Help! Pregnant and desperately sleep deprived due to 2.5 year olds night waking/ b feeding(15 Posts)
I REALLY need some advice from anyone who has gone through similar. I have a 2.5 year old
Boy who is still v keen on breastfeeding despite my attempts to say no, to offer water etc. He is a strong Little chap and pulls at my clothes and breast. I co slept with him due to exhaustion but have managed in the last month to get him sleeping in his own room but the problem now is that I am having very broken sleep as I respond to his regular waking, cries for me and I end up breastfeeding him back to sleep and sleeping beside him most awkwardly and uncomfortably. At this point I am so sleep deprived I have little will to tackle breastfeeding during the day or anything else for that matter. I feel a wreck physically. I am also 8 weeks pregnant.
My husband has never done nights with him except whilst on paternity leave. This is because he has a gruelling commute daily, a demanding Job as a doctor and in addition has never been home in time to take over the bedtime routine. Now that I am pregnant he is keen that I stop breastfeeding ( as am I) but he doesn't really realise how hard it is for me to do that particularly when I am so worn out. We have discussed him taking a week where he takes the monitor and going to our son and offering a beaker of water at night to break the night feeding but I am not confident this will work and not is he. Does anyone please have any advice? I do not want to leave him to cry. I need to get on top of this soon as I am desperately tired but also because I don't want to either be feeding him and a newborn or trying to wean him when baby arrives ( December so at least I have time time). Anyone been through similar? Please help!
You seem very certain that you want to stop breastfeeding him. Just take some time to make sure of that, since the easiest option will be go back to cosleeping and feeding to sleep. It's not actually a problem to tantrum feed a toddler and baby. There will be lots of online support to do this (try milk meg as a starting point). You could create a family bed for all if of the children.
Im not say in this is the 'right' answer, it's just that it might help you to know that you can make long term breastfeeding work, if you want to.
If you really don't want to breastfeed anymore, the only realistic way to do that is going to be to pick a date and bite the bullet. You need your DH to be available for this, so time it with when he has time off work. If not your DH, anyone who doesn't smell of breast milk. Could your mum move in on for a week or two to help? Any other friend or relative? How about employing a night nanny just for a few weeks?
Someone else will need to do all the nights. I eouldnt offer water as an alternate, that will just prolonge the agony and I very much doubt she's actually thirsty.
Instead I'd consistantly use a comforter. A special toy for example. Make a back-story to make it extra special ("this is mummies teddy when I was a little girl. Teddy needs lots of cuddles at night time. Will you be the one to look after teddy for me? Will you cuddle him tight?" etc).
That way, she has a way to independantly get the comfort, rather than needing to call you for more water etc.
In your situation, I'd look into hiring a night Nanny to support you for either 2 weeks or a month. I bet the investment will be worth it. Completely hand toddler over at bedtime. Sleep away from home if at all possible, so you don't have to deal with any pull to intervene. That will then leave uou better rested to cope with the daytime weaning.
If a night nanny isn't feasible, your DH needs to step up and do this.
Thanks Fate- sorry for late response- another dreadful night. I really appreciate your advice. I only want to stop breastfeeding because he is rough with me and feeds compulsively so I am very sore, I also think the sleep deprivation is really severe. I do not have any friends or family that can help me and my husband is not at home enough so there are no real breaks. I am however very uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger suddenly appearing in his room at night- I think it would be scary for him and it is too intimate a thing for a stranger to do?! I also would have difficult leaving the house as I don't want him feeling I have abandoned him. I think my husband will probably need to do it- can you recommend any reading material for him on how best to do it? Has anyone got any positive stories about similar situations- I am feeling really worn down by it. I've been up since 4 am this morning and he just st keeps feeding and climbing all over me. He's my first and I love him so much but I really don't feel well anymore.
Mosquito you poor thing, you sound a bit broken.
There could be a middle way- hire a night nanny and do the settling with her. She can give you advice as you go.
There will be some (probably lots of) crying I'm afraid, but lots of options other than leaving him to cry if that's not for you. Good luck
I night-weaned while co-sleeping at 17 months. It was really hard but only for a couple of nights. Google "Jay Gordon night weaning". Basically the first 3 nights you let them feed, but not fall asleep on the breast, and they get no more until they've been asleep and woken up again. Second three nights, no milk, just cuddles or rocking whatever else it takes to get him back down. Then less and less intervention over time to wean them off needing you. My son was FURIOUS. The first night was tough. The 4th night was awful. And then he was fine. I weaned altogether about 3 months later which was really really easy.
