly positive experience you and Smunchie are having. We night weaned due to me being pregnant and experiencing the kind of exhaustion you are talking about, coupled with nursing being extremely uncomfortable. I’m sad to say he accepted NO other comfort measures. I never left him to cry alone, but there were many, many, many nights of long bouts of screaming. He was 2 already. I wish I could say night weaning helped him start sleeping all night, but it hasn’t. Getting him to bed is a struggle every. single. night unless I sit right next to him, with his head on my hand, while he talks and talks and talks and finally settles enough to go to sleep. He still wakes frequently and comes to sleep with me, which is fine, but even once in bed, he does not sleep well. He tosses and turns, wakes up crying because I rolled over to feed the baby and he can’t have my hand…. I am so tired.

    All that to say, I understand the struggle, and I’m glad that things are getting better for you all!

    Blessings,
    Melissa
    http://www.sistersncloth.com

  3. We also used Dr. Jay’s ideas for helping my DS (twin) fall asleep at night. I knew that CIO wouldn’t have worked for him, that he had WAY more stammina than I do! I used his ideas to get him to fall alseep without nursing, and then to fall asleep in his own bed, and then fall asleep w/o me in the room. I would say in less than a week, he would practically jump into his crib to fall asleep. And now that he is almost 2, he sleeps about 11-12 hours.

    We were where you are, “I” was ready to have my own bed back. I used to nurse him to sleep, and if he woke, I would nurse him and put him back in his crib until I was too tired and then, I would bring him to my bed. Now he sleeps for nice long stretches, and only wakes occasionally.

    Congrats on your sleep success!
    Jill

  4. Charlene says:

    So happy for your success; it has inspired me. I am relating right now to the whole too tired to be the parent/person you want to be and even the doing things too tired to be safe. Reading this helped my too tired to sit down and figure things out brain realize that we need to “work” on our sleep issues as they are unlikely to resolve themselves any time soon. I like that you helped me to see there might be a gentle, child-comfort focused way to help my daughter stop being the dictator in our home when it comes to sleep. I look forward to setting a flexible set of goals for more sleep in the near future…something that would not have occured to me without reading you blog. I . AM . TOO . SLEEPY . TO . THINK . OF . THINGS . ON . MY . OWN. (It’s been since Dec 6, 2009 that I’ve had more than 3 hr straight sleep, except maybe 10 different times where it might have been 4 hr.) I . NEEDED . TO . READ . THIS.

  5. I’ve been reading this whole series of posts and I think they are great.
    I’ve been debating about night weaning for a couple weeks now…my youngest is only 10 months old, but I am 9 weeks pregnant. I want to continue to nurse my little girl until I absolutely cannot anymore (but I do hope to completely ween before the new baby gets here as tandem nursing seems too daunting to me and I have already had struggles breastfeeding my first…I’ve been very lucky this time around to have made it so far and done so well with breastfeeding).

    Back to my story…she’s 10 months old, and still waking up quite often to nurse at night. I realize that right now would be a horrible time (like this moment, not her age) because she is teething like crazy…getting 4 teeth in at once…and nursing is her comfort. But after her bout of teething is done, I want to consider night weening for not only my sanity but hers too. I am up on and off all night, my nipples and breasts are sore from pregnancy, and I am crazy tired.

    Would something like this work, even though she’s not quite a year yet? This has been something that has been on my mind since she was born (the weening, not getting pregnant again. haha) and it makes me nervous because she IS so dependent on the breast for not only nourishment, but comfort as well.

    • Hi Kimberly, I’ve been in your shoes! My first born was only 9 months old when I got pregnant again. And like you I was exhausted and didn’t know what to do. What w found that worked for us was a modified night weaning: we focused on getting me 4 hours of straight sleep, which is what studies show is the minimum requirement for basic function. My husband would take care of her for those hours, and I had to be disciplined to sleep during that time (it was usually from 8-midnight). But this got me the sleep and sanity I needed without having to fully night wean. Maybe something like this would work for you?

      • I like this a lot. Figure out the bare minimum and go from there. Aim for a smaller time frame and shorten the nursing sessions over a longer period of time. I think that could be a great way to balance the transition with your needs, Kimberly, and her needs at this age too. ~Jessica

    • It might but it could be really hard particularly if she’s not ready. If you can make it to the 12 month mark it may be a smoother transition just because some milestones and nutritional needs will have changed. Your body may take care of it for you any way and your supply may drop. It doesn’t always happen but it isn’t uncommon either. Whatever you do, because she’s so young and there’s so much transition headed her way already, I’d make it a very slow and gradual process by stretching out Dr. Gordon’s plan over several weeks instead of days. Is that something you think you could try? ~Jessica

      • That was my concern as well, because she still does need certain things since she is so young still.

        I think what Judy said about setting a number of hours to sleep straight and let my husband deal with her is something to definitely consider trying, and then possibly going from there to Dr. Gordon’s plan over a couple of weeks. Like you said Jessica, my body might just help me out anyway and my supply might diminish.

