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Thread: Night nursing at 32 months

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    13

    Thumbs up Night nursing at 32 months

    Hello, mamas:

    I'm unsure on where to start. I love my son. He's my first child. He still nurses often and at night as well. I have no problem with him nursing during the day, but I'm tired of nightnursing a toddler. From what I've gleaned, maybe I should hold on a bit more and he could outgrow it soon. However, I'm also planning on trying to get pregnant in August.
    I'm aware that nine months are an eternity in the toddler or preschooler's lives, but it's been a year and a half that I've been waiting for him to nightwean. I guess besides support, I would like to know the following:

    • is it likely for a three-year-old to stop nursing when mom becomes pregnant?
    • More importantly, night weaning?
    • is tandem nursing extremely taxing on the body?
    • when baby is born, I'm concerned that a nightnursing preschooler may squash the newborn -- yikes!


    Some extra information. He's a very picky eater and only eats certain foods and sometimes he hardly eats at all (however, he always nurses). I can't count how many times a day he nurses. At night, in a span of 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., typically he'll nurse at least four times.

    I'm tired already, and I'm not even pregnant! What gets me tired is the fact that he comes to lie on top of me (I sleep on my back) to access the other breast. Although he's not heavy for his age, he always wakes me up and sometimes, depending how he's lying down, I have trouble breathing and have to move him. Other times I can't sleep because he's fiddling with the other nipple. As a result, I'm tired much of the time.

    To add to my concern, I have low blood pressure (which is in general a good thing), that makes me more tired easier than the average woman.

    My first pregnancy I had asymptomatic (no pain, no usual symptoms) kidney disease where I had to stay in the hospital for ten days. I almost died from anemia when I was five months pregnant with him. I was exhausted. Now, my doctor had told me I didn't need to worry, that I could get pregnant again and that it was a freak incident. Each pregnancy is different. Plus, I'd be able to watch for it this time.

    But with all this, I would like to conserve my strength and have my second pregnancy go as smoothly as possible. I don't know if I can do this with a preschooler nursing at night. I'm slender and possess a fast metabolism as well, which makes me gain weight slowly.

    Any information, commisseration, personal experiences, etc. would be appreciated!

    Thank you,

    sagira

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    135

    Default Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    I can understand your concern. I was reluctant to restrict my daughter's nursing, because, well, she didn't ask for us to have another baby! But we justified it to ourselves by thinking that in the long run, it will be good for her to have a sibling and she will come to appreciate it. If the side effect of unlimited nursing was becoming an only child, that would be a high price to pay.

    With your son nursing so much, have you even regained your fertility yet? I night weaned my daughter at 8 months old so that I could become pregnant again in the first place. She nursed all the way through the second pregnancy, but only two or three times a day. Apparently some toddlers self wean during their mother's pregnancy, but she never showed any inclination for it.

    Tandem nursing is physically taxing, and I lost weight easily, even though I am of the chubby persuasion. So you might find it very hard. I only manage by restricting my daughter's nursing to once a day. However, there are some other woman here in the forum, who find it easier.

    Also, I feel sorry for you being so tired. I know how draining it can be. I assume there's a Dad in the picture somewhere? Can he take over part of the night duty from you? We set up our bedroom with two sidecar cots, one on each side of our bed, and the baby is on my side, the toddler on my husband's. This works quite well and we started it well before the baby was born, so that our daughter would not feel as if she was banished from my side for the baby's sake.

    With your son being almost three, you can probably discuss the whole topic with him. He may well have enough empathy to understand that you are very tired and need your sleep. He might also understand the concept that people don't normally eat during the night. You could try to substitute nursing with a drink of water and a cuddle. Your son might even find his own substitute (our daughter for example likes to hold my or my husband's elbow of all things).

    You appear to be a very commited mother, and as such you are probably prone to feelings of guilt when it comes to restricting nursing. However, the way I see it, we set limits to most things in our children's lives, and they cope with it fine, as long as they know what to expect and as long as we remain sensitive to their needs.


    Good luck and let us know how you get on!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    39

    Default Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtuella
    I assume there's a Dad in the picture somewhere? Can he take over part of the night duty from you?
    This is what worked for us. At the time my daughter slept side car. (On my side.) We switched places in the bed so that my daughter would need to climb over my husband in order to nurse. I also started wearing a bra at night. This way I could not accidentally begin nursing her in my sleep. If she would wake to nurse my she would begin to climb over my husband, he would wake and I would play sleep. He would talk to her about how mommy is still sleeping but that he could get her some milk from the refrigerator. He would say that mommy needs her sleep to be a good me to you. It didn't go over perfectly but, she was really just using me to help her fall back to sleep. If she had to climb over daddy and wait for me to unhook my bra, it was easier to not bother.

    She weaned when I was three months pregnant with my second. I don't think that it was a coincidence. I think that the pregnancy had something to do with it.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    I have found pregnancy has led to speeding up the weaning process naturally with my 20 month old. Pregnancy hammered my supply, so he's not really interested now.

    We did have to actively speed up night nursing weaning though. We did this by me going to bed in another room for a while. He realized quickly the milk bar wasn't even around and started sleeping through. DH has had to step up and take over his fair share of the night parenting now. It was just too much for me to take nursing 4-6 times a night after a miscarriage and then a new pregnancy and its associated problems with little to no sleep.

