Sleep training and night weaning a toddler isn’t easy. My son is 20 months and I can now officially say my son is sleep trained and can sleep throughout the night without his “bee bee.” I have been trying to get my toddler to sleep in his crib throughout the night without nursing every 2 hours for months! Here is how I did it.
What Was Different This Time Around?
Honestly, I think it was two things that helped this time around. My son is 20 months. Maybe he was just ready. And two, he now has his own room. We recently moved to a larger home. We decided to start sleep training on the second night we moved. It was impossible to start the first night, as we were so tired from the move.
Crib or Toddler Bed
I was determined to sleep train in the crib but my son started climbing out of the crib about 2 months ago. When we moved, I decided to turn the crib into a toddler bed. Yes, he is able to get out of bed, whenever, but he still can’t open his bedroom door. The first few times he fell off, but the bed is so low to the floor and I have pillows on the floor. This is safer than him climbing out of the crib and hurting himself. Again, not every child is ready for a toddler bed at this age. My older two were a little older when I introduced their toddler beds!
Nursing at Night
My biggest struggle was letting go of nursing my son at night. He would fall asleep while nursing; even during naps. Yet, I know he was capable of falling asleep without nursing, as he falls asleep all the time during car rides with no breast to help him fall asleep! Nursing is such a great bonding experience and I love it so much. However, lately I was finding it hard to find more time for myself, as my son is teething and some days he nurses more than others. I am getting better sleep, which I haven’t had since my son was born. Waking up every 2 hours for almost two years is beyond exhausting!
If you think you need help with sleep training and night weaning, ask other moms and your child’s pediatrician. Even with all the tips, I think just talking about it helped. You will find that some will judge you for still nursing at night. Those people are not in your shoes. Find positive people that want to help and not judge you. Every situation is different and every child is ready to wean and sleep through the night at different stages. Society expects all babies to sleep train by a certain time. Add night nursing to the mix and it becomes even harder. My best advice is to keep trying and try different methods. It will happen when your child is ready, in my opinion.
My Sleep Training Schedule
I am sharing with you the times I was up with my son and what I did. In all my online searching, I have never found something detailed on sleep training and weaning. Usually it’s just the basics; leave the room, let baby cry, etc. I hope you find my schedule helpful!
7 pm -Nursed, sang songs and read books. Was starting to lay head down. I said goodnight, gave him a kiss and put blanket on. He cried for a few minutes on and off but not long. Fell asleep around 8ish.
11:36 pm – Woke up saying “wa wa” and crying. I nursed him for a few minutes then I pulled off. He started crying. I rubbed him and he screamed more. I kept saying “bee bee” all done. Kept pulling on my shirt. I gave in and offered him bee bee. Sang a few songs and rubbed him after. He started crying. I gave him a kiss and said goodnight.
12:07 am – I closed the door and he stayed quiet for a few minutes. He started letting out small cries every few minutes and then stopped.
12:25 am -asking for his waa waa I brought it up. He tricked me. He wanted bee bee. I gave him a kiss and told him his waa waa is there. I left the room at 12:30 am. At 12:49 am – asking for waa waa. The water is in his room. I showed him where I left it when I left the room earlier 12:52. Asking for waa waa again. Still did not go in the room
1:07 asking for waa waa again. This time a small cry. At 1:19 asking for waa waa and a few cries. At 1:32 he heard me use the bathroom and started crying a little and then asking for waa waa. 1:45 crying for waa waa
2 am crying for waa waa and running in his room At 2:20. crying more on and off frequently. 10 minutes later he fell asleep
5:50am I went to check on him. Sleeping and diaper off!
7:06 am woke up!
At 7pm. We went to his room played with toys. Read and sang songs while nursing. He kept saying bee bee so I gave in 3 times and told it was bedtime and bee bee would be all done. Nursed until 7:40 or so. He wouldn’t go to bed. He would run out the door with me. By 8:17 he was still playing so I walked away slowly after I said goodnight AND closed the door. He let out a few quick cries.
Slept through the night! Woke up at 5:45am!
7 pm Hung out in his room. Nursed, read books, sang songs and played. At 8:03 I walked out of the room. He was playing with a toy. I said goodnight and walked out of the room. He let out a cry.
9:58 pm woke up. Beebee real quick and then night night I walked out of the room at 10:05 pm.
At 11:34 pm woke up let out a cry.
1:48 fell off the bed and started crying. I nursed him for a few minutes to comfort him. I told him bee bee for one min then all done. I gave him a big hug and kiss and walked away. He chased me but I closed the door. He let out a quick cry
6:33 am- Woke up!
7:30 pm nursed, read books, sang songs and played. 8pm walked out of the room. He ran after me. I closed the door. He let out a few cries for a few seconds.
At 8:33pm a small cry
11:25pm small cries in his sleep for about 8-10 min. I went in room as the cries got a little louder. He was in corner of bed crouched. I hugged him and nursed him for a few minutes and said bee bee all done; night night- ily. I left the room at 11:44 and he cried for a minute.
5:22am. Woke up!
7 pm read books and sing songs while nursing. Play and lots of hugs and kisses. Said goodnight- 8pm I left the room. He let out a cry
10pm woke up crying. I think he heard me when I got up to use bathroom. Nursed him a few minutes bee bee all done; ily and closed door at 10:06pm
6:11am woke up!
7:30. Played, nursed and read book.
8:04pm walked out of room and said night and lots of hugs; he just looked at me and didn’t cry
10 pm let out a cry
5:25 woke up!
7 pm played, sang songs, read books and nursed; walked out of room
In bed by 8pm.
9pm let out a cry
5:30am woke up!
Every Situation Is Different
Don’t expect things to go smoothly. I have had nights where sleep training seemed okay over the month, along with night weaning. The first night would be okay for a few hours and then the next few days it would be worse. There was a night when my toddler cried for over an hour! I could not continue to let him cry. I felt awful. Professionals and parents do say the crying out method is the fastest way to sleep train but also the hardest. Yet, it does not work on all children. Every situation is different. It seemed impossible to sleep train and wean at night but I am finally here. It is possible, but I do believe your baby/toddler will let you know when he is ready. Although sharing a room with baby will not make things easier. For my situation, it was easier to train once he had his own room.
You Are Not Alone
My son’s doctor gave me tips and everyone I know, did as well, including my online searching. It is normal for us to wake up every 90 minutes but we never notice as we are not fully awake to realize. Which, you may have noticed at the schedule, my son would cry and then a few minutes later would fall asleep. He was learning to fall asleep on his own without nursing. It will take time. Which is why I gave you the full 7 seven days in detail. So you can see it is not always smooth and each day may vary! At the end of the day, every child is different. Some may be ready sooner or later. The time will come. I have to say I miss sleeping with my son but they all need to learn to sleep on their own at some point!
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I hope you found this post helpful!