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20-month old still nursing all night - is this normal?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Our 20 month old co-sleeping daughter is still nursing all night... she's up for milk every two hours on a good night, or nursing pretty much constantly on a bad one (teething, colds, etc). Is this normal? Do co-sleeping, nursing kids eventually start sleeping longer stretches on their own, or do we need to night-wean at some point? If they do start sleeping longer on their own, when does it start? We are losing sleep, but not willing to move her to a separate bed, or to wean completely. Does anyone have any advice or stories to share? Thanks all.
post #2 of 7

Yes, it is fairly normal for a 20 month old to still be nursing through the night. From reading these boards for years and years, it seems to me that most children hit a stage from 17-23 months where they are nursing a *LOT*. For many children this period gradually tapers off after 24 months.

Both of my children were nursing at least that frequently during the night at 20 months. With DD I got mono and then became pg with DS when she was just under 2 years. We decided to nightwean her for 4-5 hours a night shortly after she turned two. Honestly, it is something I have always regretted (not following her time table) but at the same time--- I just NEEDED more than 60-90 minutes of consecutive sleep at that point. She did not go all the way through the night w/out nursing for another 18ish months.

With DS I purposely cut down his night nursing for about a week when he was 2. Those few days of "increased" (as in, 3 hours) sleep girded me for the next couple of years and he night weaned on his own. :

I think that my children are pretty far on one extreme of night nursing. Not typical, perhaps, but within the range of normal. At 20 months, I would encourage you to nap during the day if you can and if your DC goes to sleep before you do in the evening to wake them up right before you go to sleep and really tank them up in the hopes that their longest sleep will coincide with you actually being asleep.

Good luck
post #3 of 7
Yes I think it's normal too, and I think it's normal for you to start feeling irritated by it lol.

My dd is 22mo and about a month ago, I reached my limit and decided that I would try to substitute a drink of water and a snuggle for nursing during the night. I explained to her that there wouldn't be any booboo while it was dark out, that booboos were sleeping, just like she was to be sleeping, so when the sun came out, she can have booboos again. The sun comes up at 5:30am but that is totally acceptable to me. She still wakes up once or twice a night, then does a marathon nurse from around 5:30 or whatever until about 7:30 when she wakes for the day (I sleep in her bed with her at some point during the night so I doze in and out as she latches on and off in those early morning hours).

I was shocked at how easily she accepted the snuggle and drink of water as a substitute for her booboos. The great thing is now that dh can easily get her back to sleep, as can anyone else, like my MIL so dh and I can go on dates She even knows now, when she wakes up at night, as soon as someone goes into her she says "Water. Hug."

My first was the same and we nightweaned at 22mo. He also easily accepted snuggles from daddy, I slept on the couch for a week. No tears were shed.
post #4 of 7
My DD did this until she was about 24 months old and she finally got the last of her molars in. It about made me crazy with sleep deprivation. I had considered night-weaning, but was going to do it Dr. Jay Gordon's way, but I was so tired, I ended up just nursing through it. Shortly after her teeth came in, she started sleeping 5 hours straight. After that, things were fine.

Good luck.
post #5 of 7
DD is almost 21 months and we are cosleeping. Most nights, she wakes up every 2-3 hours. Sometimes it could be 4 hours, sometimes it could be 1 hour. She really likes keeping my nipple in her mouth as much as possible but I just can't sleep sound that way or get comfortable.

Just found out we are expecting #2 & I am contemplating night weaning by sleeping in the other room for a week & having Daddy comfort her back to sleep. I really wanted to let her wean herself at night, but am worried it won't happen on it's own before the new baby comes in Feb? Not sure what to do. Do co sleeping babes really night wean on their own?

We are also thinking about putting a toddler bed in our room to bring awareness to the idea? She loves my nieces toddler bed-which is also in my brother & sil's bedroom.

I feel like I don't have a definite "plan" & that I don't want to give up having her right next to me...but with #2 coming...do we need to make changes now?
post #6 of 7
My LO nursed like that. And then at 25mos, he switched to sleeping all night with no waking...it was weird. Then I had to adjust because I was still waking and he was asleep.
post #7 of 7
My DS nursed every 2-3 hours at night until we nightweaned at 17-18 months. And by nightweaning, I mean from midnight until five/six a.m. -- not 8-10 hour stretches.
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