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Thread: Help!!! Re: Nursing 2 Year Old DD

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    13

    Default Help!!! Re: Nursing 2 Year Old DD

    My daughter Jillian turned 2 in March, and I am AP all the way and want to let her wean on her own time. I'm also a special education teacher, working with teenagers with emotional/behavioral problems, and I haven't slept a full night in over 2 years. I'm tired, and I really have a love-hate relationship with nursing. I don't want to wean completely, I just don't want her to still nurse so OFTEN!!!

    We've developed some "bad" - I know, not really bad, just a little lazy, lol - and she's a big comfort-nurser, like she wants to sit there & nurse long after the time she'd usually be done just to nurse during her favorite show. I've been trying to show her other ways we can bond, like cuddling, hugs, playing, etc., and verbally expressing this to her - "We don't have to have nunnies, you can just sit on Mommy's lap & we'll watch JoJo." I'm not consistent though, and I don't push the issue, if she refuses to be distracted by other things I'll let her nurse. Partly because I figure she must need it, and partly because I'm so tired! She's extremely "strong willed" or "high needs" or whatever you want to call it too.

    Nights have been freaking unbearable lately though - we nurse to sleep in her bed and she keeps wanting to get up & do stuff, telling me, "I be back Mama" (LOL), but it irritates me cuz I feel like if I'm willing to still nurse the child to sleep she should go to sleep! She wakes a ton during the night so she ends up in bed w/me, either in my room w/DH or just her & me in the spare room. I'm actually wondering if the last of the 2 yr molars are coming through. And she lays down on a cot & goes to sleep on her own at daycare, but MUST have "nunnies" at home, which is also annoying at times, I read about sleep associations & stuff but it's not like she doesn't know how to go to sleep any other way!

    I guess I need advice on how to reduce the intensity somewhat? I try the distraction, substitution, don't offer/don't refuse, and it works sometimes and not at other times. On weekends when we're home together all day she'll nurse in the morning, for her nap, after nap, around 4pm or so, and then before bed. I don't want to force her to nurse completely, but I'd really love to get it down to once or twice a day.

    I'd also like to get her to sleep without it, but the couple times I made DH put her down, she came & got into bed with me (and no doubt helped herself) and I didn't even realize she was there til I woke in the morning - so what's the point of making her go down in the first place without it, kwim?

    I'll be out of school in another month and I don't want to go back to spending half the day in the chair nursing, trying to get her to sleep, whatever! That is just soooooo frustrating! Should I night wean? Day wean? How? I guess I just expected her to at least show signs of slowing down by now!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: Help!!! Re: Nursing 2 Year Old DD

    Hi JilliesMom,
    Congratulations on your extended nursing relationship so far!
    It sounds like you are feeling conflicted about the intensity and frequency of her nursing, though. While you feel that she likely has real needs to nurse, you were hoping she would be nursing less by now, too.
    Have you read Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jame Bumgarner? It has lots of good information and reassurance. There is one whole chapter on "Getting Enough Rest". There's also a section on nursing a two-year-old, and a section on approaches to weaning.
    "Night duty" continues whether or not the child still nurses. Sometimes weaning can seem like a solution, but it may not cure frequent night-waking. Is it the process of getting her to sleep that is the most frustrating for you (versus night-waking)?
    You are already offering her other outlets for closeness, following her cues for whether or not distraction/substitution will be OK at that moment, and looking for underlying causes of night-waking (like teething pain). I know it can be tiring but it sounds like you are really doing a great job!
    If she's getting up at bedtime and saying "I'll be back Mama", maybe she's not as tired as you think (or hope!)?

    Mary

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Help!!! Re: Nursing 2 Year Old DD

    Hi Jillies mom,

    Just wanted to add a few words of support. Although you are stressed it also sounds like you know the answers. It must be so hard to work and be seperated all day and then try to meet DD needs all night. Perhaps things will improve while you are on summer break and as her molars come through. Will she be out of school too? Perhaps you can begin planning some fun things now that you will do together. Are there LLL toddler meetings in your area? It will be important for both of you to have a plan to socialize with other moms and toddlers.

    My daughter is 3.5 and she will sleep through the night now as long as she is not sick. She was not able to do it when she was two and my other kids couldn't either. Around this time they start to need less sleep as well and will not usually go to sleep until I do and the house is dark.

    Hang in there!

