Mothering Forums

Mothering Forums (
-   Child-Led Weaning (
-   -   Musings on nursing my co-sleeping 2 yr old (

wolfmama31 08-20-2013 09:26 PM

Ok. Here goes. I'm trying to figure out how I'm really feeling about a few things and wanting to hear others experiences, thoughts, commissaries, etc. 
I have always felt very strongly about breastfeeding on demand through age 2. No matter how intense it got, it always felt right. The only parameter I have ever put on our nursing was 1/2 a year ago when my daughter was about 18 months I said we could only have one "ummie" out in public at a time (she's a twiddler...).  This took a few weeks to adjust to from her end but then it was the new normal. She'll actually specifically ask for "one ummie" when we're out so as to be clear that she understands the new rules.
I'm definitely in the baby-led weaning camp more than not but told myself I'd reassess when she was 2. See how it was all feeling. And now it's a month past 2 and mostly it feels good. I have no desire to wean her completely. I nurse her down for nap and up from nap and sometimes in the middle of nap. I'm ok with this. One day a week I work in my school acupuncture clinic and our sitter wears her down in the pack with no ummies without a problem. In fact, oftentimes WAY faster than I can get her down. 
We nurse to sleep at night. I don't mind the first hour. The 2nd that it usually takes for her to really settle enough for sleep gets a bit tedious and my nipples are sore by the end. She's on and off, pacifying, playing, rolling around, etc etc etc. 
She'll stay down for 2-3 hours and then needs the ummies again. I don't mind this. I'm used to it. She never fully wakes up. Unless I don't give her a boob. I don't even mind the 2+ other times she latches on for a feed throughout the night. If she's just feeding and going back to sleep I don't wake enough to be bothered. But if she's restless (often) and she's pacifying more than actually getting milk it's a real drag. She thrashes and yells and has to be moved from one side of me to the other, all with her eyes closed.
But then there's the 4-8am stretch. That one's REALLY getting to me. She's ALWAYS restless then and can't stay asleep without a nipple in her mouth but it's more like she can't sleep with it or without it. She'll kick and moan and yell in her sleep and twist all around without letting go of the nipple. I wake up real fast with this behavior. And then I'm awake. If she settles back to sleep and I can get my boob out, I can't move a muscle or she starts screeching again. If I try to get up to pee she starts sobbing for me. Eyes still closed. No matter that she's snuggled right up to her Daddy. 
I'm tempted to just get her up at 6am when I can't stand anymore and have our day start then. But that's never been our rhythm. She's always been a later to bed, later to wake girl not matter what we've tried. 
She also nurses during the day when she gets hurt, if she's overtired, freaked out, etc. I don't mind any of that. 
She's working on her 2 yr old molars like crazy. One is 3/4s through, the other is 1/2 through. There's drool pouring out of her mouth like crazy constantly. 
She fights sleep all the time, always has, any where and any how. I can count on one hand the number of times she's fallen asleep in the car since she was born. And all of them were after intense agony or when she'd refused a nap and we had to be in the car late in the day. 
90% of the time she gets 12 hours of sleep a day, 10 at night like clockwork and 2 during the day. Since she turned 2 there have been more and more days where she won't nap but she usually makes up for it at night and sleeps 12 hours. 
If I'm wearing her and she gets sleepy she wants to get down. None of this letting sleep take over her thing I see happen with some other kids. We were hiking last weekend and she was on my back in the kinderpack and she was incredibly tired and I knew she wouldn't be able to fight it any longer but she wouldn't let go into sleep without ummies. Which meant switching her to my front. Which, her being a 3 ft, 30 lb 2 yr old, means I can't see my feet. Awesome. I tried to tell her I needed her to wait for ummies, that it was too hard for Mama to carry her on my front while hiking anymore. But after 20+ minutes of her sobbing for them I gave in. But I felt resentful. Until she woke up an hour later. Then I felt lucky to still be holding my little girl so close and have her be so snug and comfortable on me. 
She is not a big eater of food. She'll graze a tablespoon of whatever at a time. But it's always nutrient dense food. I try to be careful about that. Sometimes I worry that she's starving all night long and that's why she can't settle. But while I suspect she's still getting 12-18 ozs of breastmilk from my saggy boobs, my supply is definitely not what it used to be. 
So I guess if I have questions from all of this they'd be: What does it look like to practice baby-led weaning from 2 yrs on?  Would night-weaning help her sleep better in the long run? Is she hungry at night because she's not getting enough calories during the day? Would it free her in some way to have me set a clear boundary around when we were nursing and when we weren't? How do I keep nursing her while at the same time helping her learn other ways to get to sleep? How do I do all this while continuing to co-sleep? 
Thanks for reading all this!!!

