Toddler wants to nurse for 4 hours nonstop from 3-7 a.m. and I am a walking zombie with sore boobs--help?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 09-06-2011, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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My nursing philosophy has always been, within reason, to let my nursling nurse on cue for as long as she wants, whether that's for 5 minutes or an hour or two. But now she wants to nurse for four hours in the middle of the night. I'm sleep-deprived and my nipples are sore/raw and I don't know what to do... help/advice/please?
For the last four days, my 14-month-old toddler wants to nurse NON-STOP for FOUR hours between 3 am and 7 am. (sidelying nursing while cosleeping). And it's so vigorous/painful (teething? clamping?) that I can't sleep through it like usual, even on my side, and my nipples are sore for hours afterwards. I just keep switching her back and forth from side to side hoping she'll fall asleep but no luck.
She is making up for HER lost sleep by napping extra long during the day, but I work full-time and am not doing well. I had to come in late today so I could take a morning nap while my husband watched her... but I can't do that every day. NOTHING else will satisfy her--she doesn't want to be rocked or held or anything else... just nursed and nursed and nursed and nursed... help?!


I don't think it's about hunger as I have an over-abundant milk supply (I still leak/spray and can pump 8 oz. in 10 minutes) and she eats TONS of solid foods. And I'm not sure if it's teething since she just got her first four molars (she has 12 teeth) and seems to be done with that for now.


I have tried:

  • Repeatedly breaking suction when she really clamps down... but she just latches right on again (or cries if I don't let her).
  • Giving her cold wet facecloths or teething toys or a sippy cup with soft nipple... NOT interested. (And she's never taken a paci and hates bottles).
  • Cuddling or rocking her--she screams and screams and pulls on my shirt and asks to nurse ("na na na na")
  • Closing up my nursing bra and holding her tight and saying "sleep sleep sleep" (which is normally a good way to help her off to sleep but in this case is just resulting in her screaming and crying for a few minutes until I relent and reopen the bra...)


And I'm 100% against crying it out or not responding to her or putting her in another room and ignoring her... but I am considering sleeping in the other room and letting my husband see if he can get her to go back to sleep when she wakes up tonight--when I gave her to him this morning he was able to rock her to sleep in five minutes. That might have been a fluke, though...


help? advice? commiseration? thanks in advance!

Sewing, knitting, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering + working mama to baby Zora (born 6/22/10)
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#2 of 4 Old 09-06-2011, 12:06 PM
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Hang in there.  My DS did something similar (though not quite as bad...) on and off for a couple off weeks around 13 months.  I'm no longer working, so it was easier to catch up on the sleep. I was working full time for his first year, so I commiserate how hard it can be working full time outside of the home...esp. on little sleep!

If you're thinking about not nursing her, I rec. looking at the book "Good Nights - The happy family's guide to the family bed." There is a section on night weaning.  Would she take a bottle of expressed milk from your husband?  


Good luck!

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#3 of 4 Old 09-07-2011, 12:11 PM
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I can commiserate but I am not in the same boat as I stopped working once my son was born. I can tell you though that my son goes through bouts of all night nursing and then back to several short sessions a night. It just seems like a temporary change and then he retuns to his norm. I would imagine it will return to the norm for your little one too, right now only one thing will address her needs and it may better to just hang in there and try to get through it.

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#4 of 4 Old 09-13-2011, 07:41 PM
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I think letting your husband deal with it is a great idea.  Your toddler will be in loving care with someone who doesn't have the ability to nurse.  No matter how much she begs or cries, your husband can't nurse her.  You get your sleep, they get theirs.  Breastfeeding is a relationship that needs to work for both people.  She is young to wean, so the best thing is to find out the best boundaries for the both of you.  I hope this helps.  And good luck to you.

Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were a minute old, I would have died for you. That is the miracle of life. ~Maureen Hawkins~
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