My son is almost 18 months old and has co-slept and nursed to sleep since birth. He slept through the night from about 8-11 months old, but before and after that, he'd wake 2-4 times during the night to nurse. He teethed his two bottom molars in about a month and a half ago, and is NOT currently teething, how every, because of the time he had with his molars, he got in the habit of nursing to sleep, nursing every time he woke up, nursing all night. I've tried to cut down... but he will literally scream and writher, hit and kick and throw himself on the bed, on the floor, on me, and throw an all out tantrum, even in the middle of the night if he wakes and I'm not nursing. And to make matters worse, there's the Mommy-guilt- he's becoming more verbal, so he's not just crying, he's crying and screaming, "MILKY!!! PLEASE!!!", sounding like someone is torturing him or abusing him or something, with the hysteric screams. But... I'm tired. I can't continue like this for much longer. I've had no more than 4 hours of sleep each night for the last thre weeks, no more than an hour and a half at a time. I can't do this much longer, I need him in his own bed and sleeping through the night. Am I a bad Mom if I lay with him in his own bed, not nursing, while he screams, for hours, if so, and then go into my own bed, in my own room, until the next time he wakes up? I would have a rough week or two, but would he learn? Would it warp him or would he get over it? He requires more one-on-one time at night than any newborn I've ever know, and he's a normal, very smart, very strong willed, baby of almost a year and a half. I'm tired...
Would I be a horrible Mama if I did this...
This was by absolute necessity, as I was pregnant again and I was getting so little rest that I could not function. I would have continued cosleeping and night nursing if I felt it was an option, but I had to take care of my own health first. So I know how it feels to make that choice!
But for us it went very very smoothly. My DH started putting him to bed every night and would usually sleep in there with him, and sometimes, sometimes not, DH would come back to our bed during the night. We still have this setup now and DS is 33 months. I sleep in my bed with the younger baby (now 11 months) and DH sleeps with DS in his bed. DH sneaks back to our bed after DS is asleep, unless he's too tired then he just stays there.
As DS got older he was able to sleep alone for longer and longer stretches. Now he can go the whole night alone about 90% of the time. If he wakes up now and DH isn't there, he either goes back to sleep on his own or comes into our bed, which is fine because it's usually towards the morning anyway.
I suggest doing your own version of this, however it works for you. If you don't live with a partner, I got no advice...I don't know how I would have made it through the last 2 years without DH helping at night!
If I had the kind of sleeping schedule you have, I would have post par tum psychosis. You would have seen my name in the newspaper.
Sleep torture is considered very cruel.
Now, you are not bad mothers. You are good mother.
Parents put on oxygen mask first while on the plane, then on the kid. You do not have a partner to help you during stressfull times. You need your sleep.
He is 18 months old and he does not need to eat at night at all. Get pacifier, an appropriate sleep time toy, create going to bed ritual that included cuddling and reading.
Then go to be,.
Yes, he will learn in a week or 2
He will get good sleep
You will get good sleep
Resentment and guilt will be gone. You will enjoy Nice life.
This is why I never did the family bed, because, not matter what people say, kids do not go to their own bed till like age 5-7 and I met way too many mom who are walking depressed zombies as result of multi years lack of sleep.
Talk to him in the day time about what is going to happen, so he knows what's going on. Tell him you love him, but you're tired, and you need sleep. Suggest some other thing you can do so he feels loved, but your breasts are yours and not his. I think that offering the alternative is a good idea, but if he's freaking out over milky, then maybe your proximity is extending the tantrum. (Its weird saying this, because its your body, but if he was freaking out over a toy he shouldn't have you'd put it out of sight, right?) Do you have someone else to soothe him? If you're not fully weaning at this time, remind him when he can nurse again. I don't know what else you can do.
You need sleep to be healthy, and taking care of yourself is important. I do not think you'll warp him by standing your ground.
I'm sorry Mama...
Your son sounds like my daughter in terms of being a very smart and very strong-willed baby. I night weaned her at ~19 months because I was pregnant and tired and her waking/night nursing was killing me. It sounds like you tried to cut down on the frequency it failed...this would have never worked with my daughter either. I didn't get this from your post, but does it have to be weaning and alone in his bed? We co-slept with DD (although she started out the night in her own bed, but came into ours ~midnight every night), and when I was done with night nursing I told her that "boobies were sleeping" and said we could snuggle instead (she still nursed before bed). She cried at first, but not for very long (few minutes) and cudding with her helped. Very quickly it was done (I don't recall exactly now, but two or three nights). She continued coming into our room and sleeping in our bed, but she slept so much better (i.e. wasn't waking!!). I think if I had just said no it might not have gone so well, but sleeping boobies seemed to make sense to her. My husband slept through this process (and most other night wakings too) so it was all me. Perhaps something like this would work for your son.
