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Did anyone's dc bf at night for longer than 2 years and lived to tell the tale?

(16 Posts)
phdlife Wed 01-Jun-11 00:00:57

I'm just wondering, because dd and I are going through such misery as I'm trying to stop her feeding at night.

She has always fed at night and I've let her because she is so utterly mis over teething and nothing else works - well, the drugs do but I can't have the child on nurofen every single night! Mostly it wasn't too bad - 1-2x a night, for 5-7mins. I could totally live with that.

But around 18m she hit a bad patch of wanting 1.5-2hrly feeds (4 teeth coming + severe attachment anxiety = Not A Good Thing); at 20m she started really wanting me as a dummy, and throwing godalmighty tantrums if I tried to cut down the time she was taking chewing on me while she got back to sleep.

Meanwhile, I'm also wrangling a 4yo a couple times a week (nightmares, leaky nappies); I've only just got my periods back (which shows you how much she was feeding); I still feel, mentally, like a newish mum, and I'd just really really really like to get my brain back.

I've tried every 'gradual' trick in the book; they only yielded pure fury. In the past couple of days I've finally given up and she just doesn't get any feed at night.

The first few nights she screamed the house down for 30-40mins x2, followed by 30-40mins of fitful sobbing, frantic touching of my moles (that's her only other comfort thing - all other offerings have been flung), occasional screams, thrashing about and whimpering, as she put herself back to sleep.

Last night, only 1x, no screaming, but about 2hrs of all the rest of it. Lots of heartbroken sobbing, "no mama milk for me". It broke my heart, listening to her, never mind how tired I am - that urge to comfort her is so strong, even lying in my arms she is just so bereft.

I'm also aware that many people think dc's will stop in their own sweet time, which makes me wonder if I'm in for months and months of this, because even though she doesn't need it physiologically, her psychological need is obviously very very great.

Just wondering if anyone's had any relevant experience?

otchayaniye Wed 01-Jun-11 09:44:48

Hi there, yes, I fed on demand for 2 years but wanted a period back so I could conceive again and had to ramp down the feeding (am 39 so clock was ticking) to achieve this.

Plus, what you say about feeling like a 'new mum mentally' really struck. I felt like I was feeding a two year old newborn. 2-hourly through the night, even delatching at 5.30 am (with her dozy but upset) so I could fall into a taxi for work....

It helped that when I went back to part time work (at 15 months) my husband (SAHD) brought her to me at work at lunchtimes for a few months, then phased that out, so she'd got used to not having those feeds in the day.

I moved her out of our bed and into a toddler bed at 2 years, then I fed her to sleep there for a month (but she slept through!) and would feed in the morning if I wasn;t working.

Then I decided to feed but not to sleep. Cue some crying, but it was surprise and upset, not desolation. I stayed on her bed and cuddled her. It wasn't harrowing, but wasn't 'nice' either. Then she got used to it quickly. I told her why I was doing it (tired etc) and we talked about it, which I think helped.

Thing is, although I don't feed her to sleep and she sleeps through most nights I am six months pregnant and she is ramping up the feeds now colostrum has come back in. She also is clinging onto it as the baby approaches and I plan on tandeming for a bit. So I may be back to square one soon! With two of em!

Very best of luck.

kiesmommy Wed 01-Jun-11 09:46:16

oooh yes, my ds was 2.5 when i finally managed to get him to stop, he'd settle fine if i wasn't around but if i was (which was 99% of the time) he would only sleep by bf then wake up through the night and carry on. I tried bottles, dummies, even taped nipple shields to myself incase he needed to get used to the rubbery feel but nothing worked. In the end when he got to just passed two i started telling him my milk was dirty now, after a couple of weeks he stopped asking, i still lay with him while he was falling asleep.

phdlife Wed 01-Jun-11 11:22:52

thanks both of you - at least not feeling like such a weirdo any more wink

I will try talking to her about it a bit more - I've been trying "no milk in the bed, no milk at nighttime, then focusing on how nice it is in the daytime, on the sofa", but at 3am last night she was sobbing, "milk on the sofa, now! PLEASE!"

think it is crap, too, because she is still teething (6 to go!) so she probably is just miserable.

I think I'd keep going, if I could find a way to delatch her after a sensible interval without her literally screaming the roof off the house. That's been the dealbreaker for me.

otchayaniye Wed 01-Jun-11 11:53:56

I hear you phdlife, and I too, knew no one who did this and my mother and others used to, well, not ridicule, but dish out cry-it-out/training advice on the basis that they 'were worried about me'. ARGH!

I really had a tough patch too at 18-22 months. She was super attached, fed super frequently and the feeding to sleep took up to an hour, several times a night. I almost cracked.

But I had to lurch from one month to the next and any attempt to break it harshly really made the situation worse. I had to accept that I was in it for the long haul, and that one bad night didn't necessarily mean another 5 in a row. Just seemed that way (we had a bad night settling her last night and as I'm 6 months pregnant I just felt downbeat about that too)

I'm glad we've done it this way. She's so happy really, and a few nights of 15 minutes of crying while I was there comforting her I could handle. If she'd have gone more mental I'd have ridden it out for longer.

Very best of luck. It will get easier even if it doesn't seem so. She sounds a great talker so yes, talk about it.

