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cluster feeding toddler

(6 Posts)

DD is 18 months. I plan on BFing natural term (probably with a gentle nudge from me if I've had enough sooner than she has) but her nighttime/morning habits are driving me slightly potty!

currently she feeds before bed and then goes to sleep In her cot while I hold her hand. sometime between 9pm and (very occasionally) 1-3am she wakes for a feed and I bring her into our bed (rarely I can put her back for a bit, mostly either I fall asleep or she cries so I don't) for the night.

my problem is she wants to feed constantly (and change sides frequently) between about 4 and 9am and will cry if I say no. I'm getting hardly any sleep and I'm really fed up with having a grumpy child who seems to do nothing but cry and hang off my legs while I try and make breakfast/get ready for the day. she wakes at the moment when I have my last nighttime wee (a whole other thread) around 5-6am and then refuses to go back to sleep despite being desperately tired.

if I feed her and let her climb all over me/poke my face she might eventually go back to sleep but usually I get cross and say no and her crying ends up waking the whole family - then DS gets up and refuses to go back to bed (another whole story) and there's no way I'm getting any more sleep.

honestly I think if I didn't get up for a wee (not an option) and just let her feed she'd sleep until about 8 and continue feeding until 9 and be up for the day happy, full and rested- but DS starts nursery next week and we have to be there at 8.45 so again this is not an option - plus I'm fed up with feeding for hours constantly, it's like having a newborn again and I just want some sleep without being prodded and poked!

she's just so wriggly too, I've always got a foot in my neck or she's bouncing up and down which makes me feel quite nauseous and irritated.

I'm not looking to wean her completely, I just want to stop these marathon feeding sessions in the early hours (when I need the most sleep) and have a happy baby instead of a whingy clingy one every morning until about 10am. I used Jay Gordon's night weaning method with DS at 15 months but I think he was ready for it. I tried a month or two ago with DD and it didn't go well. I can't handle any length of crying and she did a lot so I figured she wasn't ready.

I'm also feeling awful guilt and worry about complaining because she went on a nursing strike at 12 month's for 13 days, I missed it so much I swore I'd never resent it again sad

any tips or stories? Will this come to an end naturally or can I do something about it without tears? I kept thinking it'd stop on its own but it's been 6 months now and has become something of a habit

sorry for the huge post grin

deepinthewoods Sun 20-Apr-14 07:56:56

I did self weaning with my children. If I had stayed in bed until 9am then they would have been feeding for hours too. My DD was an early riser for years, usually 5am, but we would get up and start the day. You need to find a distraction for your toddler, set up a game, even put on TV, I would make breakfast early, wrap up my todder and hang out laundry while she played in the garden.
Sometimes an early start is the answer.

cafebistro Sun 20-Apr-14 08:03:36

I'll give you my opinion though I'm not sure it's want you want to hear!
She's feeding mostly for comfort because she hasn't learnt to self settle.
You hold her hand while she falls asleep in her cot so when she wakes during the night she can't settle herself.
So you take her into your bed (I used to do this so no judgement from me here wink) where you disturb each other all night and you both end up tired and grumpy.
I breastfed my DC's for 17m and 14m so I know how you feel but I won't have been able to cope with the cluster feeding you describe. I fed last thing at night and that was it unless they were ill and I might have given them a feed.
Why did she have a nursing strike at 12m? Maybe that was her self weaning?
I don't know how you feel about sleep training but that's the way I'd go as if she learnt to settle herself she may not wake for the night feeds iykwim.
Hopefully you'll get lots more advice from other people in your position.

Deep not sure if my post made it sound like I'm in bed until 9am?? I'm really not! I generally get out of bed around 7, read stories to DC and feed DD for around 20 mins, half an hour and then go and make breakfast/do chores. my point is she will winge/cry (a tired cry) and want to be picked up and fed the entire time I'm doing other things. I've tried many different distractions including food/drink, she wants nothing to do with any of them, she just wants to be held and fed.

the only thing I've found that works once I am up is putting her in the sling while I make breakfast, but she's heavy and I don't want to do it every day sad sad

bistro I had considered it was just for comfort but I can hear her swallowing, she's drinking gallons!

I don't always hold her hand but I do sit by her otherwise she cries, stands up and will not go to sleep. I don't like the idea of sleep training unless it's gentle - my DC don't do a little cry and then drift off, they do heartbroken sobbing for bloody ages, red blotchy faces, laboured breathing and wake themselves up even more. my plan was to gradually move further away from the cot each night but it's just not working. I don't know how long I've got to give it before she'll magically fall asleep without me there but I cannot stand to hear her cry (and she's already taking up to an hour and I go to bed an hour later) - I don't know how else to try it???

the strike was due to illness and molars coming through, I know it was just a strike because she went from feeding at least 12 times in 24 hours to nothing, suddenly. that's not how babies wean and they very rarely wean that young. everything I've read tells me they drop one feed at a time over a period of time. and if it was her trying to wean why is she so mad for it now? surely she'd not be bothered one way or another if she didn't want it any more. like I say I'm not looking to wean, just to change the pattern we seem to have got into. I think it might be time to try the gentle night-weaning again but I've no idea how to get her drinking more water or cow's milk to compensate, all she'll drink at the moment is the rare hot chocolate I give her.

ahhh!! sorry to be so negative, I just feel I'm stuck either carrying on like this or making her cry sad sad

Kirstencorien Thu 19-May-16 22:44:05

Hi, I realise this is a while ago, but in case you read this... I'm kind of going through the exact same thing with my 20 month old ds (first child). I feel the same about wanting to wean naturally, no sleep training, etc too. Did you find a way to make things a bit easier / stop the cluster breastswitch nursing thing and get more sleep in the early am?

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