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Frequent Night Nursers OLDER than 3 Years - Page 2

post #21 of 71
Im with you guys all the way. My 3.10 dd is a champion night nurser. It didnt bother me before. We both slept on... till i was pregnant with our second dd and thats when the pain and sleepless nights began. She would nurse all night if I let her. Turning my back doesnt help. She will just climb over me to get to the other side. But even if she didnt do that, I would still have my 1.10 nursing on the other side. At least the younger one seems to stop when she is full.

Many frustrating, sleepless, back aching nights. Weve tried having her nurse to sleep then putting her on a mattress on the floor next to our bed. That was okay for about a week. She wouldnt come up to our bed till sleeping for about 6 hours. Then she would be in for more nursing. After a while tho she started coming in sooner.

Now that Im in a different room, because I need a different bed for doing traction (slipped disk therapy) she will come in early morning.

She wants to nurse all day and whines and whines to get it. I ask her to ask nicely because whineing will only get her in time out. I have to remind her this over and over.

But something just happened that has given me a bit of a different perspective.

Tonight she had an accident while running and put a major hole in her bottom lip and shoved one of her front teeth all the way up in the gum to her nose. She will have to have it removed tomorow. She is in serious pain. Shortly after it happened it dawned on her that she wouldnt be able to nurse. It was a terrible for both of us. To think that this was the way our nursing relationship would have to end! Who can nurse with a tooth shoved up their nose and a hole in their lip!!!

i had several hours to feel depressed about it. Then as she got sleepy she came over and started nursing!!!I couldnt believe it. Granted it was a bit gentler than usual. I have never been so happy to have her nurse.

Im going to try to remember this situation every time I feel irritated about her nursing at night. I really just want her to be able to nurse as long as she still needs it.

The night nursing thing is hard. But all I can say is that one day it will all be a memory and we will hardly remember what we suffered for it. Hopefully.
post #22 of 71
Mine both nursed at night until after three, the oldest probably nursed that much at 3, and I had a 1 1/2 year old nursing too. But now at almost 4 and 5 1/2 they almost always sleep all night. The oldest doesn't nurse any more (well maybe 6 times in the last 6 months) and if he wakes up then he just snuggles next to me and goes back to sleep. The almost 4 year old very rarely asks to nurse in the middle of the night (maybe once every few weeks).
So it will end!

I do think that a 3 year old can start to understand that you are tired and work out some way to let you get some more sleep. I would sit him down and talk to him about it. Child led weaning is great, but it still can be something you work on together, there sometimes come a point when the emotional advantages of nursing are less then the emotional disadvantages of a tired, angry mother.

Is the marathon in the morning worse or the couple times in the middle of the night? Maybe he could just get up at 5 am, before you go to bed you could talk about what he is going to play in the morning, and have a snack that he could easily get himself (one of mine woke me up for months saying "ban", he wanted a banana). I realize the first few days this may only be about 10 minutes but I think it may stretch to more like an hour. Or if you talked a few days about only nursing for a little while and then letting go, and when the sun is up you can nurse one long time, but short times at night. Or talk about waking up and checking to see if mom is there and then rolling over and going back to sleep by himself. Maybe covering up all but the first number on an alarm clock and telling him he can nurse after the number is 2 or 3.

As long as you are really paying attention to his attitude, you can tell if any of these changes are too stressful for him. Somtimes a little nudge from mom makes all the difference, and it is so easy to make things better. And if it doesn't work now try again in 4 or 6 months.

Have you tried sleeping away from him? Does it make any difference? Maybe a bed on the floor? I would also reccomend that you try to get rid of any irritations with sleepware, sheets, ect. I always thought my youngest (who always kicks off his covers) would be cold at night, but it turns out he has always slept best with just a diaper, it seems that the irritation of being cool is worse then the irritation of clothing. Maybe making the nap shorter might help?

Good luck, it will get better!
post #23 of 71
UrbanPlanter I am right there with you with still napping but later in the day and then going to bed later. My ds sleeps about the same hours as yours does. If he doesn't nap he will crash at 5pm when I get home from work and we nurse. I hate that!!!

