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Thread: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Kinston, NC
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    Default tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    we've always had a great nursing situation; and she likes to nurse alot at night. the past five days, though, it seems as if she can't get enough. she has started asking for them as "no's" which is so cute, but not every hour during the night
    i'd like for her to start sleeping some in her room, i don't mind nursing a few times at night, but not all night-i'm tired
    i have been sick this week, and started my cycle, so maybe she's not getting enough, but i always get scared of losing my supply

    don't really have a specific question, but am looking for advice/experiences
    also, when you child-led wean, do they learn how to have comfort other ways, because she loves to nurse when she's tired or upset, and that is often the only way she settles down
    Wife to Larry since 7-08-06, Mom to Merryn, born 7-28-08
    We're trying to while going to work, finishing school, and keeping family first

  2. #2

    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    Congratulations for nursing to 14 months!
    Sometimes nursing a 12-18 month old can be intense. This too shall pass. I expect (hope) other mamas will chime in here with their recent experiences. I'll give you some observations from personal experience and the experience of moms in my LLL Group.

    Toddlers are usually very busy--there is a whole world to explore and sometimes they don't take enough time during the day to nurse and eat and get the calories they need. So, they make it up at night. They are also still growing and reaching new milestones. I noticed with my kids that things would be going well, and then suddenly they were cranky, wakeful, and asking to nurse all night. A week or so later they had a new skill or reached a new milestone (either motor or mental skills....my dd was this way just before she learned to read...not the breastfeeding part, but the cranky wakeful part). Moms in my LLL Group have noticed the same thing.

    I see it over and over again, that toddlers between about 13-18 months often seem to live on breastmilk and air. This will pass.

    Your child is probably starting to explore more and maybe walk away from you for brief periods. This is exciting, normal, and often slightly scary. The closeness with you at night is reassuring and helps her process her daily activities. There are some breastfed babies who do sleep longer stretches consistently from a fairly early age, but most do not. Since breastfeeding is the norm, it must be normal for infants and toddlers to be wakeful at night or go through periods of wakefulness. Neither of my kids slept long stretches *consistently* until they were about 2 years old.

    You can try some things to lessen the number of feedings at night, but keep in mind that if she really fights the changes, then the night nursing is a *need* for her. When the changes go smoothly with little or no fussing, then the child is ready for the change. You could try nursing a little more during the day and adding in whatever solid food she will take-- if she gets her calorie needs met, she might not wake so much at night. You could decide not to nurse after, say, midnight or 2am and explain to your child that "milk" has gone "night-night" (or whatever terms you use) and that she can nurse again when the sun is up. This will probably work better in a few months, but you might have success with it now. You could ask your spouse to soothe your child for some of the night wakings. You could put her in a toddler bed next to your bed for all or part of the night--let her know that if she needs you, she can crawl in with you. Perhaps the two or three feet of separation will be enough to cut down on the waking, and she has to make some effort to get to you to nurse (again, if she needs it, she will). Make every effort to allow yourself to nap with her during the day. If your nights are wakeful, even a 20-30 minute snooze in the afternoon is wonderfully refreshing. I used to settle into a recliner in the afternoon with my toddler and turn on the TV to something mildly interesting to me but boring for my son (like a gardening or house show-- nothing too flashy or loud). He would nurse to sleep and I would doze for 20-30 minutes. When I wanted to get up, I just moved him slightly (he wasn't my velcro child so he'd actually stay asleep when I got up ).

    Children who self-wean do so gradually. They simply lose interest in certain feedings because they don't need it anymore and they have other things to do. The nursings around naptime, bedtime, and first thing in the morning are usually the last to go. If your child doesn't fuss at a change you make, then she is developmentally ready for it. Keep in mind that your child is still changing and growing very fast. The physical growth slows down in the second year, but they still grow a lot. Just because you are frustrated and tired right now doesn't mean this will last forever. It may only be 2 or 3 months before you can make a change, but when you are not getting a lot of sleep, 2 or 3 months can seem like an eternity! I encourage you to attend any LLL meetings you can, because it really helps to share stories and ideas face-to-face with other moms. You may also make friends there for playgroups or moms to help you cope in person.

