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Thread: "8 month old not nursing enough, self-weaning?"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    44

    Unhappy "8 month old not nursing enough, self-weaning?"

    My 8 month old does not want to nurse during the day but wakes up every two hours at night and wants the boob for comfort mostly. Today, I tried to give him some formula but he doesn't like it. I've tried pumping after each feeding to empty my breasts but never get more than 2 ounces. I really hate pumping. I wouldn't comfort him so much at night if he'd nurse properly in the day.
    His decrease in nursing has been a gradual thing since 6 months. I can't make him nurse. The only time he is interested is before naps or bedtime but only nurses for a minute or two then. I will be going back to work in two months and wonder if I should start weaning him now since he seems to be self-weaning and I won't have privacy at work to pump. I don't want to wean him while he is stressed being in a new environment. I want to quit nursing at one year anyway. When I go back to work I have no problem continuing nursing him before work, after work and at night as long as I'm able. However, I don't want him up all night like he is now. He has never been a good sleeper. He used to nurse almost continuosly. He gets up to 2 oz of juice a day but he doesn't get any other liquids. He loves to use a sippy cup but looks disgusted when I put formula in it because he is expecting juice. One day I mixed formula in his cereal and he refused to eat the cereal for a week. I usually just mix it with water.
    I know his diet should consist mostly of breast milk or formula but it isn't. I'm concerned he isn't getting enough liquids. His weight is good. Has anyone else experienced this? Any advice will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    683

    Default Re: "8 month old not nursing enough, self-weaning?"

    It sounds like your baby is reverse-cycling -- it's when instead of sleeping through the night and nursing throughout the day, they spend a lot of time nursing throughout the night and not nursing much (if at all) throughout the day time. It's quite common and perfectly alright. Many breastfed babies who's mom's work during the day adopt this type of behavior. If you are unable to pump once you return to work then this situation could really work to your benefit. You'll be able to provide breastmilk to your baby while you are with him! How wonderful!

    When you are offering him solids during the day are you offering to nurse him first? If not, offer. If he refuses then that's alright but perhaps you need to cut back on his solid food intake. You are correct that the majority of his diet should consist of breastmilk. You might also consider losing the juice -- it fills him up on calories that he could otherwise be taking in as breastmilk. Also, don't underestimate the amount of breastmilk he's getting in those 1-2 minutes of nursing before his naps and at bedtime. Some babies are highly efficient nursers. If your baby is gaining weight, then he's getting the right amount of breastmilk

    Research/evidence tells us that unless there's some sort of outside influence a baby less than 2 years old will not self-wean and most certainly never before 1 year of age.

    In regards to breastfeeding duration, the World Health Organization and UNICEF both recommend at least 2 years of breastfeeding. Here is some information on the benefits that are derived from nursing beyond age 1 (for both you AND baby!): http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/advantagetoddler.html and something not LLL-approved http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html

    HTH!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    44

    Default Re: "8 month old not nursing enough, self-weaning?"

    Carol, Thanks for your response and words of encouragement. I could live with the current arrangement but the lack of sleep is having a very bad effect on our lives. Glenn, my 8 month old, wakes up every 2 hours with a shrill cry which doesn't stop until I put him to my breast. Up until 6 months old Glenn did not take real naps he cat napped 10 minutes here and there and wook up every 2 hours to nurse. At 5 months stopped nursing him every other time at night and eventually he slept 4 hour increments and alas Mom became a real person again--it was great! And he started to take 3 naps totally 3-4 hours--beautiful! Now, he is back to waking every 2 hours at night and his nap schedule is changing. I am nursing him at night every time he cries because of his lack of nursing in the day--maybe one decent nursing.
    I'm going back to work in 2 months and I don't think I will be able to function well at work with only 4 broken up hours of sleep at night. I'll have to start going to sleep when I put him down which means I won't see my husband. It takes me a long time to get to sleep (I know where Glenn gets this trait) everytime I'm awakened. Glenn goes to bed at 7:30 and gets up at 6:30 no matter how much sleep he gets at night. I would like to be able to continue nursing him until he is a year or slightly longer. Should I keep nursing him everytime he cries at night? or do you think its reasonable to refuse nursing unless its been 4 hours? HELP

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    683

    Default Re: "8 month old not nursing enough, self-weaning?"

    Should I keep nursing him everytime he cries at night? or do you think its reasonable to refuse nursing unless its been 4 hours? HELP
    Glennysmom -- It sounds like you are really frustrated and unsure of how things will unfold once you return to work. I'm sorry that you are feeling this way but I hope that with some support and encouragement you'll be able to face the road ahead.

    To answer your question of whether you should keep nursing him everytime he cries at night -- this is really up to you. Parenting does not end once the sun goes down and if you find that the quickest and easiest way for all of you to get back to sleep is to nurse your baby then do it! There's certainly nothing wrong with doing so. Also, many mother's find that they get more sleep if baby is near them during the night. I know that I started co-sleeping for one reason: To get more sleep! LOL However, if you find that you really do want to help your son to sleep better, may I suggest The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley? You may also want to check out Nighttime Parenting by Dr. William Sears. Both of these books come highly recommended and are approved by La Leche League.

    Just keep in mind that your baby is only 8 months old which is still very young and when he wakes up at night wanting to nurse, he doesn't understand when you refuse. Dr. Jay Gordon doesn't recommend night weaning until baby is at least a year old. A good book written by him is Good Nights and is available in the LLL catalogue (I believe). He's got a night weaning "program" on his website for babies in the family bed -- so while it may not particularly apply to you, the information in it might be helpful to you nonetheless. It's located here: Changing The Sleep Pattern In The Family Bed Another thing to keep in mind is that night weaning doesn't necessary equate to more sleep. In fact, night weaning could prove to make the night time situation a bit tougher. Would Weaning Make My Life Easier?

    I want to share these articles with you as well -- I hope you find some good information, encouragement and support from them

    SHOULD I SLEEP WITH MY BABY?
    When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

    I think though that you might find some good success with The No Cry Sleep Solution. It's a very good book written by someone who I would want to be my own mother!

    Hope this helps some more. Hang in there -- you'll get through this! Parenting is a tough business!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: "8 month old not nursing enough, self-weaning?"

    Carol, Thanks for the response. My 8 month old is already taking a few steps on his own and is very very active. He will not cuddle and when I do hug him he yanks on my hair, punches me in the nose or eyes, and pinches my face. He used to beat me up and scratch me when he nursed--Thank God he longer does that. I know he doesn't mean to hurt me. He is very active in bed too and would fall off in no time if he slept with me so that is out of the question. We did sleep with him for about 3 months because he nursed continuously and then it became impossible and it was a struggle getting him comfortable in the crib but he is now so there he stays.
    Last night he only nursed two times after I put him to bed although he wook up at least 2 additional times and put himself back to sleep and he nursed well this morning--yay! It seems my milk supply has increased too! Hopefully this continues. Thanks again for the advice.

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