Anyway, ds still nurses at night and will be 3 on May 8th. He is starting to slow down, some nights not waking til 5am to nurse and then up for the day 1-2 hours later. He's never done the marathon thing, though. We still have nights where he wakes about every 2 hours. It doesn't bother me anymore...I gave up on sleep a looooong time ago! LOL But I am there with you!

ds 5/8/02
post #24 of 71
I don't post often around these parts but am stopping in for the evening, dh is out of town :-( I think you should consider an earlier bedtime! When children are overtired it is very hard for them to get settled and into a deep sleep. I noticed you said your ds still naps, but if it's early in the day, maybe he just can't make it to 9P? If it's doable, try a 730 bedtime, most kids will sleep about 12 hours, and if he's waking at 730A I bet he could do a 730 bedtime. Check this out:

3 years to 4 years:

If your child begins to regularly play during nap time and not sleep. Your child's one nap might be on it's way out. It's important to see a pattern with this when you finally decide to end napping on a regular basis. If one day your child doesn't nap but does the next day, you might consider still giving her the opportunity to nap until she regularly doesn't take the nap. At this point, keep the nap in your back pocket so to speak, she might need one occasionally.

Night Sleep:

For the children who's naps during the transition to one nap occur earlier in the day it is still important to implement the earlier bedtime until that nap occurs closer to midday (6-6:30 or earlier if needed). Once that nap starts in the midday (12:30-1pm) and the nap is longer in duration then you can be more flexible with the bedtime 7pm+/-. As your child approaches the no nap transition, again, you might have to implement the earlier bedtime. Especially when your child first drops that nap, the duration of wakefulness is so long that it is impossible to keep your child from becoming overtired. It's just a long day. At the beginning of this new stage a 6pm bedtime isn't unreasonable because your child will be tired at that time and even more tired if it's later. The earlier we have the bedtime, the better your child will be able to tolerate this long wakeful period. At this stage it is common for children to start waking up in the middle of the night. This is normal. Even with the earlier bedtime, at the beginning, your child is still a little bit overtired from this new "no napping" lifestyle. Be persistent with the early bedtime and this should cure the nightwakings because it will help your child stay rested through these long days. As your child gets older you can start adjusting the bedtime, maybe 1/2 hour later. I have observed that children who go to bed before 8pm have very little sleep problems; you be the judge (just a note).

This info is from http://www.familysleep.com which is not an ap/np oriented site but the info regarding sleep habits still stands true. Maybe you could browse there and pick up some good tips, just ignore the cio bs.

((hugs)) and good luck. I cannot imagine the amount of tired you are... mine is only 9months and I'm exhausted.
post #25 of 71
Thread Starter 
thanks, but this has nothing to do with when he naps, how long he naps, or if he naps; or even when he goes to bed at night, how long he sleeps...

Since birth the issue (and I shouldn't call it an issue - really, it is a need) has been that ds needs to nurse frequently while sleeping for comfort, nutrition, security, whatever. It just is what it is.

I love the posts here from people who have similar situations with similarly aged kids. I don't feel so alone now!
post #26 of 71
Urban Planter
Your situation completely mirrors ours at the moment. In fact I just logged on trying to find solution when I saw your posting. I really feel for you as am extremely tired and exhausted most days. Our ds is 2.5 years old and can nurse all night. The longest stretch of sleep he has is four hours and once he wakes and nurses back to sleep, he can wake within an hour to nurse more. He has been suffering with bad eczema for the last year and he wakes to scratch quite a bit at night and so knowing its his only comfort, I have obliged. But now am considering night weaning but am unsure abou it. I keep talking to him about not having 'gigi' at night and he says it sometimes during the day but stilll he loves for me to sit with him every chance he gets so get can cuddle and nurse. He doesn't want my husband unless he is willing to get up with him and walk him. Having said that a few mornings when he did nurse from 4-7, dh has taken him upstairs in another bed and he did fall a sleep without nursing. But at night time if I leave the room for him to be wih his dad , he just cries. I don't want him to cry either.
So, hang in there it will get better...we have to believe that to continue. Reading your email has made up my mind to stick it out...knowing someone else is out there! Thanks! I knwo everything will work itself out...good luck and jobwell done to sticking to nursing him this long.
post #27 of 71
I'm still nursing ds at night, but I don't see myself as "suffering through it." Most of the time I enjoy the closeness (but sometimes I just resent having anybody in my personal space, mostly if he wakes up crying before I've gone to bed for the night.)

Keep in mind that it IS possible to set some limits without weaning. I have no problem telling ds to stop nursing if he's too rough with his mouth or his pointy little claws (I mean fingers.) Sometimes I offer to snuggle or a cup of water- he's often satisfied with one or both of them, and other times he REALLY wants to nurse.
post #28 of 71
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Ruthla
Sometimes I offer to snuggle or a cup of water- he's often satisfied with one or both of them
these ideas have never been an option for us, but thanks!
post #29 of 71
Thread Starter 
actually it just occurred to me as I was nursing ds to sleep just now - that the nursing is not the issue, it's the waking - he wakes up so often it really disturbs my sleep!

the nursing actually helps me fall back to sleep :LOL
post #30 of 71
Originally Posted by UrbanPlanter
actually it just occurred to me as I was nursing ds to sleep just now - that the nursing is not the issue, it's the waking - he wakes up so often it really disturbs my sleep!

the nursing actually helps me fall back to sleep :LOL
I never knew how to explain that before, Adrienne, and so agree on that. It is hard to explain. It's the waking, fussing constantly not the actual nursing. It isn't like just waking, latching on and nursing to sleep for us.

