need help with night nursing issue - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-15-2003, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi there

I need help. I am in a slump.

I am tandem nursing my almost 3 year old (on wed!) and my 2 mos old. My baby is a wonderful sleeper...sleeps long stretches and wakes up on average 2-3 times a night.

My toddler on the other hand is a frequent waker...nurses a lot...she could nurse all night if she wanted.

I have slept in the living room with baby for a few nights...that seemed to help since she couldnt smell me and I wasnt at her convenience. Sometime she would come at 2am or other time at 5am then I would slumber back to bedroom with her and the baby. It did help to cut out the frequent nursing. dh said I couldnt keep sleeping away from them...so tried again back together... didnt work. Then I tried a new tactics...of counting to 10 when I wanted to warn her that nursing time was over. (since telling her to wait till the sun came up doesnt work, and saying no would only make her cry for hours despite dh attempt to cuddle her in replacement, even if I try to cuddle..she is a strong one and will nudge my arm out of the way, pry my arm open anything to get at the 'inaccessible breasts'. I really hate making this a battle with her and she is almost 3 so I expect she would be able to understand when I talk to her...but she wont give me eye contact and wont make and deals with me etc.

She will do one thing despite howling at top of her lung in middle of the night...she will calm down long enough to be quiet and say 'please' eagerly and signing too at same time. How can I give in.

At first I thought it was working counting to 10 when I was ready for her to finish our nursing session. But then in the night when she nurses...I wait till an appropriate length of time has passed...then I start to count. Sometime she says no not yet...and wants other side...so I wait then I count. She will then remove herself and turn and cuddle with me... few min later or half hour later she is up again wanting to nurse. I explained she just had milk to wait a bit longer. I have offered her juice (which she used as a substitute during pregnancy month when my milk was diminished) but she wont ave any of that.

I have wondered if she is getting hungry at these early morning hours so offered her food instead...but she doesnt want anything..just milk.

I dont know what to do and am at my wits end. Dh thinks I should seriously wean her...but at this pace it looks like she is definitely not ready to wean. I just want her to be able to space out her night nursing...and not nurse every hour. Baby doesnt even wake up that much! I know she is not waking up because of baby since he is a good sleeper. (which I was worried about beforehand).

Thanks again for your tips and sorry I ramble on so much. I really do need some tips. I have no LLL in my area and none of my friends have done extended nursing.

thanks again
stephanie, tandem nursing to 3 year old and 2 mos old
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#2 of 9 Old 03-15-2003, 01:06 PM
 
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Hi Stephanie, I also just read your post in the 'spirited toddler' thread. (I have one too.) I am just wondering why your dh won't sleep with your toddler alone? You said that helps some. He might even get more sleep than if all 4 of you were in the same bed. Maybe if he would agree to do it for a couple of weeks straight, your toddler would build a new habit of being able to sleep without having milk.

We are on night 4 of my dd sleeping with dh alone and she has done better every night. He keeps the bedroom door shut so that she can't come out and find me and I don't have another child either. I just can't handle the sleep deprivation anymore. The only bad thing is that she seems to be even more clingy during the day. This is they only thing that has ever allowed me to sleep more than 2 hours in a row and I tell my dh how much I appreciate it over and over and over and over...

I hope it works out for you. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have a spirited toddler and a new baby.
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#3 of 9 Old 03-17-2003, 02:25 PM
 
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Stephanie,
I was recently in a similar situation. My dd (turned 3 earlier this month) was an avid night time nurser. I went to the local library and checked out "The no-cry sleep solution : gentle ways to help your baby sleep through the night" by Elizabeth Pantley. She recommends several tips/techniques to help reduce and eventually eliminate the night time nursing.

Seek comfort and reassurance in that many 3 year olds can (and will eventually) accept the fact that they must wait until morning to nurse. Yours can too! I didn't think this would work for me because I wake up and get ready for work while it is still dark outside. I thought that waiting until morning wouldn't work unless the child could discern when morning was. As you've said, she can understand and negotiate quite a bit. While it's important to take care of the children, it's equally important to take care of yourself!

Good luck -- you can do it!
Eileen
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#4 of 9 Old 03-23-2003, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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bumping this thread. need more support.

occassionally sleep in other room, but dd still comes to me in the night unless dh locks the door and unlocks it at 5am.

after I count to 10...she will want more 20 min later... I tell her no and roll over and she nudges and pulls at my arm and struggles with me and cries and cries. I am trying to hard to be firm.

othern ight it was 5am...so told her to wait till sun comes up...which it does around 6:30 or 7...so thought not too long...but she couldnt wait... I let her cry herself back to sleep beside me. It was terrible...I dont know what to do.

please help! I am so tired and am sleep deprived from these night battles. I thought counting helped...but not completely.

Plus she is up early now and wont go back to sleep at 6 or 6:30 am! She normally sleeps till 8am.

infant on other hand sleeps well at night and with long stretches.