        Thank you both for your help. This has been a really difficult time for me…I just want to do right by my lo and also save my sanity.

  6. weird questions but im gonna ask anways….1) what foods do you offer that you think help with more sleep/less waking? Sometimes I wonder if dinner wasn’t substantial enough when my 11 mo old wakes in the middle of the night. 2) why almond milk? i’m feeling the pressure to start cow’s milk but I, myself, don’t drink cow’s milk so I’m hesitant to offer it.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • No problem, I meant to put that in this post. I knew I forgot something when I got interrupted for the 2398474985720 time.

      We go for high calorie, high fat and high protein foods in the evening. Rice and beans are a favorite with some avocado, Greek yogurt, meat (providing Smunchie will eat it, often she won’t), nut butters, cheese, quinoa (she LOVES this), eggs, veggies in a “cream” sauce (we use Greek yogurt for that usually), hummus (I make several varieties including traditional, black bean, white kidney bean, etc.) avocado with anything, and almond milk. As to why almond milk, we’re an omnivore family but Smunchie doesn’t like cow or any other mammal milk but mine but she loves almond milk. I like that it is a good source of protein and is yummy. Since we have no nut allergies in my family I don’t have to worry about giving my kids nuts after 12 months. Hope that helps! ~Jessica

      • when does she drink the almond milk? I’m a little confused about this 1 yr milestone and starting milk-mammal or anything else but me. We just gave her a little sample of Horizon organic milk for lunch. She liked it and asked for more. Now if she continues to do well, how and when do i give it to her? I’d still like to nurse her for a little while longer.

        I have to confess-I did get jealous when she keep reaching for the cow’s milk. 🙁

        • We offer a cup of water usually with her meals and she drinks almond milk because she doesn’t like any other milk. Smunchie still nurses often, several times a day. She’ll continue for a long time still, a couple of times a day I’ll offer her a cup of water and in the evening she gets a cup of almond milk as we read stories. But it doesn’t replace me, not by a long shot, she wants to nurse often! ~Jessica

  7. I have to say that my entire perspective on parenting has completely changed from one son to the next. Isn’t it amazing how personality and preference can dictate who we as parents become as well? I have really enjoyed reading your philosophy and story about this subject, and I am much more apt to accept a piece or all of it this time around. As I finished reading this post, my six mo. old son stirred in his playpen at the end of our bed and I went to bring him to the boob and to bed with me. We do this several times a night, and if I am still awake, as I am now, he goes back to his bed for a spell. I often wake in a contorted position around him and beside my husband, and, yes, I even sometimes feel grumpy about it. In the end, though, I love this time, and I love how supported I feel by a husband who recognizes this as my last chance to “enjoy every moment,” since, as he would say, I have been “enhanced” and two sons is where we finished our family.

    With my first son, we let him CIO. I was uneducated and naive, so anyone who offered advice was usually taken up on it. I have since come to find out that not everyone, including our pediatrician, and probably most in this situation, knows what is best for our family. The bond I feel with our newest is certainly unlike anything I felt with our first. Sure DS#1 and I bed-shared in the early months, and many nights I went to his room to comfort and feed when he was between 4-6mos., but after that, we let him sleep train. I HATED it. My husband could go far longer with the crying stints than I could, and he often would turn the monitor off. After I became pregnant with our second, though, (when DS#1 was just 7 mos.) it was much more impossible for me to ignore his cries. Even though he weaned naturally at an early age, (I suppose my milk was no longer desirable w/ the pregnancy), and was sleeping 12 hours every night, the more educated I have become on the subject, the more I realize that there IS a physiological response in a mommy when a baby cries.

    I could go on and on, but what I would like to say most is that “I get it.” So thank you. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for being supportive. Thank you for TLB!

  8. Maxine Eriksen-Miller says:

    I have spent hours reading your blogs and i have found them so helpfull and inspiring, you really make me feel like a normal Mom and not deficient! Your experiences with your youngest really struck a cord with me, and i only found out today that our youngest were born three days apart! Anyway, thank you for your hard work, you really make a difference in peoples lives!

  9. Thank YOU for sharing your journey with US. It helps a lot to read your experiences and to read others’ comments afterwards. Just knowing that there are so many trials and errors and that everyone is figuring it out as best they can is so valuable.

    My October weekend away has been canceled (friend can’t make it anymore) so my deadline for night weaning has been removed. Frankly, I think I’m relieved. I feel better having the option to let things take their own pace.

    Congratulations on getting some sleep finally! Again, thank you for sharing.

  10. I feel very encouraged from reading this series of posts.

    My little one is just over 12 months and is waking 3-4 times a night. Around 7 months we moved and he started really developing and it was all over from there. Previously, he was only waking one time per night to nurse (and we are a bed sharing family). It took me a long time to accept the fact that this was a short season in our lives and that he wasn’t trying to make me miserable. Haha. I look forward to the time that he is ready to night wean, but we are not there yet.

    I will definitely use this as a resource when the time comes. Thanks again.

