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-   -   Anyone else have a co-sleeping 2.5yr old that nurses all night STILL? (

wolfmama31 02-06-2014 03:35 PM

Hi Mamas.


Not really looking for direct advice per say, more commiseration. And other people's experiences. We've always co-slept with our little girl and have no plan to do otherwise anytime soon. I have also not done any kind of night weaning and, while I feel like that is on the horizon, I'm having trouble deciding on when to go for it. My daughter will stay down for about 3 hrs then call, in her sleep pretty much, for "Ummies!" at which point I go to bed if I'm not there already. Then she'll nurse and pull off another couple times before the last few hours of the night (somewhere between 4 and 8am) when she pretty much has to be latched on to stay asleep. I'm torn because I think her sleep quality would be better if we weaned - but what if it isn't!?! She does get 10-12 hours at night depending on whether she naps or not but she's pretty grouchy in the morning and I wonder if that's from the restless wee hours. Ummies are still SO SO SO important to her and I'm hesitant to take them away, even at night. And yet,  what if, under it all, she's asking for a little more boundaries and structure then am I doing her a disservice in continuing night nursing. She and I have talked about how at some point she will not have ummies at night and she's not cool with that idea (of course!) We've read the Sally Weans From Night Nursing book and she loved it at first UNTIL I made a comment about how just like Sally learned to not nurse at night, she will to. Now the book is not allowed to be read. I am in the final throws of finishing a graduate program and am gone 1-3 ten hour days a week but am always home for dinner and bedtime. I'm thinking maybe when we're done with that in April that maybe I'll reexamine night-weaning? What's normal 2.5 yr old grouchiness like?

rinap 02-06-2014 05:17 PM

I have two of those (twins).

north 02-15-2014 08:33 PM

My 27 month old DD is similar: we share a bed and she nurses quite a lot day and night- and I've tried to night wean a few times starting from about 18 months. Like you, she does a pretty-much non stop nurse from 4am-7am, and is pretty grouchy when we finally drag ourselves out of bed. And I am too! She continues to cling and want to nurse for the first hour or two of most days which I also find pretty trying as I try to get breakfast and a bit of coffee to feel somewhat functional :)


My night-weaning attempts helped a bit (for the past 4 months I often get from 10pm-3/4am without nursing) but my efforts to increase the no-nursing window to even 5am haven't worked. Basically she just won't go back to sleep without nursing in the wee hours of the morning. I spent a few weeks trying to be really firm - no nursing 'till the sun comes up - and she would just wait it out. A few times she sat up in bed staring at the clock that lights up when it's "morning" for 1.5hrs+ in order to wait for nursing. Not crying, just waiting it out (and reminding me every 10 minutes what she was waiting for so I was holding the same vigil as she). Needless to say the clock has been stashed away and I have given up trying to stop her early morning nursing marathon. It was just getting too exhausting. 


But I still desperately want her to be able to get back to sleep without nursing! Nap, too. If I don't nurse her the ENTIRE time, she just won't nap. I'm really sick of that, too, so the past 3 days I've been telling her she can only nurse for 5 minutes, then we cuddle/rock/sing to sleep (which works at bedtime, btw). But guess what? 3 days of no nap. So I'm stumped. And feeling guilty about short-changing her her naps. With both the naps and the early morning hours, I almost feel like she's not quite exhausted enough to capitulate and fall asleep without nursing (like she does at bedtime) but by no means is she well-rested. 


So no advice, but some commiseration, anyways! Hopefully someone out there has some tips for breaking the sleep/nurse association in older, co-sleeping nurslings....

MichelleZB 02-16-2014 07:16 PM

My 26-month-old is the same! I honestly don't know what to do about it except hope he'll grow out of it.

MamaGill 05-29-2014 03:57 AM

Sounds exactly like my DS was, although we finally night weaned earlier, around 2, because I couldn't take it anymore. I definitely think in our case nursing at night and in the morning was making him tired and cranky. For us it was way more important for him to get enough sleep and have a patient, happy mom, than to nurse at night.

Do you have a partner who can get involved? For us that was key, my DH took over sleeping with DS. I do have friends who have done the night weaning themselves and the kids keep sleeping with mom no problem. But my son would get too upset with me there saying no than if he was just with his papa.

