Neve the Nocturnal Nurseavore

This week has culminated in the perfect no-sleep storm.

Both kids have had terrible colds, resulting in lots of hacking when they are horizontal. Good for daytime. Super crummy for nighttime.

Add to that, the time change, a few late nights and Neve's nocturnal nursing, and what do you get? No sleep!

We're big on co-sleeping with the kids. They sleep better when they aren't alone. We sleep better when we know our kids feel safe and secure. As a result, Neve, now 14 months, has always nursed or been walked in our arms to fall asleep and then joined us in our bed upon first waking around midnight. Judah, at three-and-a-half, still wakes up at least once, generally between 1-3 and calls for Luke, who then goes and sleeps in Jude's almost king sized bed.

Theoretically, this is all lovely. It has worked really wonderfully for us... in the past. Currently, we are running into an issue. A BIG, exhausting, brutal, awful, no-good, TIRING issue.

Neve is a major nocturnal nurser.

Although she likes the odd drink during the day, especially before her nap, she will accept food- not- from- a- boob during the waking hours. Her intake of said food is pretty small. She doesn't mind solids, but she definitely doesn't share her brother's penchant for devouring them. Instead, she likes to save up her points and nurse FOR HOURS during the night. As a result, I find myself inhaling food right before bedtime.

9 pm, my body is in full-out panic mode: "Woman, you need to ingest like 3000 calories, like right now! I can hear that kid starting to stir, and if you don't, we'll have no choice but to eat your brain tissue!" This happens. I don't even know what day of the week it is.

Last night, the old routine grew a little thin. It was 4:40. Neve had been nursing/ teething on me for almost three hours. I felt like a dog Kong. Chew-toy time was over. I told her the milk was "all gone". I was hoping she'd say, "ok", roll over and go to sleep. Instead, she totally lost her milk-loving mind.

It was the infant apocalypse.




She screamed.
I sang her a lullaby. She screamed.
 I tickled her back. She screamed.
I changed her diaper and snuggled her right beside me. She screamed.

We continued this little pattern for an hour, then I called in reinforcements. Daddy the Boobless, took the boob addict downstairs for a board book marathon until 7 am, when they both fell asleep on the couch.

How do you know it's time to night-wean?
When no one is sleeping anymore.
When you eat an entire bag of Doritos before bed - because you HAVE to.
When your one year old can go most of the day without eating anything, because they've eaten you- all. night. long.

So here we go- night one of the  Dr. Jay Gordon method for night weaning. If you have any advice to offer, we're all ears. I'll try to keep you updated with our progress. If not, just listen really hard around 4 am, you might just hear one of us screaming.


  1. I did something like that, but I had never read that method, the guy sounds like he knows his stuff :)
    What saved me was getting Toby a bed that butted up against my bed because I think a lot of the reason he woke up was when I moved. After I made him move over two feet onto a separate mattress, he slept a little better and therefore didnt wake a nurse as often. He still ended up in my bed most nights, but at least I had a place to get away for a bit. After the initial nurse to sleep, when I heard him stir i'd put my hand out to touch his arm and usually that stopped him from waking fully. If he did wake up I'd keep my hand there and 'shhhhush'. If he asked to nurse I'd let him for like 10 seconds and then go back to holding his hand again. If he asked to nurse again I'd do it for 10 seconds and then push him off..
    It took a long time but it worked out eventually.
    Mind you he was much older than Neve, so he may have had a different mind set about it. At 14 months he was still a pretty big leech.

  2. I wish I had some advice! Dominic only *just* (i.e. 2 weeks ago!) stopped his night nursing on his own after I'd given up trying. I kept running into pretty much the identical scenario you describe above. A lot of screaming! So for the last two weeks when he hasn't, I'm thanking my lucky stars!! He's 27 months now....hopefully Neve will let you sleep before then!

  3. We used Dr. Jay Gordon's method with Kale at 15 months and it went really well. There were definitely some rough nights, but he adjusted really well. Although Kale didn't nurse for long at night, he did it often (about every two hours). I blogged about how we did it here: http://harvestingkale.blogspot.ca/2011/09/our-night-weaning-journey-how-we-did-it.html

    Good luck!