    Hang in there! Your child *will* wean when she is ready (and you'll miss nursing her). She *will* leave your bed. You *will* get more sleep eventually....but as a mama, you are not guaranteed a full night's sleep anymore (sorry!). There will be other nighttime needs; they just won't happen as frequently (an illness, a bad dream, teeth coming in, "growing pains", a bad storm, wondering if your teen is OK while she's out with friends...etc). I know it sounds corny, but do try to enjoy the nighttime closeness with your toddler, because she'll be out of this phase all too soon. Just don't lose sight of your needs too!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Good ole ATX y'all!
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    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    When DS2 turned 14 months he started to nurse like a newborn again !

    I found out though that this same thing happend to many other moms on this forum and that it's normal. It's a developmental thing and it will pass.

    He even started to reverse cycle, nursing more at night than the day, for a while too but came out of that. I came out of it too, like a zombie .

    You guys are going through a normal phase.
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and


    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,361

    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    Congratulations on nursing to 14 months! It only gets better from here on out.

    Is the all-night nursing a new thing, or has your baby always been a frequent night-nurser? If it's a new thing, it could be due to teething- many babies increase nursing frequency when their gums are bothering them. If she's always been a frequent nurser, then it may be that the night-nursing is at least in part a habit: many babies like to use the breast to soothe themselves to sleep, and don't like to accept substitutes for that pleasure. I suggest taking a look at Elizabeth Pantley's book The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers, which can help you handle this situation in a gentle way.

    While sickness and menstruation often cause a dip in supply, I would not worry about "losing" your supply. As long as you nurse on demand, your supply may dip but it will quickly bounce back.

    Child-led weaning is, in my experience, a very slow and gradual process. It took my child 3 years to get to the point where she was only nursing once or twice a day. Kids do develop the ability to accept comforts other than the breast, but don't expect that ability to arise until 18 months-2 years at least.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    I decided to follow Dr. Jay Gordon's advice after another lll mother suggested it. It took many sleepless nights, but so worth it. with that being said, we do still have the odd night waking.

    I did adapt it along with my Elizabeth Pantley's techiques and my own maternal insticts. It took a few months so patience was the key.

    Here is the weblink!

    http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
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    2,242

    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    My 14 month old is nursing A LOT lately too. I know her gums are bothering her as well. She nurses almost constantly in the morning, backs off some in the afternoon, and I work part time in the evening.


    I'm Laura, mamma of 2

    5-27-06

    8-30-08

    We love and

    We have been nursing for over 2 years now!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    Oh no. I am going to be sending DD to daycare 25-30 hours a week right as she turns 14 months. Something I am not looking forward to doing to her. We have been able to be together almost the whole time this first year. So you are saying I will be losing more sleep the more busy I get? Guess I can prepare for it in my mind starting now
    Nursed for 18 months

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Good ole ATX y'all!
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    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hiranmayii View Post
    Oh no. I am going to be sending DD to daycare 25-30 hours a week right as she turns 14 months. Something I am not looking forward to doing to her. We have been able to be together almost the whole time this first year. So you are saying I will be losing more sleep the more busy I get? Guess I can prepare for it in my mind starting now
    Well, hopefully it won't happen to you. Every baby is different and yours may or may not go through this phase.
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and


    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: tell me about nursing a 14 month old

    I sent my DD back to dc at 13 mo. and except for the odd night of teething, she didn't go through that crazy nursing stage. We don't co-sleep, though, so maybe that made a difference. I tell you what, though, having done it both ways (bottle feeding and bf) I would much rather lie down with and nurse a cranky baby at night than stand in a cold kitchen to warm up a bottle at 2 a.m.
    Going back to work is tough, but you can do it! Nursing is a wonderful way to reconnect with your baby after a long day at work/dc. I'm so glad that the first thing my dd wants to do when I pick her up is nurse.

    I'm Erica

    Mommy to "C" - currently 3 and half years old
    - nursed for one year

    and mommy to "M" - currently 2 years old
    - nursed for 23 months

    Wife to my handsome DH for 5 and a half years!

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