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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am one of those *terrible* mothers who has always nursed DD to sleep. Whenever I am around, that is what she wants. If I'm not physically in the house, she will allow someone else, usually Daddy, to walk her to sleep instead. She has NEVER actually put herself to sleep. Not that I expect her to be "trained" or anything, but just some background info. She does often nurse, then roll over and fall asleep while lying next to me, but I have to be right there snuggling her.

DD sleeps with us and often spends the ENTIRE NIGHT latched on. She will wake up to nurse, fall asleep with the nipple in her mouth, and then wake up in a panic when the nipple falls out of her mouth. Then we begin the whole process again. Also, she absolutely REFUSES to nurse unless she can *play* with the other nipple, and I spend my nights contorted into a position so that she can remain latched on and latched on, if you get what I mean.

My DS weaned himself completely two weeks before his first birthday. I pumped for another six weeks and kept trying to reintroduce the breast, but he was having none of it! He just couldn't be bothered to sit still long enough to nurse during the day, and he has always been a fantastic sleeper and naturally put himself to sleep. So I've never had to deal with night weaning before. I've never had to deal with weaning at all. But I think DD will still be night nursing in college if I don't do something to change our present situation.

So, I need some help. I've tried to tell DD that the nummies are sleeping, that they are night-nights and that she can have more in the morning when they wake up, but that just pisses her off. (And how! The girl has her mama's temper.
) Where do I begin the night-weaning process? How? Any sage wisdom from mamas who have BTDT would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I don't think you will like what I have to say.

IMO, 15 months is probably too young to easily night wean. Perhaps we could just give you some advice to make night nursing more manageable?

I think most kids are closer to two before they can understand the "Nursies go night-night" or "Wait until the sun is up" concept.
 

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Okay, if you don't mind, lets go through this step by step.

When do you put DD down to sleep?
What happens if you try to get up (after she is asleep)?
Will she take a pacifier?
Is your partner open to helping you at night?
How often does DD nurse during the day?
Does she have her 12 month molars?
Her eye teeth?
Is her current night nursing pattern her norm for birth or has it changed recently?
If it has changed, how?
Can you outline everything you have tried to get her to sleep longer/sleep without the nipple in her mouth?
You mentioned she will go to sleep for DH if he walks her around--- is that an option that you all would entertain as a medium term solution?

Also, really consider what is most important to you to change about this situation. You can always focus on one thing at a time and see if that makes it enough better for you that you don't need to night-wean any more.

Example of things that might be most important to you:
At least one 3 hour segment without nursing.
For her to stop twidling your other nipple.
For you to be able to get up without her afer she is asleep but you are not yet ready to go to sleep.
For her to be able to fall asleep without the nipple in her mouth.
... whatever is important to *YOU*
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When do you put DD down to sleep?
We settle into bed around eight p.m. DD often does not fall asleep for a half an hour or more -- she needs a little bouncing around, winding down time, so she is often up and down, up and down during this time. Then she finally settles down to nurse and just FALLS asleep ... and I do mean fall. The kid does not give in to sleep very easily.

What happens if you try to get up (after she is asleep)?
Not a problem. After she is deeply asleep, I can get up and go about my business. In fact, I posted in the Family Bed forum about this -- she sleeps better when I am not in bed. She sleeps solid for three to four hours after I get up, until I come to bed around midnight or so. But when I come to bed, she has boobie radar, and will immediately start rooting for the nipple. And then our problems begin.

Will she take a pacifier?
Nope. Never really liked a pacifier and hasn't had one at all for about nine months now.

Is your partner open to helping you at night?
Yes and no. My DH is gone for five days out of every eight -- and I mean gone, as in out of town, does not come home at night. So it's just me at home most nights. And when DH is home, he'll get up with Kieran when he wakes in the night, but Gemma is a different story. Mostly because she'll spend HOURS (literally, hours) crying for "mama", screaming at the top of her lungs, flailing, hitting, biting (that's a recent development -- she bites when she's angry or frustrated or not getting what she wants when she wants it). DH gets really frustrated when she does this in the middle of the night, and then the situation is just escalated.

How often does DD nurse during the day?
Once upon waking, before each nap and she takes two (again, I can get up after she's asleep), and then once in the evening, usually. She's been teething, and she's in that rough and tumble stage where her feet are moving faster than the rest of her, so she's been nursing as comfort a bit more recently.

Does she have her 12 month molars?
One, and she's working on three more.

Her eye teeth?
Nope. Skipped those and went straight to the molars.

Is her current night nursing pattern her norm for birth or has it changed recently?
This is difficult to answer. She has always been a night nurser -- she is naturally a night person, like her father. (I'm a morning person, and barely functional at night, which is part of the problem, I suppose.) She has always nursed to sleep. The need to be constantly latched on started later, but has been going on for some time now. And while she has always played with my other nipple, she's now ADAMANT about it, and she's hurting me, which she didn't always do. (It used to be a gentle, circular motion over the nipple with the flat of her hand ... which is why I never really put a stop to it. Now she pinches, pulls, tugs, and digs in with her fingernails. OUCH!)

