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#1 of 26 Old 09-04-2013, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How long is it *physically* necessary to night nurse? I plan on breastfeeding until she's ready to stop/hopefully 2ish/wait and see kind of thing.... but I have friends who have kids who complain to no end about being pawed at in the middle of the night by their toddlers who are still breastfeeding and want to nurse in the middle of the night. I get that it's comforting, but I know that THAT will put resentment into my breastfeeding relationship- I only want to night nurse as long as is physically possible, and then offer before bed and nurse/cuddle in the mornings- that's what i think is ideal. I know I will not tolerate or be able to deal with waking up to feed a toddler who doesn't physically need it. My husband works as a HS teacher and has to get up at sunrise and commute an hour- and already has sleep issues with getting up in the night from anxiety, but we are finally getting that under control with herbs and a strict sleep schedule which is good because once the baby comes I don't want him waking up twice as much from anxiety and having a baby up at night~ the point is--- I do not want to sacrifice our sleep any longer than we have to once the baby is here- I know that they need to nurse pretty much constantly when they are newborns, then it stretches out to every 2-3 hours depending on the baby (and some do sleep for long stretches through the night)-- when can they just sleep through the night because they don't need to eat?? I know this might sound selfish to some of the militant breastfeeding mommas.... but I think it's important to put the marriage first and part of that is sleeping together in the same bed and not allowing unnecessary stressors to wear on the relationship. 

 

for the record we plan on co-sleeping both in the bed and with a co-sleeper on the side of the bed while baby is really young, and then I guess we'll wait and see where to go from there.  I always thought I'd go 100% crunchy mama path- co-sleeping and super extended on demand breastfeeding, but after taking care of many kids whose parents do that (i live in a hippie town), I just think it might be better on our marriage if baby can self-soothe and fall back asleep by herself- because sleep is already such an issue with us.

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#2 of 26 Old 09-04-2013, 10:42 AM
 
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First I will say that I NEVER thought in a million years that my 17 mo old DD would still be night nursing. I also didn't "plan" on co sleeping, nor did I think that my DD would be such a poor consumer of solids and a picky eater (I'm a nutritionist by trade-I had all sorts of plans that my child would eat everything we eat, right down to our daily kale smoothies and chia pudding and homemade yogurt....you get the idea. I'd estimate that nursing still provides at least 60%-80% of her nutrition needs). So, to answer your question about how long it's necessary to night nurse, I'd again say, it depends on the child. I think my DD still NEEDs to night nurse from a nutrition point of view.

I guess my point is, it's very difficult to make plans until you see what type of baby you're going to get. You may bring home a little one who needs their own space and likes to sleep in their own bed. You might be super lucky and get a LO who STTN one month in (they do exist---my best friend has an 8 week old, EBF baby, who has been STTN since day 18-lucky bitch-kidding.......sorta). You might also get a LO like mine who is somewhat high-needs, wants to nurse around the clock (still!). She has slept through the night exactly 8 times since we've brought her home and 7 of those did not occur until after her 16 month birthday. I've not night weaned because it's been MUCH easier to keep nursing vs. stopping. And I get what you mean about your DH needing sleep. My DH has a very stressful job in an Urgent Care/ER where he has to make life and death decisions (literally) and cannot miss sleep. That is one reason we started co-sleeping and have continued to night nurse. My sleep suffers tremendously, but if DD is not crying (instead, nursing) then DH can rest. Does is suck sometimes? YES. Especially since I still work part time. And, it seems that DD always has rough nights when I have to go to work the next day. Do I want to stop night nursing-YOU BET. I am OVER it. But, in the scheme of things, like so many other parts of parenting, it's not about me. I love it when ppl ask me "how long do you plan on nursing?" as if it's totally my decision.

Maybe some other ladies can chime in. I've just found that no matter how strict of a schedule we follow, DD still has nights where she nurses non-stop. Best wishes to you for a beautiful birth.
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#3 of 26 Old 09-04-2013, 11:35 AM
 
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Your baby will decided what they need and then you decide how to make it work with what you need

 

My 21 month old still nurses at night. We sleep in a different bed which I am moving to to a different room as it disrupts so's sleeping. You will figure it out. I would not consider myself a militant breastfeeder my kid just broke the mold on everything I had been taught/was expecting and I had to adjust to accommodate.

