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Thread: Need Sleep - help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    13

    Default Need Sleep - help!

    My 17 month old nurses constantly. As I said in an earlier post, left to his own, he would nurse at least every hour - and that includes through the night! We share a family bed so I haven't had that much trouble nursing him, but it just doesn't seem to be getting any better. He doesn't each much solid food. In fact, a few weeks ago he woke up in the middle of the night and asked for food, which was shocking in itself - but when he took a bite of soft bread and swallowed it, he arched his back and screamed and wouldn't eat any more. We immediately took him to an ENT and a gastro specialist. He had a scan of his throat and nothing is wrong. The doctors seem to think he just doesn't like the texture of most foods and that he just enjoys nursing more.

    Well, I deeply support the philosophy of nursing and the family bed and being there for my son, but I'm not functioning well at work and I'm having trouble stringing sentences together (thank goodness I can edit here). I don't want to push him away, but I do need to sleep at night. I also don't want to give up nursing completely - its such a beautiful, intimate moment.

    Can anyone who has been there give me a suggestion on how I can get my baby to sleep and cut down to a reasonable number of nursings a day (maybe 8 or so?)
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    I am in a very similar situation to you! My DS is 27 months. At your baby's age, he was nursing constantly around the clock. We've been successful at reducing the daytime nursing, but he's still waking about 9 times a night. I keep procrastinating working on the night weaning, but I've decided I need to bight the bullet and get on with it because I'm exhausted and DH is getting really frustrated. I don't have any BTDT advice for night yet since I'm just starting , but I've made a plan based on some reading and suggestions from other moms. I'm working on making DS a book about day and night, with pictures of him in daytime and nighttime activities (the nighttime activity being SLEEP). The book will talk about going to bed, and that when he goes to bed Mommy and the nursies need to go to sleep too. Then I plan to start with a period of time during the night (I'm thinking maybe 4 hours in the beginning) that I don't want to nurse. At first I will let him nurse, but then once he's done he has to lay back down and go back to sleep awhile before he gets to nurse again (right now he will often keep waking several times in a row and want to latch back on for just a couple sucks). Then maybe I'll go to only letting him have one side, then back to sleep, and finally no nursing only back rubs during that four hour window (I'll still let him nurse earlier in the night). I think I'll use a verbal cue like "the nursies are sleeping" to communicate that we're done nursing and he needs to go back to sleep without the breast. Sunrise will be his cue that he can nurse again. After we're doing pretty well with the four hours, I can gradually move the time that nursies go to sleep earlier (and of course sunrise will naturally get later at this time of year), until I have a decent night's sleep. Of course this is all just a plan right now--I'll let you know how it goes!

    During the day, I was pretty successful in just establishing a routine where I only offered to nurse at certain times rather than continuing with on demand. I made sure there were plenty of opportunities (about 7 during the day), but just not every 1/2 hour anymore. When he asked to nurse I would say no we can't nurse right now, but you can nurse again after lunch (or whenever the next time would be). Then I'd offer to read him a book or go outside or something else that he likes to do. I thought this would be very difficult and traumatic, but DS actually adjusted very quickly and was fine with it (he was 21 months when I started this). Now that he's eating a lot more solids, he often chooses not to nurse a couple of those day times even when I offer.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    How big is your bed? Maybe you just need a little more space between the two of you.

    My dd was an hourly nurser at night. Often when she was teething and then her latch was uncomfortable so I couldn't sleep with her attached to me. I didn't have to work, so I guess that's what kept me sane. Otherwise I think I would have made more dramatic changes. She's two and still a night nurser out of habit. But here's all I did:

    I had been starting my dd out in her own bed for some time (guess I was determined to use that stupid peice of furnature). I started by putting a mattress on the floor so that I could nurse her to sleep there, but have found that her toddler bed/crib with three walls works with a big heavy beany-type toy on the edge to keep her from falling out. So I'd nurse her to sleep in her own bed at night. Then I'd nurse her back to sleep and it actually worked better if I responded quickly when she woke (Dd never read the books that say what's supposed to work on babies). After I was asleep, if she'd wake again... (what am I saying?) WHEN she'd wake again, I'd just go get her and bring her into my bed.

