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Thread: Night waking and nursing

  1. #1
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    Default Night waking and nursing

    Hello. I've posted similar questions before, and I know there are a lot of other threads on night waking and nursing. I don't want to "beat a dead horse", but I need a little reassurance and support. My son is 13 months old, and still nurses to sleep. He also wakes up 3-5 times a night (more or less) depending on the day. He sleeps in his crib from bedtime-10 pm, then I move him in bed with us. He's starting to get more restless when he co sleeps. More and more, he is constantly tossing and turning, wanting to nurse non-stop, and occasionally head butting me. It's getting tougher for me to feel well rested.

    Also, from the age of about 10 months, he won't let my husband put him back to sleep like he used to. I think now he realizes that daddy doesn't have the milk. So, if my husband goes in, it might take 30 minutes for him to put him back to sleep or it might not work at all. So, I am shouldering the night waking alone (like many nursing mamas). I am starting to get resentful towards my husband and my son, that nothing seems to be changing or getting any better. I keep waiting for the magic night where he sleeps longer stretches, and it just isn't happening. I can't help but feel like most other kids my sons age sleep through the night. I am so jealous and bitter. I am dying for 1 full night of sleep. I know that most nursing moms said their kids outgrow it by age 2-3, but the thought of doing this for 2 more years scares the hell out of me. I don't mind nursing occasionally at night, but I'd love to get it down to 1-2 times, not all night long.

    I've also posted something in the past about my worries about my son growing up and having sleep issues because he nurses to sleep, and someone gave the great advice "don't borrow trouble from the future". Which is excellent advice. But I still can't help but worry about if I'm setting him up to be a poor sleeper the rest of his childhood. He can fall asleep other ways, aside from nursing, but he prefers to nurse back to sleep. I don't know if I should be encouraging him to fall asleep not nursing by now. I'm against crying it out, and can't do it. I've read a ton of books about sleep and asked a lot of moms for advice, and it seems like the two camps are either cry-it-out or deal with it until he outgrows it. Neither of these options make me feel any better right now. I can't help but think of other moms who say that their 3 year old is still up 4 times a night, or my friend's 5 year old who cried at her own sleepover because she wanted to be in bed with her mom. I don't want my son to be so dependent on sleeping with me that he can't go to sleepovers, or will still need to sleep next to me 5 years from now. Maybe I am "borrowing trouble from the future" and I know I'm obsessing over the sleep thing. I've tried to let it go, and just be happy with where we are, but I can't help but worry. I know that the thought he'll never sleep well is ridiculous, but what if I have the 1 kid out of 100 with recurring sleep issues? Or the kid who won't get out of my bed until he's 10?

    Thanks for letting me vent, I just need somewhere to express my desperation and fears about the night wakings. I'd love to hear from other moms who successfully stopped night nursing, night waking, and moved their kid into their own bed.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    The sleep over comment is going to make me relate my own child hood sleep woes. Fyi I was not breast fed. I remember being terrified as a toddler of sleeping alone. I'd imagine monsters under the bed and bugs crawling on the bed etc. I would con my mom into sleeping on the couch with me. I can't say when or what made me grow out of it but my older brother says I was 5 before I stopped. I can remember a dozen instances of trying to sleep at my best friend's house across the street or my cousin 's a couple blocks from my house and freaking out come bedtime. My parents would be called to take me home. I was maybe seven before that was outgrown.

    And you know what? As a teen and adult I was the best sleeper i knew (until having my son). I'd fall asleep in five minutes or less and would sleep eight straight, only occasionally waking for the restroom or a snack. Too dependant on my parents? At 16 I boarded a plane bound for Germany where I spent a year as a foreign exchange student.

    Maybe it's not the kids who have sleep issues but society that has a inaccurate perception of normal sleep patterns. I can totally relate to the desperate desire for a good night sleep. Unfortunately I don't have any practical advice. I've chosen the go with the flow approach. Ds greatly reduced his night wakings after 20-24 months after his last huge verbal leap but it's still 1-3 times a night at 2.5 yo. He has never allowed dh to put him to sleep.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    I know you mentioned sleep books. Here's a great list of books and websites concerning sleep, all anti -CIO. You never know where you'll get that magic tip that works for your family. http://evolutionaryparenting.com/gen...eep-resources/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    Hi! My son is just over 13 months, also. This may seem like a silly question but have you tried rocking him to sleep again and putting him back into his crib instead of your bed? I ask because our routine was identical to yours until a month or so ago, and now DS tosses and turns in our bed but sleeps soundly in his own for ~4 hour increments. I loved co-sleeping with him, and some nights I am just way too tired to sit up in the glider and I still bring him to bed with me to nurse him, but inevitably, it just never goes well anymore. I don't know if he gets too hot or overstimulated or what. Sometimes he will cry when I put him back, but it is usually only for 2 to 4 minutes, and then he sleeps well. I also hate CIO and I feel terrible for those 2 to 4 minutes, but if he gets too upset or goes longer than that, I go try again.