 

Also if your husband is a bad sleeper be prepared for your baby to also be that way. I have never had issues sleeping but my so does. And sure enough him and baby both wake up multiple times a night and i am realizing they wake each other up. Babies are just little people and have similar problems as people.

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#4 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 01:46 AM
 
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I night-weaned at about 10 months because I was going bonkers and I needed to get some decent sleep. And she was obviously doing it for comfort, not because she was really hungry. She was waking up alllllllll the time to comfort nurse and was not sleeping well, so when we night-weaned she finally started sleeping through the night and it was lovely!

 

I'm sure it really depends on the kid, but I would guess somewhere between 6-12 months most kids can sleep without feeding at night. 

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#5 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 04:26 AM
 
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Your baby will decided what they need and then you decide how to make it work with what you need

Wise words....I think a child's needs lead the way often too.

World Health Organization reccomends on demand the first two years so that would include night, but many mother's wean earlier. I think there are various factors that could come into play, an infant who is sick often may benefit from nursing through the night as the highest milk production is 1-5am, teething could mean pain and the only comfort may be your breast which allows baby to get sleep as well as parents, the extra calories may be needed for a child who is not consuming a great deal of solids, the list goes on. On the other hand you may find your child rarely nurses at night! This whole subject may not even be an issue when the time arises. From my own experience I have found Kathryn Dettwyler's research to be right on the money, healthy co-sleeping children usually begin to sleep through the night between 3-4 years of age. From hearing my friend's most of who have weaned or FF, it seems most kids, regardless, do not sleep through the night before then anyway. From my own experience, my three year old son doesn't physically wake much but starts rooting while asleep, I just nurse him, so much easier and nicer for us both but maybe I have it easy. I just go with the flow.......ha ha milk flow....bad joke.....
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#6 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 10:31 AM
 
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There is no set in stone limit, but if you find your baby is just nursing for comfort, night weaning is certainly possible and I think is the better choice to make if the choice is between stopping nursing or nightweaning. When they are little, they have to nurse when they need to, but the older they get, the longer they can wait and the more nursing limits they are able to accept, but it is hard to put a firm at X months all babies can... because it isn't that simple. Every baby really is different as is every nursing relationship!

Also, even if a baby no longer is waking to eat, they still might wake in the night for other reasons, I know DD1 did and still does. I weaned her ~19 months and she still continued to wake 1-2 times a night consistently for a long time after and still often wakes in the night at 3.5, it's just her temperament.

So yeah, put limits on nursing that you need to, but night weaning is no guarantee of a baby/toddler that sleeps through the night.
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#7 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 10:48 AM
 
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Also, even if a baby no longer is waking to eat, they still might wake in the night for other reasons, I know DD1 did and still does. I weaned her ~19 months and she still continued to wake 1-2 times a night consistently for a long time after and still often wakes in the night at 3.5, it's just her temperament.



So yeah, put limits on nursing that you need to, but night weaning is no guarantee of a baby/toddler that sleeps through the night.

 



This is something else I didn't mention in my first post. I've tried nightweaning a couple of times and found that even after a 2 week trial, my DD was still waking up. As the PP said, I think it's just her personality/temperament. Then, I heard from a good friend a story of her LO, who she really lamented night weaning, because, in her words, "He still woke up, but after I weaned him, I had nothing to give him to settle him down". She strongly encouraged me to continue night nursing due to her experience, because yes, it is annoying to be kept up (I myself have terrible sleep habits-very sensitive to every noise, temperature, movement, etc) and I find it hard some nights to get myself settled back down after DD has woken me up. She goes right back to sleep-I do not!!

Best wishes to you.
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#8 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also if your husband is a bad sleeper be prepared for your baby to also be that way. I have never had issues sleeping but my so does. And sure enough him and baby both wake up multiple times a night and i am realizing they wake each other up. Babies are just little people and have similar problems as people.

 

I choose not to program beliefs like that into my reality-- why would I prepare myself for a bad sleeper just because my husband is? when I could visualize having a great sleeper because I am a great sleeper? That just doesn't make sense, I'm trying to be positive and envision a positive sleep situation, not prepare for the worst.

 

Thanks for all the info, ladies. There's got to be other ways other than the boob to comfort a baby back to sleep though..... I worked in childcare enough to know that there are ways to put a baby back to sleep- I never breastfed the babies that I took care of (or offered bottles) and I took care of babies taking daytime naps and some overnight care also. There's pacifiers, rocking, white noise machine, rubbing their backs... etc. 

