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Homebirth and a nursing 27 month old.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey there. I'm planning a homebirth (YAY!) and my son will be 27 months at that time. I want him present but he is still nursing, mostly at nap time and at night. He's 20 months now. He may be nursing less by the time baby is due, I know, if at all.

Anyway, I'm worried that if he's still nursing and I just so happen to have baby overnight I may not be in a position to nurse him. And he is, where the boob is concerned, demanding with a capital D and hates to be with anyone else when its "Mee-night" time (aka "Mom-you-had-better-nurse-me-back-to-sleep-right-now!" time.) Simply, I'm prematurely worried about him having a meltdown while I'm trying to deliver a baby.

Anyone have any experience with this?
post #2 of 9

I don't really have experience with this - we contemplated homebirth, but wound up in hospital because of complications arising in mid-pregnancy, and I found nursing while pregnant intolerable, so I weaned my son shortly after I conceived the second time.  That said - the concern about a toddler freaking out during a homebirth is a pretty common one.  Children at these ages are quite demanding, and aren't developmentally prepared to grasp the notion that they might not be the top priority at all times.  A two year-old is no way going to settle down and leave you be just because you happen to be in labor when he wants to nurse.

 

Everyone told me that my kid would stop nursing all the time and sleep through the night "soon!" and there would be no need to do anything, and that was not my experience at all.  DS kept nursing at night until I closed the bar down by sleeping in a sports bra so impenetrable that I couldn't get it off by myself.  DS kept waking at night until he was nearly four.  If you choose to wean your older child before the baby comes, I would recommend doing it soon, so that he doesn't associate the shutdown with the new baby, and I would assume that it's going to take some action on your part and will not just sweetly and naturally happen by itself (alas).

 

"If" is in italics, because it's a huge if.  Don't wean unless you're ready, because it's too hard a road if you aren't 100% committed to it.

 

Anyway, even if you wean your underfoot son now, and he's all adjusted to it by the time you have the new baby, there's still the chance of him melting down.  It happens. You can't take care of the other people in the room while you're in labor.  The best you can do is make plans to have help for the people most likely to need it, and know that the meltdowns won't hurt them in the long run.

post #3 of 9

That's obviously a perfectly valid worry but maybe one that you can try to put out of your mind for now. I feel like birth is so difficult to plan for, yk?  And to worry and plan for night-time parenting for your toddler for one night in your lives may just be wasted worry. I mean, there really isn't much you'll be able to do about it anyway, right?  That said, with another coming along soon, maybe this isn't a bad time for you to start getting your DS used to being soothed by someone other than you.

 

The birth is one thing but you doing night time parenting for an infant and a toddler who is still waking a lot sounds difficult and if you can create some more flexible habits now you may be super grateful when the next baby comes. 

 

If you're thinking of night weaning, keep in mind that night weaning doesn't stop night wakings for some kids (it didn't for either of my children). Don't let weaning be this imagined magical solution to sleep disturbance because it isn't - I know because I weaned my first thinking this. So, you may even be able to keep night-nursing (if you want to) but find some ways for someone else to sooth your DS some of the time. It's possible for a child that age to have to totally different sleep associations with different people - mine does!  

 

There are a bunch of videos of kids at births. I haven't heard too many stories about that to know what's typical. I know that my 10 year old didn't want to be there and chose to stay down stairs. 

 

One more thought, by 27 months, this child will be verbal. I suggest prepping him early on and have a plan for if he's super upset during hard labor or those first hours of birth - I would give him a simple explanation of what will happen something like, you can stay to see the birth, you can play with your aunt in another part of the house or you can go for a ride if you are tired and have trouble sleeping without mommy. 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the very helpful advice! I just wish I knew what things will be like in 7 month but of course that's impossible. Lol.
post #5 of 9
I just want to second the above advice. Building good sleep habits in your toddler and having help with nighttime parenting will be really important once you have your birth.

You may also find out you hate nursing while pregnant, or your HB plans may change at the last minute if you transfer before birth. There are SO many variables between now and then, you have a lot you can work on to make life easier once you have the baby.

FWIW, I nursed DD through pregnancy and had her brother when she was 28 months old. I would be happy to share my experiences with you, if you are interested. I may be a little slow to respond though, as I just has #3 on Monday wink1.gif
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Congrats Blue Lotus! I would love to know your story! My son wakes up 5+ times a night and jams his fingers under my arms and scratches me all night. It's beginning to get very uncomfortable for me but I'm really trying to wait it out and see how it goes. I also don't have as much milk and he switches sides over and over before falling asleep again, keeping me up in the process. Ugh! smile.gif I would love to know other moms experiences.

