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Co-sleeping & BF an older baby/toddler - what's that like?

(25 Posts)
Hulla Fri 26-Jun-09 17:23:53

DD (5 months) is bf and when I was pg I always planned to stop at 6 months.I thought that was what you did. It never crossed my mind to bf longer. However, I have had an MN education and want to continue bf (haven't decided on an end "date" now).

I have also just started full time co-sleeping with dd who bfs through the night. I am finding it easier than bringing her into bed part way through the night, I am getting more sleep and I love it.

The thing is I now can't imagine her going into her own room (its on another floor to our room) or not being in bed with me anytime soon.

So what's it like bf & co-sleeping for years? I'll go back to work when she is 1yr old so perhaps daytime bf will end then? I know that it means she is unlikely to sleep through the night while we do this so I suppose what I want to know is, is that as exhausting as it sounds?

I don't know anyone in rl who bf past 6 months (or admits to it)so I don't have anyone to ask!

StealthPolarBear Fri 26-Jun-09 17:36:13

I co slept with DS when he was about 9 months I think (not every night but on and off) and stopped when he was about 18mo - it was just impossible with the kicking and the lying sideways, plus for some reason he never de-latched (still does this now, so I have to just put him down).
Would only do it now if absolutely desperate (and today I was up at 1.30 and then 4.30 for the day and that wasn't desperate) and if DH was sleeping in the spare room.

mumblecrumble Fri 26-Jun-09 17:40:52


Are you thinking she'll be in your bed for ages cos she wont want to move or becasue you wont want her to leave?

Cos I felt both when DD was about 5 months. She slept with us and generally it was great. When she got bigger and she fed less int he night a few things evolwved [I mean they didn;t just happen but gradually]. She got bigger and liked more space to herself and frankly so did I. I missed snuggling up to my husband and getting a good rest. Maybe some people could do both.

I asked for adv ice about popping her in her big cot [previously had been in moses basket] and they suuggested letting her play in there and get really familiar.

I was worried we wouldn;t feel as close and sometimes, like if its stormy I feel she's far away but frankly she is very happy in her own room and we have soooooooooooooooooo much cuddle time in the day.

She;s nearly two now and has finished breast feeding and cosleeping really naturally [not that not finishing is unnatural - I just mean I didn;t force it] and we all sleep well and are happy.

Are you a single Mum? I ask cos if there's loads of room go for it! I have a friedn who moved and didn;t even get her son a bed or cot! They are really happy!

Hulla Fri 26-Jun-09 17:59:25

Ha ha! I'm not a single mum but it feels like it at night - DH sleeps on a mattress on the floor at the moment so that we have enough space in our kingsize bed.

STB, after 18 months is BF twice a night tiring?

mumblecrumble I think it is a bit of both. DD went through a phase of waking hourly and screaming. It didn't seem like teething or illness because once she latched on she was fine. Sometimes she'd be asleep again somewhere between her bed and my arms but if I put her back down she'd scream. It was awful and I would lie in bed and panic waiting for her to wake screaming. I was so tired I was crying in the day (pathetic when tired!) and so cosleeping seemed the only option and it really has changed my experience of being a mum.

DD is much more settled, no more crying and screaming and I don't really know how often she wakes now. I feel normal! I am scared of trying to get her into her own bed/room I suppose because I'd hate to go back to that. Plus, now I am used to having her so close I think I would worry.

I don't know how my working life (4 days a week I think) and bf will fit together either. I know I have a while but its on my mind a lot lately.

snowgum Fri 26-Jun-09 18:01:41

I've been bfing and cosleeping for a year and am not tired at all
Actually I think it gets better with time .... At about 8 months it was driving me mad, but after that dd starting sleeping more and feeding less (mostly of her own accord) and now it's lovely again.

TrinityRhino Fri 26-Jun-09 18:05:48

we have a kingsize bed
gecko is 2.3 and have co slept from birth but she does now have her own bed which se begins the night in but then joins me
she is still bf all night

tis easier when you cosleep though if they are feeding in the night still

Hulla Fri 26-Jun-09 19:32:29

Snowgum & TR, that's what I hope!

I would like to find a way to get DH off the floor and back into our bed. I am considering having her cot attached to our bed.

Can I ask why you have bf for so long? I don't mean that to sound as though I think you shouldn't be, I hope I am still feeding dd when he she is 1yr+ but I have been wondering if I will still feel this way if I am finding it tiring and if I am under pressure to give up by family.