 

I'm just trying to avoid the ordeal that 2 of my friends are currently going through trying to night wean their 2-2.5 year olds who paw at them all night and don't let them sleep alone and it has impacted their relationships as a result. 

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#9 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 11:34 AM
 
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HA!  This screams of best laid plans....

 

If anyone had told me how little sleep I'd get once I had a baby, I wouldn't have had a baby.  Thank god I had no idea, because he's SOOOOO worth the sleepless nights.

 

My 12 month old is a terrible sleeper, and I only nurse at bedtime and in the morning.  Even if you can avoid the nighttime human pacifier issue, it's no guarantee you won't be up with your babe constantly.  Like others have said, you just have to wait and see.

 

As far as his nutritional needs, I found I was able to get a good sense of when he could go without calories overnight, but I can't explain it really.  This is really more of a question for your pediatrician as your baby grows, but it's common for 9 month olds to still need a feeding or two in the middle of the night. No baby, nutritionally, needs to eat all night long (though every 2 hours or so is common at the newborn phase).

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#10 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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In my experience, we were getting to a point where I knew my son 1 1/2 at the time, didnt need to nurse at night as he ate plenty of solids during the day and I let him nurse as much as he wanted during the day also. I found that he was waking up to pee, and would want to comfort nurse back to sleep. So thats when I decided to gently night wean him, telling him that Mamas milk goes to sleep at night and when the sun comes you can have more. It took a couple nights for him realize this but it worked, no crying involved, I offered water, tickled his back lightly which always helped him sleep, offered lots of cuddles and before I knew it he was sleeping through the night on his own...however as soon as there was a hint of sunrise he would wake up for more of Mamas milk!


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#11 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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Every baby is different, and what you think you will do now will be totally different once baby comes!  I envisioned a great sleeper....I got a colicky mess who didn't start to sleep more than 45 mins at a time til she was almost 12 wks - after I eliminated dairy from my diet.  She slept through the night from that point until I returned to work part time at almost 6mos...then she was up 3x a night.  It was a bit of back and forth, teething always made her nurse more, and now, nearing 22mos in a week, I'd say she sleeps through the night about 5-6 nights a week, surprisingly she does better on weekends, although maybe not so surprising because she's with me more and during the week when I'm away (only 5hrs a day) she makes up for that time at night.  I wouldn't change that for the world - they're only babies for so long.

 

Sure you can soothe rocking or with a paci, but nothing makes a better paci than momma's boob!  Instant gratification. I love that I'm her pacifier and that when she's upset she comes to me - not always for boob, but when she wants it she says clear as day "mommy, boobie time".  And all is well in the world.  We've been going through some little nightmare events in the past few weeks, which is about the only time she's been getting up at night really, and I would never turn her down to self soothe. She'll do it when the times comes, I have no doubt, and for minor things she already does.  For now, waking up is nothing in the grander scheme of things.

 

As for *need*....well that depends.  If my body is producing milk, and I'm feeding on demand and she demands it at 3am, I see that as a need.  If your child has a cold, even if you do not have it, your body will immediately begin to produce antibodies and pass them along through the breast milk just from baby's lips touching the breast - that's pretty amazing to me.  My LO, on the rare occasion she's under the weather, always nurses more during that time frame.  I know it helps because I can physically feel the strain on my body from working to produce those antibodies for her and I have to be sure to load myself up with vitamins during those times.  It also depends on where you stand vaccine-wise.  You will continue to produce immunity to disease long into toddlerhood for your child, and for those who do not vaccinate, that immunity is crucial.  Kind of like a natural vaccine via mommy.  Milk composition changes daily and basically fill in the gaps.  So toddlers aren't going to get the super fatty milk they got as infants but they are still getting what they need according to their nursing habits.  It's especially important for kids who eat a less than stellar diet to have that milk there to fill in the nutritional gaps that may exist.

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#12 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 12:31 PM
 
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There's got to be other ways other than the boob to comfort a baby back to sleep though..... I worked in childcare enough to know that there are ways to put a baby back to sleep- I never breastfed the babies that I took care of (or offered bottles) and I took care of babies taking daytime naps and some overnight care also. There's pacifiers, rocking, white noise machine, rubbing their backs... etc. 

