two year old's nightime nursing - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 01-05-2011, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone,

I have a daughter who will be two this month. She is a dear little sprite who I co-sleep with (Dad sleeps in his own bed) and this has been working out wonderfully for many months. Here's the thing: She is comfort nursing voraciously all night long, I'd say every couple of hours or so. This doesn't really disrupt my sleep...but as she grows I have started to think that this constant all-night nursing might be a little extreme. I have also noticed that she has her longest uninterrupted sleep stretches when I am not in the room - for example, in the mornings when I get up before her. Last night I had to use the bathroom and she woke up while I was in the bathroom (a first, amazingly!) and she cried out pretty dramatically for a few seconds. By the time I returned (less than a minute or two) she had already fallen back into a peaceful slumber...I have the Pantley "no cry" book and am starting to suspect that maybe me being there encourages her to snuggle up and nurse. Anyway, to make a long story short, I am thinking about trying a new routine in which we go to sleep together and then I move to the "master bedroom" with Dad (this room is right across from her room) - and return to my daughter's bed if she really wakes up and needs me. Has anyone here had a similar experience or tried this? My main concern is a healthy sleep routine for my little one - as much as we love nursing, I don't know that it's best for her sleep to be so exclusively tied to perpetual night-time nursing.

Thanks for your thoughts!

p.s. during nap times, I nurse her to sleep and either nap with her or leave the room and get stuff done. We use a safe room with a mattress on the floor.

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#2 of 16 Old 01-05-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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If your comfortable with it I say try it. I have a 2yo who nurses all night long and I am getting tired of sleeping in the same position all night long so will be keeping a eye on this thread. I am not as lucky about the sleeping better when I am not there though. : (


~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#3 of 16 Old 01-06-2011, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll keep you posted, Katie! I haven't started "the plan" yet but will probably give it a go tonight. Last night my girl slept from 8-1 a.m. without one waking, then nursed twice between 1-2. Then out until around 5:30 to nurse. Then woke up at 8. That's not bad at all compared to some nights...but that was with me in bed. I fell asleep, ironically.

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#4 of 16 Old 01-06-2011, 07:51 AM
 
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We behshared with DD(crib was sidecarred but she always ended up in bed)until she was 3yrs3months. She nursed throughout the night off and on. Some nights were ok, I got enough sleep and she only nursed once. Other nights I thought, I can't do this anymore. She's nursing constantly and 3! I need some peace! We got our upstairs recarpeted and at that time we converted the crib into a toddler bed. It is in our bedroom but we only have a 2 bedroom and DS has the other bedroom. I made the idea of her own bed a great fantastic place to sleep, complete with a gread comforter,etc. I talked about her big girl princess bed often, and how great it would be to sleep there! As soon as she started sleeping away from my direct contact, she slept sooo much better. I think what you are saying seems to be our case, that somehow her feeling me would lead to frequent nursing and snuggling. She pretty much sleeps through the night noworngbiggrin.gif. If she does wake to nurse, she gets in bed with us, I tell her 5 minutes, then I cut her off and she gets back into her own bed. I think you should try your plan, see what happens! Of course it will take some getting used to....

Good luck!


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#5 of 16 Old 01-06-2011, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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that is an encouraging tale, Columbus mama!

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#6 of 16 Old 01-08-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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I am SOOO with you on this one, as well. DD is 2.5 yo and recently she does NOT want to sleep (DH is still in there and we've been trying to put her down since 8:15, its now 10:10) We don't have room to put her in another room which I wish I could do. I totally agree with the snuggling thing because she has been nursing 3-5 times each night lately. . . . blah blah blah, anyways, don't wanna hijack your thread! Good luck and you'll probably see me popping in or creating another thread. smile.gif


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#7 of 16 Old 01-09-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I've made no progress yet! The first time I tried my clever little plan, she woke up within 30 minutes of me out of the room and was standing in the middle of the room crying. Then she latched on and off for an hour or so...but then didn't wake up for 6 hours. Since then I haven't actually gone on with the plan. (sheepish grin).Last night she nursed off and on all night long from 8pm to 8 a.m. every hour or two, sometimes just for a minute or two.  My husband innocently asked me the other day: "Maybe all night nursing is just part of co-sleeping with a toddler?" I was like, "Uh...well, gee...I don't know!". So I need to browse more on this topic. IS all night nursing just part of the deal?! I know that Pantley tells us it doesn't have to be, and I like her rational humane approach. But in living practice it seems a lot of folks here are posting that their toddlers nurse all night...then again, my friend who has a totally different parenting approach (crib sleeping & CIO) is now sleeping on a sleeping bag in her daughter's room (daughter is 2) because she's just not sleeping anymore, so...

