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14month old refusing to cut back on breastfeeds, especially at night. Help!

(6 Posts)
missrose Tue 25-Feb-14 21:18:49

My 14month DD is obsessed with breastfeeding. I've just returned to work and she won't drink any sort of milk or formula during the day. She feeds for around 3 hours every night and I am exhausted and constantly ill.

I really want to carry on giving her feeds first thing in the morning and at bedtime but it's proving impossible to night-wean her. We've managed to get it down to one feed most nights, around 3am, but she will feed from 3am until 5 or 6 and I am done in!

I don't know how to get her to stop. If I don't feed her she will cry for hours.

She has also not coped very well with my return to work and is very clingy when I am at home and wants a two minute feed every 15 minutes or so. I really don't know what to do to move things forward. She obviously doesn't want to stop and needs the physical contact but I can't carry on like this. Any advice gratefully received.

geekaMaxima Wed 26-Feb-14 18:29:31


No advice, sorry, but you have my sympathies! wine

GreenGoblin0 Wed 26-Feb-14 20:38:00

I feel your pain. My DD is 20 months now and still breastfeeding. We have only just got her off night feeds over the last couple of months and the 3 o clock feed was the hardest to cut out.

The first thing I would say is that personally if you have only just gone back to work I would hold off trying to cut out night feeds all together until she has settled at nursery. If she is used to breast milk during the day and is now not getting this then it is normal for her to be trying to catch up when you are with her. Perhaps in the short term you could try going to bed early say 9pm as at least then you get a good chunk of sleep? Perhaps you and your DP could do shifts and if you get to sleep from 9-3 and he deals with any wake ups in those hours you can then feed her when she wakes at 3 and he can try to get some sleep then?

If she is 14 months then personally I wouldn't try to get her on to formula at this stage as she can have cows milk as a main drink. Have you or your partner tried offering her milk at home from a cup or beaker? My DD never took bottle but eventually drank it from a beaker/cup but it did take some perseverance to get her to drink milk of any sort from anything other than a boob. She has now stopped drinking milk during the day when I am not there but has majorly increased her food intake which has helped with the night weaning.

Sorry to say but I am not sure there is a simple solution at this stage. Once we had the 3pm feed left we did decide to make her go cold turkey after gradually reducing the feed didn't work. This involved me not being anywhere near her at nighttime, so no co sleeping and getting my DP do deal with all wake ups. When it got to the point where she wouldn't go back to sleep my DP would take her into bed with him and I would sleep in her room, and I would then feed her at 6. Quite a few nights she was awake from 3 until 6 but she eventually got to the point of settling down at that time although she has now started waking at 5 most days.

Sorry for rambling post but hope this helps. As I said at beginning I am not sure it's the right time to be weaning her off night feeds completely if she is still dealing with you going back to work but obviously everyone's different and only you know what will work for you and your Dd

missrose Wed 26-Feb-14 20:48:47

Thanks Geek!

I spoke to a lovely NCT counsellor today but didn't actually get anywhere with what to do, other than carry on for another month and see if it gets easier to night wean. There's a thought that fills me with dread - another month of no sleep.

catkind Wed 26-Feb-14 21:02:40

Have you tried cosleeping? Do you know how to feed lying down? You can sleep while she feeds if necessary, though I always found that after 5-10 mins they were feeding in their sleep and could easily be detached and wouldn't wake up unless I moved them. Specially if it's an attachment thing, it may be more about being close to you than the milk.
It's called reverse cycling - they switch around and take milk at night instead of in the daytime because it's not available in the day. That's going to make it hard to night wean until she's more settled and eating/drinking more in the day.
DS was very similar. We all got so much more sleep when we started cosleeping, never looked back!

missrose Sat 01-Mar-14 08:34:18

Hi Greengoblin - so sorry I completely missed your message as was checking on my phone. Thanks so much for your comments, I'm feeling a little less worried about it now as I hadn't considered that she would drink more because she wasn't having it in the day. I just thought she was regressing in some way and that worried me.

You're also absolutely right about the return to work issue. I have an older DD who is completely different in temperament - loves meeting new people, being out and about and has always been very sociable.

DD2 however doesn't really have that same curiosity about people. As long as I am nearby she is happy and doesn't seem to bond with new people as easily or quickly DD1. My new nanny share starts on Monday and I already feel like crying as I know she will be so upset. I think this is going to lead to an increase in night feeding as well.

Catkind - I've started co-sleeping again and feeding lying down but I'm finding she feeds for a very long time - 45minutes to an hour. I think I need to stop worrying about it so much really and just go with the flow don't I? I got myself into a bit of a panic about how I was going to work and feed all night and the answer seemed to be stop feeding at night.

Thanks so much for all your comments, they have really helped me calm down a bit. I feel I have a new plan of action which is to do nothing for a month and then see how we go. Hopefully she will bond with the new nanny and will have to eat more during the day when I am not there which will impact on how much milk she will need at night. It's so much easier not to fight it!

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