Major Sleep/Breastfeeding Issues. PLEASE HELP! :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 01-01-2013, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Where to start...I thought about putting this under the sleep forum but when I started to type it, it was clear it was more of a breast issue.


First of all, my son is 8.5 months old. He WILL NOT go to sleep without a breastfeed. Lately, he is refusing my left breast at night. He pushes and screams and scratches if I try to put him on the left, so I'm quickly becoming lop-sided since he's always on the right. Any idea what that is about??


He used to fall sound asleep while nursing and I'd lay him in his crib. Lately, he eats, starts to drift off and then fusses, which quickly turns into a loud cry and he WILL NOT go to sleep. He keeps putting his binkie in and taking it out for the nipple then switching back and forth--all the while crying. I then have to put the breast away and walk, bounce, sing--whatever works at the moment--to get him to sleep. Then once he's down he is waking up A LOT--like every half hour or so :(


Once he's down and he wakes up, he wants to nurse EVERY TIME. I obviously cannot nurse him every half hour or hour all night long. Plus, since he is teething (no teeth yet but he's chewing on everything), his latch is painful now after a while. And this kid takes his time--he'll be on for 20 minutes + if I let him. Even when the milk runs out. He likes to stay on and just suck. So, my husband has to go in EVERY TIME he wakes up because if I go, he wants milk and then he goes into a frenzy. If my husband goes, he's able to get him back down with some walking, rocking, etc.


On top of that, this whole thing is making me want to wean him--especially at night. I have no clue how to do this. He WILL NOT take a bottle or a sippy cup. He goes BALLISTIC when we give him a bottle with ANYTHING in it (even water) and he can't have cow's milk for another 2 weeks when he turns 9 months old and who knows if he will even take that. He is on purees and has been since 5 months. He eats A LOT so I know he doesn't NEED to nurse all night. There is NO WAY he'd go down in his crib without the breast. If we just lay him down, he cries his eyes out and we WILL NOT do CIY. We need some serious help.


He IS teething--no teeth yet but chewing on everything and I feel a bump on his lower gum so I know that is part of it. However, I don't know what to do about any of this. I am just at my wit's end. I end up crying too many nights a week and this is putting a strain on my husband and my relationship, too, since the baby is refusing me once he is down so my hubby is in the baby's room every half or or hour soothing him back to sleep and he's got to work in the morning and it's just a hot mess. I do nurse him around 2 or 3 am when he wakes and/or 5am--depending on when he is awake. He usually comes in the bed with us if he wakes up around 5am and he sleeps with us until about 7:30 when he wakes for the day. Depends on his wake times since he is not on any schedule and every night is a total crap shoot. ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!

DW married to DH expecting first baby in April 2012!

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#2 of 3 Old 01-01-2013, 08:49 PM
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Big hugs mama! That is such a tough time. I'll bet that he is probably working on a whole bunch of teeth at once. My DD was a one at a time gal but her first one popped through at 3.5 months so she had lots of time. Even so, there were times she was absolutely inconsolable at night with the pain and the only thing that helped was a dose of infant Tylenol. Oddly enough if we gave her a dose at bedtime, it made the whole night manageable. We didn't use it every night by any means, just when she was obviously in pain and nursing wasn't helping. If you haven't already, you could try an appropriate OTC painkiller once or twice to see if it might help. My DD also became very difficult to transfer to a crib so we are transitioning her to a very low double bed where I can lay down with her to nurse/cuddle her to sleep. This is making nighttime a lot more doable. I don't have personal experience but some of his fussing/fighting/crying at the breast sounds like it may be reflux related. Has reflux been ruled out? Maybe a sensitivity to something you're eating that he is exposed to through nursing?
These are my ideas for now... Must go sleep after a tough bedtime here too. Good luck, hope you find some answers.
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#3 of 3 Old 01-02-2013, 03:52 AM
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So my question is: is this a recent change from happier sleep circumstances? If so, I'd definitely say it is the teeth- the first ones are WICKED and a new and painful experience for your little guy. My DS got his at that same age and it was pretty horrible for all of us. But with that is the knowledge that it is also TEMPORARY, so making huge changes like night weaning right at the time when your little guy is telling you loud and clear that he is miserable and needs all the help you can give right now, for a problem which is not going to go on forever, might not be the best choice for everyone's sleep in the future. For my DS the first teeth were pretty much exactly what you are describing, and then after that they were no big deal.

So my advice would be to hang in there and breast feed as much as possible for the next few nights to help your little guy get through this very difficult time and then try to work on getting things back to normal. Is it possible just to take him into bed with you for a few nights? We always coslept, but literally during that first teething period, the only way my DS or I slept at all was with him ON my chest, and yes, on the breast. It was not an ideal sleep but better than the crying and waking every 30 min just like you are having. And it may be that being close to you all night might be reassuring enough and he might sleep a little better. Even if you can't usually sleep with him latched, you may find that you can when you are this tired!

As for his left breast avoidance- do  you generally have an abundant milk supply? The left breast is generally higher pressure than the right and if you have a lot milk it might actually be kind of TOO much milk especially when he just wants sleepy comfort boobie and not so much a big meal. The artery that supplies your left breast comes right off your aorta, so it has high pressure, and a stronger let down and usually more milk. The one that supplies the right breast is one branch down (begins at an artery that begins at the aorta) so it has less pressure. I had the same issue and the only way I could give him the left at night was if he was waking from sleep or already really sleepy, so he wasn't sucking as hard and didn't stimulate a huge letdown.

Good luck, and best wishes getting those pearly whites in.

"That's the way it is, if that's the way it seems to you."

"Cosi e se vi pare."

Luigi Pirandello

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