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Thread: Setting night nursing limits with 19 month old

  1. #1

    Default Setting night nursing limits with 19 month old


    I have had a wonderful breastfeeding journey with my 19 month old daughter until recently. Lately, I find myself wanting to set some limits and boundaries about how long and often she nurses at night, because I'm sore from her strong toddler latch and frankly, tired!

    She sleeps in my room, and sometimes in my bed (not my preference, but I give in when she's teething/sick). She usually wakes 1-2 times a night to nurse. 1 is fine with me as long as it's not a long nursing session, 2 starts to get on my nerves. If I don't let her nurse however often and long as she wants, she will scream for at least an hour until I eventually give in. Having Daddy take her, offering snugges, water, a stuffy, counting down, etc... nothing else helps. She physically pushes herself away from me into a seated position, resisting my offer to cuddle her, unless I give her access. She gets so frantic when I don't give in, it's both heartbreaking and really annoying in my sleep-deprived state. We've started talking about it before bed and when she wakes in the morning... that hasn't helped yet, but I will continue to tell her that it hurts me (if I cry, say "bo bo" (it hurts), or make a face when she nurses, it doesn't stop her) when she latches on so hard and stays on longer than I want.

    My parenting philosophy is definitely gentle/attachment, but I'm finding it hard to be gentle with her when she is so rough with me. I have been thinking about weaning or night weaning, but I feel in my heart that it's not the right time for her, and would really prefer it to be more child-led. But at the same time, I'm sore and feel violated with her unwillingless to respect any boundaries regarding nursing (it's MY body after all)... perhaps that's too much to expect from a 19 month old?

    Hoping for some support, especially from other gentle/attachment mamas. Is there a middle ground between just giving her whatever, whenever she wants and weaning cold turkey?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Setting night nursing limits with 19 month old

    Some will probably disagree with me, but I don't think a 19 month old could understand why she was sometimes fed at night, and sometimes not. I think cutting down to one time a night would be really, really difficult.

    I think it's down to you. If you want more sleep at night, then that's more than fair enough after 19 months of being on demand. I also felt it was time my needs were taken into account at about this age... it's a partnership, after all.

    Jay Gordon's nightweaning method was really helpful for me. He's very attachment and co sleeping oriented. I found his theories and ideas really, really helpful.

    It helped me also to think that at any point, if things didn't feel right, I could go back to on demand feeding as before, and try again later. We did it at 15 months, and my life improved immeasurably afterwards!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Setting night nursing limits with 19 month old

    I agree with newathis. Personally night weaning, no matter what we tried, led to less sleep overall, even though baby did sleep longer stretches at a time, so we did not stick to it. But that was just my experience, others find it works well. However, nursing once or twice overnight at this age already seems quite low frequency to me. If you need more sleep, perhaps there are other ways to maximize your sleep. If you are uncomfortable, maybe you and your child need to work on positions and latching that is not uncomfortable?

    There most certainly is a middle ground between child nursing whenever and cold turkey weaning! Weaning is a process and involves an ongoing "conversation" between mom and baby...but not, at this age, much verbal communication. I mean, you can use verbal cues if you like, but no purpose in explanations. Your one year old child is not going to understand intellectually that you need more sleep or are uncomfortable doing the thing they want to do. As far as respecting boundaries? Yeah, that is a long way off. In fact I would suggest avoiding saying nursing hurts you- if you child can understand that on any level, she may hear that she is hurting you or making you upset or unhappy, but not understand how or why. You can not nurse without any explanation. There are many gentle weaning techniques (night or day, it is still weaning or partial weaning and the techniques are largely the same) and none of them include explanations - except maybe for the much older child of 3 or 4.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Setting night nursing limits with 19 month old

    Thanks for your input! It goes against what you're both saying, but I find talking to her is probably the most helpful thing I've done so far. Although I feel ready to wean her, I really don't think she's ready yet, and don't think it's the right time to night wean either based on her extreme reaction to my trying to limit her time nursing at night. I'll add that I think that my pain also had to do with hormones and finally getting my first pp period, and now it isn't as painful anymore.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Setting night nursing limits with 19 month old

    Good to hear your pain is gone. Of course if verbal communication works best for you and your baby, then that is what you should use.

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