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Help!! Desperate for sleep....16 month old DD

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
H ladies, I'm writing from a very bad place this morning. I am so unbelievably exhausted and I'm just not sure what to do. A little background: 16.5 month old DD, still nursing like a 9 month old- at least 4x during the day, 1-2 x at night (on average-but her pattern varies widely-see below). We co-sleep (however this is becoming increasingly uncomfortable for me-she is getting so big). STTN for the first time the day after she turned 16 months old and has done that about 6 times since then. Mostly, the night nursing doesn't bother me as it only happens 1-2 x per night and I am able to get back to sleep no problem. However, in the past week, she has been nursing like crazy at night and has had very bothered sleep (last night was especially bad; non-stop nursing, kicking , thrashing, yelling "mama" when she wasn't attached!). I'm running on about 2 hours of terrible quality, interrupted sleep and I'm trying to keep my crap together at work without totally losing it....I already had a meltdown of crying exhaustion this morning before work. I did start my 3rd PPAF cycle on Friday, perhaps this has something to do with it? Additionally, she seems to follow a pattern of bad sleep one night, lots of night nursing, followed by a good night, waking once or not at all, followed by another bad night, etc. That's how the weekend went- Thursday, up all night, Friday STTN, Saturday up 3x to nurse, Sunday-up all night.... I also want to note that I don't want to stop nursing. I've been trying to follow her cues and believe that if she is nursing so much that it must be something that she needs for whatever emotional/physical reason. However, if we keep having nights like last night, I'm not sure I can keep up. I've actually contemplated quitting my job (not that we can afford for me to, but, I'm not doing a great job there and feel like I'm not really "there" most of the time). Anyone else have these challenges and/or advice? I really don't have anyone else I can bounce things off of. The few friends that I have with kids this age all have kiddos that STTN and aren't nursing. I've tried to talk to my mom about it and she thinks that I need to tell DD no (as if that would work??). In the past, I've always wanted another baby. But honestly, this lack of sleep this late in the game is making me wonder if I'm up for it! Thanks ladies.
post #2 of 15
I feel for you. I have been there. I remember walking the upstairs hallway worrying I would walk too far and fall down the stairs I was so out of it.

What time are you going to sleep? I am a new person lately after deciding a few weeks ago to go to sleep at the same time as my kids. Why don't you try that for a week?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your kind words. It's just nice to know I'm not the only one...... =)
post #4 of 15

No, you're not the only one! My daughter's a little past 15 months and has yet to sleep through the night, though she has been giving us more frequent 6-7 hour stretches at the beginning of the night. She starts the night in her crib and then comes into our bed when she wakes. But the other night, after sleeping about 6 hours in her crib, she was doing a very similar thrashing/whining/rolling around like she couldn't get comfortable thing. Acting like, if she wasn't actively nursing, she was just uncomfortable. But it was different than her usual teething behavior or other nighttime neediness in the past.


After about an hour and multiple nursings and several head-buttings and no sleep for anyone, I don't know why, but my mama intuition just said, "Maybe she just wants more space -- maybe she wants to be in her own bed." So I carried her back into her room, half asleep with her head on my chest, and laid her down, and she just rolled over onto her tummy, adjusted her position a bit, and was out. And slept through until morning. It's now been three nights in a row of this -- she still wakes up around 1 or 2 am, and wants to nurse, but then she seems to prefer her own space. It feels so sudden, after over a year of cosleeping most of the night. I'm a bit wistful, if this is truly the beginning of the end of regular cosleeping for us. But if it means better sleep for everyone, I think I'm ready to make that transition. 


Anyway, I have no idea if your daughter has another sleeping spot that she's comfortable in, or if it's the same type of thing at all, but thought I'd share my experience -- maybe there's something going on developmentally around this age where parents are almost too distracting -- they love us so much, but are also pushing hard for independence in their new toddler ways -- who knows. Best wishes to you!

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you present. I've not even considered this as we tried a crib early on (silly mommy) and it didn't work. Burin willing to try anything at this point! Thank u again for sharing your experience.
post #6 of 15
My 23 month old occasionally rolls over and kicks me with his legs saying SHOO SHOO MOMMY GO AWAY before he rolls over and falls asleep.

And around that age I started finding physical distance at night... even 2 feet. .. made for way less night nursing for my older one. I slept across the bottom of the bed for a while and it worked.
post #7 of 15
I also remembered my dd hit a point where she would roll over and mumble and seek my nipple for 30 seconds. But if I held it away she rolled over and went back to sleep! It was such s victory to realize she didn't need milk as often.

