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Thread: Bedtime nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    168

    Default Bedtime nursing

    My 20 month old nurses every morning when he wakes up, down for his nap and at bedtime. And, a whole lot in between -- mostly in the morning and after his nap when we are quiet and at home. I'm not looking to hasten the weaning process.

    For about 18 months, I put him to bed almost every night. It has always taken about 30-45 minutes but hasn't been a problem. He stopped nursing to sleep around 14 months, and for the next 4ish months nursed and then cuddled before falling asleep.

    The last two months have been so.much.harder. He just won't settle for me. I'll nurse him and then he is all.over.the.place. Jumping on the bed, crawling off the bed, leaving the room to go to the living area, crawling over me, wanting me to tickle him (I don't), tickling me, singing songs -- you get the idea. The last time I did bedtime on my own, it took 2 hours. It drives me nuts (he will often remain calm by fiddling with my nipple a lot during this time which I HATE -- and which is another thread altogether -- and my attempts to redirect/stop this usually disrupt any calm that is occurring).

    What we've discovered, however, is that when DH comes in to help, LO is quiet and calm and goes to sleep! So, clearly, our solution has been that DH puts him to sleep. I give him his bath, read stories and nurse and then DH comes in to get him to sleep. Still takes about 30 minutes, but it isn't so dramatic.

    This is all well and good except we are going to be apart for 4 weeks soon, and then once we are all back in the same place, DH will be working 1-2 nights/week. So, I can't get out of bedtime!

    I had to do it tonight and after just a few minutes of the craziness (15 minutes of nursing), I gave him a bottle of cow's milk (about 4 ounces). He settled right down and was asleep in about 30 minutes. I know it was just once, but I think this might be a good approach for me.

    Except that I am worried how it will affect our nursing. I would still nurse him before bed, just once we were done with that and ready to actually go to sleep, I would give him the bottle (he doesn't actually fall asleep drinking, btw). It would be the same way we do it as when my husband is home, except he doesn't give the bottle at all.

    What do you think? Bad idea? Okay to try for a few weeks and then 1 night/week?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,909

    Default Re: Bedtime nursing

    I don't think the bottle of milk is a "bad" idea, however, there are some things to consider-

    Teeth decay: From the research I have seen, any traces of food BESIDES human breastmilk staying on human teeth overnight may contribute to tooth decay. This is a separate issue from “bottle rot” from bottles of juice, milk or formula left in baby’s mouth as they fall sleep which of course is a major cause of tooth decay.

    I have no idea if cow milk falls into this category but just about everything else does. So brushing teeth after the bottle may be needed for good dental hygiene. (While brushing is not needed post nursing.) So you might want to consider brushing after the bottle if you were not already...

    As far as your concerns about this affecting your nursing relationship, that is something you can watch for and change if needed. In my experience bedtime routines are constantly evolving especially in the very early years when development is so rapid. So this may work for a time but change soon. It is not as if you are not allowing your child rto nurse ( a weaning technique) or using the bottle to replace nursing, (again a weaing technique) instead, this is an add on to the bedtime routine. Especially if your child was already pretty much unable to nurse to sleep anyway I do not see this being a big deal, unless your child is also still nursing at night (overnight) and the large amount of milk right at bedtime decreases that overnight nursing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,355

    Default Re: Bedtime nursing

    with LLLMeg. It might be worth trying a bottle of water rather than milk, just for the dental hygiene aspect. If it works, great, if not, you can always go back to the bottle of milk.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    168

    Default Re: Bedtime nursing

    thanks for the replies. dental hygiene is really important to me but he really, really resists teeth brushing (working on it) so this is likely to be a problem bottle or not. will try the water, though, just to be safe and see what happens.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Bedtime nursing

    Have you tried alternatives to regular infant brushes, like the finger brush or a cloth? I know it can really be hard to get to those little toothies at this age!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    168

    Default Re: Bedtime nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Have you tried alternatives to regular infant brushes, like the finger brush or a cloth? I know it can really be hard to get to those little toothies at this age!
    I haven't tried a cloth -- the main trouble is he resists someone else putting something into his mouth. Fair enough, really -- I don't think I'd really like that either! He would most certainly bite my finger if I tried that. He will very happily put the toothbrush in his mouth on his own, and actually asks for it, but he basically just sucks the water and/or little, teeny tiny blob of toothpaste off. Occasionally, he'll do a brushing motion but he will not let me have a turn. I've tried letting him brush my teeth (fun times) but that wasn't incentive enough for him. Will keep at it, though. Eventually it will take. Right?!

    Anyway, DH mad at me tonight (another post for another day) so went out, leaving me on my own for bed again. LO actually asked for water and was very happy with a bottle of water tonight, rather than milk.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    Default Re: Bedtime nursing

    Does your LO like Elmo? This is totally silly, but my LO resisted brushing her teeth until we found a video on YouTube with Elmo singing about brushing teeth. She started doing it, and letting us help. It's a nightly routine. Some days we don't do so well, but we figure we're at least trying. Now we've moved onto about 100 other videos. I'm not a fan of her watching much, but it's a short time each night and it worked!
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    168

    Default Re: Bedtime nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*filmmommy View Post
    Does your LO like Elmo? This is totally silly, but my LO resisted brushing her teeth until we found a video on YouTube with Elmo singing about brushing teeth. She started doing it, and letting us help. It's a nightly routine. Some days we don't do so well, but we figure we're at least trying. Now we've moved onto about 100 other videos. I'm not a fan of her watching much, but it's a short time each night and it worked!
    He's never seen Elmo. If I could find one of a truck brushing it's teeth....

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