night weaning for months, still screaming for milk - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 06-14-2011, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We cosleep with DS and have always bf on demand at night (or more like bf all night long by sidelying) until about 3.5 months ago.  It was getting too frustrating for me and he was waking up constantly to switch sides.  He's almost 18 months old and it seems he should be old enough to go longer at night without nursing.  It's been a gradual process, but we're down to one middle of the night nursing.  He does sleep somewhat longer, but he does still wake 2-3 extra times per night.  And when he does he S C R E A M S for milk.  And he just learned to say "milk" so he asks for it and it breaks my heart to say no.  Sometimes he will accept a drink of water instead - maybe half the time.  The only thing the comforts him is to stick his hand it my shirt and lay his head on my chest.  It's really sweet, but I have to keep alert to stop him from pinching my nipples and he still remains dependent on me to sleep.  Also, I just found out I'm pregnant with #2 and I *really* want my sleep.

 

All that to basically say... Why is he still screaming so passionately every single time he wakes even though we've been doing this for over 3 months?  When will he learn?  Do I need to give up the midnight nursing too so that he learns he will not get ANY milk at night?  Am I confusing him by giving him milk one time but not others?  Or should I look at it from the other side and see that the screaming means he's just not ready even after all this time and I should nurse more?


DS1 born 12-31-09, DS2 born 2-18-12

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#2 of 10 Old 06-14-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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You will not like my answer. I think he is HUNGRY..I think he still needs sustenance during the night.  My dd nursed thru the night till well over 2 years old....Unless he is eating a LOT of foods, he needs the milk. my opinion of course...

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#3 of 10 Old 06-14-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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So you started night weaning at around 14/15 months? Lots of breastfeed kids nightwean at that age. All of my sisters kids do so on their own. But personally, I think you started to young and he was/is probably hungry then if he didn't wean on his own. That is still infancy to me. Doing so once is also probably confusing. I can see starting now but you have a backlog of stress to deal with. You might want to back off a bit and then start again in a few months perhaps in combination with a bed change, with DH doing some of the nightime parenting.

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#4 of 10 Old 06-14-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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If you feel it in your heart as you said, then I would go with that. It likely means he still needs you to nurse him at night. My own son is 19 months and still nurses several times a night. Sometimes it is better to go with it than fight nature. Babies operate on a 'primitive brain' and that means instinct, so they are just doing what they need to do in order to get their needs met (comfort/security/nourishment). My thoughts are with you, I would imagine it is not easy being pregnant with a young baby also. I am sure you will figure out a solution soon.

 

 

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#5 of 10 Old 06-14-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I night weaned at 15 months without too much trouble, so I am not speaking from a btdt standpoint of having dealt with the screaming.  Two thoughts though... One is maybe he needs to suck and a paci could help meet that need.  The other is that I highly doubt he is really that hungry in the middle of the night but what we did to make sure was to have DH get up and sit in the living room with DS and offer him crackers and water.  He turned them down which told me he wasn't hungry.  Also, if you are pregnant, chances are your supply is going to be dropping anyhow, so multiple middle of the night feedings aren't really going to fill that need to eat if what he really needs is to eat (which I doubt). 

 

Is he falling asleep at the breast each time he nurses at night?  Because if he is I would definitely think that it is more of a sucking/soothing issue than hunger.  You could try the "Pantley pull off" if falling asleep at the breast is his habit (let me know if you aren't familiar with that book and I can give you the details).  Would a partner be available to take over more night time duty?  That was absolutely critical in nightweaning my son.

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#6 of 10 Old 06-16-2011, 06:14 PM
 
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I think he's just not ready to nightwean. I recall DS1 eating and nursing so much at that age. He truly was hungry. One day he woke up and said "Teddy Grahams. Go get them. They're in the diaper bag" (he was always a very verbal kid.)

 

In addition, you don't have to roll over to switch sides. You can nurse both breasts while laying on the same side if you prefer. You just kinda have to lean your body over more to get the top breast.

 

Also, is there a chance he's teething? My son nursed constantly at night for months before his 2 year molars broke through.

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#7 of 10 Old 06-16-2011, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the advice.  We've made some changes that I think are going to help.  I'm adding at least one more nursing session in for him at night and when it's not nursing time DH is helping him fall back asleep so it's not so confusing.  (sometimes he gets to nurse and sometimes he doesn't... how should he know what's going to happen?  Now he knows because if it's not milk time then it will be DH who takes him.  He's still angry about it, but I think it will at least make more sense to him.)

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DS1 born 12-31-09, DS2 born 2-18-12

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#8 of 10 Old 06-16-2011, 07:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lirazel View Post

Thanks for all the advice.  We've made some changes that I think are going to help.  I'm adding at least one more nursing session in for him at night and when it's not nursing time DH is helping him fall back asleep so it's not so confusing.  (sometimes he gets to nurse and sometimes he doesn't... how should he know what's going to happen?  Now he knows because if it's not milk time then it will be DH who takes him.  He's still angry about it, but I think it will at least make more sense to him.)



I"m sure that will help. My son is 15 months and he had started sleeping through the night on his own and is now waking 2-3 times a night again to nurse. We have tried cosleeping but he's so squirmy and headbutts us so that doesn't work for us. When my husband gets up with him, he goes back to bed much easier. In fact, the nights I'm not home to put him to bed, he usually does sleep through the night. If they know you are available, they want milk. If not, they are getting old enough to understand the difference, I agree with you!


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#9 of 10 Old 06-16-2011, 08:47 PM
 
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If you think it might be actual hunger waking him, can you give him a good snack right before bed? 


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#10 of 10 Old 06-18-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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I'd cut the midnight session and wear a shirt so that your boobs are totally not accessable (for anything) at night.  It sounds like he's confused.  


DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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