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3 yr old suddenly nursing a lot at night?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've never said that I plan to practice CLWing, but here I am with a 3 yr old that loves to nurse. I've stopped nursing in public, because I was just too uncomfortable, no one here seems to nurse toddlers or older children.

I never nightweaned my ds, unlike his brother, so this is new to me. Suddenly ds tosses at night and wants to nurse a lot, maybe 5-6x each night, I'm so tired that I lost track of how often he nurses on average. I'm a light sleeper, so I do wake up when he tosses and makes noise, so my sleep is really bad.

Anyone been through this and have help? My dh thinks we should nightwean, but since dh works a very early shift, it would be hard for him to take over in bed and have me sleep elsewhere. That's how we nightweaned ds#1 almost 4 yrs ago.

post #2 of 8
I don't really have any ideas, but my nearly 3 year old is doing the.exact.same.thing.

it's been really interfering with my sleep and i'm a zombie lately. I'm hypothesizing that he isn't eating enough during the day, but that's just me grasping at straws for an explanation.

all i can say is, you're not alone and I hope it gets better for you soon.

Good luck, I'm sure that "this too shall pass"
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Good to hear that it's not just me. After being in two very pro-bf'ing communities, we're in an area where I don't find many extended nursers.

I may nightwean him soon, with dh's help, just so I feel like I'm sleeping again. I'm guessing that it will be pretty painless, since on many nights in the past he didn't nurse, or nursed only once. I told him that "nummies" need to sleep, too, so we wouldn't be nursing during the nighttime any more. He said, "Okay," so maybe it can work!
post #4 of 8
We have that here, too. After a couple weeks of the 5-6x waking to nurse, he seems to be sleeping better. He actually woke me up saying "mama, me have nursies?" -- his typical cue, and then put his head down and fell asleep. Maybe it's just a habit now

I night weaned ds2 at 20 months when I got pregnant with ds3. We did a couple nights of him waking, crying in bed with us, then settling down to sleep, with each waking/crying time being shorter.

It will pass They grow up so fast
post #5 of 8
The good thing about nightweaning a child so old, is that you can explain to them in words how you feel. You can straight out tell them that you and the nursies are tired and the boobs need to sleep at night. I tried this with my recent son at about 26 months, but he didn't seem ready for all night. He was very upset and cried in our arms for a few days, but he did start sleeping longer. We settled for 4-5 hours in a row and left it at that. Recently we tried again and he slept over 8 hours the first night without crying. I was shocked! I thought it would take at least 3 or 4 days or more. I congratulated him in the morning and he was so proud, then took a nice long nurse. The second night he woke early and I told him the nursies were sleeping. He yelled at me and cried for about a minute, then snuggled with Dad because he was mad at me, and went back to sleep. That was it. After that, dad and I changed sides of the bed so he is next to DS, This way when DS wakes, he can snuggle with dad. I did hear him the other night wake up, go snuggle with dad and sing, "boobs, boobs, boobs sleeping" and then he went back to sleep. I tried hard not to laugh and wake him more. So, it is obvious he is lucid enough during the night to understand. I think it is cool to have a nursing child old enough to talk to about these things so weaning can be a much easier process than when they are younger.

Another thing. While nightweaning, I have always made sure to have a glass of water in the bedroom, in case the child asks for nursies because of thirst, and to offer hugs, so that I can be sure nighttime needs are still met. I would hate to deny the nursies not realizing they just need hydration or comfort, you KWIM. It can also help to explain to the child that the nursies are not going away forever, they will just sleep, and when the sun shines in the window, or the alarm rings (or whatever you decide), then the nursies will wake with lots of milk in them for a special morning nurse.

Good luck! I hope this helps you guys.

Kristin Skrydlak-Simlai
post #6 of 8

some say that if there is any change of routine throughout the day, it can affect nursing. I found that to be true for us. If you can find what it is and make a change back to the old routine, perhaps the night time would go back to normal with little effort. If your child is not always in your care, I'd start looking there.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have been trying to push him to nurse a bit less during the day, by putting off his requests. I never expected a 3 yr old to ask to nurse so much! He's not upset when I say, "Not now, after you eat your lunch," etc., at least not usually.

He seems to be sleeping less soundly, too, for some unknown reason.

Dh and I are planning to try some gentle night nursing, after we pass a busy spell with life and work. We'll see how it goes...

mom to two beautiful nature boys: August (12/14/03) and Ronan (9/13/06)
post #8 of 8
we just night weaned (DD is only 21 months but i am 6 mo preg with DS) and even though i initiated it it has felt like a natural progression for her. (let me say, i was going to tandem nurse but the reason for weaning was b/c it was making my skin crawl and was no longer a positive bonding experience, i was just tolerating it and pushing her away as soon as possible. i felt like that was sending negative messages to her.) but about the night weaning- she was sad and/or mad for about 2-3 nights around 2am and i got up with her, walked her, watched a bedtime movie with her, fed her, did whatever she asked basically. we would sometimes be up 2 hours in the middle of the night (trying to avoid letting her scream and letting tantrums start). the third and fourth days were much better with less awake time. we soon realized that the days where we didn't nurse much in the day time (out and about and busy) she didn't mention it at night- but the days that we nursed throughout the day she'd ask for it at night and get upset again. so i ended up keeping her busy during the day and day weaning as well. from when we started night weaning it took 6-8 days and she is now sleeping really soundly at night. i walk her, rock her to sleep, or sometimes she falls asleep cuddling with me and she has been sleeping all night. my DH has helped some. he can walk her to sleep or lay in bed with us but i haven't depended on him like so many do for night weaning because his commission based job is our only income and he needs some sleep to function. if she'd ask for him in the middle of the night that first week he told me to come get him b/c he wanted her emotional needs met since we were taking away nursing. she did ask for him quite a bit the first few days, which was a huge change for me! anyway, good luck with whatever you decide to do! our DD now seems extremely comfortable with the change. she's almost come out of her shell a little more- is more goofy and playful. she watched a baby nursing at the park today and i thought she might feel sad or ask me to nurse but we talked about how her baby brother would nurse and she was completely fine with it. She just ran off to play with her 2 year old friend. i am starting to feel like its best to have a balance between child led and parent led. it has to be a natural progression for both of you.
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