  11. Thank you so much for posting your journey. This has given me great hope that I too one day will sleep again. Sleep has been our greatist struggle for over 8 months now that both my husband and I are beyond exhausted. I boarder on depression and lack any desire in things I used to be passionate about. I am just too tired to care. I now that one day this will pass and I know that I will look back on these times with fondness even to miss them…..but now, I am struggling. As a new mom you hear alllll kinds of different advice. I have no idea why my sweet boy will not sleep. More solids or less, more milk or none, self soothing or milestone, sleep regression, teething, growing pains or growth spurt. My husband has now reached his end, and thanks to all the other parents that swear by the CIO method, he insists thats is what we should do as well. I love my son very much, but its so hard to think that there is nothing that we can do but wait in hopes to get more sleep or the CIO method. So far, we have tried to do the no cry sleep solution, but I am so exhausted it has just stopped making sense. We are now doing the whole pick up, put down, and I think I have shed more tears then he has. My question is, with 5 different sleepers do you think their sleep habits and length is based on a milestone that must be reached or do you feel that there needs to be some kind of “sleep training” or night weaning to get you child to finally sleep longer than 2 hours? Thanks again for sharing your journey and showing me that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. Congratulations on your sleep!!!!

  12. Sarah Fuller says:

    How is it going?? We’ve looked at Dr Jay’s plan before and agreed that we’d try it at some point. Reading your experience has made me wonder if we’re ready (16 months) but just curious if you’re still getting her to sleep 11 hrs!

  13. This post reminded me of when i night weaned my 4th child, Evie.

    I was pregnant with my 5th and when Evie wanted to nurse at night i ended up in the middle of kickfights, one on the outside and one on the inside. Then when Evie was back to sleep i was kept awake by a very active baby kicking me in the bladder.

    SHe was about 20 months old and one night she wanted to nurse. I took he rout her cot (down my side of the bed in a bedside cot) and i said to her “No milkies tonight sweetie, but you can have all the cuddles you want” lay her on my chest and patted her back. She went back to sleep. that was it. When she woke in the night i would give her cuddles and either let her sleep beside me or pop her back in her cot.

    She still had access to milk during the day for a further 10 Months and even shared with her new baby sister who was born just before she turned 2.

  14. Hi Jessica,

    I’m curious how you arrange the sleeping surfaces in your bedroom? My husband and I have a king-size bed but he’s a crazy sleeper and because of this I’ve slept with my DD cuddled up to me every night since she was born :). However, I know there will be a time when she no longer wants me to hold her while we sleep (she’s 9.5 months now). I’d like to have a sleeping surface in our room for her but I’ve decided I’m completely anti-crib and will probably get rid of ours soon. Do you use a mattress on the floor for Smunchie or some other kind of arrangmement? Thanks for any advice you can give about this!

    I love your blog and facebook page as well!

    -Sondra

  15. I can’t believe I just read this at this point in my life. My babe was born Dec 4th, 2009 and sleeps with us. I just started night weaning on Thursday so today is day 5. I am going to go back and read your journals. I don’t know how it wasn’t I that wrote this. Thank you!

  16. Hi: It has been so nice to read your experiences with night weaning. As a Lactation Consultant, I get tons of questions about this and it’s been great to hear your perspective. Most parents I’ve met have given no consideration to their baby’s needs so talking about how you made a decision that was best for your whole family and the complex decision-making that went into that is invaluable. I commend you for taking the time to research and discover appropriate age-based expectations for your baby and even in a sleep-deprived state, taking the time to figure out how all of this would work with the whole family. I haven’t come across this book you mentioned, I will definitely look into it. I also really appreciate Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s book, “Sleepless in America” for a gentle, child- and family-based approach to sleep.

    • Carrie, thank you for your encouraging and supportive words. It’s so nice to hear from those trained in the field of lactation or sleep development that sharing our story helps others. I truly hope it does.

      I haven’t heard of Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s book but I’m going to look for it, sounds right up my ally! Thank you! ~Jessica

  17. Just wondering how this is going almost a month later?!?! I’ve been dying for more sleep, but want to wait until my DS is a year and really want to try this method. Keep us updated!!! 😉

  18. Oh my gosh woman, thank you for this whole journey. Husband and I are actually going to start this on Friday. River has been waking about every hour for mommy nums (nah nahs) for awhile now and I just cant do it anymore. CIO is also not for us, and we are too tired to try to remember No Cry Sleep Solution in the middle of the night. I was skeptical about Dr Gordons approach and worried about it working, since we do bedshare and still nurse.
    You have given me hope! Thank you so much! One quick question though – did your daughter only say “bobbies” when wanting to nurse? Mine will say nah nah and actually dive bomb down onto my boobs. I dont know how to keep him from just catching the nipple mid air and hanging on! A shirt? But he will surely just suck on my shirt and get REALLY REALLY mad?
    hahah, thanks again!

  19. Tara Gallup says:

    I have a 12 month old that I want to do this with. I have no idea how to get him down awake though… It’s not very clear about that…