 

I'm just trying to avoid the ordeal that 2 of my friends are currently going through trying to night wean their 2-2.5 year olds who paw at them all night and don't let them sleep alone and it has impacted their relationships as a result. 

 



It sounds like to me you have a lot more experience to draw from that I ever did. That's great for you.
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#13 of 26 Old 09-06-2013, 05:42 AM
 
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First I will say that I NEVER thought in a million years that my 17 mo old DD would still be night nursing. I also didn't "plan" on co sleeping, nor did I think that my DD would be such a poor consumer of solids and a picky eater (I'm a nutritionist by trade-I had all sorts of plans that my child would eat everything we eat, right down to our daily kale smoothies and chia pudding and homemade yogurt....you get the idea. I'd estimate that nursing still provides at least 60%-80% of her nutrition needs). So, to answer your question about how long it's necessary to night nurse, I'd again say, it depends on the child. I think my DD still NEEDs to night nurse from a nutrition point of view.

I guess my point is, it's very difficult to make plans until you see what type of baby you're going to get. You may bring home a little one who needs their own space and likes to sleep in their own bed. You might be super lucky and get a LO who STTN one month in (they do exist---my best friend has an 8 week old, EBF baby, who has been STTN since day 18-lucky bitch-kidding.......sorta). You might also get a LO like mine who is somewhat high-needs, wants to nurse around the clock (still!). She has slept through the night exactly 8 times since we've brought her home and 7 of those did not occur until after her 16 month birthday. I've not night weaned because it's been MUCH easier to keep nursing vs. stopping. And I get what you mean about your DH needing sleep. My DH has a very stressful job in an Urgent Care/ER where he has to make life and death decisions (literally) and cannot miss sleep. That is one reason we started co-sleeping and have continued to night nurse. My sleep suffers tremendously, but if DD is not crying (instead, nursing) then DH can rest. Does is suck sometimes? YES. Especially since I still work part time. And, it seems that DD always has rough nights when I have to go to work the next day. Do I want to stop night nursing-YOU BET. I am OVER it. But, in the scheme of things, like so many other parts of parenting, it's not about me. I love it when ppl ask me "how long do you plan on nursing?" as if it's totally my decision.

Maybe some other ladies can chime in. I've just found that no matter how strict of a schedule we follow, DD still has nights where she nurses non-stop. Best wishes to you for a beautiful birth.

Yes. This is me. My baby is 12 months. Nursing is 60-80% of nutrition bc she is small (preemie, still thin) and shows so little interest in food. I had a ton of plans and still try them...but I plan to nurse at night as much as necessary till she shows more interest in eating food.

This post was extremely encouraging. Thank you sierramtngirl!
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#14 of 26 Old 09-06-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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Hello.  Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, and going to be a great mama, but I am just going to say it the way I would want someone to say it to me.  Nature is ALWAYS right.  You don't plan how long the baby will need to be night nursed as each individual baby is different and has very different needs.  They also go through times of teething, being sick etc where they will nurse more often in the middle of the night.  You are the mom and they depend on you.  The baby comes first, not your marriage.  Your husband's sleep issues are not your babies problem.  I have a six year old who I nursed for 3 years (was an awful sleeper until I discovered why) and a 17 month old whom I currently nurse on demand, day or night.   My second is a good sleeper  because I have adhered to a strict Paleo diet, discovered methylated vitamins, and figured out that both my boys are allergic to eggs.  When I stick to our Paleo foods, he will only nurse once a night.  If I slip and eat dairy or chocolate or corn or beans or egs etc, he is up all night with gas pains and wants to nurse all night long!!!  My husband is a cardiologist and works a lot of hours too so he co-sleeps with our 6 year old son in another room.  We are still madly in love and our relationship coudn't be better despite not much alone time these days!  Your husband can improve his sleep habbits by making your room pitch dark, not watching tv or computer before bed, moving any alarm clocks or phones away from the bed, and taking magnesium at night for a more restful nights sleep.  Sticking to Paleo/Caveman foods makes for a perfect nights sleep.  NO GLUTEN, NO DAIRY, NO SOY, NO CORN, NO CAFFEINE (EVEN DECAF), NO CHOCOLATE, NO NIGHTSHADES, NO POTATOES...these are foods to eliminate that will improve sleep right away.  Also, research methylated vitamins for your husband, like methylated B12 and methylated folic acid.  After giving my first son methylated B12 when he was just 2, he slept through the night for the first time within 48 hours.  I am a chiropractor so I of course recommend chiropractic care as well for helping with sleep issues.  Hope this helps!  Dr. Heather Wolfson

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#15 of 26 Old 09-06-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Will you be staying home with the baby/toddler? I felt that I was fulfilling my child's nutrition needs when night nursing for a long time because I worked out of the home. Night time was a time for connection, and also meals for my kid.