    Another random thing that helps us: we have a little noisemaker that plays either ocean or rain sounds in his room, and when I take him to his room and he sees me turn it on and turn the lights out, he actually giggles a little because he's happy
    he's about to get nursed and rocked. For the last couple of nights we have put on a lullaby CD very softly as well, and he seems to really like that. So now our routine looks like this:

    8:30pm nurse and rock to sleep with background noise or music, Lay him down in his crib
    11 ish 1st waking - nurse and rock back to sleep, lay him back in his crib
    3 to 5 am 2nd waking - bring him to bed and nurse him, then when he tosses and turns, carry him back to his crib. This is the part where he sometimes cries briefly. And occasionally I'll bring him back to bed, and just let him nurse constantly for the rest of the night, especially if his teeth seem to be really bothering him. The flexibility seems to work for us.

    One last thing... I work with a woman whose son is only 3 months older than mine. She did not/does not breastfeed. She is the only person who regularly asks if my baby is sleeping through the night yet, and says things like, "You've got to get him over this night-waking thing!" She sort of implies that she thinks I should do CIO, but she claims that her son has just always slept through the night on his own. She was actually making me feel bad, until I read other womens' stories on this forum and realized that her baby is the abnormal one, not mine, and she is probably just jealous or something that breastfeeding was easy for me and did not work for her. So now my response to her is, "He sleeps great." Vague enough that I don't feel like it's a total lie, but helps me avoid a negative conversation.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*amypo28 View Post
    This may seem like a silly question but have you tried rocking him to sleep again and putting him back into his crib instead of your bed?
    Most nights I do try this, but he's so persistent I give up, lol. He's one determined little dude. It's funny, because he gives me no trouble going in his crib at the beginning of the night or naps, but when he wakes up at 10ish, I think he expects to go to bed with me, so he will cry if I try to put him in his crib. I think it's just a routine. Sometimes I can put him back in the crib if I wait until he's really out cold, but other times he will appear to be asleep and as soon as I start to lower him down, BAM- he's up and crying.

    But this is a good idea, and I'll keep working on it. Last night, he woke up at 10, then was up until 12:30 because I kept trying to put him back in his crib and he would just cry and cry. Then he was so worked up, he couldn't fall back asleep. So I did eventually get him to sleep but of course, it was his way- in our bed.

    He does have 1 upper front tooth that he's working on so I'm not sure if that's bothering him. He also started talking a LOT more recently, so there's that going on. Most nights I give up after 20-30 minutes because I'm tired and so frustrated. It's very frustrating that he can outlast me to get what he wants. I'm just too tired in the middle of the night to keep fighting him for hours.

    I'll keep trying to put him back in the crib, and see how it goes. Maybe we can break the routine if I keep trying.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*zaynethepain View Post
    The sleep over comment is going to make me relate my own child hood sleep woes. Fyi I was not breast fed. I remember being terrified as a toddler of sleeping alone. I'd imagine monsters under the bed and bugs crawling on the bed etc. I would con my mom into sleeping on the couch with me. I can't say when or what made me grow out of it but my older brother says I was 5 before I stopped. I can remember a dozen instances of trying to sleep at my best friend's house across the street or my cousin 's a couple blocks from my house and freaking out come bedtime. My parents would be called to take me home. I was maybe seven before that was outgrown.
    Thanks for sharing! I always like hearing about people who outgrew sleep issues. It helps me remember that whatever happens, it will eventually stop.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    The feeling of "fighting" to get my son to sleep was the reason we became a bedsharing family in the first place I hate that feeling! And who knows how long our current routine will last. Teething seems to disrupt absolutely everything. I work full-time and am also doing 100% of night-time parenting at this point. The part of our routine that sucks is that my son seems to think that if DH goes into his room in the middle of the night, it is for one reason only: to carry him in to me. My husband can pick him up, lay him on his shoulder, and sway with him, but if he sits down in the glider, Silas knows that he is not on his way to mama and goes ballistic.
    I looked at your profile to see how close our boys are in age; my son was born 12/23/12 so I am right there with you! Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    I thought I would chime in as my son is close in age to yours. I think another poster hit the nail on the head about sleep... society has a very skewed idea of what normal sleep habits for babies are and I think you may find that if you polled some moms you will find many have similiar struggles. Between my 2 boys one is 3 and one is 15 months, I have found that sleep comes and goes but eventually becomes consistent. My first woke every 1-2 or 3 hours until he was almost 2. Since I was pregnany with #2 and knew that bedtime routines would need to change, my husband took over bedtime and it was a rough couple of nights for DS1 and us. My husband read to him and talked about it and DS cried for about 45 minutes the first night. THe second night was less and after that he was ok with it for the most part, occasionally asking to go to bed with me. Oddly enough, this was the time he started sleeping all the way through the night. Prior to all of this, any time he would be coming up on a milestone (new words, teeth, walking, etc.) he would have a couple of very restless nights. And DS1 does his fair share of headbutting lol.