I think this is a gross generalization, and not very helpful to the OP. FWIW, my daughter continued to sleep with us until she was 26 months when she just stopped coming into our room. We all make parenting decisions based on what's right for us at the time, not based on what the situation will be 5-7 years down the road.
The reason why he has to be in his own bed is because sometimes when he half wakes instead of fully wakes, he can fall back to sleep, but the moment his hands touch any part of my body, especially any front part of me, he's instantly 100% awake looking for a snack. I don't mind the co-sleeping, if I could keep it at that, it's the no-sleeping that's killing me.
No, that does NOT make you a bad mom! There is a big difference between leaving him to scream alone and laying there and cuddling him and talking to him while you get him to sleep, even if he is upset while you are doing this. He might be too young for this, but when I night weaned my kids (at 2.5 and ~2) I told them they could have nursies when the sun came up again and just repated that all night long while rubbing their backs, cuddling, etc. I did still nurse them to sleep (and still do my 2-year-old). He still wakes up sometimes and screams to nurse, but if I give in once, he will keep waking up every couple of hours to nurse.
You need to sleep to function AND to be a good parent. I always got the "have dad to it" advice too (not that that is bad advice, just not always practical), but my kid's dad was never able to help with bedtime/weaning either, so it was all on me and it was hard to deal with him crying to nurse when I was right there. Even now, I have to pull him out of my shirt sometimes and while it makes me sad and feel guilty, it is necessary for both of us to be happy.
Good luck-this is not a fun stage to deal with, but both of my kids did surprisingly well once I started to stick to the "no nursing at night" rule and it was over within a few days to a week.
Well, he went into his own room in his own bed. The first night, he screamed so long and so loud, that the neighbors called the cops on me! And before I get flamed, I was holding him, telling him he can have milky in the morning, offering him his water bottle, comforting him, etc. It was honestly the hardest parenting I've ever had to do with him, maybe at all! The second night, he woke up three times, cried for about 20 minutes each time (I was there each time comforting him!) and slept better. Third night, woke twice, cried for about 10 minutes each time (with me). The fourth night on, he's been going to bed around 10, needing me to come in and sit with him around 12 or 1, and then sleeping through until 5:30-6. It's been almost three weeks, and he wakes once, sometimes twice, each night, but usually only needs me to sit with him until he falls back to sleep the first time, around midnight, and it only takes 5-10 minutes. He doesn't want me to touch him or hold him, just sit on the bottom of his bad while he falls asleep- who'd've thought?! Now, sometimes I'll hear him over the monitor and he'll be back to sleep before I get to his room, or I'll only hear him squawk a couple times, and listen for more, but it seems he falls asleep by himself. The other night, he slept from 10pm until 7:30 am! I almost gave up, the first couple nights... but I'm so glad I didn't- we're both sleeping better and we're both in better dispositions now.
It might make you a horrible mama, but it's how i night-weaned my 22mo (i was pregnant and had really sore nipples, could no longer sleep through nursing and needed SLEEP) except that she was in our bed (her own bed she woke every 4 minutes for more crying, in ours she had one big cry about it and then got over it and slept for the rest of the night). I haven't noticed any obvious emotional damage. We did end up weaning about 25.5months (a few weeks ago) but she lost interest when the last of my milk vanished. My colostrum tends to come in late so i didn't even try to keep her going for tandem nursing once she'd lost interest. The main thing here and not there is that she would snuggle up to her dad, but that was more because she was annoyed at me - i was obviously happy to snuggle her when she was upset!
Anyway, for us it helped, i don't have any regrets.
A horrible mama ;P
ETA my PS - We cross posted - that is a WILD night weaning ride, glad you made it through :D
I said he was teething (probably accurate) and I wasn't able to comfort him enough. (I panicked, didn't want to tell them it was ALL my fault he was crying.) They wanted to see the baby, but they saw nothing wrong, how the baby was crying, but wrapped his arms around me and was snuggling, so they knew the baby wasn't in any danger, and were understanding. The neighbor called the cops a second time, about 10 minutes after they left, and the cops basically told them to stop harassing me, I'm trying to get my baby to sleep.
weird to call the cops on a crying baby!!
i am looking into night weaning also, and i have a feeling it will turn out like yours, with my daughter hysterical. sigh. she is 10 months and nurses through each sleep cycle to get back to sleep, all night long.
and as for the pp who claims co-sleeping children don't sleep by themselves until ages 5-7...all my co-sleeping babies ended up in their own beds way before that. the oldest was 14 months old! many, many families co-sleep with babies/toddlers and it doesn't stay that way for years lol