We re-homed our cat a few weeks ao and its helping. Ds woke only to nurse quietly in the night (none of the accompanied other stuff) and it was so easy. I have had two nights of somewhat sleep broken only by nursing quietly every two or three hours.

Then he got a cold and and the old pattern started...
post #31 of 71
Thread Starter 
You know, I feel like I have to apologize for some of my curt responses here. Sorry if I sound bitchy... I guess after three years of trying it all, reading it all, hearing it all, and to no avail -- No "this is the perfect piece of" advice has really changed our situation.... it just is what it is.... so whenever I hear something I've heard before that has worked for so many other mamas but not for me, or whenever a poster sounds like they aren't even having it half as bad (so how *could* they understand, anyway?) then I get irritated.

I'm sorry.

I'll try to be nicer
post #32 of 71
Can't join you there as we just night weaned Ethan. We did it by having him sleep with his dad after his first waking (he sleeps in his crib to start) and I went and slept in a guest room for about a week and a half. I found when he slept next to me he would just help himself throughout the night and I was completely worn out by morning.

If you're co sleeping, how about having him sleep on Daddy's side of the bed for awhile?
post #33 of 71
: I'm sorry, but the last two posts, one after the other, have me chuckling.

UrbanPlanter--- I *do* hear you. Honestly, yesterday (during the day, to myself) I was like--- okay, this is it, we're night weaning this summer. Now, today I'm back to my ambivalence. It is frustrating, though, to not feel actually *listened* to, not actually *heard.* A nightwaking/nursing preschooler, is, IMO, very different than a nightwaking/nursing infant/very young toddler. The "solution" (which I am not looking for) is different and the amt of tiredness that has accumulated is also much different. It is also much harder to say, "This too will pass" when it has been not months but years.

Honestly, it's why I don't talk about it much. There is nothing to do. I could nightwean. Or I couldn't. Those are my choices. Virtually *everyone* when hearing about DSs night sleep problems would simply give one or another method of nightweaning. And since I don't want to hear that (I really do believe that "this, too, will pass") I just try to avoid the subject except with carefully selected people. You know you're one of them UP

post #34 of 71
Thread Starter 


frankly I just don't understand the knee-jerk response to advise how to nightwean.

If I couldn't nurse him back to sleep, then what? He's gonna wake up either way.

And aren't we in CLW forum? I thought this was my haven from weaning advice.

I wish people wouldn't respond without reading. :
post #35 of 71
Thread Starter 
from the OP:
Originally Posted by UrbanPlanter
P.S. Nightweaning is not an option for me - please let's not discuss it on this thread
post #36 of 71
Hi. I have a 3 1/2 year old who loves to nurse. It is nice to know we are not the only ones!!! He nurses to sleep, once through the night, and when waking up. Nurses when reading. And likes to hang on the whole nap. The only time I get on the internet is if I am lucky and can sneak away. I get frusturated, but he is my only child for now, and I love the cuddle time and watching his sweet face. I have no intention of weaning him. He will stop when he wants to. You are not alone!!
post #37 of 71
well urbanplanter i am not quite there yet as my dd is 31 months old but seeing how things are going it wont surprise me if we continue past her 3rd bday.

here are some of the things i found worked with my dd to have long streches between nursing - which is down to 4 hour gap.

- cotton pjs and cotton sheets. andsome nights no pjs at all. if she doesnt want to wear it, i dont force it on her.

- keeping her feet bare - uncovered - whether from pjs or blankets.

- as an infant i found if i had something like a pillow touching the top of her head she slept much better. at daycare she puts her head against the wall and is the soundest sleeper there. if i didnt put something she keeps pushing herself up to find it. i think she is outgrowing this as she hasnt been pushing herself so much.

- something to cover her midsection. i have noticed also since infancy she fell asleep better and slept longer if i kept something 'heavy' on her like a flax seed blanket. before i discovered the flax seed blanket idea i was using my leg. again i htink she is outgrowing this as today just a blanket works just as well.

