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Desperate for help - nursing a 20 month old and a newborn + cosleeping

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My daughter pretty much night weaned the last few months of pregnancy when I had no milk. Then she started to drink a lot at night the last few weeks of pregnancy as my milk came in. I just didn't even think consequences and how I was going to handle things when the baby was born.


So now we are 9 days into the new baby being part of our house, and sleep is a nightmare. One wakes, then the other gets woken up, then both HAVE to nurse to sleep or they cry and cry. I cry too. My husband ends of taking the toddler for a drive in the middle of the night, or sitting with the baby in the foyer which is fairly sound proofed. The toddler has become very attached to the baby, and when they are separated ends up crying BABY BABY in the middle the the night almost inconsolably.


I feel like I have no choice but to night wean the 20 month old, and because baby is here it will have to be with Dad in a separate room. I could even stay at my parents as they are only 4 km away.


I just keep crying.. I don't know what the right thing is to do... I feel so bad. But I don't see a way through this unless Dad can settle her in the night instead of always me. Do we need to put Dad and 20 month old in a separate room? If we go through a few rough nights of getting her used to him, then reintroduce me, how likely is it she will automatically assume she can drink milk again at night? With everyone.. if I am there she only wants me. She has done 3 overnights with my mother, and they sleep together and she sleeps great. She might wake once and my mom just holds her in her arms and rocks her until she's asleep again. I swear she sleeps better for my mom than me.


Any advice and ideas appreciated.. I am just at my witts end. It's bothering me to that the baby is not getting the attention I would like him to have... because of the juggling two kids in the middle of the night.



post #2 of 9

Hey there,


I'm a lurker from your DDC.  I have a 3yr old nursing DS and am expecting the new one any day.  So I don't have any direct experience, but I thought I'd see if I can think of anything helpful.


It sounds like from your post that the main issues are one child waking the other up, and not knowing what the "right" thing to do is.  So ... can you put baby and toddler to bed at different times?  That might allow you to settle the toddler in one room or bed where she's less likely to be disturbed during the night.  She could still sleep with your DH, if she's accustomed to co-sleeping, and either come to you/you go to her if she needs to in the night - depending on how much night nursing is ok for you and her.  Other than that ... could you increase the level of white noise in the room?


Not knowing what to do or what you want is a really difficult place to be.  I've definitely gone through periods like that both with nursing a toddler and nursing during pregnancy.  Be kind to yourself.   What you're doing is very challenging.  When nursing a toddler in a difficult period and not wanting to wean, I found that the best help was just plain old fashioned breastfeeding support:  bringing me water, something to do, making me comfortable, and recognizing the work I was doing.  Just recognizing that this was my choice and that it was hard work made it somehow easier.  I also found the concept of choice to be super important.  You ALWAYS have a choice, every time a child asks to nurse.  And, you can make your choices one at a time - only you can judge the circumstances and level of your child's need in combination with your own resources and availability in the moment.


Anyway, hope I'm making sense and not sounding too preachy  :)  Best of luck finding a way to a solution that feels right to you and your family.  Nine days post-partum is a rough place to be.  Hang in there!

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

My mom kept my older daughter last night for a sleep over (she handles it well)... and for the first night baby slept all night with only two light wakings for poo diaper change and feed (he slept 8 pm - 8 am waking (that I remember anyhow) at 1:30 and 4:00. I sleep really close to him so it's highly likely he latched on at other times.


I like the idea of different rooms to reduce wakings, combined with me going to her to nurse. With baby sleeping better last night it gives me hope he could last without me through a visit to the other room. I think I am a little paranoid about night nursings and tooth decay, as my daughter already had surgery under GA to remove 3 teeth and fix three others. I don't feel we get her teeth 100% clean, and food + BM is supposed to lead to increased decay. What to do!!

post #4 of 9

Hi HappyMonkey! I am also in your DDC. orngbiggrin.gif


So, my first two were 22 months apart. I nursed DS all through the pregnancy, and his nursing picked up A LOT when DD was born and the milk came in (plus big changes in our family = ramped-up toddler nursing/mama time).


I was able to handle it ok, except for the nighttime nursing. It was terrible. I was in hell. I so, so, so understand where you are right now.


Our solution was to nightwean, cold turkey, out of desperate necessity. DS and DH began sleeping in another bedroom. It was rough on everyone, and there were some nighttime drives like the ones you're describing. But it was the only way I could handle things.


Tandem nursing is a beautiful thing, but it is also very difficult in many ways. Cut yourself some slack. You are just one person, and you can only do so much. It just is what it is -- and it WILL get better. You're going through the worst of it right now while you get new routines established. Do what it takes to maintain a shred of your sanity! hug2.gif

post #5 of 9
I am going through the EXACT same thing here. I am so utterly exhausted - I can barely function. I still haven't figured out what to do...I just can't stand hearing DD cry when I say "no milk" to her. greensad.gif ugh I thought this would be easier greensad.gif
post #6 of 9

 Maybe your mom could take her for a couple of nights and then your dh could sleep with her in a different room from then on. Maybe it would be a smoother transition for her if she doesn't come back and nurse in between, yk? Am I being clear as mud?

post #7 of 9

Disclaimer: I have no experience with this situation, but I imagine this will come up in the future, God willing.

Could you explain to your older kid, during the day when they're awake and happy, that you need them to do a really special, kind, big bro/sis thing and let the new baby have all the breast milk?  I understand it's not a problem with supply, but it seems impossible/draining/detrimental to your mental and emotional well-being to try to achieve this tandem nursing if they're on different sleep/need schedules.  Not to mention having your family bed dismantled during this time.  Be honest and open with your older kid that their new brother or sister needs this very special gift of breastfeeding alone.  Let them chew it over, but be firm. ???  I guess I'm speaking more to those of you pp's who have toddlers older than 2 years... I'm not sure when toddlers start to grasp gift giving - be kind to me if you reply! redface.gif I just think there is more to gain by your toddler quitting cold turkey for a gentle reason than to go through all of this stress to nurse both.

post #8 of 9

Caracol8, my experience was that the stress was relatively short-lived (like less than a month), and then I went on to tandem my kids for 18 months. So I definitely disagree with about it being a net gain to just go ahead and wean. Nursing DS while he was a two-year-old, instead of weaning at 22 months, was definitely better for him.


But but but -- tandem nursing is NOT for everyone, and it is not always the best option. It can be difficult for a number of reasons. It worked very well for us, once we got over the initial adjustment. And believe me, there will be an initial adjustment for siblings when a new babe comes into the house whether or not nursing is even in the picture.


If the OP is still feeling bad about things in a month, or two months, then weaning the older child should be on the table, IMO. Nursing has to be acceptable for all parties involved. But it's ok to allow time to get over the adjustment period.


Tandeming pros and cons are very personal and very situational. smile.gif

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your experiences and ideas. I did end up asking my mom to take my daughter for one night so we could catch up on our sleep. The baby slept like 14 hours and only woke twice to feed. I had my husband sleep in another room just in case the baby woke lots so he would be rested.


If I had night weaned during pregnancy I would have done it more gradually, but I didn't see any options in my current situation. So I spent 4 nights at my parents house around the corner with the baby, and my husband slept with my daughter. Instead of nursing on and off all night and peeing through 5 diapers, she only woke once. It was hard on them both and she fell asleep crying at the door and wouldn't let him touch her. The next time though she let him walk her to sleep when she woke, and it got better every night after that. I think we will stay in separate rooms for a month or two. At this point if I moved back in she would expect to nurse again. I am still nursing her to sleep... but he handles any night time wakings and the first hour in the morning. It's working well for everyone!


I will update again soon!

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