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I need some help. No judgement, please.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

There are a couple issues that I NEED to address with my 17 month old - who nurses and cosleeps. 


-Sleep - we aren't getting any.  He nurses all night long. We tried to start the process of night-weaning, my husband taking over the night shift and sleeping in different beds. But, my son is obstinate. He SCREAMS...even in arms. My husband walks and paces with him for hours and if he falls asleep, he quickly wakes back up to scream again.  We gave up, it just didn't feel right.  FWIW, my DH has never been able to put this little guy to sleep, unlike my DD. 


-Dental surgery is coming.  My sons poor teeth are in such bad shape - he has to have a bunch removed. It breaks my heart, but on a practical note. When the surgery comes, he will not be able to drink anything 12 hours prior to the surgery.  IDK how to handle this...there is no way I can NOT nurse him for 12 hours.   Someone please say there is a solution here!?


-Nursing TOO much.  I want to nurse my kids as long as possible. I'd love it to be at least until 2. But, as it is now I feel like my son is too demanding.   He nurses all night, and then he wants to nurse all morning.  It is really hard to get him to eat...he just wants to nurse.  I would be very happy to nurse him if it was say 3-4 times a day. But, all day long I nurse at his will...or he screams.  I am trying to set limits like no nursing in church or when we are shopping, but he is just so willful - screaming and pulling at my clothes. If I don't stop to nurse him, we don't get anything done.  How do you control this?






post #2 of 20

Re: the dental surgery - check with the dentist, a lot of times they treat breast milk as a clear fluid and thus you can nurse as much as he needs.


Can't help in the rest, my oldest ever nurser is only 9months!

post #3 of 20

hug2.gif you sound so frustrated, Mama! I know you will get some good ideas here.


For the surgery, breastmilk is most often considered to be fine up to 4 hours before surgery. http://kellymom.com/health/illness/baby-surgery.html


hope that helps!

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

oh, well that is good to know about the breastmilk.  That is definitely a weight lifted if it's true.  I'll definitely check with the dentist.

post #5 of 20

I agree with the pp about the dentist and breast milk. I really have no idea what to tell you about the rest. Does he take a cup of any kind? Or even a bottle? Something? If he does can you pump and get him to take a cup or something more often?

post #6 of 20
You may also want to post in the GD section. I also have a 17 mo screamer, and i got some ideas on how to deal w that there.

Basically though, he's at an age where its time to start setting limits and enforcing them (not just about BF). He may have meltdowns, he may scream and cry from frustration, but thats normal behavior for the age. Your options are set limits or allow him to dictate, and now is the time to start. I would start small though, cutting back one nursing session/day or setting a limit (you nursed 30 minutes ago, you can have XY or Z solids, but no more nursing for an hour, or whatever works for you).
post #7 of 20

Re: nightweaning, For DD1 we found she responded much better to me helping her than DH.  I think because I was always the one to comfort her before, even though she couldn't nurse, it felt more normal for her.  As far as spacing out the day time I would just try to distract her for 10 minutes and then let her nurse next time she asked.  Baby steps. 

post #8 of 20

How much food is he eating? He might nurse less if he would eat more.


I agree with PP who said that now is the time to start setting limits. This will be a positive thing for both you & him.


Here's something that worked for me when my DD was about 20 months (but I think I could have started when she was younger & it would have worked): I started ending nursing sessions, rather than letting her nurse as long as she liked. I would sing a song (like the ABC song) or count to 10, and then it's all done nursing. Then I'd let her know that if she's still hungry or thirsty, she can have a snack or something to drink in a cup. I also gradually limited the number of nursing sessions per day.


Night weaning is hard...I'm still working on it & DD is 2.5 years old! For her, some developmental leaps at 24 months & 28 months have helped a lot.


