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Discussion Starter #1
We are at our wits end! DS is 28 months and I am 20 weeks pregnant. DS would nurse through the night until about 26 months (every 2 hours), when we night-weaned from bedtime to 4 am. Night weaning went well -- he cried, but not insanely, and we were able to distract him with stories/etc. He adjusted within a week or so. At 4 am, I was too exhausted to continue, and figured we'd work on cutting out that session during the summer. Since then, he would wake up twice between 4 and 7 to nurse, and then be up for the day. During the day, he nurses in the morning, at night, and for naps on the days I'm with him (he naps with babysitter 5 days per week). Occasionally on days with the sitter, he'll nurse when I get home, just depends on how needy he's feeling.<br><br>
My milk dried up at about 14 weeks pregnant. It is very painful to nurse. Usually I can hold out for about 15 minutes per side, when necessary, with some switching for a break in between. He still desires comfort nursing, even though he's frustrated there's no milk.<br><br>
Here are the two problems that have cropped up over the last week or so. First, nighttime has become h*ll. Now, he wakes up to nurse between 4 and 7, and does not fall back to sleep. He wants to stay latched on constantly. After 30 minutes, I can't take it anymore, and I give him limits. After about 25 mins, I tell him he has 5 more minutes. After that, I have him let go. This is when the screaming fit begins. He arches his back, tenses his body, screams and yells that he wants to nurse. Once he gives up on that, he screams and yells that he wants to sit with me in the rocking chair in the other room. This has happened about 4 times now. Now that he's all riled up, it takes at least an hour for him to get back down, usually an hour and a half. And, sometimes it's already 6 by that time and I give up. He's had two mornings now where his wake up time was essentially 3.30 and 4.30 respectively, since he never went back down. It is sooo frustrating!<br><br>
So, I figure, since I have to be awake anyway, I'm going to cut the nursing part out of the scenario, and hopefully he'll get over it. Maybe I'll end up going to the chair every morning at 4, I don't know.<br><br>
Now the second problem:<br>
It used to be that when I put him down for naps, he would fall asleep nursing and I would ask him to detach, which he sometimes did, or I would detach him. He would notice but let go and continue sleeping. Now, he refuses to detach, and when I do it, he wakes up, gets mad, arches his back and screams to nurse more. Again, I've usually had it with nursing by the time I take him off, or re-attach until I can't take the pain anymore. Then, he ends up skipping the nap entirely because he's so upset. After a day with no nap, he sleeps horribly at night and wakes up at least a couple of times (e.g., 10, 1.30) before 4 am.<br><br>
This weekend, after a 4.30 am wake up day, I tried nursing him down at 10 am (he was tired) and the wake up at detach happened again. I then tried at hourly intervals to get him down by all other means (except car) and he accepted NOTHING! I tried rocking, sitting on the couch, walking him in our Ergo, etc., etc., and he got calm, but would not sleep. He finally crashed at 4.50 pm that day (and I was so desiring his sleep that I nursed him each time he woke up until the next morning at 6 am -- without the trouble at detaching or trouble falling back to sleep).<br><br>
So, at this point, nursing seems to bring more sleeplessness than anything else. I could still keep the pm and and first thing am session, but I don't know if he'll ever learn to fall asleep for naps without nursing if I do.<br><br>
FYI, for bedtime, he doesn't always nurse down -- he always nurses, and sometimes falls asleep, but many times lets go first, and then falls asleep on his own (with me singing and him on the bed, or me rocking him, depending on the day). So, it's not like he's never done it before! Plus, he goes down just fine for naps with sitters patting his back.<br><br>
So, does anyone have any ideas?? Or should I throw in the towel? I was up for trying to nurse through pg and possibly tandem, but this is just not working for us...
 

