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Cosleeping and breastfeeding 23 month old with sleep difficulty

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  • Cosleeping and breastfeeding 23 month old with sleep difficulty

    I'm looking for advice/ reassurance.
    My daughter will be 2 in a few weeks and still has a great deal of trouble with sleeping. I get alot of criticism that her problem is related to extended breastfeeding and cosleeping.

    She has never slept more than 3 hours straight and I'm lucky if she only wakes every 2 hours. She slept in a bassinet at my bedside for the first 5 months and would consistently sleep 3 hrs but I was getting exhausted waking for 1/2 hour each feed. Once she got too big for the bassinet she refused to sleep in a crib. It was then we stared cosleeping.
    Fast forward to now and an average night has her waking 5-10 times. Frequently she will wake even more often. The nice thing about cosleeping is she just searches for my breast, latches and settles without a big fuss. Mind you it is still tiresome waking that often and she stays at the breast comfort sucking for along time so I can't move to get comfortable.
    Another aspect that is difficult is if I am not right beside her in physical contact she will wake up crying in a panic. I get up to use the bathroom about 2 times a night and as soon as I am up she starts screaming. I talk to her while I am out of the room but it doesn't help. Then when I return she latches and falls back asleep. I'm not even certain she wakes up. Sometimes she screams and calls for me with her eyes closed if she can't touch me.
    I do not believe in crying it out methods and love cosleeping. I also believe in child led weaning. At this point. She has mainly weaned from breastfeeding except when sleeping.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
    Needless to say I'm chronically, functionally exhausted. Lol

  • #2
    Some advice forminimizing breastfeeding at night would be to nurse more in the day. Offer during the day and make yourself avalible for that.

    Kellymom has a great page on it-
    Eliminating discomfort for your daughter might be a BIG issue for sleeping and less nursing. Try to focus on that and see if anything jumps out at you?

    I don't mean to suggest that you should night wean, just that limiting some nursing and adding other ways of comforting might help you with balance.

    Does her father share the bed with you? Is he able to do any nightime parenting?

    Gotta go, baby waking up!

    Let me know!


    • #3
      What are nap times like? Does she sleep on her own? I have a 15 month old who is very similar. Although she can sleep away from me in bed, and about 4-5x per month I get a stretch of 4-5 hrs. One thing I've noticed recently is that when she nurses asleep for her naps and bedtime, she is much more restless in her sleep. When I rock her to sleep, she seems to be more relaxed. This goes for night-time nursings too. It's like she can't get her deep sleep when she keeps waking to suck the whole time. She's never been able to nap on her own too often (she's usually in my lap), but recently I've started stripping her down to a onesie and wrapping her in a flannel blanket. She has napped on her own in our bed for the past 3 days with no problem. I tried this last night in bed, but it didn't work, as she was already unable to relax. I'm trying to see if daytime events are any sort of trigger to clingier behavior at night. Like if I'm more stressed, or don't get to pay enough attention to her needs during the day or something. I'm kinda in the same boat. I'm going to try to nurse her less at night to see if that helps. Hope this helps some.


      • #4
        me too

        Hi there,
        Not much help but jumping in here i hopes of also reaping the rewards of helpful responses to your query. I have a 28 month old boy who is exactly the same. Wakes hourly. I have noticed it seems peeing wakes him up, but after a lot of tests last June the doctors don't think he has a UTI or anything (it would have had to be pretty chronic). Same thing with the panic. To answer one person's question, for me, I nurse him down to nap and back down and back down until he's had enough. At bedtime, he seldom nurses to sleep but it takes him an hour or 2 of tossing and turning to fall asleep, and still he needs and demands nursing to fall back asleep all night long. He naps on the family bed. I worry that something is wrong with him. He also talks in his sleep a LOT.
        Thanks to everyone, and good luck to the writer (and to me).


        • #5
          i'm so glad you posted this issue....

          everything you said and described is EXACTLY to a T what we are going through. My daughter is 18 months, though. I have been looking for suggestions and help myself!


          • #6
            I'm also in the process of reading Elizabeth Pantley's The No Cry Sleep Solution...whole section in there are frequent nightime nursing with Toddlers.........excellent so far..and she does say that if your baby falls asleep completely by nursing during naps and bedtime, it does make them sleep less better, just as the previous poster said.


            • #7
              Thanks for the responses.

              In answer to your questions and thoughts:

              My husband does not sleep with us and will not help with nighttime parenting. He sleeps in a different room and says he doesn't hear her even when she is screaming at the top of lungs because I ran to the bathroom. I am a stay at home mom and he works so he says he needs his sleep.