Hang in there & good luck!


post #9 of 20

My son would nurse all night. I was sore, it was terrible. IF I took it away, he would wake up. ON the occasion that he didn't wake, he would sleep for only a couple of hours without trying to re-latch. He slept so lightly that he would wake if someone coughed in the next room. I realized something was wrong and removed gluten from his diet, and was finally able to sleep at night. He is a happier child, and he sleeps normally. Point being, it might not be his temperment, it could be a food sensitivity, intolerance, allergy. Good luck with this, I know how tough it can be.

post #10 of 20
I agree that he's at the age where the screaming is behavioral. My DD can scream, too (my son, not so much). So, she screamed. redface.gif I'd start with daytime limits. That was a good jumping point for weaning for us. Non negotiable limits during the day. If they flipped out then they flipped out. In time (a short time, really) they realized I was in control and their anxiety (screaming) was unfounded. That should pave the way for improving nighttime behavior.

but step one really is getting your head and heart aligned. What you're describing isn't healthy for anyone. Assuming your son has no other issues/delays then I would treat this as a discipline/behavior issue. My DD at that age had to learn that nursing was a 'nice to have' not a 'must have' (like for a tiny baby). It was on my terms and it was better that way. Once I believed that 100% and felt no guilt or hesitation the rest was pretty easy!
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks ladies for all of your advice.  I think it is just really hard to know when you move from the stage of "needing" to "wanting." This little guy is so much more difficult than my DD was because he won't let Daddy soothe. My DD wasn't easy, but at least DH could take over with her. 


The food sensitivity is an interesting idea.  When my DD was younger we thought that it might be a diary intolerance. But, now she is almost 4 and is a lot better.  I have to be honest...I don't love the idea of going gluten-free. 

post #12 of 20

Have you checked out Jay Gordon's night weaning article? http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html

post #13 of 20

You were saying your son has bad teeth.. Did the dentist say that it's because of all the nursing?? My 15 month old son has 6 cavities on his top 4 teeth. I was told it was from night nursing. I tried to night wean, but after lots of research on breastmilk and cavities, I've decided to continue with the night nursing.. We were given the opportunity to get them fixed under general anesthetic, but we decided to try a few other things first. Just curious if that's similar to what you dealt with.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

The dentist was actually really supportive of breastfeeding and assured us that we are doing what's best for our son. However, she did say that for some reason that they don't fully understand some kids just have teeth that get soft and are easily susceptible to decay.  My older DD has the same thing...it is heart breaking to me. They will both have to be put to sleep and have many teeth removed. 


With my daughter, she had a really healthy diet when she was first cutting teeth...no sugar at all, no juice and yet her teeth were rotting as they came in.  In my mind, it has to be the BFing because other kids eat junk compared to what my kids eat and they don't have a single cavity. My son's teeth came in beautifully so I thought things were better but then they started chipping...and chipping some more and now they are black.  Ugh, it is just so awful.  I would love to do things all-natural (I've read about alternative nutrition for dental health here), but it's kind of a crisis situation.

post #15 of 20

You are so lucky to have a dentist that supports you in your breastfeeding. I hate being blamed for the way my son's teeth have turned out. But after lots of research, I've decided that the good far outweighs the bad when it comes to breastfeeding and cavities. I tried to night wean, but with an all night nurser you can just imagine how that turned out. I gave up and he's back to nursing at night, I just brush his teeth when he wakes up and brush his teeth before he goes to bed. This is much more pleasant for me and him. Lol. I've just started using "the dental essentials" Mixture of Vit D and Vit K2. It says that teeth can remineralize in 3 months. We'll see how it goes, hope it works. I'm sorry that your childrens teeth haven't been good from the start. It's really hard to see other kids eating junk and having perfect teeth, and not having their teeth brushed until their 2 or 3, and not having to see a dentist til then either. I know what it's like!! Don't feel bad though, it's not your fault at all. :) I hope all goes well with your children's procedures.

post #16 of 20

Hi op,


Just wanted to let you know you are not alone. My 22mo dd is an intense all night nurser. The sleep deprivation has reached its peak and I am searching for some solutions. I tried the Jay gordon nw method but like your lo, my dd is very stubborn. If she can't nurse, she screams, throws a fit, and then simply won't sleep. Or she will sleep in 15min intervals. I too struggle with figuring out if this is still a need or just a want or a habit. Even if it is just a want, I want to provide that to her, but not if it means still no sleep after 2 years. I just want a happy medium!!!