The same started to happen when I popped her off. I thought before if she started rooting she wasn't done and would pop her back on. But then realized it lasted 5 seconds and she was out for a couple of hours. Fyi she has always been 95 plus percentile. At 3.5 people think she is 5 or 6. So she did fine! She still loves bm and had it at least 5 times a day including 5 am!
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I wanted to thank you all for your advice and replys. DD has slept better over the past 2 days. I have gone to bed when I put her down and that does give me an extra boost of sleep, so I am feeling better. Additionally, she slept 7 hours last night without waking (until 4 am!!). Thank you ladies again.
post #9 of 15
post #10 of 15

Not sure if night weaning is the answer for you, but we just night weaned my 21month old dd about a month ago.  Made a HUGE difference in how I felt during the day and dd sleeps way better than she used to when she was nursing.  I put off doing it cause I thought I would lose tons of sleep during the process, but I was sleeping so pitifully while she nursed (she had started to push and pull on me, cry "OTHER BOOBIE!!" super loudly, kick me, etc) that I wasn't that much more tired during the weaning process when I was awake comforting her because she was upset about not being able to nurse. Let me know if you have questions about it. :-)

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
I would love to hear your approach, bc I'm afraid of losing more sleep during night weaning as well. We've had a couple of lame attempts, where I've just given up, figuring that she wasn't ready yet.
post #12 of 15

We originally tried night weaning when she was about 17 months old.  She was cutting her first molars (horrible time to night wean, I know, but she was nursing SO much at night I just couldn't take it any more).  That time didn't go so well - she ended up completely hysterical and cried for over an hour at being told "no", so I just decided she wasn't ready yet and just let her nurse.  Then we went through a lot of transitions (moved towns and houses, became pregnant) and she was still nursing at least 3+ times a night, and would remain latched from 5am -7 am.  I started really resenting night nursing, and nursing in general, so decided something had to change because I was a very grumpy mama. So we tried again when she was about 20 months old.


There is a children's book called "Nursies when the Sun shines" that we bought and read together.  It has night weaning tips in the end of it as well.  We bought it and read it to her for awhile and talked about nursies needing sleep - just as a general idea before I actually tried implementing it.  Then one day after a very rough night I decided "tonight's the night",  I talked to her about how tonight nursies would be going to sleep.  She started the night in her own bed around 7pm - I still nursed her to sleep - and then we brought her into our bed at 10pm when we go to bed (we still do this).  Basically, when she would wake and asked to nurse, I just told her nursies were sleeping, she could nurse in the morning, and offered to snuggle instead.  I didn't rock her or anything, just patted her in bed and tried singing or reciting books to her.  She was pretty upset - not gonna lie - and most of the time my touching her or talking to her just made her more upset :-(.  Sometimes I would just be quiet and would occasionally test the waters by patting her.  She would get to a place when she would accept my comfort and be willing to snuggle, then would usually fall asleep snuggling soon after.  The first two nights were tough, but as I said, I wasn't that much more tired than I had been when I would just nurse her anyways (I used to be able to sleep through her nursing, but she had been super demanding, push/pulling on me, etc that I hadn't been able to sleep through her nursing for awhile). My guess is she cried about 15-20 minutes each time she was refused to nurse the first two nights.  But then after the first two nights, she seemed to accept that nursies weren't available at night and would only mildly fuss for a few moments before rolling over and falling asleep.  We also brought her sippy cup to bed and offered her water instead of nursing when we told her no.  In the morning, I would also compliment her on how good she did at letting nursies sleep last night.


That was about a month ago and she's honestly been doing really well.  We did go camping, and I ended up nursing her during the night one night because I didn't want her waking the other campers, and the next night (when we were home) she seemed to set her back in that she got a little more upset when told nursies were asleep.  Now she pretty much sleeps from her bedtime about 7:30pm to 6:30am. She will occasionally wake, and just snuggle up to me or ask for water, then fall back asleep. She doesn't ask to nurse anymore. I'm honestly really pleased with how she's been doing.  I still nurse her down to relax her before bed at night (though she falls asleep by snuggling with DH) and for her nap (she does fall asleep nursing for that). 


Jay Gordon also has a night weaning method that I know lots of people have recommended.  http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html 


Not sure if your little one will react the same way, and if the timing is right for her or not, but I certainly hope you start getting better sleep!! Good luck!

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your experience and ideas. I'm going to try again at the beginning of next month (she will be 18 months then). We will see how it goes. I would love to try sooner, but we have a lot going on for the rest of the month (camping and then travel) so, I think it will be best to try later. I do notice that she really struggles around the time my cycle is to start. She is not a good eater for me (at all!) because she knows that I will nurse her anytime. She eats much better at daycare or for DH, so ironically, she sleeps better when she's home with DH all day OR at daycare (vs home with me all day).