              I can't offer her more breastfeeding time during the day for a few reasons. First, she has weaned when awake except if she is sick or hurt. Second, she is a very poor eater at the best of times and will not eat if she breastfeeds. I still accepted this about her until she was ready to eat of her own free will but feel offering her it again would be a step back. Also when she was breastfeeding every 2-3 hours during the day she still slept as poor.

              There are only 2 ways my sweetie will sleep. In bed with me at her side and nursing or on occasion in the car. When she does sleep in the car she wakes up crying every 15-30 min and I have to start driving and continue for at least 5 min for her to settle.

              Again, I thank everyone for responding. Please continue to offer suggestions/ support as I find it beneficial.


              • #8
                My dd is 21 months old and we go through the same thing, she has to touch me, nursing all the time. People remind me that around two they start to nurse like newborns again and a friend said that she thinks its her way of getting security and connecting with me because she is so independent throughout the day. On rough nights and days I try to remember that she is only this little once and it doesn't last long and soon she will be big and I wont be able to hold her as much. Depending on the night its a look forward too or it makes me smile and hold her close. Hang in there it will pass. Oh, is she going through a developmental phase where she is needing you more?


                • #9
                  Hi, have u looked into food allergies this can sometimes effect sleep due to discomfort at night, might be worth playing about with your diet see if anything helps, dairy is usually the common one...
                  But at the same time just want to reassure you that waking often is normal and there is light at the end of the tunnel if no solutions are found..
                  At 2yrs old sleep cycles mature, sleep gets deeper, brain growth slows down, and emotional development matures somewhat so most children will find it easier to settle, to sleep for longer periods...Obviously like walking and talking all children are different and all will do it in there own time, but if you see it as just that, a milestone a developmental stage then you can remind yourself it will come even if you do nothing....


                  • #10
                    Hello there! My baby is only 9 months old but similarly wakes up many times at night every one-two hours. She currently sleeps next to my bed in her crib, which is very convenient for all of us (my husband, baby, and myself) since I just grab her when she wakes up crying, breastfeed her for a few minutes, and she immediately falls back to sleep (within seconds of touching my breast). I read The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and the frequent night waking made so much sense. If your baby falls asleep in your breast she wakes up looking for your breast because that's how she feel asleep, it's simply an association she learned to make. Also, I believe that night waking is not necessarily to feed because they're hungry, but because is very comforting to them.

                    You can try to take her off the breast as soon as she begins to doze off and offer a pacifier (brush it against her cheeks). She may open her mouth as a reflex to take the breast, but instead you give her the pacifier and this may help her fall asleep. Little by little she may learn to use the pacifier as a transitional comforting object instead of the breast.

                    I also know how uncomfortable it can be to share the bed when baby wants to breastfeed for so long and you can't move, to the point where your arm goes numb! This is why I began to use the crib as a giant bassinet, first without the front panel (attached to my bed) and then with the panel up, but still touching my bed. When the panel wasn't up, she would fall asleep in my breast and I would move her over to her own mattress, yet still so close to me! Once she got used to this (after a few months), I put up the front panel. The first few nights were tough, and she still wakes up crying to be with me, but she's gotten more used to it. If she wakes up crying, I first pad her back with the paci in her mouth. If it doesn't work, then I pick her up and put her in the breast just so that she can fall asleep again. Once she closes her eyes (happens very shortly after) I put the paci in her mouth only if she wants to take it. I place her back to sleep in her crib, and I can go back to sleep myself comfortably even if it's just for the next 2 hours.

                    Hope this helps. Don't give up! You're doing an excellent job being an AP mommy. I highly suggest that book, it's got several good ideas that may be fitting to you and your baby =)


                    • #11
                      I really empathize in a major way! this is hard. I went through this with my now 2 y 3 mnth old daughter. I nightweaned at 19 mnths, but it reversed after an illness and then we went away for 2 months... then, at 2 I resumed night weaning and it was hard - I will not lie, it was tough, but she got through and we have a lovely rship still. Now, she might wake twice - once she will go back to sleep with a cuddle. Then, somewhere between 4.15 - 5.15 she will wake for he 'morning feed' (by which time she has usually been alseep for 7-9 hrs - bliss after every 2 hrs before) and go back to sleep until 6.30/7.00 even ! I would prefer if the morning feed was dropped, but I am going with it right now - still an improvement. Sometimes, every now & then, she will sleep till 6am for her morning feed.

                      I am now trying to work out how the heck I am going to encourage some day weaning - she comfort sucks all - all!! the time and I am concerned, to be honest.

                      any help Guys!!???

                      xxxbest wishes and Good Luck and keep up the great things you are doing.