20 month old waking at night constantly to nurse
I am not ready to wean my 20 month old son but I need some help here! He has suddenly started waking at night and wanting me to nurse him back to sleep. I get up and nurse him and an hour later he is up again, wanting to nurse some more. I have started what is probably a bad habit of just bringing him into bed with me so I can get some sleep. I am getting frustrated with the situation and need some advice.
He slept in our room until he was a year old. He would spend about half the night in his pack and play and half in our bed. When he turned a year he was nursing all night and I decided it was time to move him into his own room. It was great! He started sleeping through the night most nights and up until a month ago, he would get up anywhere between 0-2 times a night to nurse, which was totally acceptable for me.
We spent the last month visiting family and both of my boys were sick with colds and a stomach flu. It seemed like after getting up with him so much when he was sick and rocking and nursing him, he started to think that this was the new normal. Because we were staying with family I felt that I should not let him cry when he was waking so frequently at night, out of respect for them. So, here I am. Now he is waking once at nap time as well to nurse. It seems that I can get him into his bed and he will sleep for a few hours but after that he is up constantly until he just refuses to go back to his own bed and I have to take him into bed with me unless I want to hear him cry. He also wants to constantly be twisting my nipples while he is nursing. The other night I tried to take his hand away and he sobbed like I had just broke his heart! Ugh! I am sick of not getting any sleep and being groped constantly but I am not ready to wean yet!
I do love nursing him. Before everything changed it was naptime, bedtime, maybe once during the night or early morning and maybe a random time throughout the day and it was wonderful..... but this is just too much. I have not had any sleep for the last 3 weeks and when he wakes and cries at night I just get a feeling of doom that comes over me. I feel like I can't look forward to having some alone time and resting and getting refreshed.....because I am up all night nursing an almost two year old!
I feel like I need to let him cry it out overnight. That is just murderous to me and I hate doing that but I don't see any other options right now. I have started to dread nighttime because I know that if I don't go directly to bed when I put him to bed, I won't get any sleep.....unless I let him sleep with me, however, I don't want to regress with his sleeping habits. Ultimately I need my own space, in my own bed at night. I feel like I have a newborn, one that likes to twist one nipple while he nurses on the other!
I know that his normal has been screwed up since we have been staying away from home for the last month and he has been sick. Any suggestions on how to get him back on track?
Re: 20 month old waking at night constantly to nurse
Any chance that he's getting his 2 year molars? Some of the increased night-waking could be due to that.
I can totally understand your frustration. Being up all night with a 2 year-old who is a twiddler- ugh!!! The first thing I'd cut out is the twiddling. Cover the spare nipple and allow no twiddling, even if he cries. No twiddling is a 100% reasonable boundary to set with an almost 2 year old. Tell him it hurts you, tell him you don't like it, tell him that if he wants to nurse he can rub your shirt, but he can't rub YOU!
At this point, it's also totally reasonable to expect your LO to accept having his own bed, but maybe not his own room. You might want to try putting him on the floor in your room instead of in your bed. Or putting a futon on the floor in his room, and sleeping in there with him but not nursing him. That's what I did with my second kid. She didn't need or really even want to nurse at night, but for several months around the time she turned two she did rely on my presence in her room in order to sleep. Eventually she stopped night-waking- maybe because her molars finally came in?- and stopped needing me to come in and sleep on the futon.