If you happen to get a good sleeper and stay at home, I could see night weaning way earlier than me. Just trust your instincts.

Also, you don't have to end up in the same situation as your friends. You can set more/different limits on your older nurser than they might have.

I'm a planner too and I like to imagine and think about how things will go. That's not incompatible with knowing you can change your mind if you find yourself in unexpected circumstances.

The answer to your question about when it's not nutritionally necessary really does depend on the kid. My best guess based on my experience would be at about a year.

Don't discount the very real needs that are non nutritional. You can meet those needs without ending up being pawed or in a struggling marriage. You'll know what's best for your situation when it comes time. And if you want more advice just ask again here. smile.gif

It sounds like good sleep will be a priority for you. How you achieve that? There are many ways. I find that cosleeping, nursing to sleep, and night nursing give me the best sleep for at least the first year and a half.
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#16 of 26 Old 09-07-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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Using your breast is nature's way of putting the baby back to sleep.  Nature did not intend for a pacifier to ever be put in your child's mouth.  It's the right way to do it, period.  Just because a pacifier works or some other man made object works doesn't mean its right.  The babies you had to rock back to sleep should have had their mother's breast.  Unfortunately for whatever reason, they did not, so it was necessary to come up with the next best option.  

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#17 of 26 Old 09-07-2013, 06:17 PM
 
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First all babies are DIFFERENT :2whistle.

 

I have friends who couldn't keep their kids awake more than 8 hours a day even at 14 months. They sleep on schedule.

I have friends who just stop nursing and no issue so they give their LO a bottle at night at 10 mos and kid is out in 15 mins or less at 7PM until 7AM when they wake him.

Another patient at my chiro had a LO who screamed all night even when she laid on a blow up bed next to baby's crib and held hands all night through the slats.

 

I have a LO who HATES to sleep and screams like a tortured prisoner even when I just say, "Wait let me get the other breast out. Please don't ruin another bra pulling so hard".

 

That being said my LO is almost 2 yrs old and the nursing is all over the map. When sick or teething ( b/c my hubby was a super late teether), she will only sleep 2 hr stretches even NOW.  There are some nights she goes 10 hours straight & I might be able to get her to nap 1 hr :energy.

 

There is no way I can stop nursing my LO since it is like cutting off an arm in my LO's opinion. I mean the crying lasted over 1 hour when I tried to refuse since I had just breastfed for over 30 mins only 1 hour prior to the request.

 

I agree that breastfeeding takes a weight off when your LO doesn't eat well even if it is not eating well a day or 2 each week so it is a nice benefit. Also it soothes the teething process not just for us but additional feedback I got is that it makes teething easier for parent and child from our Mommy Me group.

 

As far as hubby goes, let him sleep in another room. Many breastfeeding moms including us have daddy in sleep in another room during the workweek. Weekends we are all together.

 

I don't recommend co-sleepers there are too many recalls and issues plus they are usually only meant for baby until 3mos old. I never found a co-sleeper w/o any recalls or warnings from govt agencies, parenting groups, etc.

 

GET A MINI CRIB! - DaVinci Alpha Mini Rocking Crib is awesome & lasts until 2YRS for many kids ( http://www.amazon.com/DaVinci-Alpha-Mini-Rocking-Crib/dp/B000FT7NUG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1378600997&sr=8-5&keywords=davinci+mini+crib. The mini-crib is JPMA approved too. The pad in it is too thin. Read reviews for mattress and sheet recommendations.