    Now with DS2, he has been a better sleeper since day 1. It is just how he is wired. BUT... he still wakes at least 2 times a night and when he hits his milestones we get restless nights. If he is really teething or sick we get some pretty sleepless nights. Every now and again he will throw in a good nights sleep, maybe only waking one time, and I feel like a new person. We have an odd bedtimes routine with him now, but he generally goes down for the night by 9:30ish and gets up for the day at 6:30 when I work and about 7:30-8 on weekends. He usually wakes at the most inconvenient times for me on work mornings, around 5:15 or so and I get him back to sleep so I can finish getting ready.

    What I have found makes all the difference in handling crazy sleep patterns from my kids is this: Change my perspective. I have no expectations of a full night sleep in the next 4-5 years. I know that my youngest will be waking to night nurse for at least a year more and at that time I will decide if I feel the need to night wean. It would be awesome if he would start sleeping through sooner, but if I expect that then I know myself, and I will just get frustrated and resentful. Neither of those reactions will make him a better sleeper, and will most likely affect my relationship with him at night. It took me a little while with my first to work through these emotions, and once I did I was ok with how things were. I also did not discuss my kids sleeping habits with anyone who I knew did not practice the same habits as we do. There is no point in comparing your child to someone else's. Anyway, I'm not sure if that helps, but it is my experience with the situation! This too shall pass!
    FT working momma to a 9/11/10 busy boy and 11/13/12 happy little man.
    Also wife to hubs since 8/23/08, bonus momma to H (girl) -99 and G (boy)-03

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*5ofus View Post
    What I have found makes all the difference in handling crazy sleep patterns from my kids is this: Change my perspective. I have no expectations of a full night sleep in the next 4-5 years. I know that my youngest will be waking to night nurse for at least a year more and at that time I will decide if I feel the need to night wean. It would be awesome if he would start sleeping through sooner, but if I expect that then I know myself, and I will just get frustrated and resentful. Neither of those reactions will make him a better sleeper, and will most likely affect my relationship with him at night. It took me a little while with my first to work through these emotions, and once I did I was ok with how things were. I also did not discuss my kids sleeping habits with anyone who I knew did not practice the same habits as we do. There is no point in comparing your child to someone else's. Anyway, I'm not sure if that helps, but it is my experience with the situation! This too shall pass!
    Thank you for this! It does help a LOT. You're right, a change in perspective is probably the most effective and least stressful way to handle this. Anytime I try to change my son's sleeping habits, I do end up frustrated and resentful, which isn't good for our relationship. Comparing is a nasty beast. I love my son, and love talking about him, But it can be a dangerous road to walk down once you go from discussing your kids to comparing. I don't know why I get so frustrated with my son at night, I'm a very easy going person. I think it would help me a great deal to work through my feelings about his sleeping and just accept him as he is (and also stop thinking that I'm failing him in some way).
    Jessi, working mom to Pete, born 12/26/12. My little Christmas gift.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Night waking and nursing

    Sleep issues are so common with kids. In my totally non-scientific poll of my friends, I just don't see a correlation between sleep and breastfeeding, toddler nursing, or bottle-feeding. I know bottle-fed kids who are in their parents' beds every single night for years, and breastfed kids who sleep in their own beds every night and never try to get into their parents' bed. I don't think that anything you're doing or not doing is going to make your child a better or worse sleeper!
    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!"

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