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Help! 4 year old still nurses to sleep and in the night..

(21 Posts)
LinManWellWellWell Wed 22-Feb-17 06:25:11

I am the living example of making a rod for your back and I don't know how to un rod it!! I have never managed to get dd to sleep on her own, so I nurse her to sleep (often takes most of my evening), and then she appears in my bed and nurses through the night. I can't sleep while she doing it and I'm so tired.but when I tell people she doesn't sleep well I'm too ashamed to say what the real problem is.

I've looked at doing supernanny' s back to bed technique but I'm so tired I don't know if I'll have the me talk strength..and just mentioning the idea of changing her bedtime routine gets her really stressed. She's nursing right now so I'm awake, but will probably fall.asleep.just as I need to get everyone ready for school.

fessmess Wed 22-Feb-17 06:33:54

I don't think you've made a rod for your own back, you've done what's best. I fed mine until they were 3 and the nighttime ones were the last to go. I have no advice really, mine are teens now and I don't remember how they stopped. However I do remember it was phased out and they knew it was ending. I believe they had a "big girl present" when they finished and knowing me a sticker chart as they reduced feeds. The benefit of her being 4 is you can chat with her. Before you start weaning her off I would get lots of rest in the day to bolster you up. Also, I hear stress in your post. If you're confident about the change then she will be. You have other children, did you bf them in the same way?

taytopotato Wed 22-Feb-17 06:38:37

We did "counting" so I counted up to 10 and told DC to stop. It was hard at the beginning as DC would latch again. In the end DC found it funny and it became a sort of number game. Best of luck

FATEdestiny Wed 22-Feb-17 13:30:03

The key, and most important question here is - do you want to stop nursing her now? Or would you like to carry on?

alteredimages Wed 22-Feb-17 13:37:24

I have a three year old who still feeds to sleep and gets up in the night to nurse. I kind of planned to stop once he turned 2 but a series of major changes in his life made me decide to wait. I did manage for one week last summer when he was two and a half but he started banging his head against the wall really hard after a few days so I relented.

Sometimes it is annoying but I do feel like he still benefits from it so I am willing to continue in the short term. My worry is just that he will never stop! I thought it would be easier as he grew older but he seems more and more insistent as he gets older, so that is a worry.

LinManWellWellWell Wed 22-Feb-17 16:13:31

Thanks for your replies!
altered it helps to know I'm not the only person in the world doing this!
fate I'm happy to keep nursing her. But I also want sleep. And the idea of tucking a child in, giving her a kiss, saying 'night night' and leaving the room feels heavenly!
fess I fed ds until he was 2. I dropped to 7.5 stone and the Dr insisted I stopped sad (cunningly enough haven't had that problem with dd!). He was very chilled and straightforward though! Thanks for your tips, I like the big girl present idea! And the counting tayto

dinobum Wed 22-Feb-17 17:22:46

We've managed to move the feed away from the sleepy bit by adding in a high value book in between, it was stick man which we'd let her watch over xmas and she has become obsessed. And just explaining that we've had milk now and it's time to 'snuggle' in her blanket and listen to the story. Then lights out and I retell her the story and rub her belly until she's asleep - I'm planning on trying to gradual retreat this last bit soon!

LinManWellWellWell Wed 22-Feb-17 18:38:41

Ooh that sounds good dinobum. I did try the gradual retreat thing a while ago but she was getting really distressed (and I'm trying not to disturb her big brother!). Perhaps I'll take her to the bookshop and let her choose something special.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 23-Feb-17 13:25:01

I fed mine til he was over three so I feel your pain, what I found was that being able to settle at bedtime without a feed (well not without, but not falling asleep on boob) was the beginning of the end for night feeds. I did it with stories and cuddles too, and for a while I did 'lovely thoughts' - a little story all about him having an adventure, designed to give him nice dreams. I invented that to sort of replace the comfort of the bf. Once he could fall asleep in his bed ( with me there but not bf) he very quickly stopped waking so often at night, so solving one problem made the other redundant.

Don't be afraid to give it a go, if it's already taking you ages to get her to sleep then you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by trying!!