WoTmania Wed 01-Jun-11 12:03:38

DD (27mo) still nursing at night so no advice but some company grin. have you looked at Dr J gordon and/or the Sears website?

mawbroon Wed 01-Jun-11 14:00:03

phd, I had various unsuccessful attempts at nightweaning ds1. His daytime behaviour always suffered a couple of weeks after stopping at night. And he still woke, so it never really helped on the sleep front. I was lucky enough to be able to go back to sleep while he nursed, but I know it's not as good as proper sleep!

When he was 3.5yo we had another go at night weaning and finally, he seemed to be able to cope with it. I was mighty pissed off with it though, let me tell you. Then, at last, I conceived about a month after stopping night feeds, so was too knackered to even consider nursing him at night.

So, although it might not be what you want to hear, I'm still alive to tell the tale smile

Have you heard of the "Pantley pull off" for delatching? Not sure how effective it would be at this age though?

phdlife Thu 02-Jun-11 12:24:52

no, mawbroon - what's that? (sounds rude!) (but then I don't get out much wink)

your ds sounds a lot like dd. she's had a couple of better nights, and last night when she woke at 4:45 I said I would feed her and she said, "really?" in this really incredulous tone of voice. Five times. hmm And then she said, "happy" and fed for a few minutes, then back to sleep. If she would just do that, I'd keep going. It's just that her feeds seemed to turn into marathons of comfort sucking, which I find tremendously uncomfortable - she adopts a nasty pinchy latch that grits my teeth. no sleep for me while that's going on!

thanks WoTmania - might check them out. I always forget there are sites other than MN for advice. did I already mention, I don't get out much?

Bunnyjo Thu 02-Jun-11 16:35:29

DD was 27mth when I stopped BF and, unfortunately, it was my decision to stop, rather than DD's... DD was down to one single feed a night (at bedtime) and had been for approx 6mth. Her teeth were all through by 18mth, but I can definitely relate to the increased feeding during teething and comfort sucking - the newish mum comment really resonates with me. The reason I stopped BF DD was because I was 6wk pregnant at the time and feeding her was like passing glass shards through my nipples - I was literally in tears with the pain, so I felt I had no other option but to stop. It was heartbreaking - DD would cry "I'm sorry mama, please can I have booby milk" over and over again and, coupled with the pregnancy hormones, I was an emotional wreck. It was as though DD thought she was being punished, hence the "I'm sorry mama" cries, that made me feel like the worst mummy in the world...

DD was fine after about day 4 though - DH and I explained that mummy had no more milk anymore, but that she could always snuggle into mummy and daddy on a night and that she was still our baby. I would have loved DD to wean herself naturally, throughout BF her every feed that she dropped was her decision and I still feel some guilt about the way our BF journey ended, especially as I actually mc'd the baby I was pregnant with.

I now have a second child, a DS, and am getting into the throes of breastfeeding again - how long this journey will last, I have no idea - but he is a booby monster, just like his big sister was...

phdlife Thu 02-Jun-11 23:35:42

"It was as though DD thought she was being punished" - exactly, bunnyjo!

otoh, having not got my boob out quickly enough at 4:30, causing her to explode, then feed (through sobs), then take over an hour to re-settle, I'm feeling pretty punished myself this morning...

I don't remember the pain you describe but I do remember finding ds's night feeding teeth-grittingly annoying when I was pg with dd. fortunately he stopped himself when I entered 2nd trimester - otherwise I'd probably still be doing him, too hmm

Loshad Thu 02-Jun-11 23:40:31

DS4 was about 3.5 when he gave up feeding - at the age yo describe it was all the time and driving me a bit amd tbh, then relatively rapidly it started to tail off, and for the last 6 months of his feeding he tailed right off - once a night then down to once evey 2 nights, every 3/4 nights. He was the only one of my 4 to really self wean and i was really pleased he ahd the opportunity to do that (and a bit of a heel/fool over the others). He moved out of our bed (can't really remember) after he started school but not much after that - he shared with his brother for a couple of years to ease the transition.

Loshad Thu 02-Jun-11 23:41:23

oops clearly had too much half term wine blush typos

ShowOfHands Thu 02-Jun-11 23:45:06

I can well remember those nights where it just went on and on and on and on and on. I'd want to move but couldn't. The night, my whole existence contracted down to this inability to do anything but lie there and provide milk. I became so fed up and felt trapped by it.

When she was 2.4 I had to do something about it. I talked talked talked to dd and I loosely followed Jay Gordon's method. It was surprisingly easy in the end and I made sure we talked about it during the day and I reassured her and was consistent in the night. We fed for another year but morning and evening only.

But oh it was so isolating at the time.

phdlife Fri 10-Jun-11 11:56:43

thanks, Show. It helps to know I'm not the only one.

I think we've mostly cracked the middle-of-the-night feed - she's been sleeping til about 4-4:30 and only yelling a bit if she wakes and wants milk before that.
To make up for it I am feeding a LOT once we are 'up'. 4x between 5 and 8a.m. yesterday, for instance. sheesh.

CareyHunt Wed 22-Jun-11 09:01:22

I still (sometimes) bf my 4 year old at night!

I have no advice at all, but I promise that, even when you think they are entirely addicted to the boob, one day they WILL sleep through, and one day they will stop! (I also bf my other 2 for 3 years each.) For me, it seemed easier to feed them than fight them- we co slept (and often still do) so I got enough sleep, and at some point I started waking up in the morning and realsising I hadn't fed all night!

CareyHunt Wed 22-Jun-11 09:01:51

REALISING, even.

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