18 month old that still nurses all night - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 09-07-2007, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son will be 18 months next week. I am not really concerned or worried, just would like to be able to sleep better at night. He still nurses almost all night. We co-sleep and he wakes almost every 2 hours still to nurse. He nurses for about a half hour then falls back to sleep, or even nurses while sleeping and when I try to pull away he whimpers until I pop the boob back in his mouth. Am I creating a bad habbit for him? Should I let him cry a couple of times? I read in one of Dr. Sears' books to let dad take him (because apparently he had the same problem with one of his own children) and walk him around a rock him back to sleep. The problem with that is, my husband gets up very early in the morning, and is not very happy about being woke up in the middle of the night.
I am not ready to wean my son, but we are trying for another baby, and I do know that I will be doing the night time nursing and co-sleeping all over again. Any advice? Am I doing anything wrong? Thanks for the help!

dd 8, ds 6, ds 4,: (12/08), ds 1, me and dh:yawning Simplifying my life one day at a time! 925/2010
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#2 of 24 Old 09-07-2007, 10:29 AM
 
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Are you not ready to nightwean, or to wean altogether? Honestly I'd say just nightwean to make it easier on everyone. We did that partway through my pregnancy, and I'm very glad because it helped ds1 to sleep better... and to sleep with his dad. The new baby is very loud at night and it would totally not work for all of us to sleep together so ds1 and DH sleep in one room, and the baby and I do in another.

I'd just snuggle and offer him water when he asks for milk at night, and use a phrase which means no more milk... whatever you choose. My son understood "no milk" and "all done milk" when we nightweaned him a little earlier than your son's age. I also think there is no reason to have to get out of bed and walk around with him... just stay in bed and hold him in your arms, he'll put up a fuss and cry (maybe) but it's bed time, and people stay in their beds and sleep! Once I made the mistake of rocking my son in a chair and he made a huge fuss for weeks to get out of bed and sit in the chair with me and talk and play instead of lying in my arms in the bed. I already give up enough sleep as it is.
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#3 of 24 Old 09-07-2007, 12:27 PM
 
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we went through this too and it almost drove me crazy from sleep deprivation. a couple of things changed. first, i started putting him asleep in his own bed and then bringing him to our bed when he woke. i don't know how you feel about this, but for us, it helped him to sleep for a longer stretch and his bed is about 4 feet from ours, so i immediately respond when he wakes. it's amazing that i can be dead asleep, but the second he wakes up i'm right there. another thing that really helped was making him sit up and support his own weight when he's nursing at night. most of the time, he'll decide it's not worth it and go back to sleep. we never, unless i'm too lazy to sit up with him, have those extended nursings anymore. now we've gotten to the point where most of the time i just say "ok let's sit up now" and before we even sit up, he's already rolled over and fallen back to sleep. there was no crying with this method and much more sleep. {{hugs}} mama... i know how difficult this can be

in this mainstream society, it's easy to think that we're doing something "wrong" when our babies nurse to sleep or nurse all night long. know that you're a good mama for doing this with him and responding to his needs. that doesn't mean though that you can't gently change his night time nursing habits for your own sake. breastfeeding is a two way relationship.
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#4 of 24 Old 09-07-2007, 06:29 PM
 
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Yeap I think I know how you feel but you are doing good I think to hang in there because he will change again they keep changing and soon he will be in his own bed - We want to have another baby as well and I don't know how that will work except that it will because we want it to - I have thought of weaning at night but I just can't she has such a need for it at night - sometimes it's as if she is rehydrating because she seems to nurse all night and others not so much at all - All I know is I am the first thing she sees in the morning and her face lights up or it's the way we cuddle or that I can see her take up her half of the bed in this "don't touch me independent way" for me I like that I see her and her changes close up - I would love it as well if she would sleep in her own bed next to ours once in awhile - I guess my offer to you is just know what works for your family and brings peace is the best for you to do and allows you to be the best parents and if that means sleeping together as a family or not you know - These toddlers seem like such babies at night I really feel I am doing right by her and that works for me - I wish you all the best - Fork
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#5 of 24 Old 09-07-2007, 06:40 PM
 
