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Giving up b/f at 12 months

(31 Posts)
JulieF Tue 08-Feb-05 14:59:23

It is ds's birthday on Friday and I am feeling
under pressure to stop breastfeeding

His sleeping has been awful recently. he has been up and feeding in the night, disturbing the rest of the house. I personally feel that something has to be done about this. I can't get up for work in the morning after being up in the early hours.

Last night nothing I did seemed to settle him. I tried to feed him, cuddle him, still he cried. Eventually I heard dh get up, he took ds off me and gave him 4oz of cows milk from a bottle. Dh smugly informed me this morning that after drinking it ds fell asleep in his arms until I had to wake him at 8am to leave for work.

He has an appointment with the paed as he is so small (under neath the centile charts)through as well and dh is insisting he comes along too. I have no idea whetherthe paed is b/f aware or not but going on what peoples usual experiences are I would say I again will be under pressure to stop.

What can I do about his sleeping? I think he is
hungry when he wakes as usually he feeds then settles back off but last night he wouldn't. Dh says this situation is unaceptible, we are all tired and I have to sort it quickly.

If you had asked me a week ago I would have said that we were not ready to stop yet, but I am wondering if dh is right and I am doing it more for me than ds.


moondog Tue 08-Feb-05 15:03:08

Why are you worrying about what the paed. may/may not say about b/feeding? At this late age he is presumably mostly surviving on food, so if anything, the b/feeding should be building him up!
To be honest,sounds like more of a sleep management issue than a b/feeding one.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 08-Feb-05 15:03:35

Firstly, the decision to stop is yours and ds's, not your dh's, and not the paeds. You aren't forcing your ds to breastfeed.

Secondly, I really doubt breastfeeding is the cause of either the sleep problems or him being light.

About the sleep: Does he settle himself to sleep at night? Or does he need to be rocked or nursed to sleep?

About his weight: Does he eat much solids? Are you and your dh relatively small and slight?

PrettyCandles Tue 08-Feb-05 15:06:18

Well done for breastfeeding for so long!

Generally a 1yo doesn't need feeding at night, and it would probably be better for all three of you if you could encourage your ds to sleep through without a feed. Unfortunate fact is that it is perfectly common for a 1yo to wake at night. We found that if I went to dd when she woke at night she expected a bf and I could not settle her without feeding her. When dh went he managed to settle her without a feed (though at first he sometimes had to give her a drink of water). It took some weeks if not months (I was still feeding in the day) until I was able to settle her at night without feeding.

I can't believe that it would be in any way beneficial to your child for you to stop breastfeeding him. I wouldn't be surprised if you were encouraged to give up the night feeds, though, and I would think that a good thing as you all need your sleep.

HTH, and I'm sure you'll get lots of good perspectives from other Mumsnetters.

bundle Tue 08-Feb-05 15:09:02

i breastfeed my dd2 (21 mths) and she used to wake at night for a feed, but has stopped doing this (on her own! I have no tips as to how we achieved this..). i have no intention of stopping bf until she's 2, we're both happy with it and i bf dd1 till she was nearly 2. as far as nutrition is concerned, as long as your ds isn't filling up on milk rather than food, there's no reason for you to stop either. if you don't want to.

JulieF Tue 08-Feb-05 15:15:07

Yes, he does settle himself to sleep at night. When he wakes I leave him to grizzle for a while but it usually turns into full belt screaming.

Part of the problem is that no-one (except my wonderful HV's)really beleives that I have done the right thing. Ds lost a lot of weight after he was born and took ages to regain it whilst be battled with breast refusal and attachment problems. I was accused of starving him (and he was starved for the 1st 5 days until I realised there was a problem poor thing)

He eats loads, except he has had a cold recently so went off his food about a week ago. Last weekend though he found his appetite with a vengeance.

Yes, dh and I are not on the big side. However dd is average (she was bottlefed)

NotQuiteCockney Tue 08-Feb-05 15:19:19

It sounds like you've had a hard time, but you've done a good job. How is DS on development? Lively, active, happy and all that?

I agree with other posters that the night feeds don't seem to be working for you (understandably!). If you cut them out, he will make up for the lost calories during the day.

There are a couple of ways to cut night feeds. You can continue to feed but reduce how long you feed for. This works, particularly combined with some degree of controlled crying. Or you can offer water - many mumsnetters have had success with this. Either way, they learn that night time is not the time for food, it is the time for sleeping.

