Always nursing, rarely sleeping toddler...help! - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 7 Old 08-14-2011, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
wookumus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: OR
Posts: 122
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

Where do I begin?  My son, now 23mo is a spirited, high-needs child and has been since the day he was born.  He is more of everything.  Laughs hard, cries harder.  He is sensitive, perceptive, intense, persistent and aggressive.  He goes to sleep on his own only in the car, otherwise he is lying on my husband or nursing to sleep (naps & bedtime), we have never been able to put him down for a nap or for bedtime.  He wakes up to the slightest movements or sounds.  He nurses like a newborn, to this day, all day and all night.  I work part-time but when I am home, it is non-stop, 24-7. If his demands (in particular nursing) are not met, he screams, wails, throws anything he can find and hits.  Now, the positives, he is funny, smart, perceptive, athletic, entertaining and exciting.  He has challenged us in so many good ways and is making us better people and parents.

However...I am exhausted and feeling resentful.  Since the day he was born, I have always been told (and finally learned to not listen...) that don't worry "in 6/12/1824mo everything will change, he'll sleep all night and stop nursing as much."  Now I just laugh when I hear something like that. We have tried many strategies for the intense nursing and difficulty sleeping: distraction, white noise, dim lighting, calm music, black-out curtains, the Jay Gordon night-weaning method.  We would obviously never consider crying it out as I am sure he would cry until he vomited and/or physically hurt himself.  He has slept for 6 hours twice in his life and the most we were able to get consistently for a few nights was 4 hours.  Now when I try to withhold nighttime nursing, it turns into full screaming and tantrums complete with kicking, hitting and launching himself into things, sometimes hurting himself.

We believe he needs lots of love and physical attention due his temperament but I am losing steam after 2 years of little to no sleep.  I feel like I we are responding well to him despite our lack of rest but we know we could be even better if we had some sleep.  I also feel like at 2 years, I need to draw some sort of line to limit the nighttime nursing but feel like we've gone so far that we maybe we can't overcome the habits we've allowed him to develop.  Is it possible for a toddler to nurse too often, creating a habit that hinders his development?  Everything I read tells me he should sleep a certain amount in 24 hours but he's never been near the averages yet most of the day he's a happy, energetic kid who doesn't seem to be suffering from sleep deprivation.  Is there a way to tackle the nighttime nursing that we haven't tried?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated!


Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball biggrinbounce.gif 

wookumus is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 7 Old 08-15-2011, 03:59 PM
 
JessicaWilliams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Dear Friend,

 

You have my compassion for how challenging things have been.

 

I will post my answer within a few days.

 

Best,

 

Jessica

 

 

 

Birthing A New Mother home study program NOW AVAILABLE for pre-conception, pregnancy & the first year of motherhood. I am a featured contributor in this course brought to you by Conscious Motherhood.

The Ultimate Parenting Course will be available November 15, 2011. A cadre of the best of today’s progressive parenting experts come together in this transformational 8-week home study course for parents of children birth to 7 years. Email me at LoveParentingLA@gmail.com for pre-order.

The L.O.V.E. Parenting Birthkit has helped women have a transformational and empowering birth. Written exercises, audio & private coaching. Amazing for first or second pregnancy.

Sign Up for my E-Zine! Email: LoveParentingLA@gmail.com

Like me on Facebook L.O.V.E. Parenting and Follow on Twitter @LoveParenting

Private Coaching Session! Phone or Los Angeles office. www.LoveParentingLA.com

 

“Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss

“All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet

“I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald

 

LPLOGO.jpg

 
JessicaWilliams is offline  
#3 of 7 Old 08-18-2011, 12:01 AM
 
JessicaWilliams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

Dear Friend,

 

It is evident from your post that you have responded with love and compassion to your son’s temperament and tried to make his life as comfortable as possible by meeting his needs. You have given tremendously of yourself, and I hear that it is starting to take a toll on you. It is very understandable why you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and depleted.

 

I will try to separate out the issues as presented so that you can get clarity and hopefully, find relief.

 

1. Acceptance: Level one involves accepting what is; at this point, you have a son who is interested in nursing all day and all night, and he becomes intensely undone when his needs are meant. You are right to disregard friends who say this will end at such and such month; thus far, this is your experience and there is no guarantee when your son’s needs and reactions are going to change. All you are in charge of are your actions, not your sons’ reactions and no one can predict how his development and responses will unfold.