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My dd2 did the same thing at about the same age. My solution was weaning her. We were both ready for it and she had no objection at all---which was quite surprising to me, I don't think that I would have taken that path had she objected. I think the suggestion about night weaning might help ???? After my daughter weaned she continued to co-sleep and snuggle but she slept through the night (pretty much).... which allowed me to sleep more. My suggestion is to do whatever is best for you and your family. You are the mama and you know what's best for you.
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#6 of 24 Old 09-07-2007, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all your help, suggestions and support! At night I do nurse him and rock him first thing, then he falls asleep and I place him in his bed and I sleep next to him. He sleeps like that for about two hours. Then when he wakes the first time I take him to bed. Since it is the weekend and dh is actually working nights, I am thinking I am going to try to wean him a bit from the night time nursing. I will try to get through only nursing him twice and see what happens. I will continue to co-sleep and snuggle, and will try to give water when he gets fussy to eat. I am just glad I am not the only one who goes through this. My entire family (dh side and mine) think he is too old to be nursing period, day or night. SO I cant really discuss this with them. So I really appreciate the help!

dd 8, ds 6, ds 4,: (12/08), ds 1, me and dh:yawning Simplifying my life one day at a time! 925/2010
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#7 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 03:19 AM
 
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My ds is 15 months. We started nightweaning this week, and so far (I don't want to jinx myself ) it is going great. I was ambivalent about it because I didn't want to unduly upset him, but it really is going well. The first night he cried off and on for about 45 minutes (in bed getting cuddles), but not heart-wrenching sobs or anything. The second night, he just said "na-na! na-na!" a lot. The third night, he said "na-na?" And last night, he slept through the night for the first time since he was four months old!! (Oh, I am so jinxing myself.......)

He wasn't nursing as frequently as your ds, but I just wanted to encourage you to try setting some gentle limits. It might not be as hard on him as you think.
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#8 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 09:44 AM
 
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No real advice, just letting you know that we are in the same situation. My little guy is 17 months, and like yours, wakes and nurses about every 2 hours every night. He has had times (like a few weeks in a row) of nursing only 3 times a night, but usually it's 5 or 6. This is still an improvement over the 8 plus times a night it was around 9 months of age.

If dh tries to settle him overnight, or if I try to snuggle/cuddle or sing to him (no milk), ds gets so distressed, his voice gets hoarse and he gets all trembly - after only 3 - 5 minutes. It seems like real freaking-out kind of upset, not just "I'm mad because you're withholding the milk!" kind of upset. So, it only really occurs if for some reason I feel totally touched out and just need a few minutes to regroup and get my frustration in check.

So... no plans on night weaning for us, though I wish best of luck to those that are trying. I think we'll wait for another few months and see how the situation is then. For us, I think we'd need to gradually introduce the idea, and perhaps wait until he's really old enough to understand about waiting.

Good luck to OP, whatever you decide.
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#9 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 10:15 AM
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My DS is 17mos and would wake every couple of hours. I just started some nightweaning techniques last night. It went well.Last night went well. No tears. I just simply started out by nursing him when he would wake up but then making sure he would roll over and lay down while still awake so that he didn't actually fall asleep on the breast. I thought there would be tears but there wasn't. Then I remembered we have done this before. He responds to me saying "It's time to go nigh nigh" or "Go nigh nigh on Jeremiah's pillow" or "Where's Jeremiah's pillow?" So he on his own will pulled off the breast, rolled over, and went to sleep. The hard part will be in a few nights when I don't nurse and just talking gently, cuddle, pat, and love. THEN it might be difficult!
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#10 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 12:15 PM
 
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We were exactly the same way, and I was ok with it until all of the sudden I wasn't. At 17 months I decided I just needed some good sleep, and his latch seemed to change and it would get uncomfortable for me to nurse all night.

We followed Dr. Jay Gordons night weaning plan and it worked remarkably well. I think if your child isn't ready, you might struggle with it more. Just try again in a month or two.

This is if you are ready for a change. If you are content with nursing every 2 hours at night, I don't think there is anything wrong with it!
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#11 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 01:07 PM
 
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I used Dr Gordon's thing at 19 months and it worked great. 3 nights later and she was sleeping all night.

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#12 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 02:58 PM
 
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My DD is the exact same age (will be 18 months in 10 days), and she wakes frequently to nurse at night...same pattern as your son. Last month I was very fed up, and I tried to nightwean...well I tried step 1 in Jay Gordon's nightweaning plan, which is not letting them fall back to sleep with the nipple in their mouths after nursing. It was a total disaster. She screamed horribly on and off for 45 minutes (of course I gave in and gave her the breast every so often to soothe her.) I even told her that we had to say "bye bye" to the "boo boo." And she began to cry when I told her that (she was nursing at the time.) The rest of the night was horrible, even though I quit my plan. She would scream horribly every time she woke up, instead of just whimpering for "boo boo." The next couple of nights were bad too, even though I just went back to the way things were. I guess she wasn't ready.