Basically, if your husband won't take over for a bit - which will be hard and involve crying, so he needs to be persistent - then you'll need to be really determined and push through yourself. I so sympathise. It's so so hard to do anything except take the path of least resistance when you're that tired. But it sounds like it's breaking you! Which is how I felt, too. Good luck!
Tatlerer do you know of any good agencies- I'm in London? Unfortunately the comforter/ cuddly toy won't work as he's never liked them and also he's not advanced enough to get the concept of it being mummy's etc. Unfortunately he has always come to
Me for comfort and I have seldom
Turned him away. I do feel broken physically and also under lots of pressure to get this under control.
If you want to crack this your DH needs to man up and help you. What does he think female doctors with young children do? I went back to work full time as a surgeon when DS was 4 months old. We've always shared night wakings (admittedly easier given that I'd stopped night feeds before I went back to work) and you've been doing them for more than 2 years. His time working as a doctor will have prepared him well for the challenge, if he can be woken up repeatedly in the middle of the night to go and treat a sick patient, he should be able to deal with getting a toddler back to sleep. If you want to stop BF someone else doing the night wakings is the quickest and least stressful way.
He's old enough to understand that he shouldn't be rough with you though, have you tried to tackle that? Agreed it should be someone else to tackle the weaning though. Will he take expressed milk at all?
He's never taken any kind of bottle as he had posterior tongue tie and lip tie until 6 months. I think it's also the cuddling plus breast he wants. I
Know nothing about night nannies ? Has anyone had success with one who didn't just leave child to cry it out? What I can't understand is even if husband or someone else takes over nights for a week won't he still want me and 'boo' when I'm back?
I think the idea is you break the cycle so then he forgets. We tried at 2, but after 2 weeks (luckily over Christmas so OH was off work) we'd not got anywhere as he was still waking every night for water/snacks. Luckily he self-weaned completely at 2.5 without any effort on my part, but that was probably helped that if daddy did bedtime there was no milk, and he was happy enough with daddy doing bedtime with a story etc.
At 2.5 it is probably comfort rather than sustenance / thirst but you'll need to still offer food or drink when he wakes as he's used to it now. Book yourself into a hotel for the weekend....? Tell your son you're not going to be there that night in advance? Is he able to handle the 'milk is for babies, you're a big boy now' line of discussion, perhaps combined with bribery of a new toy or whatever that is only for 'big boys' who don't have milk at night?
I started to night wean DD at 16 months when I was about 5 months pregnant. DH very quickly took over all the night wakings which he was going to have to do when the baby arrived anyway.
In your position, I think your DH needs to be the one to break the cycle. If he can, a week of leave might be the best way. I started by continuing to do the bedtime routine (BF to sleep in DD's bed) but DH had to do wake ups between 10 and 5, and then all wake ups. Then DH took over bedtimes completely.
Once you've weaned in whichever way you're comfortable, you should be able to say goodnight to DS at bedtime and not see him until the morning. Hopefully after a week or 2 of disturbed nights, your DH should rarely need to go into him.
If you want to wean completely, can you use the line that the milk has all gone? DD (now 2) still has a very quick feed in the morning and at nap (I imposed this routine when DS was 6 weeks) but it's difficult to stop BF completely when she's around it all day with DS so I'd try to crack it now if you want to stop.
Mosquito I know a brilliant woman (I was in London at the time too), will PM you details later. She can either come to you or do a Skype consultation and then give you a detailed plan for you/your husband to follow.
I night weaned DD at 2.1 still doing the night wakings myself because I was pregnant. I read her "nursies when the sun shines", explained no milk until the sun came up (it was summer so early sunrise) then went to bed with her wearing about a million tops. I offered water and cuddles when she woke up. There was one crying stint of about 15 minutes the first night and that was the longest one, by night 4 she stopped asking until the morning.
After that I weaned quite slowly, going to timed feeds instead of feeds on demand, then dropping those one at a time. She was fully weaned by 2.4, though kept asking when she saw my boobs for some time afterwards. I would day wean a bit more quickly than I did if I was you, I would suggest you want him weaned about 8ish weeks before the new baby comes so he doesn't resent the new baby for 'stealing' the milk.
You poor thing. I also think you should rope on your husband. He can sleep on a mattress next to your son's bed for a week if needs be to reduce crying.
You have to be firm with your son, tell him he's a big boy and that he doesn't need boo anymore and he will be getting milk.
Reassure him in other ways. Lots of attention when awake, lots of cuddles at bedtime, lots of I love yous
Mosquito can't work out how to PM using my phone app but the woman I was going to recommend is called Nicola Watson and her website is http://www.childsleepsolutions.co.uk
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