I know, I know, sleep post.
So we're thinking we're ready to nightwean our 18 month old. I actually think she is probably ready and I am hopeful that it won't be a total nightmare. I've been 'not offering, not refusing' for a few months now.
She is still nursing, but goes to daycare full time (8 hours/day, 5 days/week, since 12 months old) and drinks only milk or water there. Right now, she doesn't usually nurse on the way to daycare, nurses a lot on the way home from daycare, then doesn't nurse again until bedtime. I don't nurse her right to sleep, but to drowsy and she rolls over and falls asleep when she's done (most nights). She goes to sleep in her own room on a floor bed, which we started at around a year (co-sleeping the whole night before that). Most nights, she doesn't wake again until between midnight and 4am, at which point I'll bring her to our bed and nurse her, again not all the way to sleep. If she wakes up before midnight, I don't nurse her (unless we really cannot get her back to sleep otherwise). Once she's in bed with us, she will usually wake up 1-3 more times before I get out of bed at 6:30ish.
This is actually a huge improvement over where she was even 6 months ago (up 5-6 times most nights) but we're both starting to feel the affects of 18 months (+4 or so months before that for me, due to the how often I woke up to pee while pregnant) of crappy sleep. I know that nightweaning doesn't always mean sleeping better but it seems like it *often* does so we're willing to give it a shot.
We're planning on using the Jay Gordon method as a guide, but instead of his 11-6am schedule, I want to aim for no nursing from bedtime until...I don't know, 5 or so I guess. Since she doesn't usually wake up before 11pm anyway, this seems like it'd fit us best. I think I can handle her coming to bed with us in the early morning for nursing if I haven't been doing it all night.
Ok so my questions:
1. Does this schedule seem reasonable, any feedback on the jay gordon method, etc?
2. The Jay Gordon thing doesn't mention giving water or anything instead, but it seems like a lot of people swear by that (that eventually, the kid will realize that water isn't worth getting up for I guess?). My wife will be on night-duty and I'll sleep on the couch through this, and she thinks giving her water (or maybe a sippy of warm cow's milk?) will help. I'm wondering if it'll just reinforce that 'night time is ok for eating' instead of 'night time is for sleeping' that we're aiming for here. Thoughts?
3. How can I avoid the guilt I'm feeling over trying to cut back on nursing??? I want to go for 2 years but I'm feeling soooo tired of it sometimes, obviously not ready to wean her totally but I do want to cut back. But then...guilt. Help? Resources for making me feel good for going this long?