In my experience, doctors are generally fine about babies being light, as long as they're happy, alert and so on.

Obviously, now he's 12 months, if he wants cow's milk there's no problem with him having that as well, but I don't see why you'd need to cut out breastfeeding if you don't want to.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 08-Feb-05 15:20:56

Oh, either way I mentioned to cut night feeds will cause more short-term unpleasantness, for long-term gain.

PrettyCandles Tue 08-Feb-05 15:40:17

It's wonderful if you have a good HV whom you feel you can trust. The support is invaluable. Believe in yourself. Breastmilk is the best food possible for your child - especially if there are any problems.

Some children just are light or petite. The critical thing is development. And the difference between your ds and your dd is likely to perfectly normal. My ds often seems to live on air and is very slender, whereas his little sister can put away several times as much food as him and carrying her is like carrying a wriggling cannonball, yet they are both active, intelligent and phenomenally healthy.

HappyMumof2 Tue 08-Feb-05 16:24:53

Message withdrawn

frogs Tue 08-Feb-05 16:55:49

Sounds like you've done really well.

I can see that night feeds could be a problem -- would be for me, as I turn into witch mummy from hell if woken in the night -- but it seems like a sleep/feed schedule problem, rather than a bfeeding problem.

My dd2 is on the small side (below 9th centile, despite being 9lb 5oz at birth), and I suspect if she had been my first I would have been riddled with doubt about bfeeding. As it is, I know it's just her. So it's entirely possible that you switch to formula and end up with just the same sleeping patterns, same weight gain pattern, but with the added hassle of making bottles in the night.

At 12 months he shouldn't need feeding at night, assuming he's getting adequate food during the day. Could you try going all out to fill him up as much as possible during the day, and then see if you can sort the sleeping problems out? A nice milky, cerealy supper always works for us -- Ambrosia creamed rice may not be the healthiest baby food in the world, but it goes down a treat. Or porridge with banana, weetabix, etc.

If you're sure he's getting his daily requirements during the day, then you can try cutting down at night -- ask your HV if she's supportive. I've never done controlled crying as such, but people do swear by it. But you and your dh have to agree an approach and stick to it. As far as the paed goes, I wouldn't mention bfeeding as a specific issue -- you could just refer to 'feeds' and let him assume what he likes.


JulieF Tue 08-Feb-05 22:55:06

OK how do I stop the night feeds? He is crying now. I went in to try and cuddle him but it made himeven more hysterical, worse than before I went in. He has eaten loads today including a big tea at 5.30pm then a breastfeed at 7pm. Dh thinks I should have given him cows milk instead of a breastfeed.

The screaming is getting louder, I can't stand it much longer, am going to have to give in and try to feed him. Dh is in bed and is distinclt unimpressed.

JulieF Tue 08-Feb-05 22:56:53

Maybe if I go in but don't pick him up, will that work.

chatee Tue 08-Feb-05 23:01:02

julief,no advice at the mo, but you're not alone
i have exactly the same problem with my ds who is 11.5 months...hang in there

moondog Tue 08-Feb-05 23:01:56

Aaaah, just give him a little suck, poor love!
Much easier than faffing with abloody bottle.
How about trying to give him a pregressively shorter suck over a period of a couple of weeks?

chatee Tue 08-Feb-05 23:02:22

try leaning over him and gently lay him on his side as you would if he was feeding him and pat his back...that sometimes works for my ds

chatee Tue 08-Feb-05 23:03:29

ie just leaning over the cot not picking him out.....but sometimes it doesn't work and only a suck will do

JulieF Tue 08-Feb-05 23:06:09

Just been back in, he is a little calmer but I think its going to have to be a suck.

frogs Tue 08-Feb-05 23:06:22

My dd2 has always been a good sleeper, but occasionally gets out of the habit after being ill. When I've decided it's time to get tough again, I tend to go in, pick her up if necessary till she's calmed down, put her back down (cue outraged screaming) and walk out. I'd then wait for a while (5min, 10 mins, whatever) before going back in. It usually only takes a couple of times before she realises I mean business.

If your ds has never slept through, then it may take a bit longer. But I think you need to come up with a plan that your dh is ok with, maybe after doing some research on controlled crying or pick up/put down, which are sleep training methods people talk about. You could try posting again under 'sleep', or trawling through old threads -- I really think this is more about sleep habits than about what kind of milk you give your baby.