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#8 of 16 Old 01-09-2011, 07:29 PM
 
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just listening in as we have recently gone thru this-- actually we (really just "I") recently HIT A WALL. i tried staying with him (he's 22 months and was nursing about every HOUR out of habit really, a lovely habit is you asked him!) and just telling him no more milk til daytime, etc....didn't work out. so at the end of my rope (and now back on anti-depressant meds-- it's been bad around here) DS1 and I left the room altogether (we all four cosleep) so DH could work it out with DS2 from 11pm to 6am (after 4am he's SUPER restless though). after 3 weeks of blissful all night sleep tonight i'm going back in and hopefully it will stick. it actually was pretty easy for him and DH. i had followed jack newman's "plan". but tonight as my reintroduction to the family bedroom (and DS1 is now in a twin across the room from the big bed) i will try pantley's trick to see if i can get him to go to 6am (if i let him start at 4 or 5, it's milky every 30 mins, and i feel exhausted by the time they both really wake up at 7 or 7:30): i set the alarm to go off with nature sounds (i have a sound machine) with crickets at 6am. i explained it all before bed tonight-- "mama's coming back to bed tonight but no milk until you hear this sound...."

 

we'll see.....

 

pantley does say however that if YOU are not REALLY ready, to reassess and start again another time. maybe you are not yet really ready?

 

oh and i don't think it has to be cosleeping=all night nursing...i have many friends who have no issue with this.


Miles (December 2005) Pascual (March 2009). P's was my beautiful home waterbirth that healed me from my M's birth. natural birth, midwifery, postpartum depression, babywearing, breastfeeding.
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#9 of 16 Old 01-10-2011, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What is Jack Newman's plan?! I want some of that. Just starting exploring his website, and haven't found the "plan" yet but I will poke around some more...good luck with your move back in! It's always comforting to know others who are dealing with similar situation. I don't know a single woman who is breastfeeding a toddler in my 3-D life.

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#10 of 16 Old 01-10-2011, 10:13 AM
 
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ok well KABOOM-- it blew up in my face. he rolled over took one look at me and screamed for milk. we aborted the plan, sent DH to put DS1 to sleep in the other room so i could settle DS2. I treated it as a restart to the night-- i pretended it was 8pm nursed him down (took a full hour of nursing-- both sides even!). then I let DH take back over. must have gone well as they didn't wake me until DH went to work at 4:30am. needless to say at that hour we don't discuss much so i don't know how it really went. i assume fine.

 

sorry it was JAY GORDON-- must have found his site by googling "gentle night wean while co sleeping" or some such:

http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html

 

but pantley's ideas are great too....


Miles (December 2005) Pascual (March 2009). P's was my beautiful home waterbirth that healed me from my M's birth. natural birth, midwifery, postpartum depression, babywearing, breastfeeding.
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#11 of 16 Old 01-10-2011, 11:01 PM
 
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subbing.  I have a 21 month old and we are a cosleeping nursing pair.  All night.  I too wonder how this night nursing thing ends.  I don't want to stop cosleeping but I'd love to stop night nursing!


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#12 of 16 Old 01-11-2011, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thanks for that link! One of the most helpful "how tos" I've seen yet...of course, that doesn't mean it will work, but one can only try. It's so hard to follow through with plans when giving the child the breast results in instant quiet...but maybe these experiments (when they fail) remind us part of why we are doing family bed in the first place!

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#13 of 16 Old 01-16-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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Hey, I know all about the voracious night nursing and the love/frustrations of it all.

One week ago I decided to try the brutal way- after trying to change feeding times and regulate nursing minutes (all after reading the many books about it- which are notably written by MEN- hmmmm).

 

Basically my husband and I sat down and prayed that we'd have the strength to wean our son from night feedings, which was really important because prior to this I would break down and say to my husband (who sleeps across the hall from my son and I) "What should I do?" whenever he cried and cried to nurse.  My husband, loving and caring, would say "nurse him!"

 

yeah.

 

we were both wimps. (our son is 24 months old Feb 1)

 

So after reading a lot about sleep cycles and circadian rhythms and whining and crying I decided that if I could just get through 3 nights of screaming it would be over.

That was a week ago.

 

The first night was hell and I did not sleep more than three hours.