Crib's height adjusts so at its tallest it is like a bassinet and you can place it right next to your bed. It fits thru doors when you pop in the wheels and roll it around. Pop off the wheels and you can easily rock baby to sleep. When baby starts rolling over then pop down the 2 metal stops that move w/ a touch of your toe- so baby doesn't roll over causing crib to roll to side which cause baby to hit the side. It is the best. I use wonder bumpers to protect baby w/o risks caused by crib bumpers (http://www.gomamagodesigns.com/). I have crib rail covers that tie over side rails in case of biting while teething so that my LO never could eat the MDF/ wood- (http://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/trend-lab-2-piece-cribwrap/121435)

I can put baby in crib and I can sleep much more peacefully knowing my LO is safe since no bodies are rolling into one another on bed. Also the distance encourages sleep even if it is in the same room w/ me.

 

If you want your LO to be less of a picky eater then you need to eat lots of different kinds of  veggies & fruits, etc b/c studies show when preggers eat lots of varied foods then babies less fussy about food.

 

Babies are like Russian roulette or a crap shot as to what kind of eater or sleeper you get, so you can only plan so much!

 

Good Luck

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#18 of 26 Old 09-07-2013, 07:16 PM
 
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Also if your husband is a bad sleeper be prepared for your baby to also be that way. I have never had issues sleeping but my so does. And sure enough him and baby both wake up multiple times a night and i am realizing they wake each other up. Babies are just little people and have similar problems as people.

I choose not to program beliefs like that into my reality-- why would I prepare myself for a bad sleeper just because my husband is? when I could visualize having a great sleeper because I am a great sleeper? That just doesn't make sense, I'm trying to be positive and envision a positive sleep situation, not prepare for the worst.

Thanks for all the info, ladies. There's got to be other ways other than the boob to comfort a baby back to sleep though..... I worked in childcare enough to know that there are ways to put a baby back to sleep- I never breastfed the babies that I took care of (or offered bottles) and I took care of babies taking daytime naps and some overnight care also. There's pacifiers, rocking, white noise machine, rubbing their backs... etc. 

I'm just trying to avoid the ordeal that 2 of my friends are currently going through trying to night wean their 2-2.5 year olds who paw at them all night and don't let them sleep alone and it has impacted their relationships as a result. 

There are definitely other ways to get babies to sleep. It just depends what you can tolerate. I personally found/find it much easier to feed my co-sleeping babies than any of the alternatives which would have required me to wake up or *gasp* get out of bed! I can tolerate being woken much more easily than I can tolerate having to actually get up. If you desperately don't want to feed at night you may find it easier to get up and walk your baby in a carrier or bounce on a yoga ball or something. My idea of a special kind of hell but not everybody's.

And night weaning a toddler doesn't have to be hellish either. You said you didn't want to prepare for your babe to be a bad sleeper just because your husband is but you're sort of preparing for your toddler to be difficult over night because your friends toddlers are. I night weaned my 3yo recently by moving into the spare room with my 9mo. 3yo sleeps with DH in the main bedroom. From the first night she slept all night, woke at 5am and went back to sleep when DH told her it was too early. Do we love sleeping apart? No, it's not ideal, although we all sleep better this way. Ideally we would love to all sleep well in the family bed. But we recognise that this is a short-term separation in the scheme of things. It is certainly not causing problems in our marriage. I think lack of sleep would be more likely to do that for us than sleeping apart for a while. None of this is to criticise your friends but simply to say that it isn't like that for everyone.
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#19 of 26 Old 09-07-2013, 11:12 PM
 
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I choose not to program beliefs like that into my reality-- why would I prepare myself for a bad sleeper just because my husband is? when I could visualize having a great sleeper because I am a great sleeper? That just doesn't make sense, I'm trying to be positive and envision a positive sleep situation, not prepare for the worst.

 

Is this some kind of either/or choice?  There's nothing about positive envisioning that prevents you from also thoughtfully preparing.  Having a contingency plan, IMO, is kind of like keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.  You hope you never need it, but if you ever need it, you hope you have it ready.

 

It makes sense to think this through.  That's why you asked about toddler nursing, right?  If envisioning positive reality was the perfect solution, you could just envision having an easy baby.  And if that worked, no one would ever have any other kind.

 

I don't think there's a set moment at which you can declare that a given child absolutely no longer needs to nurse at night, and there's certainly not a moment that you can identify this far in advance.  I was told that babies need to nurse around the clock on demand until they weigh at least 10 pounds.  For DS, that was about a month.  For DD, that was six months (and then she was still really low on the growth charts - preemie - and we were worried about her falling off the curve, so we didn't want to cut her off).  DD settled down and slept like an angel if left alone.  DS ramped up into a mode we called "Screaming for Rescue Choppers."  Even once we got the kids to sleep reliably in their own beds, I was pretty sympathetic to teething, illness and growth spurts, and night nursing could range from 1-5 times a night, depending.