    Then I started to nurse her ALMOST to sleep and leave the room, saying that I'd be right back. She'd fall asleep waiting for me to get back. (at 18-22 mos. Don't try that trick with a two year old!) Eventually I got to nursing her in the rocking chair by her bed, then putting her into her bed wide awake and sitting at the foot of her bed while she put herself to sleep. She was really into doing everything by herself so I challenged her to do the same with sleep.

    She still wakes at night and I still bring her to my bed, but it's down to usually two wakings a night - about 1am and I think 4ish? - and she goes back to sleep quickly. But I think that having her own space at night has helped her learn to sleep without looking for the breast all the time. If you decide to do this - or any change - I'd expect the wakings to get more frequent before they taper off. Sleeping alone actually made her wake MORE at first, but it wasn't a difficult time or anything, because I still responded and she went right back to sleep. It was just getting discouraging before I started to see those nice long stretches. I'm still hoping her ability to put herself to sleep will eliminate that 1:00 waking, but I'm pretty sure that she'll need to stop nursing at 1am before that happens. Not quite ready for that late night argument yet.

    Julie

  4. #4
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    Hi, I'm new to this site. My dd is 17 months (co-sleeper) and wakes at least twice a night and then first thing in the morning to nurse. I never need an alarm clock! I really want her to sleep through the night! I've feel like I haven't slept a full night in 2 1/2 years (very ill during pregnancy)! I guess that isn't entirely true... my husbands tries "to help me" sometimes. He lets me sleep in the other room. When she wakes he puts on Little Einstein cartoons, just reinforcing that waking at night is fun!!! Then he complains that he was from 1 to 4:00 pm because he had to keep putting in another episode! AAAAaaarg!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    Oh my gosh yes!! Little Einstein is THE WAY my hubby deals with 'giving me a break' at night!

    How funny. Its so comforting that I'm not the only one with this issue. I guess I shouldn't be complaining since there are so many who would like their babies to nurse more. I guess it all depends on which side of the fence you're looking from.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    19

    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    We are dealing with this too with my 13 month old...I have just read No Cry SLeep solution for Toddlers and am working on implementing some of those things...I loved her book and there is a special section for the "all night nursling"....her suggestions are gentle and gradual but I am hoping they will work.....good luck with it! It's great to know that we're not alone!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    I think he needs to learn to eat some food. And it is not an easy task, especially since he is so accustomed to his mommy's milk. Maybe when he said he wanted food he didn't mean right then and there, but maybe something you and him could work on in the future. I know that bf can be all a baby needs for the first 2 years but maybe he nurses all the time because he is still hungry. I would suggest making him purees. My MIL told my that my husband at that age and until he was 6 insisted on everything he ate to be put in the food processor, and he only nursed for 6 months. I know this sounds gross but if he could he would still eat his steak pureed. lol I would agree that maybe your DS doesn't like texture so try a different approach. If you don't want to make purees try a pressure cooker it makes everything mushy and tender. Try to feed him a little dinner maybe he might sleep a little longer.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    Oh and I forgot.. Don't let thier initial lack of interest let you think they don't like it.. My DD sometimes hates one thing one day but enjoys it the next.. Good luck

  9. #9
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    Quick note: Many times when a baby starts solids later, they hate purees and prefer bite sized pieces. Many kids I know who were exclusively breast fed for more than 6 months ended up skipping the whole baby food thing and went straight to table food, and of course prefered it off of mommy's plate to their own.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Need Sleep - help!

    Yes, it really varies from child to child as to preferences for purees vs. bite-sized bits.
    tamig, how is it going for you lately?

    Mary

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