Know when to say “wean”

I have to make a decision. I hate making decisions.

I feel in my gut that it’s time to wean Zoe. She’s almost 14 months, eating big girl food, drinking big girl milk. Walking everywhere. Chasing and giggling at the dog, the cat, her sisters.

I didn’t have this tough decision weighing on my with the big girls. They practically weaned themselves. Granted we aided them by replacing their morning and night time nursing sessions with milk, and before I knew it, we were down to a 60 second snack around 11 to help get them from breakfast to lunch. They’d tumble into my lap, get what they needed, and be on their merry way. And then they were done. 

I was okay with it. I knew it was time for them. We were all ready.

And now I think Zoe’s ready. She doesn’t really “eat” anymore. She’s here for comfort. 

Maybe on the days she wakes up too early, we sit and doze together in the chair, listening to the early morning birds outside her window. Okay, sometimes you can catch me tweeting, checking email, or thumbing through my reader. But these days are rare. Usually it’s up and straight to the highchair for breakfast.

As nap time rolls around, she again lays on my lap, falling asleep mere seconds after latching on. I indulge her for a while, enjoying the silence and darkness of her room, before transitioning her seamlessly to her bed, where she curls up with her butt in the air and instinctively throws an arm out, searching for her doll.

At bedtime she usually hangs out in my lap, enjoying her snack, her kicking legs preventing me from typing anything on my phone (aka “why I don’t leave as many blog comments as I would like”). She rarely falls asleep here anymore, and we snuggle for a bit before I place her in her bed with her baby and her blanket, turn her light out and her white noise on, and leave the room with a soft “Good night.”

But it’s the night times that worry me. She still wakes up one, two, sometimes even three times. After the normal “wait to see if she’ll go back to sleep” period, I trudge in there, check her diaper, and juggle the pillow and blanket as she cries and impatiently points to the chair, seemingly in the throws of starvation.

60 seconds later, she’s asleep in my lap. 

We do this again later that night. And again sometime around 6 (after which she thankfully goes back to bed for another hour or more).

She doesn’t need the food. She wants the comfort. 

She’s my last baby.

How am I to deny her that? 

Super cute. Super loud

Now you get to help me out! What would you do? Should I:

  • Try giving her a sippie of milk to see if that helps?
  • Send Dad in to do the dirty work? (This one won’t last. He’ll either get frustrated and call me in to calm her down with my “natural methods,” or she’ll fall asleep, only to wake again 20 minutes later.)
  • Try letting her *gulp* cry it out? I’m not trying to start a debate here. I’m pro CIO if it needs to be done. We’ve done this before with all of our children for various reasons that are well justified, and it’s worked. But a) sometimes going in and nursing her for 15 minutes is easier than listening to her cry for an hour; b) her cries get to me more than her sisters’ did; and c) girlfriend is LOUD. Like seriously loud.
  • Give her a paci? This one seems a little regressive. She gave that up at 4 months the first time we did CIO to help her learn to go to sleep on her own. After she got it down, further attempts at the paci just resulted in her chewing on it or playing with it.
I think we may just have to try all of these and see what works the best. She’s a champ at going to sleep on her own; it’s just the transition from night waking that she’s having trouble with. 

And I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in over a year and a half.

I’m a big fan of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, which saved my life with infant twins. So I’ll go read up on that while y’all discuss my problem here.

Aaaaand there she is. Right on cue.

Join the Conversation


  1. With all 4 of mine I ended up resorting to Dad's help. It wasn't always ideal, but we discussed ahead of time (after the first disaster :P) what the plan would be and carried through with it. It usually involved him going to the child and rocking or back-rubbing or something like that. It worked differently with each child, so I think there is no fail-safe method that can be guaranteed. Wouldn't that be great if there was? I still haven't weaned my last baby… she just turned 2. Wishing you the best!

  2. I have NO advice…. I nursed far longer 😀 and it just kind of faded out.


  3. Call me heartless, but I am all for CIO. I bet after three nights she would be sleeping through the night…

  4. I'm in the same boat with Ava, and I recently night-weaned her. I just stopped giving her milk when she woke up, even if she asked for it, and cuddled her back to sleep (she sleeps in our bed). Now, she's stopped waking up! Since she clearly sleeps in her own bed (lucky you!!!), I would try sending dad in during wake ups every night for a few nights, and see if it makes her stop waking up if she realizes she's not getting milk. In that same vein, I wouldn't sub milk for you, since it's not really extinguishing the habit, ya know? That's just my advice, but do what works for you! Good luck!

  5. Hard one friend. You could try just cuddling and then the next night just a pat on the back and then just your voice?
    I'm really not a good source though mine doesn't sleep through yet.
    Also? I don't nurse anymore.

    I love that she searches for her doll.

  6. Mine was a bit older so could enter a discussion a bit more, but she complained that not enough was coming out because I'd been sick and was a bit dehydrated. I leaped onto that and suggested that maybe she'd drunk it all and there was none left. She was skeptical (which is awesome) and wanted to try the other side, so I let her, but I pinched it so nothing came out. She was mildly annoyed but understood the concept of "all gone" so she dealt with it and went to nap. That was it.

    So if you think Zoe might understand "all gone" give that a shot. Hopefully you won't have to be dehydrated first!

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