 

The problem I suspect your friends are going through is that they've reached a stage where the status quo is stressful, and transitioning to a new norm will be even more stressful.  There is always going to be a stage where you and the baby aren't in perfect sync about how much to nurse.  If the two year-old wants to nurse all night, and mama wants to nurse only once or not at all, that's going to be a rough night.  The night you declare the bar closed is going to be even rougher, and that night repeats for a few weeks.  You might choose to delay that process until after molars or after finals or after you get some other major thing taken care of.  You can limit this phase by having a clear nightweaning plan, and a set of strategies to try at the right age.  Alternatively, you can avoid it by embracing a child-led strategy and simply meeting the demand. 

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#20 of 26 Old 09-08-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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I think the best thing you can do is not to worry so much about what your friends are going through. All families are different, all babies are different, and all parents are different. You will find the dynamic that works for you, your baby, AND your husband. It's important to stay flexible, keep an open mind, and keep some techniques in your toolbelt to use when necessary. Make sure you are fed and taken care of (because you can't take care of the baby if you're not nourished yourself!), make sure your baby is fed and taken care of, and you and your husband can work to make everything else (including the relationship) fit around that.

 

It's like being pregnant and listening to labor horror stories. This is why many people say "Don't scare the pregnant lady!". Well, the same should be for new parents. You never know what your struggles and challenges will be, and there's no sense in worrying about something that may not happen.

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#21 of 26 Old 11-09-2013, 09:26 AM
 
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Interesting question. Obviously varies hugely from baby to baby, but for most babies seems to be somewhere between six weeks and four months - as in, plenty of babies stop night feeding at that age and still grow perfectly well.

 

However, one problem to be aware of is that it's not certain how that impacts on overall milk supply in a breastfeeding mother. Anecdotally, it seems some women will drop their supply if they try to go for a period of several hours without nursing on a regular basis. And there doesn't seem to have been any real research done into how often this happens, or how the odds of it happening are affected by whether you nursed frequently around the clock for the early weeks to get a good supply established, and/or continue nursing frequently during the daytime after cutting out night feeds (both of which would be likely to reduce the risk of losing supply.) So, on current knowledge, all I can say is that if your LO starts STTN at a few weeks or months and you go on nursing frequently during the day, then it is at least theoretically possible that your supply might drop to the point where you have to supplement earlier than you wanted to, and it's not possible to give any sort of clear information about the chances of that happening. I wouldn't flip out over that, but I mention it in case it's something you want to figure into your calculations.

 

I completely agree that a lot will depend on how easy or difficult your baby is to settle and on how well he or she eats. At the same time, though, I don't think that means you just have to throw your hands in the air, leave it to the will of the gods, and make no effort at all to steer things in a particular direction. It's good to be flexible, but not to the extent of assuming you can't do anything to change things.

 

I've just been reading Pamela Druckerman's book about French parenting (I've got it under the title 'French Children Don't Throw Food', but I think it's sold as 'Bringing up Bébé' in the States) and found she made some really interesting points, of which one was the chapter on French babies' sleep. What she found was that all the French mothers she knew seemed to have babies who slept through the night in the first few months or sometimes weeks, and to take it for granted that this would be the case, but at the same time none of them seemed to be doing this by leaving the babies to scream - on the contrary, they seemed very put off at the thought of CIO. So she wondered how on earth this was happening. After talking to a sleep expert and to a lot of French mothers, and reading research papers on the issue, she realised the key point was that they didn't swoop straight in to pick their babies up and feed them every time they woke up. Instead, they aimed to observe their babies and figure out whether they were actually hungry, or just surfacing for a minute between sleep cycles and trying to get back to sleep. And all of this was very much framed not in terms of CIO, but of respecting the baby's needs. The way they thought of it, respecting a baby's needs means that you feed him when he's hungry, but also that you don't feed him when he's not hungry. That if what he needs is to be given a couple of minutes to get himself back to sleep, you do that. Or if he needs to be patted and soothed to help him get back to sleep rather than picked up each time, you do that. And the result, for these mothers, was that they had babies who typically slept very well at early ages. (This was also backed up by the research she read.) So, that seems to me to be an important approach to try, once breastfeeding is well established.

