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Thread: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

  1. #1

    Default Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    Hi mummas,

    I'm hoping to hear some of your comments/experiences. Here is my situation - I have a just turned 2yo girl who loves to BF, mostly at night and a lot of it is comfort suckling - her normal number of wake ups is 4 per night, sometimes more. I just BF her back to sleep as I have always done because it is the easiest and seems to get me the most, if interrupted, sleep. I am apprehensive about night weaning, and don't think I'm quite ready, but would really like just one or 2 wake ups per night instead, to make me feel a bit more rested! If I wait it out, will it actually get easier and she will wake up less on her own, or from your experiences do you think she needs a nudge?

    Also DP is very keen to ttc a 2nd baby, I don't know how I would cope with being pregnant and still night nursing a toddler, or indeed if conceiving is a possibility with so much BFing at night! (periods returned at 15 months and cycles are pretty regularly 28 days, but sure my fertility must be reduced with the demands on my body?) I am 36, so not exactly a spring chicken, and biological clock ticking, so have that on my mind as well as not wanting a huge age gap.

    Sorry - this is probably a couple of posts - it's just all in my head in a big scramble! Would love to hear from you.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    688

    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    Hey there!

    I don't know when it gets easier - DD is younger than yours. But... If your cycle is back, nursing or not you are able to conceive!

    Pregnancy may give your child a 'natural' nudge as it changes/reduces milk or it may not!

    It might be worth reading 'Adventures in tandem nursing' just in case

    Also if your daughter is quite good with understanding books there are a couple aimed at toddlers that talk about night weaning. One is 'nursies when the sun shines' or you can tell your daughter the boobs or whatever word you use are tired etc...

    I'm sure some more experienced ladies will comment!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    10

    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    We night weaned at 19 months by just comforting and quietly talking to our daughter when she woke in the night, asking her to wait until morning because it's sleepy time. You might try making bedtime slightly later and then still nursing in the early morning, then slowly stretch the distance of time by putting her to bed earlier and encouraging her to go back to sleep w/o nursing, offering cuddling, back patting and gentle talking when she wakes. It took 2-3 weeks of this before she slept through the night but my daughter now sleeps from 8 or 9 pm to 5 or 6 a.m. pretty consistently. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    10

    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    By the way, wanted to add - I got pregnant when my daughter was nursing 2-4 times/night AND I'm 39 AND we struggled to get pregnant the first time (and actually did IVF for #1!) SO, it IS possible!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    Thank you for the responses, ladies. I will have a look at the books. Oceanbreeze - did you eliminate the bedtime bf? I am working hard to get her to actually fall asleep with out bfing as the very last thing she does, and DP just started doing some of the bedtimes (first night quite a lot of protesting, but fine from the second night on) I'm hoping it will reduce night wakings if she knows she can fall asleep by herself, but still waiting to see some improvement! Wow - it's great that the second time just happened so easily for you! Did you night wean as a result of getting pregnant?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    Hi here is my experience.

    All my kids (3) nursed frequently overnight between ages two and three. We bedshare, and personally I stopped finding the frequent wakings difficult when I stopped worrying that the frequent waking was a problem.

    With my oldest I was concerned about conceiving again due to my age (my period had not returned by 17 months) so I night weaned (6 hour stretch of no nursing) for a few months around then as I had heard this would help my period to come back. Night weaning was awful and resulted in much less sleep for everyone. Later I learned period would probably have come back soon anyway.

    I conceived baby 2 while still nursing oldest son night and day, and nursed my older son right through pregnancy. While I did have some soreness/irritation while nursing for part of the pregnancy, being able to nurse my son was worth it. It meant I got daily naps and a full night in bed all through my pregnancy, which I definitely needed. (I have very exhausting pregnancies with all day nausea that lasts the whole pregnancy.)

    Both my older kids effortlessly transitioned to sleeping in their own bed around age 3 and a half. Even before then they nursed less at night just naturally, but once they were in their own bed nursing overnight became quite occasional, and of course they both eventually weaned entirely. (Youngest is not yet 3 and still nursing a lot.)

