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Thread: 15 month old nurses all night long! Help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default 15 month old nurses all night long! Help!

    I actually have two problems. First, Connor had major nursing issues at 4months because of reflux. He would only nurse in his sleep. We developed a bad habit of him being nursed to sleep for naps and throughout the night (we co-sleep). He still wakes up 45 minutes into his nap, and I nurse him back to sleep (every single nap). He also wakes up every 45 minutes when we put him down at night until we bring him in our bed when we go to sleep. I have to nurse him each time to get him to go back to sleep. We've tried other things, but he will just scream and cry until I hold him and he can nurse. Anyone have ideas on how to get him to fall asleep w/o nursing? He won't sleep even on long car rides.

    Our other problem is that he wakes up all night long (between 8-12 times per night). I normally just let him nurse and he falls right back to sleep. But I am so exhausted. I just can't keep doing this every single night. Some nights he is so squirmy, I only get a few hours of sleep. He also needs to lay on top of me to fall back to sleep. Last night we tried to get him to go back to sleep w/o letting him lay on me and we were all up for 4 straight hours.

    I love nursing him, but would like to gradually wean him. Because of his reflux he still doesn't eat solids very well though. So I guess I have two questions:
    1) How can I get him to learn to fall asleep w/o nursing? (don't think I can have him cry it out too long).
    2) How can I get him to sleep better at night? I don't think he actually gets much milk at night, just wants comfort.

    Sorry so long!! Thanks in advance for any ideas!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 15 month old nurses all night long! Help!

    Yowza! 8-12 wake-ups per night? You must be exhausted. You're a good, patient, tolerant momma for allowing your son to night-nurse so extensively for so long.

    I finally night-weaned DD when she turned 2. She had been down to 1 nursing session since 10.5 months, so the transition wasn't too drastic. Here's what worked for me:
    - Before bedtime, talk to your child. "It's time for night-night. You're going night-night. Mama's going night-night. Nursies (or whatever you call nursing) are going night-night. Everyone sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG. We'll nurse again in the morning." If he wakes in the night, remind him that it's night-night and everyone (including nursies) are sleeping, and that he can nurse again when the sun comes up. In the morning, reinforce the lesson. "You slept all night long! Mama slept! Nursies slept! Now that it's morning, it's time to nurse again! Good job."
    - Keep a sippy cup or bottle available for wake-ups. A night-waking baby may be genuinely thirsty.
    - Accept that there may be some crying, or even a lot of crying. Do not feel like you MUST offer the breast to stop your child from crying. You can offer alternative comforts- gentle words, a back-rub, hugs, songs, whatever. So long as you are comforting your child, even if you're not giving him his favorite type of comfort, it is not the same as allowing him to CIO alone in a dark room.
    - Accept that you may be getting even less sleep than you have been while the new pattern is being established. It took us about a month before DD accepted that she would not get nursed at night, and started sleeping longer and better.

    I also highly recommend Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution." It's full of gentle ways to get a persistant night-waker and nurser to sleep longer and better, and has a technique to train your child to go to sleep without a breast in his mouth.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: 15 month old nurses all night long! Help!

    I could've written your post. We dealt with reflux too and it led us to fall into those "bad habits" of co-sleeping and nursing to sleep that you mentioned. I came to realize though, they are not bad habits at all, but normal and beneficial for some families.

    Is your child teething? We tried to night-wean around 13 months and were met with hysterics. We were fighting the brick wall that is molars and eye teeth. Once they were through, we tried the Dr Jay Gordon method of changing the routine in the family bed and it worked. There was SOME crying, but it was not hysterics it was more...resistance like "Mom, this isnt what I'm used to....I'm going to stomp my foot a bit....oh never mind....i'm pretty tired and you singing and patting my back is pretty nice...ZZZZ" He now goes all night without nursing and we did not have to stop co-sleeping. Sometimes he needs a pat on the back or a kiss or cuddle, and he drifts right back.

    Nursing the girl with kaleidoscope eyes

    Mama to Daniel (12/3/06) and Lucy Jane (8/28/08)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: 15 month old nurses all night long! Help!

    OMG...this is me to a tee! EXCEPT I have been doing this since day one with my 16 month old. I want to wean him know. He won't have it . I work full time and my husband and I just seperated so it is just me and DS. I am in so much pain right now. I have never been in pain before. Mine even needs to tune into Tokeo while he is sleeping on top of me all night. I have tried the talking to him in the middle of the night and rubbing his back and everything and he just pushes my hand away till I finally give in since I have to sleep to be able to work the next day. Good luck.
    Mommy to Chance Lane 1/18/07
    I love my miracle baby so much! Be the best that you can be to your angels no matter how selfless you have to be!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Not around here as much :(

    Default Re: 15 month old nurses all night long! Help!

    Just going to add my experience to the above posters

    We (meaning I ) decided the night nursing had to go before the nursing to sleep. That I didn't mind as much. I tried night weaning at 1 year and it wasn't time. I tried again at 18 mo and it worked (used the above mentioned Dr Jay Gordons method.)

    We've just recently slowed on the nursing to sleep. He's 23 mo and we started this last month. I took away his nap time ones first... slowly. It's been about 1 week since we've nursed for a nap.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: 15 month old nurses all night long! Help!

    I also recommend the Dr Jay Gordons method. I woudl also check to make sure his reflux is not still an issue. Once we started a different med, my DS started to sleep SO MUCH better in about a week - looking back on it. I really don't think any method would have worked at that point since I think it really did hurt him to sleep.
    DS-11/06- known IGE allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, beef, lamb, duck, amaranth, mustard and more...
    Outgrew pork, oats, soy, chickpeas, peas, turkey, chicken, shellfish and wheat. He has now outgrown more than half his food allergies

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