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I couldn't read this and not respond. So many aspects of your situation are exactly what my 28-month-old and I are going through- though it sounds like you have it way worse. I'm sorry, mama! I really understand. I am 17 wks pregnant and my milk also dried up several weeks ago, though DS continues to comfort nurse. And OUCH! I gasp in pain each time he latches on.<br><br>
He's only nursing at naps and at bedtime now. I have managed somehow (knock wood, it's only been a week or so) to not allow nursing through the night, only upon waking at 6:30 or later. I used Elizabeth Pantley's idea about saying a phrase such as "nursing's all done now" as I detach DS while he's awake. I'd been working on that for a few weeks while DS nursed during the day, saying the same phrase each time as DS finished. To get him to stop nursing at night, I would say the phrase after only a few minutes of nursing, then put a small pillow between my chest and him so he wouldn't get grabby. There were tears, but nothing too terrible (in retrospect).<br><br>
Now if he wakes up wanting to nurse, I say the phrase and he just rolls back over, falling asleep soon. I can hardly believe it sometimes. If he wants to nurse and it's getting close to 6:30, I tell him he must wait until it's morning. He's been fine with it so far as long as I follow through and let him nurse when he wakes up for good.<br><br>
It's not an ideal situation. I didn't want to have to wean either, and really wanted to tandem nurse. But I don't know if it will happen. Nursing now hurts so much and I really hate that he won't fall asleep without nursing first, so I am wondering whether I need to give up the ghost too.<br><br>
I know Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers has a lot of great tips in it, and I intend to use what I've learned to the mutual benefit of myself and the new baby (as well as DH and DS!) I'll definitely be doing some things much differently this next time around.<br><br>
I really hope you don't "go to the chair every morning at 4"... what an uncomfortable thing for you to and for your DS to think he can control you that way. My DH did that for a few nights when DS wouldn't calm down and I was at my wit's end- he rocked DS in the chair for several hours and couldn't get any rest himself. When DS asked for it again the next few nights I had to just say no, I couldn't let him create another sleep issue for himself and for my DH (even though DH would've done it, but I just didn't want him to suffer again.)<br><br>
DS has been having more sleep problems than usual since I've become pregnant, and I think he just knows things are changing. Wanting to stay latched on because he fears losing the breast- and knowing that it's already happening since the milk is gone. Perhaps that's what's going on with your DS too.<br><br>
I don't have more advice for you since I am in the same boat. I am hoping someone who's BTDT has some ideas.<br><br>
Good luck and good sleep!!!
 

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Maybe this is a silly suggestion, but have you tried a pacifier? If your son just has a need to suck, maybe that would help? Or a bottle of water or milk?<br><br>
I am 6-7 wks preg. with a 24 mo. old who is nursing and am not sure what to do--nursing has become more of a problem for me, but I don't want to deprive DS--still, I have decided only one night nurse and then not again before 7 and it has gone pretty well--some crying, but he settles after a minute or two and takes the paci.<br><br>
A friend of mine had her son sleep with dad for a week with no access to mom and now he is night weaned from 8 to 5:30 am or so.<br><br>
Hope you get some relief!
 

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Oh Mama, I went through almost the exact same thing with my first! Big hugs, I understand how hard it is. I ended up completely nightweaning and my very dear hubbie would fix ds a snack in the night for a couple weeks until he got over it, and ds1 made quite a bit of noise about it because he was mad he wasn't nursing. I felt the same way you did, wanted to maybe even tandem, but when it was not a good situation anymore we started with the nightweaning. Eventually ds1 did start sleeping wonderfully and we still co-slept. Can or do you keep a sippy of water by the bed he can have instead of nursing? Maybe a cracker or something also? I still sometimes put trail mix in ds1's room. I'm sure your ds is holding on for that comfort and hope of milk.<br><br>
The only other nursing ds1 was doing at that point in my pregnancy was for naps and we just eventually stopped. It was so hard. We had to find another way to relax for the nap and so many times it didn't work. Driving worked alright, or a walk in the stroller, or if my dh did the drive/stoller seemed to work even better. It was an adjustment for sure, but I kept telling ds1 that the milk dried up and there would be more later, etc. I explained it a lot and kept telling him how we could find another way to sleep and cuddle.<br><br>
Hope that helps somewhat. Good luck!! Mary
 