 

2. Self-Care: Given your son’s temperament and your responsive parenting, I think a certain level of regular self-care is mandatory to fill your reserves. If we as attachment parenting mothers neglect ourselves for too long, often, the natural self-preserving instincts will take over and manifest a non-negotiable reason for separation in some form or another. I encourage you to take pro-active measures before things get too extreme. Read this post for the 15-15 L.O.V.E. Parenting technique: http://www.loveparentingla.com/?p=820. Read this post for self-care as well: http://www.loveparentingla.com/?p=761. Finally, look up the L.O.V.E. Parenting RIIO/T&A technique to create more balance in your daily life: http://www.loveparentingla.com/?page_id=11

 

3. Resentment: Create a place to put your angry and resentful feelings: a journal, friend or a professional. Include your disappointment that the milestone ages were reached without a change.

 

4. Context: It is not unusual for a high-needs, highly sensitive child to always want to sleep on a body and to wake frequently at night.

 

5. Walking through the no: Create an understanding within yourself that if your son doesn’t get what he wants he may be angry and may express this dramatically. If you create space for your son to feel his feelings, and you don’t change in reaction to his expression, he will start to learn to bridge himself to the other side of “no,” which is a skill like any other that takes practice to develop. You can set a limit and still emanate full love and empathetic support. Read this post for an illustrative example of an empathetic response: http://www.loveparentingla.com/?p=993

 

6. Night Weaning: Night weaning is most always met with extreme resistance from the child. In your case, I would first practice setting some limits in the daylight (not around nursing) so your son can practice “getting through the no,” as a skill set (see #5.) Then, I would write out your guilt about night weaning (in saying no, at your son’s upset, etc.,) and your grief (at letting go of part of his childhood, at the finality, etc.) Once you have released your guilt and grief, and once you are at peace with the notion of “no nursing at night,” despite your son’s protest, you are ready to begin to night wean.

 

Start the process with a daytime discussion about how things are going to be different at night. Make a chart and count down the days until “no more nursing at night.” Let your son nurse as much as he wants to during the day. (You will have more energy for this knowing night weaning is coming and once he is night weaned.) And, then, on the appointed day, NO MORE NURSING AT NIGHT. He will protest. He will protest loudly. If you have any room internally to change your mind he will find it. You have to be 100% clear and not waiver. You cannot match his energy. You have to be a beacon of calm and love, with a gentle hand and a soft, sleepy, gentle voice, simply reassuring but reiterating the limit: “I love you. I hear that you are upset. We will nurse as much as you want once it’s daylight. Nighttime is for sleeping. I was sleeping and you are waking me up. My eyes are closed and I’m only talking to remind you of what is going on. I am going back to sleep now. You need to close your eyes and go to sleep now.” You can say less than this, in fact, less is more. You want to illustrate the behavior you are seeking by example. The only way your son will move on is when he realizes there is nothing going on to wake up for; no playing, no walking, no talking, no nursing; only sleeping.

 

Since you describe such a strong physical reaction when you’ve withheld nursing at night in the past, you or your husband may need to bear hug/contain him with a gentle rocking motion and then eventually lay back with him in that position. Try the old fashioned, “there, there;” it is simple and soothing. Again, you are trying not to match your son’s energy; you are a train with one destination: “night time is for sleep, daytime is for waking and feeding.”

Here is another step-by-step guide to night weaning: http://www.loveparentingla.com/?p=519

 

7. More Ideas: Read this post with more ideas for creating a positive relationship with sleep. It includes giving your child a voice, reframing sleep, & daylight connection: http://www.loveparentingla.com/?p=876. I also recommend this piece on locations for the bedtime routine; setting things up well for greater success in nighttime sleeping. http://www.loveparentingla.com/?p=857

 

8. A book recommendation: Lastly, this book may prove helpful: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic by Mary Kursinka

http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060923288

 

I hope this proves helpful for you.


All the best,

Jessica

 

 

Birthing A New Mother home study program NOW AVAILABLE for pre-conception, pregnancy & the first year of motherhood. I am a featured contributor in this course brought to you by Conscious Motherhood.