Now I'm just working on trying to get the nipple out of her mouth ASAP (or The Pantley Pull-Off from the No Cry Sleep Solution.) Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes she will latch off and roll over and fall asleep, and other nights I have to lay there with her for a long time. Some nights are better than others. But I've determined that she isnt ready to nightwean yet, so I'm not going to push it.

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#13 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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We used Jay Gordon's nightweaning method about a month ago with my dd (she had just turned 20 months when I decided to nightwean) and I am SO glad that we did it. She was also nursing every 2 hours all night long and I was completely exhausted, crabby, and I felt like I was losing my mind.

To be honest, the first couple of nights were horrible. She screamed and cried while I held her for an hour on the first night. Twice. The 2nd night was also rough and I considered going back to all night nursing, but after about 3 nights she wasn't asking to nurse throughout the night and now... about a month later, she almost always sleeps through the night. And on the nights when she does wake up, I just pat her or tell her that it's time to go night night and she goes back to sleep pretty quickly.
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#14 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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We're at 17 months and she still nurses in the night, but it's usually tied to teething or a growth spurt, and not a constant. I'm not ready to nightwean her yet because it's more for comfort than nutrition and I'm okay with that. BUT I did have to break her of the habit of not being able to sleep without my boob in her mouth. That was hard, but it's possible to do that and not totally nightwean, if you or your little one aren't ready.

IOW, as soon as she falls asleep, I unlatch. If she cries out, I let her latch back on. Continue until she's settled and sleeping okay without the boob. Then if she wakes in the middle of the night, I try other forms of settling first, then offer the breast when it becomes obvious she's not going to settle without it. (Again, this is worse with teething -- she's more likely to settle from my hand on her tummy when she's not in discomfort.)

And it took a couple sleepless nights of me not falling asleep with her latched on -- I'd stay awake until she re-settled, then would unlatch. For us, it wasn't about needing to nurse in the night. It was about her needing to nurse to stay asleep. Those are two different things, at least for us.

I'm not sure I'm explaining myself well -- and if you try nightweaning and it works, that's great! But if you end up not being ready to nightwean then you might try the unlatching trick. It could be your little one has just gotten used to nursing during sleep -- and that's a habit that can be broken in a loving and noninvasive way. And it doesn't have to involve weaning entirely during the night, unless you're both okay and ready for it.

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#15 of 24 Old 09-08-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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I agree with night-weaning an 18 month old. It is important that everyone get quality sleep at night, and, at 18 months, your little guy is probably ready for some less broken sleep himself.

I would, however, recommend that you night wean completely, rather than just give him two nursing sessions or something like that. We tried that at first with DS at around 14 months, and instead of working, it just resulted in weeks of drawn out agony for all of us. If i didn't nurse him, he would scream his head off for 45 min or more, even being held in our arms the entire time. We finally spoke with a specialist things got so bad, and she helped us understand that, at that young age, DS couldn't possibly understand "well it's midnight now, so you can nurse, but if you wake and want to again at 1, then you have to wait. But at 4 you can again, though at 5:15 you can't." Or whatever two times you decide he can nurse.

So we just night-weaned him completely, and it was a little rough the first two nights, but I slept in the other room entirely, it was just he and DH together in bed, so he knew something was up. By the third night, he didn't wake up for 8 straight hours, and a week later I was able to move back into the room with no issues!

Either way, good luck and hang in there!!! This, too will pass!
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#16 of 24 Old 09-09-2007, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for all the great advice! Last night he slept for 4 1/2 hours in is own bed! I am not sure that I am completley ready to night wean yet, I think I am going to still nurse, but put him to sleep in his own bed first, then the first time he wakes up bring him to bed with us, but I am going to help him to stop using my boobs as a pacifier all night. He can nurse but once he is asleep, I am going to unlatch him. I really think it is for comfort and because that is what he is used to at night. I dont want to stop completley and stress him out.