LinManWellWellWell Thu 23-Feb-17 14:26:59

Thanks penelope that's very reassuring!

dinobum Fri 24-Feb-17 07:32:33

Mine has also stopped waking in the night so frequently within a few weeks of distancing the bedtime feed. She's also stopped immediately shouting MILK!!! at me when she does wake and can be cuddled to sleep. Although I also have the in the night garden audiobook which seems to settle her - I think she responds to voices and it calms her down

88Nikki88 Sat 25-Feb-17 20:47:49

People can tell me off for this comment if you like. I have no idea if it's a good idea or not, but my little one stopped breastfeeding when I got pregnant, I think the pregnancy hormones made the milk not taste so good and he just turned it down. You may think this is mean, and if so, please feel free to ignore me, but is there anything you can eat/do that might make your milk less appealing?

LinManWellWellWell Mon 27-Feb-17 22:48:59

88 no that's a good suggestion! Pregnancy is a bit extreme though for me. Wonder if i can make it taste less appealing.
And dino that is great news!

daisydalrymple Mon 27-Feb-17 23:02:18

Dc3 is 2.4yo so a bit younger, but he still bfs to sleep too. Has co slept from my bedtime from the early days as it's been the only way for me to function with two older dcs to get up for school etc. I've despaired about him ever sleeping / stopping feeding, but feel the end is finally in sight. He's dairy intolerant, which is why I've ended up bf for so long, but does drink almond / oat / soya milk alternatives now, so I really wanted to start getting some sleep finally and stopping the bf. (he was feeding to sleep at 7, then would wake 10-11pm come into bed, be, sleep, another bf middle of night and another when he woke in the morning).

Firstly I started by cutting the middle of the night feed if he stirred, I just started saying no boobies are asleep now. First night he cried / grumbled for about 5 mins, then a week of a slight protest maybe, then he stopped waking in the night. Then I started doing the same with the my bedtime feed. Just picking him up from cot when he woke and taking him to bed saying sleep time now, boobies are asleep. He stopped asking for a feed and just cuddled in to sleep. Then knocked the morning wake up feed on the head in the same way. He's now stopped asking for a feed other than at his bedtime.

And slept through for the first time ever in his own cot all night last week and again last night!!! I'm so ready to stop feeding now, so will work on the bedtime feed next. And I never thought he'd ever give it up without great effort! Good luck.

LinManWellWellWell Tue 28-Feb-17 12:14:27

Wow daisy well done! As she's a bit older I'm planning on buying lots of mini tat from the pound shop, wrapping them in pretty paper and putting in a basket. Then will talk to her and say no more milk at night and if she stays in bed until morning she can choose a gift. Then being firm (that's the hard bit when I'm tired). A friend said to me to remember I'm the grown up and I'm telling not asking!!

daisydalrymple Tue 28-Feb-17 13:58:23

Yes I think we get to the stage where we think they'll just never accept it, as it's been so long. I was always convinced ds2 would scream the house down and wake ds1 and dd so just went with the easy option of feeding back to sleep. Gift idea sounds great!

Hopefully you'll find it works really quickly. (I still have to knock the final 7pm feed on the head though, so who knows how long that will take me hmm ).

LinManWellWellWell Sun 05-Mar-17 08:19:41

Update. I started last night because she's been ill. Told her very calmly and cheerfully that now she's a big girl we'll be changing the sleep routine. Showed her bag of treats to choose from in the morning.

Did bath, 3 stories and milk (whilst sitting up so I wasn't lying with her) then said goodnight and switched off the light.

She didn't cry but got up twice and I put her back to bed. She was asleep in 20 mins!! (This was 7.10)

Then she woke up at 9 and cried and coughed for nearly 20mins. That was really hard, but she only got out of bed once and I just tucked her back in.

After that...solid sleep until 7.15 this morning . I cannot believe it!!

It helped that I had a couple of friends messaging me loads of support throughout. Dh is away, we never would have got through the 20min crying if he was here.

sallysparrow157 Sun 05-Mar-17 08:25:42

Well done you and DD!

LapinR0se Sun 05-Mar-17 08:31:38

Well done!!

sallysparrow157 Sun 05-Mar-17 08:36:59

Well done you and DD!

NewtScamandersNaughtyNiffler Sun 05-Mar-17 08:48:17

Oh well done you and dd.

I fed ds2 until he was 3. Only at bedtime and he'd wake once in the night (but would sleep through no problems at my mums)

Tbh I can't remember how we stopped. But we did. But that doesn't matter as you've found something that looks like it will work smile

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