Thank you again for taking the time to respond. You'll never know how much I appreciate it!! I'll let you know how it goes when the time comes. & I'll check out Dr Gordon's link. I generally agree with his approach.
post #14 of 15
16 months is developmentally challenging, like six months when they start moving, just less obvious. I started night weaning my second in that time frame. What helped was taking to my husband and developing a plan and taking out time, it was six months for us. On the downside, six months after that I decided to wean him completely and I do feel it was a continuation of the night weaning. I knew he wasn't ready and for several years I saw him exhibit behavior that I associate with prematurely weaned children. He is now nine and lots of challenging behavior - but then he has always been that way. I have no regrets about my choices. We nursed for 32 months and I knew I was weaning him early and that I was okay with that.
My third is 25 months and still nursing on demand 24/7. But he's a better sleeper - when his allergies don't upset things.
Things that worked with all 3 of my kids:
Having them sleep with daddy while I sleep elsewhere. If they don't smell the milk they'll often sleep longer. Even if husband and I switch at 1 am just 2-3 hours sleep alone is so recharging for me. You can do this every night as part of a weaning plan so husband has time to prepare for lack of sleep or once a week. Picking a Fri or Sat night when I could sleep in was really nice.
If calories is the issue, keeping something by the bed for snacking - even better if daddy does that feeding.
With #3 we EC and I've noticed he and other EC babies often need to pee at 4 am, if I'm awake enough to be rational I'll take him to the bathroom - despite his screaming and plop him in the tub until he pees- when I forget and nurse him first then he pees his diaper and he's too full to nurse back to sleep.
Alternatives to nursing - I'm typing this at 2:40 am bad allergy night plus he fell asleep for the night four hours early greensad.gif so, when he wouldn't nurse to sleep i got up, peed him, gave him water, still no sleep. Took him to the kitchen and fed him dinner. Then he was manic giggling so into the Ergo for us to walk around in the dark until he's asleep or at least enough to nurse down
Lastly, with night wean #2 the 5 am nursing was the worst to wean, the others were mostly him sleeping with daddy. One night was so awful we finally both locked him out of our bedrooms and he screamed in the hall and we found him passed out in the hall the next morning. Exhaustion does not make for compassionate parenting!
Anyway the next day we talked some more to find a solution and finally decided he loved TV. The next night at 5am we plopped him down on the couch in front of the tv with a video and we went back to bed. After a week (or maybe a month?) we simply told him at 5 am no tv and he went back to sleep no fussing and that was it.
So you are not alone at all. My personal theory is the problem is our society. Menopausal women (eg grandmas) often can't sleep past 4 am. Nature is very smart, and has a plan. Modern society gets in the way.
post #15 of 15

I feel for you. It sucks to not sleep well night after night. :( 


I didn't know what PPAF was. LOL! I take it it's your period? Yep. (there's a thread here about that somewhere, how in some mothers menstruation can cause hungry, crabby, irritable kids for a few days. My husband claims "You transferred your PMS to her through the milk." haha.)  My youngest would crab when I had my period and ask me to "make more milkie for me, please. it's almost gone" when I had my period. In a few days it would be better.


Every family finds what works for them. Some Night Wean and it works well, others Night Wean and still have a sleepless child (my first child stopped sleeping through the night AFTER she weaned and I had a miserable few months finding things to soothe her, lying in bed with her did not work, and I spent most nights (with dry breasts and pregnant) walking an 18 month old around the house singing ALL night. UG, I vowed I'd never do that again.)  My other kids, I really don't know when they "slept through the night" properly. We're "bad" parents because we always had a crib to use in some circumstances. (Sex for instance, I can't have sex with a baby or toddler in the same bed. It's my thing, I guess.) When our children were around 15-16 months old (maybe younger, maybe older, I can't really remember) I started them off after nursing to sleep in their own bed, then myself or my husband getting up and putting the baby in our bed to nurse. If I was still awake when the baby fell asleep, I'd put her back in her bed (if I felt like getting up again.)  Eventually, the babies would sleep longer, even if they were in our bed, (Our youngest actually learned to climb out of her crib, crawl across the hall, climb into our water bed, over her father, lift my shirt, latch herself on and nurse to sleep. We had nights where we'd wake up with the child in our bed and neither of us had gotten up to get her. She was one of my "SELF!" babies, It was one of her first words and she used it a lot. "SELF!" to everything. Meaning she wanted to do everything herself. From about 11 months old, everything from feeding her self, to putting on her own clothes to wanting to cook her own food!  (She has a mild form of Aspergers Syndrome and was very independent from a young age, despite needing to breastfed for 4.5 years.)


Is she getting molars or coming down with something? My kids always would sleep terribly when they were 1) coming down with something. 2) Getting teeth, especially eye teeth and molars 3) about to reach a new milestone. Maybe she's getting ready to really have a language explosion and it's keeping her up at night. (My children would also not sleep well after something stressful, like a doctor visit, an illness, a scare or even a vacation. Some of my most miserable weeks were after getting home from vacation with sleepless toddlers up most of the night.)


I don't really have any solutions (sadly, every baby is different and what works for one baby or one family doesn't always work for an other.) I can tell you that she WILL eventually sleep better.... my kids are 27, 25 and 13... and they are all weaned and all usually sleeping all night. :)


I hope she feels better and you both get some sleep.



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