dd 8, ds 6, ds 4,: (12/08), ds 1, me and dh:yawning Simplifying my life one day at a time! 925/2010
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#17 of 24 Old 09-10-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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I really appreciate this thread....I have been at my wits end with this. I feel like I haven't slept more than an hour at a time for months. Good to know Im not the only one out there....I'll send you all some positive vibes tonight at 1AM.......and 2AM..............and 3AM............
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#18 of 24 Old 09-10-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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we've got a 20 month old dd who is night weaning. it's going relatively well, but there is still usually one or two rough parts of the night. two things that have helped out are giving dd a high protein snack right before bed (and then nursing her to sleep) and keeping crackers and water by the bed in case she wakes hungry in the middle of the night. seems she isn't really hungry, but thinks she is, so she'll ask for a cracker and then fall asleep having taken a bite or two of it. before we started night weaning, i started talking to her about it a week prior to beginning the process. i'm still talking to her at night about it before she falls asleep, telling her that this will be the last time she nurses until morning. we'll be nursing now, then sleeping all night through, and then nursing again in the morning. she appears to understand, though sometimes is disappointed to hear this. good luck all!
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#19 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mandomomma View Post
I really appreciate this thread....I have been at my wits end with this. I feel like I haven't slept more than an hour at a time for months. Good to know Im not the only one out there....I'll send you all some positive vibes tonight at 1AM.......and 2AM..............and 3AM............
Same to you!! LOL!

dd 8, ds 6, ds 4,: (12/08), ds 1, me and dh:yawning Simplifying my life one day at a time! 925/2010
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#20 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 08:55 PM
 
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ahhh... i need this thread!!

our 22 month old dd still is up a lot to nurse and it's getting harder and harder for me!! her first stretch of sleep is usually about 4-5 hrs, at which point she wakes up and demands numi's (our word 4 mama's milk) ... i admit, i give in cuz it's just easier but things have got to change.

i'm so afraid of damaging her somehow emotionally by letting her fuss it out. she gets so upset and it breaks my heart when she cries herself to sleep. it never gets to the point where she's totally loosing it but even hearing her cry for a few minutes upsets me. do i need to toughen up?? she must be capable of sleeping through ... i just keep thinking it'll happen naturally

i read somewhere that at around two-years old they start remembering traumatic experiences or maybe that was an agrument of the CIO people who say their 6 month old should be trained to sleep and it's better to do it whne they're really young because they won't remember it: i don't know, but nightime isn't fun around here lately for anyone!
trying her in her own bed sounds good ... we might try to do that and see how it goes.
i know that some crying is involved no matter what , right??

is there anyone out there that has a cosleeping bf'ing baby that just slept through the night without a fight???

thanks!!!!

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#21 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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i know that some crying is involved no matter what , right??
i don't think it has to be. making him sit up on his own kind of forces him to make the decision not to nurse all night and he's never cried about it. after doing this, he's only waking one time in the night and it's only for a few minutes.
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#22 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 11:39 PM
 
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Wow...reading this thread has been helpful to me, because until now, I honestly thought all 18-month-olds still night nursed, if allowed. I know my two did/do. It makes me feel much better to know that night-weaning may be an eventual possibility for DS.

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#23 of 24 Old 09-12-2007, 04:34 AM
 
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We were getting tired of the nightwakings and frequent nursing and dh feeling like he couldn't sleep in his own bed and get any sleep (I can sleep through nursing much of the time; he wakes up every time dd stirs). So this summer we started Dr. Gordon's plan and changed our sleeping arrangement. We got rid of the crib, since we never used it anyway, and set up a twin mattress on the floor in dd's room. She naps there now and is put to bed there every night (I bring her to our bed at some point in the night). We were doing ok with the nightweaning until we started using her new bed; then we took a step backwards, which I expected and was ok with. By then we had established ways to get her back to sleep other than nursing (singing while cuddling works the best), so that was an improvement. BUT, now I've started teaching part-time again for the year, and dd won't take a bottle while I'm gone anymore, so she is reverse cycling and nursing all night again. I'm hoping this will gradually slow down soon to the point where we can try nightweaning again. DH said this morning, after a particularly bad night, that we should see a sleep specialist. I think we need to be patient and let dd get through this transition.
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#24 of 24 Old 09-12-2007, 01:30 PM
 
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i don't think it has to be. making him sit up on his own kind of forces him to make the decision not to nurse all night and he's never cried about it. after doing this, he's only waking one time in the night and it's only for a few minutes.

thanks barbee ... i just read your longer thread about sitting up to nurse ... this is a wonderful idea and i'm going to give it a try!

i really want to get through this stage with very little discomfort for everyone!!

happy in the hills with our little star born 11-4-05
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