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Thread: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

  1. #1

    Default Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    Hello all nursing mamas! My 2 yr old continues to nurse 4 to 6 or more times a night. I do not want to wean and the few times I have said "The neh-neh's need to sleep," she has been inconsolable so of course I nurse her! I am so sleep deprived that I feel I am not as good a mama as I could be. I do nap with her, but I only sleep for 20-40 minutes before waking up. It helps but won't really do it. She nurses a lot in the day too. I do offer foods but that doesn't seem to affect the amount of nursing. I am starting to see that it really is about emotional connection and her own pace of emotional development, even though breastmilk is still her primary food source too. I am an at-home mama so we spend most of our time together and we are very attached and happy to be together, but I am functioning at a level of burn-out rather than adequate energy.

    I'm sure one of you has been through this so I'd like to hear your experience and how you handled it.

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Good ole ATX y'all!

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing


    Fellow 2 yr old nursing momma here. I won't be a big help but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone (not that that will get you any more sleep!). My son will be 3 in November and he's still nursing anywhere from 3-6 times a night. .

    I came to a decision about 5 months ago where I felt I couldn't go on nursing a 2 year old all day and night but I decided to day wean. It was easier for me. Now we nurse at nap time and then all night. But it has helped me.

    Have you heard of Dr. Jay Gordon's gentle night weaning?


    Lots of mommas on here use it with good success. It's gradual and you can take it as you need to and customize it to your child.

    Also one point that my friend Teal gave me that really changed my view on weaning is that telling them that there won't be any nursing at night or however you say it, and then letting them cry while you are there with them, holding them, loving them through it is worlds away from the CIO method. Being there with your child while they are sad is ever so much better than CIO. It is sad, weaning is sad. It's okay for her to feel sad about it.

    Another thing that helped me finally decide to day wean was realizing that there are TWO people in the breastfeeding relationship. Your child is not the demander and you the submitter. Especially as they get older. After one year it can be what you make it. So if you are really at the point where you know you need the sleep (right there with you!! ) and you know it will make you a better person for her, realizing that you have say in the breastfeeding relationship can help you to let go of the guilt that comes along with weaning for some of us (me!!!).

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    I went through this with dd and mostly night weaned her pretty quickly & fairly painlessly. I think when they're 2, they understand a little better. I explained before we went to bed, that after she went to sleep ( I let her nurse to sleep), that milkies were going to sleep too and she could have them again in the morning. I wore a tank top to bed so she couldn't sneak any, she did cry a little the first couple of nights, but I held her and rocked her in the bed and she went back to sleep after a bit. It got better each night and after a few nights she was fine. Now, i don't wear a top to bed (we still cosleep), but she only nurses to sleep and then again around 6am or so even though she sleeps until around 8am. Good luck!
    since 10/10/07
    and still going...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    My husband recently took over bedtime and now he goes to her when she wakes at night. Is that an option for you? There were and sometimes are some tears, but their relationship has gotten stronger and I am getting more sleep. I couldn't do the nightweaning myself...

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    i stay at home with my daughter, so i'm just toughing it out through the 2-year molars and letting her nurse as much as she needs at night. some nights it's 1 time, sometimes it's 4. it's hard, but because i don't have to present myself in a professional way to a boss at work in the morning, i don't have a problem with the disrupted sleep -- for now, anyway.

    sorry you're having a rough time...
    the best food blog you aren't reading

    i'm beth, mama to:

    lila, 11/6/08, nursed until 2yrs 10 mos, weaned during pregnancy


    max, 2/16/12, my huge new little nursling

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    Right there with ya, Storyteller! Except mine is only 17 months. But we are up all.night.long! It's exhausting to say the least... but for some reason it's easier for me not to change what we are doing. Maybe I am lazy?

    You aren't alone!
    Emily~ nursing my 19 mo old baby boy with baby #2 due June of 2011!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    We night weaned about 6 weeks ago and it's still rough sometimes. My DS is very attached to the "boobies" and cried a lot in the beginning. I decided 20 months of waking up and nursing in the middle of the night was enough, I can't sleep through it (even though we co-sleep) and was getting very irritated with nursing in general.

    We had to find new ways of comforting in the middle of the night. He still gets upset but I feel it's so important for our nursing relationship to go through this so we can both be happy (he still nurses 6 times a day or more on my days off-I work 4 days a week). I also think it's important to be consistent so once I decided to start the night weaning there was no going back for us. However I do cheat a little and let him nurse any time after 5:30AM even though I always hope he makes it to 6am.

    He sometimes still gets upset and angry in the middle of the night but he gets to nurse a ton during the day. I tell him each night that the boobies are going night, night and he does get it but just gets so mad if he wakes up and "boobies are still sleeping."

    Good luck!
    DS 11/25/2008 until 27 months

    Now DD born 2/13/2012

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Far away

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    I nursed my son throughout the night until he was over 3 yrs old. I never set many limits although I thought about it a lot because I am a WOHM and not a very good sleeper. As he passed 2 years, I slowly grew resentful of being awakened at night and having my precarious state of sleep regularly interrupted (especially because he became more picky as he got older and would switch breasts every 5 seconds and fidget all over the place trying to get an optimal position. We cosleep.)

    A PP said that nursing is a two-way relationship and that is very true. If it's not working for you then it isn't an optimal situation. In hindsight, I should have set more limits on the night feedings because I wasn't completely happy with what was going on. Setting limits can be a good thing - it teaches your child that your well-being is just as important as theirs. And they need to know that.

    With this next child, I am definitely going to set limits on night feedings as soon as I find it becoming more difficult for me to fall back asleep. I've learned a lot from nursing my son and will put my new knowledge to use!

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
    Andrea - mama to Laith 02.20.07 and Sommer 01.21.11
    'Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.' - Noam Chomsky

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    I didn't realize til now that we day weaned DS when we found out I was pregnant. It was a really easy transition- just asked if he was tired and if he said no- then we told him to wait until naptime. Ive always been able to sleep while he nurses so I know that isn't much help. Hugs.
    Jaxon (07/13/08) weaned at 27 months
    Alexa and Braxton (11/18/10). My NICU miracles.


    "This above all: to thine own self be true" -Hamlet

  10. #10

    Default Re: Help with 2 yr old night nursing

    3 1/2 years and right there with ya! DS doesn't nurse much during the day anymore, but he didn't eat solids until he was 2, so I definitely recall the all day, all night nursing. He still nurses, on average, about 3-5 times during a 7-8 hours night and I haven't yet found myself willing to insist that he not, in part because I'm pretty sure I get more sleep by nursing (he is one of those kids who is awake for hours if he manages to get an eye open) and partly because he has had a variety of health issues and nursing has consistently been not only a source of immense comfort for him (and sometimes for me, too) but also a source of nutrition and hydration when things aren't going well.

    There have certainly been times when I thought I might lose my mind, when I questioned whether I was doing the best thing for him, given how exhausted I so often am, but I just haven't felt a strong enough resolve to make a change to actually do so, and I am just trusting that the lack of resolve is an intuitive message to me. I have trusted his body and mine to do what is best for us up to this point, and I see no reason to stop trusting in that now....
    Mama to Lorenzo, born 4/25/2007. NICU graduate, Gastro-Esohapgeal Reflux, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder...alive and thriving thanks to breastfeeding and co-sleeping.

    Those who say it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
    Chinese Proverb

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