You could also try offering water, but some babies can be spectacularly unimpressed by that. Or giving EBM in a bottle and gradually watering it down, thereby weaning him off night feeds and also off expecting company at night. After all, from his point of view he's got used to a very high class of service -- it's only natural he'll cut up rough when you try to change his terms and conditions!

For tonight I'd do what ever it takes to get a reasonable night's sleep, and then formulate a plan over the next few days.

Good luck

HunkerMunker Tue 08-Feb-05 23:08:26

JulieF, I think that if you want to keep breastfeeding, keep breastfeeding. But I don't think it's fair of your DH to wash his hands of the situation if you won't stop.

Can you say to your DH that you will nurse for as long as your DS wants - if you're happy with this and your DS is happy with this. It's still an excellent form of nourishment for him which surely is even more important if you're worried about his weight (though it sounds like he's doing fine).

How much does he eat during the day? When does he have meals/snacks? Does he drink water as well? DS is having breakfast, lunch and dinner with four feeds (if I'm with him, if I'm at work, he has three, two from me and one EBM), plus perhaps a snack in the afternoon of a piece of cheese or a small banana. His sleep's been all over the place recently (slept through last night, but hadn't since a week last Friday and not regularly before then). DH can settle him much better than me - he knows there's a chance of milk if I go in to him.

Does your DS seek you out to nurse? It sounds like he's still happy with your breastfeeding relationship. Working on getting him to sleep better will take your DH's help too. After all, there's no guarantee that giving up nursing will help him sleep better (and it may even be worse as you won't have something that will get him off to sleep again!). What you can do is say that you'll stop nursing, but that your DH will have to do all the settling at night till your DS "forgets" he ever nursed. I think that may stop your DH in his tracks!

And if you stop night feeds, you don't need to stop nursing during the day.

Hugs, hun. Breastfeeding can still be a minefield even a year on, can't it?! I've been getting the 'when are you stopping' comments since DS was six months!

spod Tue 08-Feb-05 23:08:44

cant see how giving a bottle instead of breast will help stop night feeds, if u are ot ready to bf then dont... i still feed dd 16 months once a day. we stopped night feeds at 8 months by dh going to her in the night rather than me, and offering her water. it took about a month of doing this, she only protested big time for a few days, after that it was a case of breaking the waking habbit as she certainly did not need the milk. since then she has been the one to cut out feeds, not me. but it does require a helpful, supportive dh, not one that blames you for night wakings. if u replace breast with bottle baby will still wake for milk, so wheres the gain? hope you're okay.

HunkerMunker Tue 08-Feb-05 23:11:06

Dear God I sound like Gina when I described DS's feeding schedule. If you knew me in RL, you'd find that very worthy!

JulieF Tue 08-Feb-05 23:24:16

Well, I just fed him, and you know what, the little beggar fell asleep on me, just as he did last night on dh's bottle.

I don't actually think he took much. It was mostly flutter sucking, you know the sort you get at the end of a feed. He wanted the comfort. He let out one loud yell when I unlatched him and put him back down but for the moment, all is quiet.

OK, his schedule

7am I usually wake him (occasionally leave him longer but not always possible due to dd's nursery/my work) He has a breastfeed then breakfast of porridge and toast.

Mid morning depending where we are he will have a biscuit or banana.

Lunch at 12 with either water or fresh fruit juice, then a nap (1-2 hours) If I'm working he has a bottle of cows milk at 2pm, if I'm not he has a breastfeed.

Tea is at 5pm followed by yoghurt and drink of water, then last breastfeed around 6.30pm ish. He is usually very ready for bed by 7pm and settles really well.

I'm taking him to b/f cafre on Friday primarily to get him weighed on his birthday, I'll have a talk with HV/bfc then I think.

Kids eh!!!

Just waiting for the washer to finish before I go to bed, to get some sleep before the 3am shift.

HunkerMunker Tue 08-Feb-05 23:28:26

Will your DH help you try to break the waking habit? Can he go in and offer water to DS at 3am? He can't just say it's because you're nursing him and so it's all down to you.

mears Tue 08-Feb-05 23:29:57

At this stage JulieF, B/F is neither here nor there as far as weight gain is concerned. He has a benefit to continues breastfeeding in that he gets immunological boosting (will look for link in a mo). He is not feeding through hunger but because he loves it IMO.
If you are happy to feed him then carry on. You could however cut out B/F during the night by sending through DH each time he cries. However depends what you want to do really. At one year he is still a baby really [smile}

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