The Ultimate Parenting Course will be available November 15, 2011. A cadre of the best of today’s progressive parenting experts come together in this transformational 8-week home study course for parents of children birth to 7 years. Email me at LoveParentingLA@gmail.com for pre-order.

The L.O.V.E. Parenting Birthkit has helped women have a transformational and empowering birth. Written exercises, audio & private coaching. Amazing for first or second pregnancy.

Sign Up for my E-Zine! Email: LoveParentingLA@gmail.com

Like me on Facebook L.O.V.E. Parenting and Follow on Twitter @LoveParenting

Private Coaching Session! Phone or Los Angeles office. www.LoveParentingLA.com

 

“Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss

“All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet

“I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea BendewaldLPLOGO.jpg

 
JessicaWilliams is offline  
#4 of 7 Old 08-19-2011, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
wookumus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: OR
Posts: 122
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

Thank you so much for your detailed response and links, I am definitely going to start using many (if not all) of these strategies.  And yes, Mary Kurcinka's book has been quite valuable for us and will continue to be so for many years.  Thanks again for your time and caring!


Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball biggrinbounce.gif 

wookumus is offline  
#5 of 7 Old 08-24-2011, 10:41 PM
 
JessicaWilliams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thank you so much for your appreciation. It really means a lot to me. All the best to you and yours,

 

Jessica

 

 

 

Birthing A New Mother home study program NOW AVAILABLE for pre-conception, pregnancy & the first year of motherhood. I am a featured contributor in this course brought to you by Conscious Motherhood.

The Ultimate Parenting Course will be available November 15, 2011. A cadre of the best of today’s progressive parenting experts come together in this transformational 8-week home study course for parents of children birth to 7 years. Email me at LoveParentingLA@gmail.com for pre-order.

The L.O.V.E. Parenting Birthkit has helped women have a transformational and empowering birth. Written exercises, audio & private coaching. Amazing for first or second pregnancy.

Sign Up for my E-Zine! Email: LoveParentingLA@gmail.com

Like me on Facebook L.O.V.E. Parenting and Follow on Twitter @LoveParenting

Private Coaching Session! Phone or Los Angeles office. www.LoveParentingLA.com

 

“Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss

“All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet

“I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald

 

LPLOGO.jpg

 
JessicaWilliams is offline  
#6 of 7 Old 09-17-2011, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
wookumus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: OR
Posts: 122
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

The timing must have been right, night-weaning worked!  I spent lots of time talking to my son about nighttime being for sleep and that nursing is for daytime.  We explained that we would not be nursing in bed anymore.  We nursed before bedtime and then went to bed.  The first night he went straight to sleep, woke up, cried hard for about a 1/2hr and then back to sleep.  The next night, he slept for 8hr straight, a record in our household.  Since then, he has slept up to 11hr with an occasional short wake-up, sqawk and then back to sleep.  Phew!  I'm so glad we were ready, it worked and he is doing well and so are we!  Thanks for providing inspiration and support for us to move forward!


Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball biggrinbounce.gif 

wookumus is offline  
#7 of 7 Old 09-21-2011, 09:53 AM
 
JessicaWilliams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am SO happy for you. Sometimes it works like this, and sometimes, it's more arduous. I am thrilled for you that are going well and everyone is sleeping and you have made it to the other side of this very big transition in parenting. 

Much love,

Jessica

 

 

Birthing A New Mother home study program NOW AVAILABLE for pre-conception, pregnancy & the first year of motherhood. I am a featured contributor in this course brought to you by Conscious Motherhood.

The Ultimate Parenting Course will be available November 15, 2011. A cadre of the best of today’s progressive parenting experts come together in this transformational 8-week home study course for parents of children birth to 7 years. Email me at LoveParentingLA@gmail.com for pre-order.

The L.O.V.E. Parenting Birthkit has helped women have a transformational and empowering birth. Written exercises, audio & private coaching. Amazing for first or second pregnancy.

Sign Up for my E-Zine! Email: LoveParentingLA@gmail.com

Like me on Facebook L.O.V.E. Parenting and Follow on Twitter @LoveParenting

Private Coaching Session! Phone or Los Angeles office. www.LoveParentingLA.com

 

“Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss

“All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet

“I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald

LPLOGO.jpg

JessicaWilliams is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off