    So, based on my experience, here is how I would answer your questions:
    If I wait it out, will it actually get easier and she will wake up less on her own,
    yes
    or from your experiences do you think she needs a nudge?
    no, not in the sense that she will never nurse less if you do not nudge. She will nurse less and eventually wean entirely without any nudges. That does not mean you may not want to do nudges, if you choose. It just means they are not required. The weaning process will occur anyway.

    A great book for info on sleep that includes many suggestions for 'nudges' if you like is Sweet Sleep.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    @mylittlepickle, Our daughter still nurses mostly to sleep or to get sleepy before bedtime. We haven't changed that routine. Sometimes I have to unlatch her before she wants (it's just too sore/painful) and she cries/protests for a minute but usually falls asleep pretty quickly. We use counting down, talking, telling her to cuddle, etc. Sometimes I let her hold my breasts after I cut her nursing short because then she falls asleep and I can be done nursing! We're trying a variety of things but bottom line is we always nurse before bed.

    I didn't night wean because of getting pregnant, I actually thought it my help my chances to get pregnant but we got pregnant without fully night weaning. Funny.

    Hope this helps you, and good luck!

    I'm really hoping she weans herself soon. I would like to give my breasts a break before baby number two and I'm not interested in tandem nursing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    72

    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    Hi mylittlepickle. In my and my daughters' nursing experience, (she is currently 3 years, 1 month, and 4 days old ) the night nursing has gone down considerably as she has gotten older. At 2, we too were still nursing several times a night and I have always been very adament on letting her wean at her own pace- including night weaning. But that is not realistic for every nursing relationship. We co sleep and I agree that rolling over to nurse for a few minutes when she woke was very convenient when it came to getting the most sleep.
    As long as your periods are back and pretty regular, I don't think that the frequent night nursing should interfere with ttc. I am currently 27 weeks pregnant, so my daughter was about 2 1/2 and nursing at least twice throughout the night when hubby and I conceived #2. About a month and 1/2 or 2 months ago, my daughter started sleeping through the entire night with no requests for nursing if she woke up. A couple times a week, she will rouse from sleep in the middle of the night, sometimes just to see that I am beside her, sometimes asking me to "scratch her back" So yes, your little one will eventually not need to nurse 4 times each night, and you may be like me and be a little sad when that stage ends. It means we are one step closer to weaning altogether... Another thing I want to add too is that the transition for your daughter from nursing 4+ times a night down to 3, 2, 1, 0 may happen quite suddenly and from no encouragement from you, like what happened with us. If you are okay to wait out the frequent night nursing for a few more months, I would just wait and see what conspires... You have already gone 2 years, ( awesome!!!) whats another couple months? Good luck!

    First time mama to my bean, born 3/2012. Still . She loves her "me's".

  9. #9

    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    It's great to hear some more of your experiences. Thank you.
    When I re-read my question, I suppose it sounds a little funny that I am in doubt that my LO will wean herself - of course she will - she wont be bfing forever! It's just really hard to imagine that, when we are in the thick of it, so it is really reassuring to hear you say it, and thinking of it, I probably will be sad that it will be a stage in our lives that will be over. Really hope I can wait a bit longer and give her chance to wean at her own pace. I really appreciate all the encouragement and support. This forum is such a valuable resource. Thank you lovely ladies, and good luck to you all too in your pregnancies and parenting!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default Re: Night nursing toddler - when does it get easier?

    I conceived baby #2 when my first was 22 months old. No night weaning but my period had been back for a year. I was 37. It had taken 6 months of actively trying at 34 to conceive my first and only two days in one week of not bothering with contraception for #2. My daughter weaned herself while I was pregnant with no sadness. Very matter of factly said she didn't want to nurse one night after cutting back in her own. I was scared of having to wean my daughter but it all worked nicely.

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