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Breastfeeding toddler whilst pregnant - struggling with my emotions :(

(15 Posts)
TheTermagantToaster Sat 06-Oct-12 13:07:39

So, I'm feeing my 23 month old and 19 weeks pregnant with no2. I've been feeling very tender since I found out I was pregnant, pretty much. My aim has been to tandem feed as I really don't think DS is ready to stop feeding yet - but I am slowly feeling more and more frustrated - even angry - about bf.

My supply has dropped noticeably over the past couple of weeks and DS has partially compensated by increasing his intake of other fluids. But he still has a very strong need to comfort feed, and feeding him to sleep is the only way I can get him down in the evening when I'm on my own with him (2-3 times a week). As we co-sleep he also wakes 2-3 times a night to feed.

As my supply drops its taking him longer to drop off in the evenings, and when he wakes at night he feeds for longer (fully waking me up while he does so because the feeling is so irritating) or ends up waking himself up and finding it impossible to get back of to sleep again.

I'm spending several nights a week alone in the spare room because we all sleep better (ds stays in with dh), and dh is doing as many bedtimes as he can. But the ones I end up doing are driving me CRAZY. Last night it took him more that TWO HOURS to go off to sleep. Because he sleeps in our bed, if I try to sneak off before he's properly dropping off/asleep, he just gets out and bangs on the door. So I end up feeding him, ending up nearly in tears because the sensation is so horrid at the moment.

Anyway, DH has just told me he is unlikely to be back for bedtime this evening and I'm feeling miserable. sad Lots of other stress going on at the moment so I'm blowing this all out of proportion. I don't want to DO two hour fucking bedtimes of discomfort anymore. But I don't think I have the heart to stop Ds feeding before he's ready. And I have no fucking clue how I would ever get him to go to sleep without it - he's ALWAYS been an awful, awful sleeper.

God only knows how I'm going to manage this when no2 arrives.

YouWithTheFace Sat 06-Oct-12 13:28:23

Oh hey there. Yes, the oregnant-bf/bf to sleep thing is driving me a bit insane too. We don't co-sleep, which does help, also, I stopped night feeds a good while ago as she was clearly feeding as if I were a dummy and a habit, not because she needed it. Sleeping through the night makes me feel better able to cope. At night, it's clear she's not getting much so she gets bored and insists on going to her bed, which helps. It can take up to an hour to get her to sleep without tears though! But my boobs get really oversensitive after about 15 min so I can't bear her to carry on, and it doesn't help her to settle when I keep twitching at her.

I know you don't want to stop til he's ready, but maybe you need to try experimenting with different ways of putting him down to sleep after he's fed for a while? Would he be prepared to take a dummy? Can you give him a bigger supper or some yoghurt before bed so he doesn't feel hungry in the night? Just guessing madly...

lizlou Sat 06-Oct-12 15:55:23

oh I had exactly the same problem and really feel for you- it is horrible to feel anger and I remember the raging emotions when feeding. My toddler self weaned at 17 months but I think as well as my supply changing, my frustration probably put him off- sometimes i had to take him off the breast as I couldn't bear it. we worked on cuddling to sleep, then me sitting next to him as he lay in the bed, but I had to wait until he was asleep. it always took 90 minutes at least, and up until 10pm often. all I can say is that a few months later, when we couldn't take it anymore, my husband started putting him to bed and did gradual retreat (sitting further and further away). after a week he was happily getting into bed and calling out for us a few times, now he either goes to sleep on his own, or we pop him back in bed up to 3 times and all we say is goodnight with a kiss. He sleeps better in the night now too, but who could say whether the sleep training worked or he just reached an age where he can do it? i would say gradual retreat is well worth a try, with a consistent routine. good luck!

TheTermagantToaster Sat 06-Oct-12 18:35:35

Thank you both - it's nice to hear I'm not alone! Anger isn't usually an emotion I usually associate with breastfeeding confused.

Gradual retreat is kind of what DH is just doesn't work when I try it!

I definitely do need to experiment with different ways of putting him down. He would lie and listen to nursery rhymes and fall asleep (after a feed of course) for a couple of weeks, but he's now wised up to the trick and it's stopped working. Tonight I'm going to try classic FM.

Oh, and if he would take a dummy then believe me, he would have one by now!

KD0706 Sat 06-Oct-12 23:22:53

I bf my dd1 while pregnant but only until I was about 23 ish weeks as she lost interest at that point. (lucky me you may say, but I was actually quite upset at the time!)