StealthPolarBear Fri 26-Jun-09 19:40:55

You can get cots that attach to beds I think...or that are the same level and one side drops down?
Ds is 2y2m now and unfortunately anything after about 4ish tends to be his morning feed angry. I'm also pregnant, so it is tiring, but not too bad - I just end up going to bed before 9.30 most nights!
When he's well he does tend to sleep through till 5ish but he has a cough at the moment which is disturing him.
Do you think it's likely you'll be under pressure to give up? Who are the likely culprits?

snowgum Fri 26-Jun-09 20:17:37

Why still feeding .....
- I was the same as you when dd was born I thought it would be 6 months to the day! Then I got re-educated by kellymom and mumsnet.
- I intended to keep going for a year, and now I want to make it to two and will hopefully let dd self wean.
- I did baby led weaning, which took a while to get going and my dd still eats very little so I just kept bfing on demand
- I would be very tired if I couldn't bf her back to sleep in the night
But the real reason is .... I think it's lovely and very natural and bonding. It's also quick (now!), convenient and healthy for her.

I don't talk about it to ppl that are not supportive. My dh has become more and more supportive over time as
he realises how much easier it makes his life.

re: dh in the bed ... by around 11 months dd could defend herself pretty well, before that I used to keep her between me and the wall.

bethdivine Fri 26-Jun-09 20:56:07

I did exactly the same with DS, he was a night feeder - to the point that he wouldn't feed between 9am - 6pm at one point! but I'd put him down in his cot at bedtime, then just used to bring him into our bed the first time he woke and then he'd stay there - it meant his cot was in our room till he was nearly one as I couldn't face the thought of having to get out of bed and go into another room in the middle of the night! - is this an option for you? that way, she's still used to her cot and she will lead the way as to when she's ready to stop the co-sleeping, as she'll hopefully just start sleeping longer and longer in her cot. I always thought I'd stop BF at 6mo, but got there and just carried on as it's so easy and happy at that point, I returned to work after a year, so we gradually stopped BF and it just ended naturally day before his birthday. I'll probably do similar this time with DD who is 10wks now.

Hulla Sat 27-Jun-09 08:59:40

I think I will be under pressure from family - mine & DH's. They already think it's strange and inconvenient that dd doesn't have bottles. My mil bought us bottles last time we visited because "we'd be needing to get her on them soon". My mum thinks bf takes away my freedom and my mil just thinks its plain weird. Colleagues have also made negative comments (one about bf at a year was like child abuse!).

I think I might try attaching her cot to our bed this weekend, if not I'm sure DH won't mind staying on the floor for a while longer.

*bethdivine, I think your idea sounds like sensible half way measure. I think we could move towards that once we decide that we've had enough!

Thanks everyone

mumblecrumble Sat 27-Jun-09 16:30:39

Hi again Hulla, SOunds like you're doing such a good job!

What about both mattresses on the floor! Oh yes, that sounds COOL! You could have HUUUUUUUUUUUGE bed for all of you and no one could fall out!

If dd is more settled then do it as loooong as it suits you. Sorry your family is pushing bottles. maybe you should tell them you are happy with brastfeeding.

I worked 3 days a week and breastfed. Was lucky as I worked Mon, wed + friday so could feed the other days and keep suppoly goign well. Supply went down but then DD's demand did so ok.

Can you express?

I had a comment [not disaproving but not encouraging] about breastfeeding past a year which surprised me as she was a pharmacist. I very politely said somthing along the lines of 'if the benefits of breastmilk were available in a packet then everyone would buy it however old the kids were!'. Also. They are wrong. Breast feeding till older [world average age 4?] is more normal than giving the milk of a differnet species.

Loved breastfeeding my toddler! We stopped when collegue was ill and I covered his hours and worked full time for two weeks.

elvislives Sat 27-Jun-09 16:58:40

My DD is 2.3 and still both BF and co-sleeping. Mostly she sleeps through now, but we had a week or so recently of several times a night waking, which was dire.

The only thing I don't like is that she goes to bed when I do so basically she dictates what time I go to bed, and to a lesser extent what time I get up. It's a bit frustrating when I've got things I want to do.

I work full time, and have done for the last year, so later bedtimes/ co-sleeping/ BF give us a chance to reconnect after a day apart.