I am so worn out. Looking for tips. I told dh I dont even enjoy nursing my toddler now...with all the battle. I dont mind during the day during her good moment, just before nap and bed and occassional when she is tired and needs a little time out with me on the couch.

Thanks for tips. I am desparate here.

stephanie, tandem nursing mom to 2 mos and 3 years (mar 19)
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#5 of 9 Old 03-23-2003, 10:21 AM
 
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Hi Stephanie, s to you! I hope you get some more sleep soon. I really think your dh needs to step up and help you more. Have him lock the door and not let her out till a set time in the morning (5am or 6am.) The reason I say this is that it's what you mention in your posts that helps and it's the only thing that has helped me. I know it's hard for you (and me) to put your need for sleep over your toddlers need/want for night nursing, but it's clear from your post that you need sleep! I'm sure that she has the secure attachment to you and your dh she needs to adapt to sleeping with your dh. I tried to get my dd to sleep well with me for 22 months but I just couldn't refuse nursing at night when she would cry (she's also spirited.) I think the clarity that comes from knowing that dh can't nurse her, helped her to accept it.

My dd (22mo) has been sleeping with my dh for a week straight now. She's sleeping so much better! She used to wake up every 1-2 hours and now she'll sometimes go from 9pm to 3am before waking. And now, all dh has to say (sometimes) is "night night time" and she plops her head back down and goes to sleep. I was sooooooo sleep deprived before this and after only a week of getting sleep at night I already feel a million times better and I am really enjoying my time with dd during the day. I'm a much more fun mommy now!

There is hope! And your dd will adapt! You've taught her that you and your dh can be trusted and that she's safe. She will learn alot about meeting her own needs by watching you meet yours.

Hoping for
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#6 of 9 Old 03-23-2003, 10:36 AM
 
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I also had a spirited 3 year old who had no interest at all in the wait til the sun comes up idea. she had black and white thinking. She just couldn't get why she could nurse at some times and not at others.

I was pg at the time and so sore, nursing more than twice a day was agony. So I was motivated to just wean her completely. I was afraid to. Well, we had two nights where she cried some for it, but not a lot. then she adjusted and started sleeping thru the night! In my book, this means nursing was a habit but no longer a need. I missed the daytime nursings for her frequent meltdowns, but subsituted cuddling.

I prepared her for this by talking about it a lot during the day for a week or so. Spiried children needs lots of prep for transitions. Read Raising Your Spirited Child?
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#7 of 9 Old 03-23-2003, 07:15 PM
 
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My ds is 2 and I had to wean him from night feedings also because he was getting up every hour to nurse. I was getting so tired that I dozed off for a second behind the wheel. I knew then that we had to do something. I am not sure if one thing worked or a mixture of it all but this is what we did it took about 2 months and I will tell you that he still gets up at night once or twice but he knows he cant nurse he just wants to know I am still here.
I first brought a toddler bed into our room and started him in that at night so I at least got a few hour stretch. When he would wake up and want to nurse I would offer him his water cup and tell him He could have water if he was thirsty, that mi mi's( nursing) went nite nites. He did fuss and cry but I was in bed holding him and felt that if I was still comforting him and he cried I was okay with that. I stayed in the room and made him stay in bed with us or he could go back in his bed. I know sometimes we want to get up and rock them but it just made him want to nurse more. this took place a couple of nights and then it was like he got it and still got up but stopped asking to nurse. I know it is so hard we try to take the gentlest approach possible and I thought I would never let either of my kids cry about not being able to nurse but it was either this way or something bad happen to me while driving again. The main thing is find a method you feel comfortable with and stick with it for sometime. Hope all works out for you and your family
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#8 of 9 Old 03-23-2003, 08:22 PM
 
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Dd did this for a few months - 2 months isnt long, then I gradually cut it back, felt I could be firmer. I'd try to give her a bit of slack as she adjusts to a new nursing baby and milk!

Can you nap during the day?

Sorry if this isn't much help - I really sympathise - we were there 6 months ago.

good luck!
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#9 of 9 Old 03-24-2003, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for your replies everyone.

I do try to nap with my lil ones...hard though when the baby wakes when toddler sleeps... some days are lucky and we all sleep for good 2 hours. I do try to have quiet time though in the mid day.

Daryl...can you elaborate more how you prepared your child prior to abrupt weaning. I recall you mentioned that a while back about how your spirited child needed the black and white method rather than the slow adjustment to not nursing anymore.

Also how can one tell if its a habit or a need? I am not sure if I am ready to totally wean my toddler..not sure if she is either. With the changes of a new baby in the house...weaning her now would be devastation as she would blame the baby and may take our resentment toward him?? That is my assumption. I was thinking if I could slowly wean her... and try by the summer time to be weaned.

YOu mentioend to read the Raising your Spirited child book...I have that book and reread some sections today...but not sure what you were referring to. They have several advice for disciplining and stuff...could you be more specific what you were referring to that I should read. Thanks.

stephanie
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