    Anne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Help!!! Re: Nursing 2 Year Old DD

    My daughter turned 2 in April. I am also a teacher, and my DD is in daycare too. She also has no problems napping at daycare. For a long time, we were really struggling with the whole going to sleep and sleeping during the night thing. She's so much better now at going to sleep, but she does still wake up at night to nurse sometimes. I always sing to her at night when we nurse. When I wanted to get away from her falling asleep while nursing, I started limiting my singing. For example, I would say, "Mommy will sing __ times (usually 2 or 3) and then we'll switch sides." We'd do the same thing on the other side. The first week or so, she cried when I made her stop, but it eventually started working. We've been doing that for about a month. Now I let her tell me how many times she wants me to sing. It's usually between 1 and 3. I try to stick to it, and I don't nurse again unless she wakes up later. At first, she would get mad, fighting me and crying, but my husband or I would just hold her until she calmed down. If she's especially tired, she'll still do that, but she's really started sleeping better during the night since we started this. She usually will sleep from 8:00-5:30 (sometimes even later) 3-4 nights a week. She goes back to sleep after I nurse her; although, over the last week or so, she hasn't asked to nurse in the morning. On the other nights, she usually only wakes up once. My husband goes in first and tries to get her back to sleep, but I usually have to go in and nurse. I must say that it's much better than it use to be. So, I guess my point is that maybe you can try placing a "limit" on the nursing time if you can. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Help!!! Re: Nursing 2 Year Old DD

    I can really sympathize with you and your lack of sleep. I am sure nearly all the members on this list have had many years of interrupted sleep.

    I have a feeling that the night nursing is your daughters way of reconnecting with you after being in daycare all day. You say you are 'AP all the way';
    maybe just mentally going over (or re reading something you find inspirational about attatchment parenting) the reasons why you believe in this can give you some strength.
    It is a very short period in your life, as well as your daughters, and once its gone, its gone. (I say this not dismissing how hard it is to get through life tired).
    As a practical suggestion, have you tried keeping her in your bed through the night? I know that when my children were that age, they would really wake up if I wasn't with them, but if we were in bed together, they just went back to sleep on their own without nursing.(one at 16 months and one at 2 1/2 years)
    good luck
    Jamelle

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Help!!! Re: Nursing 2 Year Old DD

    Sorry to be just now getting back here. You all have AWESOME advice though, I knew this was the place to come.

    Mary -
    It sounds like you are feeling conflicted about the intensity and frequency of her nursing, though. While you feel that she likely has real needs to nurse, you were hoping she would be nursing less by now, too.
    Yes - that is EXACTLY how I feel. And I do have (and read) "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" - I have to go back & re-read it every now & then to feel better, lol. It's more about acceptance, and reassurance that this too shall pass!

    It's definately the process of getting her to sleep that makes me crazy. Some nights are worse than others, where she really fights bedtime, but even on easy nights it takes a good half hour - I have to wait til she's completely asleep b/f I can unlatch her & get up. That's frustrating sometimes! When she wakes in the middle of the night, whether I go to her or she comes in bed with me, she goes right back to sleep.

    Anne - Thanks for your words! I guess I really do know the answers, just desperately hoping for some other answers, kwim? I hope you're right & that it does get better while I'm home this summer. I'm also trying to decide about daycare this summer - I'd like to just keep her home with me but I'm thinking of letting her go to daycare maybe 2 days a week just so she won't fall out of the routine there & be confused & upset when she goes back in August. I'm glad to know that they DO eventually start sleeping through the night - I guess when I sit back & look at it she does sleep better now than this time last year, I think part of the problem is she'd been sleeping til 4 or 5am b/f waking up & now that's stopped & it's more like 11 or 12. *sigh*

    elwoh - I really like your idea of singing to show nursing limits! I've been trying the "okay, we'll count to 10..." thing but I don't feel like she totally gets it, and that's only been daytime, not at night. At night I always nurse her til she's totally asleep. She will be majorly pissed at first, that's for sure! That's why I always give in & nurse, she gets soooo upset otherwise! But maybe this summer (when I can sleep in or nap with her) I'll try that. She LOVES music so that just may be the trick.

    Jamelle -
    I have a feeling that the night nursing is your daughters way of reconnecting with you after being in daycare all day. You say you are 'AP all the way';
    maybe just mentally going over (or re reading something you find inspirational about attatchment parenting) the reasons why you believe in this can give you some strength.
    It is a very short period in your life, as well as your daughters, and once its gone, its gone. (I say this not dismissing how hard it is to get through life tired).
    ITA with everything you said. In fact, that's how we started co-sleeping for good, when I went back to work when she was 4 months & she started waking up more & more until finally I just brought her to bed with me from the start. We co-slept full-time until last summer, when she started getting so violent in bed, lol!, and we started trying to at least get her to sleep in her own bed even if she ended up in ours at some point in the night. We had a queen mattress set on the floor of her room for awhile, and recently we bought a toddler bed & put that in her room & set the queen bed back up in the guest room. I enjoy sleeping with her & that's not a problem, but when it's me, her & DH in bed it's just too crowded! Lately I've been sleeping with her in the guest room & she does sleep better that way, but it seems kinda unfair to DH, kwim?

    We do have one toddler LLL meeting in my area but it's on weekdays & I work.

    Thanks for all your advice ladies!!!
    Becky
    ..................

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