Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Night Weaning Miss P

So, for the past 5 years 8 months, I have been sleeping terribly. We have all been sleeping terribly, except maybe for Finn, who has his own room. Since Phoebe was born, Todd and I have co-slept with her in between us in our king size bed. I know that in itself is a source of debate for many, but we did it with Finn, and in our 800 square foot, 2 bedroom house, it just made sense to do it with Phoebe. We really had no other choice. About 6 months ago, when she started to be a bit more mobile, we brought in Finn's old crib and set it up next to our bed (this gave me approximately 1 foot in between the crib and my part of the closet, with the crib slammed up next to the bed so that Todd has to vault over the bottom bed frame). This was great for naps and for putting Phoebe to bed at 6:30, before we were ready to get in and make sure she didn't crawl out of bed, but as soon as I got into bed she would wake up and want to nurse and never make it back into her crib.
However, over the past 8 months, she started sleeping shorter stretches instead of longer, and while when she was 6 months, she would regularly sleep for 4 hours at a time, recently she was up every 30 minutes to 2 hours throughout the night. I got a 4 hour stretch once in the past 4 months or so. It felt like heaven. I was (and still am) beat. Physical and mentally run down, and not the best mama that I can be because I am chronically tired.
Aside from me, I know that Phoebe also has to be tired from waking up so often throughout the night, and although Todd wouldn't wake up each time Phoebe did, he was still woken up enough that it was affecting him.
So, last week we decided to take the plunge and night-wean Phoebe. I am still nursing her on demand throughout the day, but we cut her off cold turkey for night time. She has been sleeping all night in her crib, while Todd sleeps next to her in our bed so that he can comfort her and lay her back down when she wakes up. I have been sleeping on Finn's bottom bunk, which I thought would be relaxing, but boy, that child has conversations in his sleep all night. Pretty funny actually.
Anyways, the first night was a little bit rough, as she woke up several times and cried. Todd would just pat her back, speak softly to her, and lay her back down again and again until she would fall asleep. I could hear her crying from Finn's room and it nearly broke my heart. But, since the first night, she has only cried a couple of times! She still wakes up, a lot, and Todd now just asks her to lie down and she does, and goes right back to sleep. She has been sleeping in longer in the morning. She has been going down easier at night. And her naps which used to be 20 minutes to an hour long are suddenly lasting for 2 hours and she doesn't fight me about going to sleep. This has all been nothing short of a miracle.
And, although I was hesitant to let my little baby (and probably my last baby) leave the family bed and cry herself to sleep, it was so necessary. We are on the road to sleep-full nights, and everyone seems to be in better spirits already. I don't think I could have done this at 6 months, or even at a year, but she is 15 months old now and I was run ragged. You could probably hide coins beneath the bags under my eyes.
So, there you have it. Phoebe has been cut off from her most favorite, most comforting, most nurturing love in life (albeit only during night time hours) and I am the one who cut her off. I did feel guilty, but now that I see how more rested we are all becoming, I think that we made the right choice. And, as soon as I move back into my own bed, and can once again sleep next to my husband, I will be pretty happy about this whole thing.

Pin It Now!


  1. I think that was a great decision- A happy well rested mama is important to everyone!

  2. Good for you! You must all be feeling so much better right now, even though weaning can be so painful while it is happening. I am grateful that Clayton decided to wean himself...I hadn't even thought about starting to wean him, but he was done at about 15 months.

  3. Do what works best. Moms just know these things. My oldest daughter nursed both of her kids a long time (her daughter until 3+ years and son until almost 2) and they co-slept as a family for a long time. My younger daughter is much more structured and disciplined with her kids...both are great moms and all of my grandkids are lovely children, well-loved and nurtured, but it is fun to see the different approaches these two daughters are taking to parenthood. Thanks for the post. Good luck with everything. Hope you can get some quality sleep.

  4. Oh, I dread having to make this decision! Silas is still sleeping with us and nursing on-demand throughout the night. I firmly believe that what baby needs is a well-rested mama and it sounds like you approached the whole thing with love and compassion. P is a lucky little girl to have you for a mama.