As a warning: we still had months of early waking after night weaning. We finally had to move bedtime earlier, as without nursing on and off all morning DS would not sleep past 5-5:30. Then after a few months it's like something clicked and he started sleeping later. Finally to completely stop nursing in the morning I started bringing a banana upstairs to give him when he wakes. Now sleeps until 7-8. Waking up anticipating nursing was robbing our whole family of sleep!

leedenise 05-29-2014 06:26 AM

This was hard for us too. I was okay continuing to day nurse my daughter, but I had to end the night nursing because I was just exhausted and napping during the day was tough to make happen. When they are so active during the day it is hard to be up most of the night. My daughter used to wake up about every 2 hours to nurse. I think it became more of a cuddling habit for her, which is very sweet and also important, but when it impacts functioning for me I needed make some changes. I read a book  that inspired me to write my own book to help her wean---so I did! It totally helped her and I used the character Sally in the book to remind her  when she would want to nurse at night. I personally found it easier to night wean and then keep day nursing for a few months after, just so that it wasn't all gone at once. I also agree that if you get your partner involved it does help! They have been nursing their entire life, so it is hard for them.  My book, Sally Weans From Night Nursing, is for older babies/toddlers, to help them wean from night nursing. As a prior mental health therapist, it was important for me to make sure that in the book the child feels validated about their feelings regarding night weaning and also that they understand the process of weaning and even some of the benefits it can bring (like more energetic play in the day!!!! Wooo-weee!)  Sometimes colorful pictures can help a child move forward. Or you could also draw your own story and color it, it could even be stick figures, toddlers aren't critical of art, they love all art!! Good Luck Mamas! :)

Lesli Mitchell, MSW,LCSW (in-active, stay at home mom)

rinap 05-29-2014 07:26 PM

For us, this ended slightly after my last post. The trick for us: my partner did bedtime, then he took the kids potty right before he went to bed (between 11 and 12). And then they started sleeping through at least most of the time. After about a week of it, when they *did* wake up, I wouldn't give them milk. (so, really simple night weaning) They still wake up some, but it's far far less.

north 05-30-2014 06:59 PM

MamaGill, I appreciate your warning about it being "months" of early-morning wakings before your DS got used to the new routine. I think that my expectations of how long a change "should" take has been a big problem for me - in lots of areas, not just nursing. The combination of my own desire for a quick-fix plus a few stories of night-weaning-in-one-week (or whatever) made me think night weaning was a lost cause when really, I think I've just never stuck it out long enough.
Since I last posted, we've made some ground with DH doing putting her down for bed as much as work allows (about 4 nights a week) which means she happily goes to sleep without nursing and I get a lovely break in the evenings! (I have to pretend to be out of the house though - won't work if she thinks I home). That alone makes me way less irritated with nursing during the night. The first few weeks of the new routine on my nights to put DD to bed she still wanted to nurse but I tried to do just a quick session. Now she doesn't ask me to nurse anymore when it's bedtime! But she still wakes frequently during the night for a quick nurse and we're still stuck with the 4-7am sessions followed by a grumpy wakeup.
Realizing I need to be patient though, we're slowly aiming to have DH do the entire night. I have a feeling that will mean me in another room or possibly even pretending to be away overnight... Hopefully by the time she turns 3 in November? See, I just can't let go of "deadlines" :wink:
I'm even toying with trying to get her to wean completely in the next 6 months or so with the hopes of avoiding tandem nursing (baby#2 due in January). We'll see...

receiveyoues 06-03-2014 07:03 AM

Now she doesn't ask me to nurse anymore when it's bedtime! But she still wakes frequently during the night for a quick nurse and we're still stuck with the 4-7am sessions followed by a grumpy wakeup.

luckiest 06-03-2014 07:42 AM

There is hope! My now 3.5 year old was like that. Night weaning was not an option, he is way too intense and too attached for that to not be totally traumatizing. We talked about how sides (his word for breasts) sleep at night, and he totally got it, but when it came down to it at night he literally could not fall back to sleep without it. At some point I realized it just wasn't going to happen unless it was on his terms, so we just dropped the subject from about age 2-3. A few months after he turned 3 we moved to a new house, and I decided that as soon as we were settled that I was going to night wean him. I don't really know what changed in my mind, I just felt like he was more ready for it. We were just waiting for the weekend so that DH wouldn't have to work on a night of potentially zero sleep, and wouldn't you know it - he abruptly stopped asking to nurse when he woke up at night that week. He still woke up, maybe for two or three weeks, but he stopped night nursing. Totally on his own. I don't think it's coincidence - I think I sensed that he was ready, and it turned out that he was, and did it on his own.

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