I think it's a recognised 'thing' (can't think of right word!) that you feel almost like pushing away your nursing child while you're pregnant.

I was having a clear out today and found my copy of adventures in tandem nursing, which I was thinking of giving to charity shop. If you felt ok giving me your address by pm ill happily post it to you, would be pleased to see it go to a good home.

AnitaBlake Sat 06-Oct-12 23:36:30

Adventures is a brilliant book. I have a 23monther and I'm 35weeks now. I've been through just about every emotion, including some I daren't admit to. Tender nipples are awful and its worth checking your latch too as ours was slightly out and that's made a big difference to us.

We don't co-sleep, so I'm afraid I don't have anything to add, but I've deliberately decreased availability by wearing a top when I get up to her has helped,I also talk to her and ask her to cuddle in instead after a few minutes if its too much. You can negociate with them sometimes!

Bumpstart Sat 06-Oct-12 23:42:58

I got to 5 months pregnant before finally booting my dd1 aged 16m off the boob. It's ok for you to listen to your own needs about weaning, too. Your body could be telling you something.

Good luck, as it's not an easy decision to make.

AngelDog Sun 07-Oct-12 01:57:14

I had a similar issue with my DS who was just 2 when I got pg. I would feed him for as long as I could bear, then explain that I was getting sore and would cuddle and sing to him as well (I would have been singing to him while feeding anyway). To my amazement he took it really well - got a bit upset, but then seemed to understand. I'd lie next to him on the bed and rock him a bit till he went off.

By the time I was 4 or 5 months pg he was going to sleep without bf at all some nights.

Now I'm 37 weeks pg and feeding to sleep again - my colostrum came in and he dropped his nap so was extra tired, so it started working once more. But he has started waking in the night wailing again, so I can sympathise (hence writing this at 2am!) hmm

TheTermagantToaster Sun 07-Oct-12 09:19:00

KD, I know what you mean when you say people thought you were 'lucky' - in a way I would feel like that because I'm so heartily sick of feeding at the moment, but I would feel very conflicted! I will send you a pm.

Anita - my way of decreasing the availability is to camp out in the spare room lots. Today I just got up! This is the longest night's sleep I've had since DS was born. Bliss. I'm sure our latch is appalling, but given that DS wriggles and practically turns himself through 360 degrees whilst feeding, that's not too surprising!

Bumpstart thank you for the support. I'm just going to take each day as it comes and try not to beat myself up too much even though I will whatever I decide!

AngelDog my DS doesn't seem so amenable to alternative methods hmm. I will persevere... I'm impressed that you have worked out (logistically) how to feed to sleep at 37 weeks! Doesn't it get really uncomfortable?!

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown Sun 07-Oct-12 09:47:17

Firstly you are not 'blowing things out of proportion' - things seem desperate right now and they are.

I would suggest you Google 'nursing aversion' and check out the stuff on LLL about it, it really helped me to know that the feelings I was experiencing a few months ago (and occasionally now) were completely normal when pregnant and breastfeeding a toddler.

DS is 20 months and I am nearly 39 weeks pregnant. A few months back I was physically absolutely ready to quit, emotionally I didn't want to and DS is a total milk monster... Anyone I spoke to in RL just wanted to give me advice on weaning - I felt really torn.

We were co-sleeping and he was still feeding to sleep and throughout the night.. I decided to try and night wean (I want to tandem feed but I am NOT feeding 2 babies in the night!) - feeding at night was not working for me any more, I used to be able to sleep through it but since being pregnant I hated the feeling (sounds awful but made my skin crawl) and just wanted it to end, like you say fidgeting does nothing to relax your child!

I used Dr Jay Gordon's advice on night-weaning. To begin with I would count backwards from 100 while DS was feeding to help me 'get through it' - sometimes I would do this several times but others I would say "time for the other side" or "that's enough, time to sleep now" - if he wants to continue he still has the most epic tantrums but there were occasions where it worked so I went with it.

Within a couple of weeks he had stopped feeding during the night. I think you probably need to work on not feeding to sleep if your LO is anything like mine - I've found that if he feeds to sleep he wants to nurse every time he wakes during the night. We put him in a cot sidecarred to the bed after about a month and a month later put the side on.

I think these steps worked because he was ready and we waited a month or so before trying the next step.

I think I got through it because I know how much he loves to nurse, and the further I got into my pregnancy the more of a challenge tandem nursing became - I'm up for the challenge and proving people wrong, if you're as determined as me you will get through this. And I can say from experience it does get easier. I found that by having less feeds (and for me cutting out the night feeds made all the difference) made me appreciate the ones we still have.