- also discovered she slept better when we moved out of our bedroom and started sleeping on teh futon in the living room so i could watch my movies while she slept (almost mute sound, subtitles on) otherwise without me she would keep waking up. since we had enough room with the futon folded up i stopped turning it into a bed. well being against the back of hte futon really seemed to matter to her. she today sleeps mostly with her back against teh futon and she always chooses to sleep against the back of hte futon never on the edge side.

i suspect my dd has some sensory issues. not bad enough as her daycare and i seem to find ways to provide what she needs. she is also a v. high energy child and has a v. fitful night if we dont do something physical in the evening when she gets her last burst of energy. after a full day at dc 9 - 10 hours, after i pick her up from her dads house, we still have to spend an hour or so at hte park climbing, running and playing hard. bath/shower (though we dont take one everyday) and books relaxes her. we dont do tv on workdays as it keeps her up as she finds it v. stimulating and not relaxing at all. i also dont do any stimulating, challenging things in teh evening except weekends as she then cannot fall asleep till midnight (though always wakes up at 8 nomatter when seh went to sleep) and she has restless sleep afterwards.

hope this post is of some help to u. at least gives u some food for thought for different ideas suited for ur son.

btw 2 am and 6 am have been her regular long feeds right from when i brought her home from hospital. the other in betweens were short ones.
post #38 of 71
btw eversince we'be been sleeping on teh futon, she no longer gets up if i am not in bed with her. even sometimes for her 2 am nursie time.
post #39 of 71
UP: I think the naps could be having an effect--on YOU! I sooo much needed dd's naps so mommy could nap when she was young. There were days I practically pushed dh out the door to work ('cause naps couldn't begin with Mr. Fun around!) so i could get some shut eye. When she started giving them up, doing the fun thing of staying awake then falling asleep at my feet at 5, then waking up at 7 and be raring to go all night until daddy got home to find me a mess...well, weaning WAS suggested more than once by helpful people, like dh.
Like you, I really didn't see how that was going to help...

But this transition stage (from one nap to none) is a tough one no matter what your child's personality or needs.

DD was a frequent nurser (every 1 1/2 hours from day 1 to like day 1000!), and I have to say that a lot of what meemee says resonated with me. To this day, she sleeps well naked, or with minimal blankets. (I tend to completely envelope myself in the warmest thing I can find...you can see the 3 am conflicts this set up). I'm wondering if sensitivity, like allergies, can be a cause of wakefulness...I think little people who are allowed to self-regulate really can teach us alot about what people ARE. DD will just turn to me soetimes, when there's alot of background noise (not deafening, just busy), and say, "all these different sounds hurt my ears." And she'll try to change her environment.
Little nursers' fav way to change their environment is to nurse and tune it out...that theory makes sense. Thanks, meemee!!
post #40 of 71
I'm here online thinking Dd will waken any minute - she can smell when I leave the room...at over 3-1/2 she wakes 0-2 times most nights. Fortunately she nurses back to sleep pretty quickly most times, so those long marathons seem to have been over for quite some time.

I'm in the night-weaning-not-an-option group here. I had low supply and have always been best at night. If Dd wants the milk, I want her to have it. She also has a pretty high need for close connection and the nursing serves that as well. Nursing is less disruptive than any of other things I have read about here that people do for their kids at night.

Dh works long hours and needs to be highly alert for painstaking work, so him getting up won't really work --- we might feel differently if Dd would accept him, but she won't. I do not get out of bed - no walking, no rocking - that makes a huge difference in how rested I feel. I do not sing, glad I never started, because Dd takes any peep as an invitation to converse. I do not offer food, because if I offer a crumb tonight, she will want a 3 course meal by next week and she has what it takes to stay up all night telling me this - she is delightfully stubborn and persistent. A backrub would mean playtime. With her personality, we are all best off if I just play possum and nurse.

Much harder than the nursing, is that Dh and I could be in another state, and she would still wake up when we get, shall I say, preoccupied with each other.

The other thing that's come up in this discussion that I can add to, is the end of reliable naps. We used to have a delicious afternoon nap, and that gradually came to an end about a year ago. That was the hardest transition I've gone through with Dd. I needed that nap! I was nearly insane!!

One day I mentioned it to some mothers of teenagers, and they agreed it was very hard. Hearing them remember with such emotion was helpful and slowly I regrouped. We still have quiet time. I discovered that reading was enjoyable; I don't sleep much if Dd doesn't sleep. Sometimed quiet time means that only I am quiet, but Dd understands that I'm 'off' even if she is not. The play in the bedroom is less stimulating to her than general play, and she ends up a bit regenerated too. I missed the evenings we used to have when she napped, especially the summer walks now that the days are longer, but I've gotten to enjoy the earlier bedtime too.

Then, sometimes she'll nurse to sleep at naptime, and my last thought before I fall asleep is, oh no, we're going to be up late tonight...
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