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Thread: nursing at night

  1. #1

    Default nursing at night

    Hi group, I was not sure if I should post this on the "sleeping issues" forum or this one, as my inquiry involves both nursing and sleeping (how common...?).

    I have been happily nursing my 18-months old daughter, about twice during the day (she is attending a daycare) and THROUGHOUT the night (could get to about 10-15 times/night). I have transitioned to sleeping in adjacent beds when she was about 5 months old for me to sleep better at night, while my husband sleeps next to me and our 3.5yo son sleeps in his bed adjacent to my husband's side. My daughter wakes up frequently at night, which I know is quite common, however she knows that I should be around and asks to nurse each time she wakes. It is quite clear to me that she needs my comfort more than the actual milk, but I am wondering if by keeping this arrangement, I also keep this cycle of frequent waking and asking to nurse at night. I also wonder if by keeping this sleeping arrangement I convey to her htta she is not confident enough to go back to sleep on her own, without nursing. I have tried once (2 nights) to wean her from nursing at night while offering her comfort in other ways (hugging etc), which was not successful as I felt she was yet to be ready. I feel clueless about the next step I should take to ease the current situation. I would be so happy to keep nursing her but I feel that I must resolve this night-nursing issue.

    Any advice?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: nursing at night

    This sounds similar to my situation. DD (17 months) sleeps betwen DH and I on our king sized bed. When I first put her down for the night, she nurses to sleep, then I get up and spend a few hours with DH before we both go to bed. She usually sleeps fine up until this point, but within an hour of me getting into bed with her, she's latched on and stays there until morning. DH and I both feel like she'd sleep a little better if she was slightly seperated from us (though not far, I don't expect her to wean anytime soon!). We're moving in with my parents in a few weeks, and will have a full sized bed with an adjacent crib. Our plan is to have her sleep in the crib, with it in "toddler bed" mode, so she's still right next to me, but in her own space. When she's used to it, we'll move the crib a few feet away from the bed and put the toddler rail on.

    We're hoping without us moving around at night, she won't nurse as frequently at night. We definitely don't expect it to stop completely, and she'll still probably spend at least half the night with us for a while, but we're hoping the smaller steps will be easier on her.
    Proud mama to:
    Amethyst, born Dec 15, 2010. 4lbs 15oz at birth, with Esophageal Atresia/Tracheoesophageal Fistula. One major surgery, 14 minor surgeries so far.
    Vyse, born April 17, 2013. 7lbs 3oz at birth, and absolutely perfect.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: nursing at night

    I think you asked great questions, but there's no way to answer them with certainty. Would your LO sleep better if she were in another room? Maybe. Is she ready to sleep by herself? Maybe.

    I bet that having your husband and older child in the family bed makes it harder for you to turn down night-nursing. You're probably trying to preserve their sleep, so anytime your daughter kicks up a fuss you stop it with the breast. If I'm right about that, it might help to break up the family bed for a while. Maybe dad and 3 year-old sleep somewhere else for a few weeks, or maybe you and your daughter go elsewhere. That way you won't have to play peacekeeper all night long. The night-weaning process can be a noisy one- dedicated night-nursers don't give up without a fuss! But just because a toddler is whining or crying for the breast, that doesn't mean you have to give in. I think breastfeeding moms sometimes get into the mindset that if baby cries, they must respond. And I that is true for babies, who need to nurse. But it starts to be more optional for toddlers, because they don't need the same way a baby does. They want. And you as the parent get to channel those wants, and teach the toddler that her wants have to start fitting in with the family dynamic in a way that makes everyone happy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    The Yellow House

    Default Re: nursing at night

    My DD (now 4.5) was a constant night nurser. She would ONLY sleep while latched on, and I finally night weaned her at 2. She STILL needs lots of night time parenting - it's just how she is. When I night weaned her it took three days of nighttime crying in order for her to accept singing and rocking as comfort techniques. It's what I needed to do in order to get good sleep. If you are getting good sleep, and don't otherwise mind night nursing, then there's no reason you *need* to stop. However, if she is making it hard for you to get good rest, then night weaning could making things easier, but it takes a while. After we night weaned, DD would still wake several times a night and need to be sang to or rocked, but things were definitely better for my sleep. Now she sleeps really well as long as we're next to her in bed, but if she sleeps elsewhere we can expect to be up several times.

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