I dont know how to tackle the night time parenting thing. When hubby tries to comfort him he gets super hysterical.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by aolive10 View Post

Congrats Blue Lotus! I would love to know your story! My son wakes up 5+ times a night and jams his fingers under my arms and scratches me all night. It's beginning to get very uncomfortable for me but I'm really trying to wait it out and see how it goes. I also don't have as much milk and he switches sides over and over before falling asleep again, keeping me up in the process. Ugh! smile.gif I would love to know other moms experiences.

I dont know how to tackle the night time parenting thing. When hubby tries to comfort him he gets super hysterical.

 

We never figured it out for my first - we just kind of suffered through until DC outgrew her mama phase. With DC 2 we were a bit more dedicated to her dad being able to do some of the nighttime stuff. In part because I decided to go on a trip when she was 2 so we knew he needed to be able to put her to sleep. We did it super gently and gradually but things worked really well. I did stop nursing to sleep at night and instead nursed downstairs before moving upstairs to put DC to sleep. 

post #8 of 9

I'm in a similar situation, but much closer to new baby's arrival! I've found nursing to be really irritating throughout this pregnancy, but have chosen to keep at it. I don't think my 2 year old is ready to wean yet. That being said, a few weeks ago I did decide to night wean him. We followed Jay Gordon's method (easy to find him with a Google search). It was surprisingly easy, which makes me think my son was ready for it. He does still occasionally wake at night, but it's easy for me to settle him with a little snuggle time. I think my husband and I will soon switch sides in bed (we share a family bed) so that he can try to take over some of the nighttime parenting as we transition to a family of 4.

 

Hope this helps, good luck!

post #9 of 9

Aolive - Just wanted to get back to you real quick about a few thoughts I had and what ended up working (or not) for us. My DD1 was my high-needs, boob loving baby, so when I was pregnant with DS I just assumed that I would tandem nurse them until DD was ready to wean. I went through the drop and stopping of the milk supply for a few months, and DD kept nursing through it all. The worst time was really the several months of feeling like I could not stand to be touched (much less have a nursing toddler) - that nails on chalkboard feeling that some moms talk about? I had it BAD, but we plodded through it eventually. We did not night wean, and we kept a family bed.

 

Ultimately, I think the experience had good and bad elements to it. On the plus side, DD helped tremendously during those first days that my milk came in - the engorgement was much, much less. It also provided for some serious bonding time between the two of them, since they often nursed at the same time - they are still very close to each other and play together all the time. Since I had a homebirth, it was easy to have DD present for most of my labor and to be able to nurse that night without being in a hospital environment.

 

On the negative side, it was HARD to tandem, and it was much more physically and emotionally draining for me. I couldn't have done it without the support of my DH and group of friends. I was definitely more exhausted all the time, and more sleep deprived having to nurse them both. Nursing DD also ended up becoming a power struggle between us, unfortunately. I probably wasn't consistent enough in setting limits with her, and (being the person she is) she took advantage of it.

 

That being said, I tandem nursed them until she was 4 years 4 months old. DS self-weaned almost a year to the day later.

 

As for the homebirth aspect, we planned on DD being present for labor and birth (with just the midwife and her assistant present). No other help if DD wigged out. As it turned out, she did fine for the most part, and was my sole company for much of my labor barring the last couple of hours when DH got home. We ended up calling a friend while I was in active labor to take DD for a little while since it was getting pretty intense for her (and she and DH were arguing, and I couldn't focus on the contractions). She was gone for a total of an hour, during which time my midwife arrived and I had DS.

 

While *my* situation ended up working out fine, I think in hindsight it would have been better to at least have an emergency plan in place, just in case something happened or DD wasn't able to deal with me being in labor. Having an extra person there for your DC just in case, is a good ide, and can take a lot of stress off *you* when you are in labor. I also would have been more proactive in finding ways for DH to take over more of the night parenting duties (as well as finding ways that *they* can bond outside of bedtime) with my older DC. Even though that wouldn't include nursing (obviously!), I think it is important for a partner (as well as the child) to find ways they can comfort/be comforted while Mama is busy. If you work on some strategies NOW, they can be in place by the time your new little one arrives. I would also set some serious boundaries with the nursing and attitude (i.e. - If you want to nurse, you have to ask politely. Scratching = no nursing), and if the boundaries are worked on now, they will be in place by the time you get your homebirth. Also, there are some really good books for kids on homebirth and getting a new sibling that might help him get used to the idea of a new sibling.

 

I hope that helps you figure things out! Congratulations, and I hope you have a wonderful pregnancy and homebirth!

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