Jacksmama Sat 27-Jun-09 17:03:41

Hi Hulla!
My DS is 16 mos. We've co-slept from birth and I'm still breastfeeding, mainly because he is a little boobie-monster and loves it. I plan to let him wean himself - can't see him doing it anytime soon though (which is fine with me). I love the night time snuggles. DH snuggles me, I snuggle DS. We're like a heap of kittens in the bed.

Bucharest Sat 27-Jun-09 17:11:05

dd is 5.5 yrs and we are still co-sleeping and bfing....grin
I operate a need-to-know basis with others....not many people come out in everyday conversation and ask tbh, as they automatically assume I stopped bf at 6mths and that dd has always had her own room.

Get a brilliant night's sleep. Always

My Mum huffs and puffs a bit when we go to stay and dd and I are in the double bed, but I huff back about her formula feeding me/

DitsyMe Sat 27-Jun-09 18:09:49

DD is 2 and I've just moved her into her own room.
Until then she had always co-slept (we never bothered to get a cot or anything).
Now I feed her to sleep in her bed then when she wakes later in the night she just potters in, climbs into bed with me and finds a boob!
She stays in the rest of the night because I can't be bothered to put her back.
I did this with previous children and find they sleep longer and longer until they sleep through.

It can be a little tiring to do a few feeds in the night, but no where near as tiring as having to get up out of bed and find another way to soothe them back to sleep!

Hulla Sat 27-Jun-09 19:35:43

Thanks everyone, sorry for the delay (been to visit some friends and their 2 week old - gorgeous!).

mumblecrumble I love the idea of both mattresses, I hadn't thought of that.

elvislives - I think the last line of your post is something that has been at the back of my mind and I think thats another reason for not wanting to stop.

Hey Jacksmama <<Waves>> you make it sound so lovely! That's where I want to get to - the three of us together.

bucharest I hadn't thought of that. I guess colleagues don't need to know. A few times a year I am expected to work away overnight. Would this cause problems with my supply do you think?

Ditsyme That sounds lovely and I think that when people ask me about giving up bf they don't realise/forget about the comfort side of it rather than just getting milk into my baby.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 27-Jun-09 19:47:11

Message withdrawn

Bucharest Sun 28-Jun-09 12:38:01

To be honest, we sometimes go for a day or so with no bf at all (fine by me) I've operated on the never-offer-never-refuse tack for about 2 years now, and somehow (can't remember exactly how, or why) dd got into the habit when she was about 3 of only having bm first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and only ever in the it's not like she's pawing at me in public or anything grin
I'm quite ready for it to finish now, dd says "when I'm 6 I think I'll stop" and maintains that at 6 she wants her own bedroom as well.
She's 6 in October, so we shall see!
Hulla You could maybe express for the times you need to be away overnight? I don't know too much about the technical side of supply, but would imagine that it wouldn't make a huge difference if it was only every now and then...

Bucharest Sun 28-Jun-09 12:39:08

Meant to say, when she does have it now, it is only for about 20 seconds each side- it's just like it's some sort of ritual with her, but it's no longer like she's actually having a proper drink!

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 28-Jun-09 14:29:13

Message withdrawn

TrinityRhino Mon 29-Jun-09 08:07:50

sorry I didn't come back

why still feeding?..

well I dont personally see formiula as an option and she takes great comfort from it and I just think its nicer to let them self wean

dd1 was night weaned which led to daytime weaning at 13 months on advice from doctor because I needed to take some medication

dd2 sucked her thumb from 3 months and decided she no longer needed bf at 9 months

gecko is a whole different experience for me, she is very much in love with 'boobie' blush and I am happy at the moment fpr her to continue.

TrinityRhino Mon 29-Jun-09 08:09:58

I do get a little frustrated sometimes and feel mauled a little but she is pretty much still on demand so I put up with it as I have allowed her to feel that it is up to her

MotherofPearl Thu 09-Jul-09 22:09:19

DD is now 16 months and has co-slept and BF through the night since birth. Although there are drawbacks (being kicked, breasts mauled, my partner and I clinging perilously to the edge of our kingsize bed while DD languishes across it), I have found that it is the best way to get some sleep. DD cries miserably in cot, so this way we all get some rest. I went back to work when she was 6 months and although do get tired sometimes still think this is more manageable. She went through a bad patch of very frequent waking when she was younger but much more settled now.

MotherofPearl Thu 09-Jul-09 22:14:05

Hulla, meant to say I have had the odd night away and it's not affected my supply, seems to keep going.

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