If it has changed, how?
Oops, see above. :LOL

Can you outline everything you have tried to get her to sleep longer/sleep without the nipple in her mouth?
I've tried sleeping on the couch because, as I mentioned, she seems to sleep better when I'm not in bed. (But she won't sleep in her bed, it has to be my bed, as she's always co-slept. Hence the couch for me.) I've also tried sleeping on the floor next to my bed. She KNOWS I'm there and will wake up anyway, and then the cycle will begin. Seriously, she knows when I am in the house as opposed to when I am not. When I am, she won't even allow DH to walk her to sleep ... only when I'm gone.

I've tried teething gel/tablets when that seems to be bothering her. I've tried giving her a lovey -- she'll snuggle it, but not as a substitute for, only in addition to, mama. I've tried letting her just cry a bit, seeing if she'd resettle -- as I mentioned, she just gets pissed. I've tried patting her back/bum, stroking her, other forms of soothing. Nada.

You mentioned she will go to sleep for DH if he walks her around--- is that an option that you all would entertain as a medium term solution?
Think I pretty much covered this one. Not really an option for a number of reasons. I wish it were.

I think these two things are the most important to me in this situation.
*For her to stop twidling your other nipple.*
*For her to be able to fall asleep without the nipple in her mouth.*

Seriously, we have been discussing moving her to her own bed because this situation is just so bad. But I don't necessarily want to do that. And I don't necessarily want to night wean, even. I just want to be able to sleep without being contorted into a pretzel so that DD can have one nipple in her mouth and the other in her hand. You know? And honestly, I'd like to be able to sleep just one night without someone touching me. I am touched out. But I know that's probably not a resonable desire at this point. So what can I reasonably do to improve this situation?
 

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What I would do first, is change my expectations. She is teething, she is going to want to nurse all night. Even my babies, who sleep really well once they finally go to sleep, nurse all night when they are teething. I would try nursing her more during the day. If I read your post correctly, she's only nursing five times during the day? That would never be enough for either of my kids at that age. Make sure to never refuse to nurse or try to distract her or put the nursing off just a little longer - these things make my girls much more clingy and needy, especially at night when they know they have me where they want me. Offer to nurse before meals, before snacks, and before you go out somewhere. She might need some extra mommy attention during the day. Can you carry her around in a sling? Would she like that? She might also be feeling stress if you are stressed. I know I'd be stressed out if my DH were gone most of the time, leaving me with two kids to take care of all alone. Another thing that helped with both of my girls was to not nurse in bed once they got to a certain age. I get up, turn the lights on low, and nurse in my "milkie chair" This seems to make it not worth the effort for them to nurse, when they'd rather sleep.
 

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I nightweaned DS at 17 mos. It took about 3-5 days and the first night definitely was the roughest and it got better each night. Basically I let him nurse in bed the first night but before he was totally asleep I popped him off and covered up. He did the frantic "wait where did it go" thing and started crying and I told him I loved him and that he could nurse in the morning. I stayed right with him (he cosleeps anyway) and he eventually fell asleep. Same thing the next night. IN fact we pretty much did the Dr. Jay Gordon method of nightweaning, go to www.drjaygordon.com it worked for us. I was 2 mos pregnant at the time and desparately needed DS to sleep longer stretches. Not nightweaning was just not an option, so I was motivated.
Soon he was blissfully sleeping through the night and DH could snuggle him to sleep, etc etc. I also let him take a sippy cup of water into bed with us.
Good luck in whatever you decide to do. It works, but it takes commitment. Check out Dr. Gordon's website.
take care
 

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Quote:
I think these two things are the most important to me in this situation.
*For her to stop twidling your other nipple.*
*For her to be able to fall asleep without the nipple in her mouth.*
The twiddling drives me crazy too. Does she do this only at night or during the day too? If she does this during the day I would attempt to wean her from that behavior during the day *first* so it will be easier for you to cope with. Could you let her twiddle a pacifier (some people can slip a pacifier in next to their breast and the child is "fooled"). Or a nursing necklace? She is a bit old to be putting the little mittens on and I assume she wouldn't go for that.

Honestly, about the nipple in the mouth thing, she is doing pretty good to unlatch and then go that 3-4 hour time span. Any more aggressive night weaning would probably be best put off until after she gets her final three teeth.

Since she is a bit older, one possibility is to start making it *her* responsibility (with help) to get to your breasts during the night. By that I mean instead of you doing all of the contorting, perhaps she could do a bit too. One thing that helped me was to take a long pillow and really wedge it under my back--- it just felt a lot better. Since she probably has good head control, you could also consider putting her up on a pillow so you don't have to reach as much (so she is more on level with your breast). What would happen if you kept the breasts accessable but refused to move from a comfortable position for you?

I think stafl's idea of the "nursie chair" might work well for you. Instead of waiting until DD wanted to nurse around midnight, you could go in around 11:45 really rouse her and try to get a good full nursing (both sides "emptied") in. Then, when she is asleep put her down. I would also consider trying to up the amount of nursing she is getting during the day and consider getting her down to one nap. Is there any chance she is getting too much sleep during the day and, therefore, not tired enough to make it through the entire night?
 
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