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Thread: night weaning a high needs toddler, help!

  1. #1

    Default night weaning a high needs toddler, help!

    Hi, new here! First a little background!

    I'm a young first time mom, DH is military and we are stationed in Germany. DS was born prematurely at 32 weeks and spent 4 weeks in the NICU. I exclusively pumped for 4 months before I could get him to breastfeed.

    He is pretty high needs, until very recently he was still nursing every 2 - 3 hours day and night. He is a very highly strung, sensitive, careful little boy and due to some minor developmental issues gets easily frustrated and turns into a little wildcat.

    He is nearly 13 months old now and only nurses about 3 or 4 times during the day, these sessions are generally before nap times or bedtime. He nurses to sleep always and will absolutely not go to sleep any other way. We also co-sleep, mainly out of necessity!

    The problem is that he will not go to sleep without nursing and still wakes every 2-3 hours during the night to nurse! If I am covered up he will kick me and bite me until I wake up and nurse him.

    I don't want to wean him completely, I really enjoy nursing and want to continue until he self-weans however this night nursing habit is making everyone tired and miserable, including him. I don't think he's getting enough deep sleep, he very often is over-tired despite the fact that he goes to bed at 8pm, gets up at 7am and has 2 daytime naps.

    I can't get a sitter for a much needed break because he will not nap or sleep for them, even my parents (who successfully raised 3 children) could not get him to sleep without me and had to call me back early from my date with DH last week.

    It also usually takes at least 3 attempts to get him to fall asleep when I am nursing him. This boy just does not like sleeping!

    As a last ditch effort DH tried to get DS to cry it out. It was a complete disaster, DS spent 20 minutes throwing himself at the sides of his crib screaming like a wild animal. NOT an option!

    Any advice (or commiseration!) definitely welcome.


    P.S. In case it has any bearing on why he does this, his developmental/medical issues are as follows -

    Recently corrected tongue-tie
    Recently had enlarged adenoids removed
    Recently had tubes put in his ears to drain fluid
    He does not use his left eye (lazy eye? We're currently seeking treatment).
    His fine motor, cognitive and social skills are at the same level as a 6 - 9 month old (currently seeking therapy).


    thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    The Yellow House
    Posts
    697

    Default Re: night weaning a high needs toddler, help!

    No advice. My DD is similar. She'll be a year on 11/10, and wakes ever 1.5-2 hours to nurse. If there's no boob she screams and stiffens out in anger. She's not even fully awake when she does this. If you wake her all the way, she will stop, but then she's awake . It's so frustrating! DH works nights and takes over when he gets home at 3 am. Of course, as he paces with her and she's screaming at him, I'm still not getting much sleep. I very much love co-sleeping with her - there's nothing better than snuggling her at night and waking to her coos in the morning - but this all night nursing is killing my back and sleep quality. We've never had a date night. Heck, we've only DTD 6-7 times this year . She just won't sleep for long enough without nursing. It's definitely made our relationship harder.

    I don't know what else to say, but I do understand .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    834

    Default Re: night weaning a high needs toddler, help!

    Have you tried letting him cry in his daddy's arms? We had to do that for my son a few times...he tried very hard to get out of his daddy's arms but DH just held him tight and wouldn't let him...eventually DS tired out. It made for a couple long nights for DH, but once those nights were over we all got a lot more sleep overall (since DH would wake up whenever DS woke up)
    ~~~~ ~~~~
    Iryssa(24), DH(27)


    DS born Sept. 21 '07, 8.5lbs
    Nursed for the last time Oct. 20 '08

    DD born Jan. 20, '09, 8lbs 14oz

    http://healthymomnbaby.blogspot.com/
    http://www.xanga.com/iryssa

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: night weaning a high needs toddler, help!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*satakieli View Post
    He is nearly 13 months old now and only nurses about 3 or 4 times during the day, these sessions are generally before nap times or bedtime. He nurses to sleep always and will absolutely not go to sleep any other way. We also co-sleep, mainly out of necessity!

    The problem is that he will not go to sleep without nursing and still wakes every 2-3 hours during the night to nurse! If I am covered up he will kick me and bite me until I wake up and nurse him.

    I don't want to wean him completely, I really enjoy nursing and want to continue until he self-weans however this night nursing habit is making everyone tired and miserable, including him. I don't think he's getting enough deep sleep, he very often is over-tired despite the fact that he goes to bed at 8pm, gets up at 7am and has 2 daytime naps.

    I can't get a sitter for a much needed break because he will not nap or sleep for them, even my parents (who successfully raised 3 children) could not get him to sleep without me and had to call me back early from my date with DH last week.

    It also usually takes at least 3 attempts to get him to fall asleep when I am nursing him. This boy just does not like sleeping!

    As a last ditch effort DH tried to get DS to cry it out. It was a complete disaster, DS spent 20 minutes throwing himself at the sides of his crib screaming like a wild animal. NOT an option!
    Our little guy used to take 2 very short daytime naps and then sleeps about 2 hours a go during the night. I can probably count on one hand the number of times he's fallen asleep without nursing or while traveling. He's changing his daytime naps a lot right now, time and individual and total lengths. And it now takes multiple attempts to get him to sleep at nap and bed time. Our last date attempt went just the same as yours, my parents also having raised 3 kids plus foster children of varying ages. MIL suggested the CIO method, but she did admit that hers more wimpered and then drifted off to sleep, not the all out tyraid that our guy does. I just haven't reached the point where I'm ready to let him go through that. We did with our oldest and were fortunate that it took only one night. However, she refused to cuddle at all with anyone after that. Ugh.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*becca-mama2elisabeth View Post
    Heck, we've only DTD 6-7 times this year . She just won't sleep for long enough without nursing. It's definitely made our relationship harder.
    6? We've only managed 2 for the same reason. Once upon a time he slept but not since he was 2-3 months old. DH grows tired of DS taking his place in the bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*iryssa View Post
    Have you tried letting him cry in his daddy's arms? We had to do that for my son a few times...he tried very hard to get out of his daddy's arms but DH just held him tight and wouldn't let him...eventually DS tired out. It made for a couple long nights for DH, but once those nights were over we all got a lot more sleep overall (since DH would wake up whenever DS woke up)
    We did try that one night. DS finally fell asleep crying/yelling while lying down with DH on the spare bed (that DH uses all the time because our bed isn't big enough for all 3 of us), but he couldn't get him moved back into bed with me without him waking back up.

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