But this was my trick:

I kept telling my son we could nurse when the sun came up (7am at the moment). And I kept telling myself that he wasn't starving, he just wanted to eat because he felt like it. Let's face it, I feel like eating a hundred times a day, but it's unhealthy to do so. I think that is the heart of my concern- I want to teach limits and sleep is a boundary I had to establish.

 

so how did I do it? and what am I still doing?

 

I hold Merritt, tell him I love him, and in the nicest voice possible say: "Not until morning, Merritt, no nursing until morning. I'm sorry, honey, mommy wants you to nurse too, but we can't nurse until morning."

 

This started because I have been able to tell my son stuff like "no nursing at the table" or "no nursing till we get home" and he was doing great with it.

I have no idea how I could have weaned him without him understanding and me emphathizing.  Because honestly, I really do love nursing him.

But I also haven't slept in over two years!

The second night was easier, because the boundary was established, I held my ground and my son respected the boundary pretty well, only waking three times and wimpering/crying for no longer than 15 minutes at the longest.

an improvement from the hour of wimpering and begging the first night.

one week later, we wake up twice (midnightish and 5 or 6) and he asks to nurse and I say "shh- not til morning" and he rolls over and goes back to sleep.

  so I'm thinking by next week maybe he'll sleep through the night!

two weeks instead of 3 nights...sigh...but I can't tell you how happy I really am.

 

of course he's still nursing voraciously during the day...and I'm fine with it, even if everyone I know thinks he should be eating mac and cheese and chicken nuggets like other kids.

He eats broccoli and scrambled eggs and yogurt- and that's alright by me!

 

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#14 of 16 Old 01-17-2011, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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coyotekat,to t

thank you for sharing a success story. I kind of gave up on the "plan" for awhile. But last night I suddenly thought, as I nursed my girl at 11:00 after nursing her every 20 minutes since 8 pm, I thought: "I am a human pacifier...is this really good for me? good for her?"  As I used to remind myself through nicotine withdrawal 5 years ago when I finally managed to kick the habit: "The only way out is through." I think that applies to helping my girl sleep without nursing every 20 minutes-2 hours every night. I have to be willing to go through some uncomfortable moments. It's so easy to just keep doing what I've been doing, but the constant nursing actually doesn't feel right. It's like the gut instinct "soothe my baby" is in conflict w/ another gut instinct which is "this constant night nursing is not good for us."

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#15 of 16 Old 01-17-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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Oh how I needed to see this thread after the past few nights.  I've been wondering the same thing re: human pacifier.  Last night she'd nurse one side, then the other side, then "side?".  DD is 19 months and working on getting her canines in, so I've been blaming the teething on the increase in nursing.  Every so often she'll have a night where she goes a 5 hour stretch (bliss!).  Typically she'll do the first 3 hours of the night just fine.  Of course, I tend to put her down and then get up so I have some delightful quiet time.  When I go to bed around 11pm, by the time I settle in, she's wanting to nurse.  I'm also 9 weeks pregnant, so I don't know if my supply has decreased or not and that's also to blame for the increase in frequency?  shrug.gif There's definitely still a good left down.

 

Don't know if any of you are familiar with Hand in Hand parenting - I really like their philosophy.  There's an article re: weaning that might be of interest.  There's a post more specific to night weaning that was made on their list serve.  If someone would like me to forward it to them, PM me your email addy.

 

I haven't tried much of anything in regards to night weaning.  Last night I made a weak attempt at "the nursies have gone night, night, time to go to sleep".  Didn't go over well eyesroll.gif  After maybe 5 minutes, I thought why hassle when popping a boob in the mouth will put a quick end to it.  But I gotta say, I'm really curious to know if 3 nights of toughing it out would lead to better quality sleep.  I think if I weren't pregnant, I'd be more willing to continue as is.  But I'm wondering what lies ahead when I'm larger and moving side to side is more awkward and I need some touch free time.  Decisions, decisions......


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#16 of 16 Old 02-04-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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GOOD NEWS!

so, I've been working on weaning DD now for the past week and so far so good! i can't believe it! i nurse her for 15 mins then i tell her that the milk is closed until 7:30 in the morning. she agrees (takes forever to go to sleep still, sometimes).

 

wakes up about 2 times now. i tell her its still night and she either goes back to sleep or asks for water (which we keep in a sippy cup besides the bed) and sometimes she wants to "hold" my milk.  when she wakes up in the morning, she is so happy to nurse and will usually give a smile or a cute little giggle =).

 

 

ok, its been a week, so far so good, but I have to be up early this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I hope our progress doesnt get ruined after the weekend!


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