If you want to pm me I am happy to go into a bit more detail about what's worked for us, but please don't beat yourself up further by feeling guilty about feelings you have no control over. However you feel about wanting to continue and wanting what's right for your toddler, your body has other ideas and wants you to concentrate on the new baby. You can go with it if that works for you - I chose to fight it and I'm so glad I did!

loopyloo82 Sun 07-Oct-12 10:46:11

Hi. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I know where you are coming from, I have been there and it is really very unpleasant, and combine with that feelings of guilt and other people telling you to just stop then, it was a difficult time.

But I am now tandem feeding a 3 and 1 year old. I tell you this not because I want to tell you to carry on, bit because whatever you choose, you will come out the other end. I didn't even choose tandem feeding, I just never got into gear and managed to wean dd1- I wanted to, but kept putting it off. There were times when I snapped at her while she was nursing, and I wholeheartedly wish I hadn't, but these things happen and none of us are perfect.

So whatever you choose, it will be fine. Good luck.

TheTermagantToaster Sun 07-Oct-12 14:00:32

Wow, nicecupoftea your post is really helpful - thank you. I had no idea that nursing aversion during pregnancy was actually a 'thing'. That makes me feel better. And yes, DS is absolutely one of those children who wants to be fed in the night if he was fed to sleep.

I am filled with horror by the idea of feeding two babies at night if I'm honest. If no2 is anywhere near as unsettled as no1 then that way madness lies. The plan at the moment is for DH and DS to decamp to what will be DS' room (currently a spare room/dumping ground when no2 arrives. Funnily enough we do already have a drop-side cot against our bed as extra space, although DS always ends up between us. Perhaps we could look at putting the side up. I had hoped to move DS straight from our bed to a toddler bed but I'm running out of options!

I am incredibly stubborn determined, so we will find a way through this!

Loopyloo you are amazing! Did you cosleep? Yes, I've snapped at DS sad. I think having a better understanding of what's going on will help.

Thanks all.

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown Sun 07-Oct-12 15:56:04

Yes it is a thing, thank goodness because I thought there was something seriously wrong with me that I could feel so torn between wanting to feed and comfort my son and needing to find a way to Get him off me!

It was the thought of feeding 2 in the night that made my decision to night-wean, I guess it's possible that he might want to feed at night again if the baby wakes him up but I didn't want it to still be a habit (which at this age I believe it mostly is) - I'm one of those people who really need their sleep and I'm hoping the baby will be like DS in that if s/he wakes I can just stick a boob in and we can both go straight back to sleep!

Maybe you could start by placing him on your side of the bed for a few nights next to the cot, then gradually put him in the cot once he's asleep? I thought DS would roll over back into the bed when we did it but he didn't. He often sleeps facing the outer side of the cot holding onto the bars or my hand. Our 'secret' is the Adele albums, he absolutely loves to fall asleep to them!

(I think it's) The Dr Jay Gordon site has some good tips on how to prevent LO's falling asleep on you, namely inserting your pinky into the corner of their mouth before they're fully asleep. I find I have to remove DS just as he starts to get sleepy rather than nearly asleep or he really doesn't want to give it up and will have an epic tantrum! I usually talk to him about having some milk and then going to sleep, if he starts to fall asleep I'll ask if he's ready to go in the cot. Basically the rule is milk, then sleep.. Not both at the same time!

I've actually started to feed him in the living room before going into the bedroom. I was planning on a home birth but that's not happening now. I want him to be used to going into the bedroom to sleep and not expecting milk when he gets there!

You'll find something that works for you. You sound as pig-headed ;-) determined as me so I feel confident you will find a solution and make it work for both of you. The very best of luck! smile

Elpis Fri 12-Oct-12 00:03:36

Noticed this thread. Just emerged from the other side with a 2-week-old and a 3.5yo, so I know exactly what you mean about the pain. It fluctuated throughout my pregnancy but vanished as soon as I gave birth, and (so far) we're tandem feeding with no real problems.

I never felt the urge to push DD away while I was pregnant, but I was aware that I wasn't getting that oxytocin hit each time I fed her. Distracting myself, and making sure I unlatched her as soon as she fell asleep, were the ways I coped with the hormonal pain.

DD understands now that she has to wait for her baby brother to have his milk first. She's really helped with engorgement - newborns just can't empty a breast quickly enough for comfort.

Good luck!

TheTermagantToaster Fri 12-Oct-12 17:20:11

Thanks Elpis - it's a relief to hear the discomfort will vanish!

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