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definitely give him a big meal before bed, and extra milk (do you do cow's milk? if so, lay it on.) hopefully fill his belly up.<br><br>
you're in for tough times, i won't lie.<br><br>
i made it through pregnancy while nursing, but my child was 32 months at the start... so sorta in your ball park... and i *did* nightnurse all the way through. had to night wean her after the baby was born though, although it wasn't explictly "nightweaning" that's what it turned out to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for the replies. When my milk started drying up, we started to give him a large cup of cow's milk right before bedtime. We always keep water near the bed and lately, also cow's milk. He adamantly refuses anything but nursing, doesn't want milk or water. One night I offered him a paci because his friend uses one and so he knows about it (he stopped using his around 8 months or so), but he just teethed on it and played with it. He never sucks them. I haven't tried paci again since then. When he wants to nurse, he pushes everything else away, including me (at least at first), so I can't imagine the paci would help either. But, it's probably worth another try!<br><br>
My game plan is to start with night weaning "no nursing until the sun comes up." After 5 nights of that (and 5 days of naps with the sitter), we'll figure out what to do with the weekend naps. I'm going to try to nurse him down, and if it fails again, we'll give up that session too. Maybe we'll just resort to the car next time, at least to get out of the habit.<br><br>
He goes down for bed fine with nursing (lets go while awake), so unless there's huge resistance with the nap, I'll try to keep that one.<br><br>
Last night was first night of not nursing until the sun comes up. Poor dear had a night terror at midnight due to lack of sleep (amazingly I eventually was able to ward it off by saying "no more monsters, no more monsters" and acting like I was ridding the room of monsters). He's had bouts of night terrors before, like when switching from 3 naps to 2, and then to 1, and when he's really sleep deprived. Then, his first wake up was at 5.30 am. At that point, typical complaining, screaming, yelling for nursing, getting mad when I told him we would nurse when it's day time, now it's dark, time to go back to sleep. I actually ended up taking him with me to pee (you know, pregnancy), and he settled down in the bathroom! But, no sleep. Gave up at about 6, with so much light out, my line about nursing when the sun came up seemed kindof like it was time to nurse! So, essentially up for the day at 5.30. Guess that's better than 3.30 or 4.30, and I'll just hope it gets better.<br><br>
He definitely would not settle in the bed last night. I tried to touch him and say I love you, I want to hold you, can I hold you, but he didn't want me to touch him. Eventually, he let me, but then wanted to get up. His screaming is so dire in the bed that I'm willing to get up, for now, even if that's a habit we'll have to break later on.<br><br>
Blessedbess, I'm so glad you've at least had some progress on nightweaning, that's great! I definitely get that maybe they are fearing they will lose it, and that's why they want to hold on and have even more sleep issues. I've tried telling him that the milk will come back, but boy, 20 weeks is inconceivable in the mind of a 28 month old!<br><br>
Lukesmama - wonder how you do no access to mom? If I'm in the house, he won't have DH. I had one overnight away and he actually did okay, though still woke up twice, drank cow's milk (20 mins awake first time, 40 mins second), and only slept from like 9.30 to 6.30 (minus the hour awake, just isn't much sleep).<br><br>
Elliesmom, I can't believe you made it through the pregnancy night nursing, and then had to night wean when baby came, though it makes sense. That gives me more confidence that not night weaning now might just postpone the inevitable.<br><br>
Maryeb, maybe we'll get dad in on a snack/food idea. Right now DH's gut reaction is to get angry and frustrated, which doesn't help at all.<br><br>
Anyway, thanks again for everyone's thoughts. It always helps to hear other people's stories.
 

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Good luck! Maybe the key is just really sticking to your guns, even if there is screaming--just a thought. My friend slept apart from her son (to night wean) when he was younger, a few months under two, so maybe that made it more tolerable.
 

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Arg, not that anyone asked, but last night was a complete disaster. Down at 8:15. Woke at 10:00 completely desperate and irrational. Would not settle ANYWHERE except rocker on front porch! Fell asleep there, and then woke up when I tried to move him, twice! Then I insisted on going upstairs, he wanted yogurt, he wanted the carrier, I was giving in until DH got mad and said he gets everything he wants. Then I thought he might have a point and insisted on him lying in the bed, told him that I would have to leave if he was going to keep crying. Left, more intense crying, came back, eventually settled down. Finally, after almost 2 hours, he was back asleep. Then, up 3-4 times again, screaming, eventually resettling in the bed. Then, 5.30 am, insisted on the bedroom rocking chair again. This time I gave in, desperately wanting him to get more sleep before the night was over. Down at 6 there, transferred to bed, then up for day at 6.45 am. What a disaster. I feel like such a horrible mom with him so sleep deprived. I know it's a vicious cycle -- the more sleep deprived he is, the worse his behavior, the more he wakes up. Yuck. Here's to tonight going better...it truly just has to get better.<br><br>
It is so heartbreaking to think of weaning, because I know it means so much to him. It totally changes his behavior (for the sweeter) when he gets his nighttime nursies. I can't even imagine how different he'd be if we had to go cold turkey. Arg.
 
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