Some idea between making her cry with her dad and me not sleepng all night kwim? This is so hard and I know how you must be feeling. Hopfully we can get some help on here!

 PS my dd also has decay in her 4 top teeth. My dentist blames the night nursing and advised me to nw asap. Like its that easy!!!

post #17 of 20

My son nurses and cosleeps and he just turned 3. However, I too wasn't getting any sleep so I night weaned him at 2.5 years old. I used Jay Gordon's method (3 night). He cried but I stayed with him and told him when the sun came up he could nurse. Sang him a song he liked and it took time (sometimes he cried for what seemed like a long time but I was holding him). He still occassionally wakes up and wants to nurse in the middle of the night; I remind him he has to wait until morning and offer him water. He sometimes screams. I have to stand my ground, gently and kindly as I know it is hard for him. Good luck to you!

post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by flower01 View Post

oh, well that is good to know about the breastmilk.  That is definitely a weight lifted if it's true.  I'll definitely check with the dentist.

Check with the hospital not the dentist. Especially if it's a pediatric hospital they will know a lot more than your dentist. With my DD it was 5 hours.


post #19 of 20

With the nightweaning, how many nights did you try?


Can you try taking him to the shop and picking out together a very special sippy/bottle.  Then at night you fill it with whatever is your preference breastmilk/formula etc and that is his if he wants to drink. Keep your husband trying. Sometimes it take a few nights of crying. If someone is with him during this, he will be fine.


If you feel like your DH can't do it, you are going to have to do it. Just be firm but loving. Cuddle, rock, kiss, but don't give up the boob. It can feel horrible, but once its done (and in my experience this only takes a few nights) you will feel better and it will be like it never happened.


Seriously though, use everything you can, use TV, DVDs, whatever it takes. If you need to take a break. Take a break. You need your sleep and so does your child.


I nursed till my child was 3 and a half... I spent a million sleepless nights, I always worried about the the ''time'' when I would finally have to do something and kept putting it off. In the end it was nearly painless. Good luck to you mama. :hug

post #20 of 20
Regarding teeth, some people/kids just have bad teeth or bad saliva or both and if they got teeth early, those tend to have a bigger chance to be bad. I am one blessed with strong teeth and good saliva, but my Dad (dentist) has seen many patients who are the exact opposite. I'm glad you have a dentist who is pretty up-to-date on BFing, that's unusual!

It has been hard for me too at times to set limits, but yeah, your kid is definitely old enough to be ok with some nursing limits. Sure, he will likely protest by screaming or throwing fits, but that is ok. I think the easiest thing might be to start with the one or two things that you feel strongest about that have to stop. Like I made the family rule that I no longer BF in public except for at the pediatrician. I make sure to have water/snack for any trips of length now and offer that, offer to carry/hug/play and offer to BF at home later. That way if my girl is thirsty/hungry, that is satisfied, if she needs some closeness/attention, she can get that too. I also don't tolerate biting or being kicked/hit/etc. If those happen, I unlatch and say something like "Calm done or you will have to get down." and give one more chance, if it continues, I follow through. When she was younger, I would put her down for a very short amount of time, maybe 30s, for biting. She's only tried to bite 3 times total, the first time after I put her down she didn't try again for quite awhile, then she did a couple test bites recently, I think while teething, just to make sure the rules were still the same I think. For squirming I would just hold her and read a book or something for a bit and try again if she seemed interested in BFing still.

But yeah, the big thing to remember is with a stubborn/strongwilled kid, he will protest changes he doesn't like. That's ok, you just have to be firm and consistent and once he understands that you really mean it, the protesting will lessen. Those stubborn ones also tend to test more to make sure you really mean it, so be ready for that!
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