 

As far as the WHO's recommendations go... well, I've read the reasoning they give, and it seems to me to be heavily based on the needs of people in more deprived settings. In many countries, children are at major risk of malnutrition and breastfeeding for two years really can make a difference to their survival rates, and also mothers may have no other way of spacing out the babies and limiting their family size. I haven't been able to find any evidence that it's important to breastfeed through the night if you're in a setting where other food and birth control is easily available. (And I have found some evidence - not enough to be conclusive, but enough to give me pause about the idea of night-feeding a toddler - that night breastfeeding can be associated with tooth decay. So it's not like the decision to avoid prolonged night breastfeeding would be entirely devoid of supporting evidence either.)

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#22 of 26 Old 11-09-2013, 10:35 AM
 
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Oh, BTW, I also meant to ask - what does FTM stand for?

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#23 of 26 Old 11-10-2013, 02:38 AM
 
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You have not read

Paris, Baby!

 
Most French women DON'T breastfeed. The doctors push formula. It is the homeland to L'oreal & Nestle who own the majority of formulas out there. The two companies are tied by stock ownership.
 
My experience- The European women I met who really breastfeed say the Germans are some of the biggest supporters.
 
I knew many women in my breastfeeding support group started to formula feed their babies at night so they would sleep & sleep through the night.
 
Simply put the French use lots of formula & majority of babies get tired/ sleepy after formula b/c it takes more energy and takes way longer to digest formula.
 
I have done extensive research about breastfeeding children at night & even nursing them down. After reading studies on the skulls of babies from 1850 and prior to exam tooth decay, the paper concluded that there wasn't tooth decay due to breastfeeding in babies who were breastfeed since that is all they had in that period. Believe because the way babies/ toddlers suckle small streams straight to the back of their mouths that very little milk gets on teeth when baby ONLY breastfeeds, i.e. not using bottles at night.
Sorry but late and can't find it now but look at the other Dr. Sears comments, i.e. the one NOT on "The Doctors" show.
 
Please refer to KellyMom.com about night feeding. There is an article about how some babies stay active & more interested in everything but feeding and end up night feeders. They sleep-eat to make-up for the lack of day eating. This saved me b/c my little one at 4 months started doing just that & barely drinking during the day more than 5 minutes at a time. Drove me nuts but calmed me down knowing it was OK to sleep while LO was nursing off me. I learned to sleep for 30-60 mins,  then switch for my LO, & repeated. I needed to follow LO's schedule b/c nothing would get my LO to eat during the day. As a low producer, I had to feed at every opportunity to keep up my supply.
 
I too believe that CIO is wrong and using the other parent is most helpful when getting LO down b/c us- breast feeders- have the boobs which act like pacifiers/ calming agents too. Babies seek the breast as a calming agent too. My husband read to our LO while LO sobbed a little (not bawling/ screaming) after he checked diaper & offered water in a sippy cup. LO was out in less than 15-20 minutes plus we leave classical music for babies playing all night and an AMBER night light to keep LO calm. Occasionally he is needed to get LO off to sleep in the crib.
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#24 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 06:31 AM
 
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I've tried pretty much everything to get my 10 month old to sleep through the night . . . except cry-it-out.  Don't get me wrong, there have been a handful of times that I've let him cry by himself for a few mins, but I can usually only stand it for about 5 mins.  I know it won't work with him anyway, despite what everyone says.  Thanks for sharing your experience with an older baby.  Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one with a baby who won't sleep through the night, and then I feel like people think I'm an ignorant bonehead for not "doing something about it."  Nobody's ever actually said that, but I sometimes ask myself "what am I doing wrong?"  It's just nice to know that I'm not the only one sticking it out and responding to my baby consistently!  

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#25 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 11:13 AM
 
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It is SOOO normal for a 10 month old to not sleep through the night. You're doing just fine.

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#26 of 26 Old 02-21-2014, 05:54 PM
 
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Thanks!!  Actually, I don't even care if he sleeps through the night.  Even three night wakings would be fine . . . 6-7 is NOT fine!  We're working on it, I think the solids (I call it mush) were making him constipated, which would explain why he'd always wake up thrashing around and letting out cries.  

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