    The only problem I've had with tandem nursing is that I haven't put any weight on this pregnancy, despite nursing just twice a day, and still wearing my regular clothing, and I'm 18 weeks. I'm not worried, as the baby is fine and growing well, and it's nice to still feel thin at this point but I'm sure my midwife is going to start complaining at me in the next month!

    I'm also starting to consider the sleeping arrangments once we are four to a bed. I have an Arms Reach that DS refused to use, and I might use that for the new baby if he'll tolerate it. Otherwise, DS will probably sleep on the other side of daddy so he's not next to the baby with a bedrail on the other side. We are also considering moving him to a mattress on the floor next to our bed if he can handle that.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    73

    Default Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    Quote Originally Posted by sagira
    • is it likely for a three-year-old to stop nursing when mom becomes pregnant?
    • More importantly, night weaning?
    • is tandem nursing extremely taxing on the body?
    • when baby is born, I'm concerned that a nightnursing preschooler may squash the newborn -- yikes!
    I think it really depends on what happens with your supply and what kind of nurser your older child is as to whether or not he'll wean during the pregnancy. Some get frustrated when the milk supply declines and eventually switches over to colostrum. Some really like to comfort nurse and are fine with getting less milk for a while.

    Night weaning is really up to you. If you are feeling spent and tired, it's OK to set some limits. Your son can probably understand some of your explanations at this point if you decide to go that route.

    Tandem nursing is different for everyone. I didn't find it more taxing physically. It did take some adjustment for us emotionally. My older child was just a bit over 2. He was a big comfort nurser. I kept thinking he would wean when there was little milk left but he kept going. For me, I felt that nursing was a real need for him and I wanted to honor that. After my dd was born, my older ds loved all the new milk. He was great at relieving engorgement. But I found there were times I felt overwhelmed and would set a limit on nursing for him. Those times were difficult because he hadn't had any many limits on nursing before. I tried my best to be consistent and listen to all his feelings. It did get easier after a few weeks. I remember reading somewhere in an LLL pamphlet to give it 3 weeks and then decide on how it's going and set another goal if you wanted to continue tandem nursing. That really helped me to take it step by step, with small goals. Eventually we settled into a pattern that worked for us. My ds kept going for another two years, though that last year was *very* sporadic, nursing a couple mornings a week when he woke up.

    We slept with baby on the outside (bed on the floor with a bedrail) then me, then toddler, then daddy. We have a king size bed. Toddler could get comforted from either mom or dad and baby was safe from toddler sleeping patterns/movements because I was in-between.

    After about a couple of months after dd was born, I did nightwean ds. Going back & forth between the two nursing at night was very tiring for me. We talked about it with ds beforehand. He was sad the first night. I held him and listened to his feelings. He was sad again the next night, but less so. After that he needed reminding sometimes but didn't get sad about it. He took up the secondary comfort of twirling my hair as a subsitute. He still does that!

    Hope this helps you as you think about balancing your needs and the needs of your son.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    13

    Smile Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    Thanks so much for your support and advice. I find this hard because he seems to need it so much. My husband (yes, he's very much in the picture and a co-parent) thinks I should hold on, that children grow up fast and that our son really, really needs it a lot.

    At night our son has started to sleep in his own bed in his room. He loves it in there. However, I nurse him to bed 99% of the time and he keeps waking up during the night. We've tried this for almost a whole week in a row and it nearly drove me batty. The lack of sleep and stiffness (sleeping with him in a twin bed and a bedrail) brought about a cranky mother.

    People tell me I should go back to our bed (where my husband is) each time, but the prolactin knocks me out by the second time he calls me from my sleep. Before that, if he falls asleep before us, he wakes up a couple of times too to nurse. He cries, gets really distressed. He's a light sleeper.

    I just spoke to him now. He told me he likes to sleep in his own bed. I told him that he would sleep in his bed and I would sleep in my bed and in the morning he could have num-nums. He said "yeah" as he usually does. Let's see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

    Thanks for the info on tandem nursing. I'm going to have to read Adventures in Tandem Nursing the way we're going

    Thanks again,

    sagira

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    13

    Default Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    The first night he slept for six hours straight in his room! He wanted to sleep in his room. The second night (last night) he wanted to sleep in our bed (hmm.. I wonder why..). He nursed quite a bit again. I guess this is a trial and error thing, just like potty training, etc.

    Thank you again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,551

    Default Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    I think you're right about the trial and error approach. Some amount of "two steps forward, one step back" is normal during times of transition. If you keep following his cues while you are trying to make some changes, I bet he'll let you know if it's going too fast.

    Mary

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    239

    Default Re: Night nursing at 32 months

    Hannah was three in January so I think almost a year older than your son. We are still night nursing. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I have the same problems you describe. It has reduced greatly over the past year though just like the daytime nursing. We are done to a few minutes most evenings and I tell her I'm done, I don't indulge her like when she was little. I tell her I am tired or my arm hurts or whatever and it is time to go to sleep. She will drape herself around me and fall asleep and that works for me. She then will sleep most of the night and we nurse longer in the mornings. If she asks in the daytime I usually encourage her to wait until bedtime.

    I think you can set whatever limits work for you and your son will adjust. It is great that he is spending some time sleeping alone. Hannah won't do that yet but we talk about it a lot.

    I don't think I have any more than an ounce of milk left in a day but she still likes to nurse. It is comfort and soothing for her. I have to admit I like it too at times because it reminds me of the baby she used to be.

    I was pregnant and she nursed somewhat less during that time but then I miscarried and she started to nurse more often.

    It does seem to be one step forward and two back.

    Anne

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