Lazurii 08-20-2013 09:41 PM

Um, is it at all possible to resubmit this in a better format?  This is really hard to read.

wolfmama31 08-20-2013 10:15 PM

I know :( I'll try again but every time I paste it, it looks funny.....

wolfmama31 08-20-2013 10:19 PM

There! Now it looks better! I copied it from another email I write to my local attachment parenting group and even switching it up on a word document didn't seem to help change anything here. But at least it reads in straight lines now! Thank you!

voca 08-20-2013 10:40 PM

I think that it would probably help you feel less annoyed, and help her fall asleep easier without 2 hours of nursing down if you had a stretch of non-nursing time at night. You don't have to wean her off for the whole 10 hours. I night weaned by setting a night light on a timer and introducing a no nursing while the light is off rule. We started with the light being off for just a three hour stretch that she already slept through most of, and then extended the time once the principle was accepted.

Skyler 10-06-2013 07:12 PM

Your daughter sounds a lot like my 1.5 year old girl!  Especially that 4-8 am stretch.  Mine has ALWAYS been restless during that time and does exactly what you described and it is really annoying.  I have her crib in our room and I start her out in there, and this is also where she naps, then around 11 pm she wakes up and I pull her into bed with me.  She nurses about twice or three times before she hits that restless stage.  I have started changing her diaper and giving her a sip of water or milk and then putting her back in her crib to sleep for another hour or so (usually by then it is about 5:30 or 6) and then I go sleep on the couch (DH works overnights).  It doesn't always work, but when it does it helps both of us get a bit more sleep.  


I work full time so I weaned her during the day and I did that pretty easily by just cutting out one session every few weeks by distracting her, and only giving it to her if she refused to be distracted.  Then the last session we cut out was right before bed, which I did by rocking her and rubbing her back for a long time.  She fought it at first but eventually settled in to letting me soothe her that way.  I've thought about night weaning too (so then she would be totally weaned) partly because I want to get my fertility back, but also because of that early morning restlessness you described.  I find myself feeling so irritated by how it makes my nipples feel to have her nurse for such a long time, plus it keeps me awake, and seems like it keeps her awake too.  But I love the earlier nursing snuggles, so I don't know if I'm ready to give that up yet, or if she is either.  


Anyway, you may want to think about trying to get her to take naps without nursing to sleep, just so that she knows it is possible and gets used to the feeling.  Some of the things I thought would never work for my daughter worked fine with a few tears and a little cajoling and it has made life so much smoother. 

rainface 10-10-2013 05:30 AM

Sounds like my daughter. She's 23.5 months, cosleeping, nursing at night. I work full time and can't nurse her during the day so I haven't nightweaned. I'm committed to breast feeding as long as she wants it but I've followed the natural curve of my annoyance if that makes sense... I will end the nursing session if she twiddles or pinches, or thrashes around. Or if she's just hanging out on my nipple, not getting anything and I'm uncomfortable. The phrase I use consistently is "nursing is all done now". She gets upset, and she'll scream about it, but I offer cuddles, and now, after a few months of gently cutting her off when it doesn't work for me, she will generally go along with it and roll over and go back to sleep. During the day I'll offer chocolate hazelnut milk or another distraction. I needed to find a balance between her needs and mine so I could continue breast feeding without losing my mind.

Asiago 10-18-2013 01:19 PM

Even if you make no changes, the intensity should naturally dwindle.
My son nursed every hour or so, two hours and my breasts were uncomfortable, around the clock, at age two.
Then around two and a half, 31 months to be precise, he slept four hours without nursing. From then on less and less nursing but so graduallyyyyy. Really. And here we are nearly four years and he goes hours, I mean hours, without feeding during the day and at night.

He nurses.a lot more at nap time though, more than ever.
I suppose my message is that age two and a half seemed to mark the beginning of a notable change in my son.
I have a good book with studies on nursing frequency in hunter gatherers. I will see if there is a common decrease around that mark in age....

Asiago 10-19-2013 12:00 PM

Regarding that 2.5 year mark....opened the book with studies on bf'g frequency among hunter gatherers and lo and behold, the highest frequency is through 139 weeks of age.
Four times per hour, two minutes per feed, was the average and it was evenly maintained from 12 weeks through 139 weeks.

ChristmasLover 02-06-2014 03:52 PM

Thanks for sharing that info!

wolfmama31 02-06-2014 04:00 PM

Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

Regarding that 2.5 year mark....opened the book with studies on bf'g frequency among hunter gatherers and lo and behold, the highest frequency is through 139 weeks of age.
Four times per hour, two minutes per feed, was the average and it was evenly maintained from 12 weeks through 139 weeks.


Yes, Asiago. Thank you for this. I never responded but it gave me solace to keep going with the flow and seeing where it led. Can you tell me what the book is? I'd love to see the research too. I love this stuff!

Asiago 02-07-2014 05:52 PM

Glad to have helped. I believe it was Hunter Gatherer Childhoods. The book is a compilation of anthropological studies.

ChristmasLover 02-08-2014 03:16 AM

I'm going to buy this book.  It's so encouraging to read about what is truly natural child behavior after being told by so many pediatricians that what is "normal" is to put the baby is his own room and stop night feedings at 2 months.  :(  Even though I knew I would never follow that advice, it always felt like the wind was being knocked out of me when a doctor would say that.  Just so against what is natural... 

Asiago 02-09-2014 10:12 AM

Oh good Christmaslover, this is one of my favorite books.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 0%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.