I have a 27month old little girl. Before I talk about the breastfeeding situation you should know this background:
She was born at 25 weeks...she was just over 1 pound. She was in the NICU for 3 months. She's had ONLY my breastmilk...no formula. I pumped all three months and then another three months after she came home.
She is now a fun, happy, amazing miracle in our lives. The doctors are amazed at how great she's doing. However, we co-sleep...which we love. And as a result she nurses ALL night...sometimes just layes across my body. I understand for some this might not be an issue...but I haven't had a sound sleep in over two years....I know many of you might be saying welcome to motherhood lady! Get over it. Lately, and maybe it's a growth spurt? She's on me all night and this morning she just wanted to be held and wanted milk...even after her breakfast. She just loves being in my arms nursing.....which I love to. But I'm exhausted.
Most moms I talk to think I'm crazy for breastfeeding so long. The also think I should put her in her own room. call me whatever you'd like but this isn't an option. There are times when she sleeps so soundly through the night...and my husband and I try to put her to bed with a full belly (solid food )..sometimes this works and other times it doesn't.
My husband works....I don't. So I"m usually the one up with her at night. Last night he saw how this was really getting to me and he gave me time to sleep and rocked her.
Hope I'm making sense....I guess my question is....how do I get some sleep but still nurse my daughter every now and then?
Is this common? Are any of you ladies going through this?
Please be positive & gentle....
It should be totally possible to limit your DD to nursing during the day, but it's not an easy or seamless transition. I nightweaned DS when he was not quite two, but it took my toughest tank-style sports bra, and a stock of water and crackers by the bed. There was a rough week or so, when he'd try to get under the top, I'd say no, we're not nursing now, but we can cuddle, and no, we're not nursing now, would you like some water. I had to be really clear about nursing and not nursing, as otherwise DS would keep trying to see if he could nurse at night, so for me, the rule had to be daytime = yes, after bedtime = no. Eventually, he figured out that I wasn't budging on the issue - last call is last call - and settled for snuggles.
Two years of sleep deprivation is tough on anyone. I'm so sorry you're so tired. I hope that things get better soon.
Also - would it make sense to consider a floor-level sleeping arrangement for your DD? That way she can still be in your room, and able to be near you, but you would be able to separate your sleep schedule from hers a little if you wanted.
Hi there! You have been doing AMAZING! Without that determination of yours, it is likely, that your daughter wouldn't even be here now. It is completely understandable that you would want some good nights sleep just now.
It may be time to introduce a lovey, a wee object that she can hold on to and comfort herself with, like her favourite cuddly animal. Stick it in your bra (to make it smell like you and have her stroke it while you nurse), make sure she cuddles it, play with it and make her associate that lovey with sleepy time. Co-sleep, but don't feed her to sleep, try and make her cuddle her lovey instead. This only works if there is no crying involved.
The floor level suggestion from PP is great for that, as you can gently separate your DD over time from nursing to sleep.
Just make sure that there is no crying involved and do it VERY slowly.
I would also sleep during the day when she slept during the times she fed hourly overnight. I know that's usually "get things done time" but we went into survival mode until things improved.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
Would you be interested in some form of night weaning? I have heard lots of good things about Dr. Jay Gordon's approach, though I haven't tried it myself. Here is his blog post about it.
If you are interested in night weaning, you might want to check out this book which was written specifically to introduce the concept to toddlers gently.
A two year old, even one who was a preemie, can totally go 6-8 hours through the night without nursing. It may be difficult to change to a new nighttime routine, but it won't cause her any harm. It will be better for all of you to have a well rested mama in the house. I also second the suggestion of asking your DH to be "on duty" for the first hour or so of the morning so that you can get a little extra sleep in. If it works for your family, breakfast with just daddy could be a special time for your DD.