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Thread: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

  1. #1

    Default Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    I'll start by saying that I love breast feeding. My very active son also loves it and has enjoyed free access to my breasts since he was born. He is a nipple player and olympic feeder. He never stops moving and pinching,twisting and playing with one nipple while enjoying the yummy milk of the other. This wash;t so much of a problem while he was little and his fingers weren't very capable but these days it hurts. I have been feeding him while wearing a bra which he hates. He even refused to nurse the other day and went across the bed to cry. I have been telling him boobie is for his mouth and not for his fingers. I try to make it cute and say Owwwie every time he actually gets my nipple and pinches it. It has been hardest during the night though when he has been used to feeding frequently and playing happily with my nipple until he drifts off into sleep. Now that he doesn't have access to the nipple play he has been getting frustrated by not drifting into sweet slumber and instead is occasionally sitting up in bed and crying.

    The whole sitting up in bed situation isn't really new, it's been happening for awhile now. He sleeps maybe two hours then wakes up and feeds and sometimes falls back asleep or he just can't seem to drift off. We try switching breasts or I rub his back softly but sometimes I feel like he just doesn't know how to self soothe back to bed. He sits up and cries and even has been refusing the boob instead wanting me to walk him around. I do and he may fall asleep on my shoulder only to wake up when I get back into bed with him. The last few night I put him in his stroller and strolled him around during the night and he slept a few hours in there while I got back into bed next to him? It's so strange

    I almost feel like maybe he is giving me signs he's ready to night time ween? I mean, if he is waking up a lot in the night and sitting up in bed after being breast fed and not wanting more milk from me? Is it possible?

    It's just so confusing because we still have some nights that he seems so content, cuddled up against me - nursing and sleeping? It's like so many things are happening at the same time. Trying to stop the nipple play, still teething, gaining new skills each day - how will I know when he is ready? And I haven't even figured out how to teach him self soothing methods - i always give him the breast. He never wanted a blanket, stuffed animal or suckie.

    Any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    Welcome to the forum!

    Don't worry about figuring out how to teach your child self-soothing methods. That's truly not something you can teach. It's something the baby/child has to develop on his own, when his mind and body are ready. Right now he's so little that self-soothing is a real reach for him, though it sounds a if he actually had a pretty reliable self-soothing method, which was twiddling your nipple. Now that twiddling is off the table, he has to figure out a new way to get to sleep. That's likely to be a bit difficult for him, but rough patches are normal in a breastfeeding relationship and are not a sign that it's "time" to wean.

    Have you tried offering him a toy to fiddle with while he nurses? Maybe one of these would be good: http://www.amazon.com/Vulli-Chan-Gno...keywords=vulli. It has nipple-y projections and has a sort of fleshy texture.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    Today I gave him a stuffed bunny rabbit and showed him the tags. It worked for a few brief moments before he pushed it away. It was okay because he was very tired and fell asleep. I think the harder part is when he wakes up later and wants to go back to bed. He is very insistent on wanting the nipple then. I will give this other toy a try and see what happens.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    Had another terrible night of sleep. Went to bed at 8 ish and woke up at 1130 and again at 1245. He cried and insisted on getting up out of bed because I wouldn't let him play with my nipple while he was breast feeding. He couldn't fall back asleep and we were up until 430 am. I walked him, tried to tussle him next to me and rub his back. THen I ran a warm bath and got in with him. Usually he falls back asleep after that but he still wanted the nipple play. It is so hard. Four days straight now and he still hasn't given up this fiddling. We are exhausted. I just don't know what to do

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    Just stay strong, mama!!! When you're transitioning away from one reliable way of getting your baby to sleep to some new way, there's a very good chance that sleep is going to get worse before it gets better. It's like when I weaned my 2 year-old from her last nighttime nursing session, which was usually around 3-5 o'clock in the morning. The first few times I refused to nurse until the sun was all the way up, it took a lot of fussiness and cuddling and time to get her to go back to sleep.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    118

    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    My daughter night weaned fairly easily at 21 months, she would only cry/fuss a little bit each time and then give in. I feel it worked because she was just ready and also she very quickly found her new favourite soothing technique (to grab my arm and wrap it around her. she does this with my husband now and can't sleep long without him). So hopefully your little guy will find a new form of comfort soon! It sounds like the twiddling is the real problem and not the nursing itself, there are 4 pages in Mothering your Nursing Toddler on this subject. I guess it's pretty common, not something I've had to deal with personally, but I think you will need to focus on finding a way to stop this habit that works for you and your son. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    Sorry you're having a tough time and not sleeping! We night weaned around 18 months while co-sleeping. It was tough because my daughter cried and fussed during the usual feeding times, but I patted her back and let her cry a bit until she fell back asleep. We also did it gradually, cutting out the midnight feeding, then the 2 a.m. feeding, over a period of 2 weeks. The last to go were the falling asleep feeding and the early morning one, but she was then sleeping 10 pm-5 a.m. At 21 months she weaned herself, phew! One of the comfort things I offer instead is to 'hold' the milk, meaning she will put her hand on one or both breasts to fall asleep. She hasn't ever used a blanket or stuffed animal either.
    She wasn't a big twiddler but if she tried it, I would try to hold or move her hand every time to hopefully 'train' her not to continue. But every kid is different. Good luck, it will end at some point!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    Oh, and I also had started offering a cup of water while doing the night weaning, instead of breastfeeding. Sometimes she'd take it, sometimes not, but it was a good habit to start because now she asks for water before bed and we let her drink the water in a sippy cup in bed before sleeping.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    16

    Default Re: Preparing to night Ween 18 month old

    I was just reading about "nipple playing" a few days ago, though I don't remember if it was in the book Sweet Sleep or a child development textbook...There is actually a term for it... Anyway what I remember is that it can take a month for it to stop, once you start doing things like covering the other nipple with a bandaid or with a thick piece of clothing like a padded bra...and then gently move baby away from nipple when he wants to play, guide him to something else... I deal with it too with my 21-month-old. I have him pat my arm instead, or pull on my tank top strap, and he seems OK with that.

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