20 month Old Nursing Concerns

cathyDecember 14, 2001


I have a 20 month old girl who still sleeps with my husband and I, and is still nursing. I am 37 weeks pregnant, due with another girl Jan 4th. Throughout the pregnancy, my toddler has wanted to nurse more and more. At around 10 months of age, thought she was on her way to weaning because she only nursed to go to sleep at night and first thing in the morning. The frequency of nursing has increased to the point of newborn. During naps and during the night, she is latched on almost constantly, which is affecting my sleep. If I try to remove her from my breast, she wakes up. I a very tempted to try a pacifier, because I think that she is doing this for security. She hasn't needed pacifier, and I would hate to start that now. But with getting up to pee 10 times a night, and needing to sleep myself, I need to stop this behavior. I am also scared of what it's going to be like when the new baby is here, and I have to get up every two hours to nurse her.

Thanks for listening, and for your suggestions.


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I had the same dilemma with my now 20 month old when she was about 17 months...I was definatley ready to wean and she was getting there until she got sick...then it was back to nursing 24-7. You want to know what worked for me? A trip to Grandma's house. I was sad to see my baby go overnight for the first time, but after almost a week visiting Grandma and her farm...she was weaned. She asked for "boob" only a few times and I just told her "all gone!" and changed the subject and she has been fine ever since. Good luck..I am sure it will be a bit harder if she is still sleeping with you..mine was sleeping all night without it in her own bed. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 6:52PM
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Hi there!
First off - congratulations on the new baby coming and congratulations on making this far in your nursing relationship! And good for you for co-sleeping! If you didn't already know about the changes your breastmilk goes through then maybe it will help you to understand part of why she *might* be nursing more and more. While pregnant your milk will change to colostrum again and she may have started out trying to increase your supply which was deminishing. But that is only part of it and may be how the increased nursing started.

Part of it may be a security issue. She probably senses something is up with this new baby on the way and this is her way of staying connected to you.

Something I noticed my youngest did that you might try to start with your dd is that he would nurse, fall asleep and wake up when I would unlatch him and this was a vicious cycle. So after I realized that I was either going to have to sit there with my boob in his mouth all the time or else do something. So I wound up just holding him and within 5-10 minutes he was asleep. Now it has progressed to where I must lay him down and pat him or just have my hand on him while singing. Anyway, it's a thought.

I don't have any weaning advice cause I believe in children self-weaning so if you were looking for that, I'm sorry. She'll probably regulate herself out on her own after the baby is here.

mom to ds#1 (9), dd#1 (7), angel (97), dd#2 (3), ds#2 (14 mo) and twin angel (00)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 7:39PM
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Congratulations on your pregnancy. I am a Mother with two grown daughters and have two granchildren. The youngest being 24 months old. I am in no way putting you or any other mother down for how you raise your children. I will only tell you what I believe in and what worked for me. My oldest daughter who is now 24 yrs. old was born with a respiratory problem and I breast fed her for two weeks. She undoubtedly wasn't getting enough milk so I switched her to formula. I never let either one of my daughters sleep with my DH and myself. Both of my daughters slept in their cradle beside my bed until they were 6 weeks old and then they were moved to their own room. 24 yrs. ago we didn't have baby monitors like the parents do today. When a mother is breast feeding she can always use a breast pump to fill bottles up for her babies for nighttime purposes if she so desired. I weaned both of my daughters off of a pacifier at one week old and they both did fine. Sure the first week was very hard. My 24 month old granddaughter has been in a room of her own since she was 6 weeks old and my daughter weaned her off of the pacifer at an early age. She has been drinking from a sippy cup since she was 17 months old. She is now in a toddler bed and does wonderful. When she spends the night with us I put her at the back of her Aunts bed and she goes to sleep by herself at 8:30pm and then her Aunt will go to bed later on. All I can recommend to you is to try talking with your pediatrician about how to go about weaning your daughter from nursing.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 1:47AM
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I don't have any personal experience on the matter, but from what I've seen of other women's experience, it is common for the nursing toddler to get a little carried away if there aren't boundries laid out by mom. I've heard many people pleased with the results when they simply stopped offering to nurse, only doing so when asked. A further step is to nonchalantly offer a substitute for nursing when asked at inconvenient times, or to only nurse in specific situations e.g. naptime, mornings, etc.

As for nursing all night, it does sound like it is for comfort. Since you should now be producing colostrum rather than the fattier milk, she is probably not getting the "full" signal from her belly that would normally lead to her unlatching on her own. Once she falls asleep latched on, the change in that situation wakes her up, and then she just wants to get cozy and comfortable again suckling. Kind of like when you have to get out of bed at night, and you just want to find that same cozy spot you had been in.

It seems that she may need to get to sleep without nursing to end the cycle. Perhaps if you nurse her in a chair before going to bed, then wear a tee-shirt or bra that would restrict her access to you at night. She should still be able to find comfort in your warmth and softness, but without the sudden jolt of unlatching, she should be able to sleep undisturbed. You could also try shuffling the sleeping arrangements so that she is on the other side of Dad. You could try the pacifier thing, but I imagine she wouldn't accept it, and she is old enough that her need to suck is probably not so strong that a pacifier is really needed. The trick is that she will just have to get settled and comfortable without being latched on in the first place.

That's why I feel blessed that my daughter loves to suck her fingers so much. I don't care how much I have to pay the orthodontist later, that baby can soothe herself right to sleep!

Congrat's on the new baby and best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 2:19PM
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The best advice i was ever given was to tell my 21 month old DD that i had boo-boos on my breasts-she totally got it and it ended very quickly and she was nursing all the time-all the time--the only thing with you is that she will see the newborn nursing and will not understand why she is and why she cannot. you have to just stop cold turkey-i would not give her the passy-that is subing one oral fixation for another and it will not be the same comfort as mommy-you will find that it wont really take more than a week to get her used to the idea. i stopped the passy cold turkey and my 12 month old DD got over it in less than a week and she was an addict. so it seems worse than it is and you have been wonderful so far and now it is draining to you and you have another baby coming-you can do it..all midwives and doctors told me-once it becomes annoying to me, i should stop.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2001 at 10:07AM
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Hi :o)
How wonderful you have this relationship with your first child, and have persevered through a pregnancy as well :o)
You are entering the * tandum zone *...
It can become very frustarating meeting *any* needs of your child, when we are tired, ready to birth at any time, touched out etc etc etc..but the bottum line is- we are mothers, and we must still meet our childrens needs...This doesnt mean that we cant set limits to honour our own bodys, but it does mean that it is highly unfair and disrespecful to our children to refuse to meet there needs.
It is *normal* for your toddler to be strongly attached to her mama, particularily when there is a new cub coming to invade her territory soon! Assure her, comfort her, and meet her needs, and in time with your instinctive effort, your child will back off knowing that mama has not refused her..but rather taught her how to love, give, and accept her needs, and vulnerability.

Your pediatrition likely has little breastfeeding expertise, as this is not there area..( he/she may, of course, as some health care practitioners choose to attend the current conferences and educate themselves on areas outside there own specifcs) but I would suggest connecting with other lactating woman, La Leche League, or a lactating counsellor/consultant who specialises in tandum nursing, and promotes child led weaning. ;o)

CLick *tandum nursing* in your search and connect with enlightened mamas :o)

I would strongly urge you to think twice about abandoning your baby at such a vulnerable time in her life! A new one is coming/ mamas body is changing/your breasts are changing/her farmiliar milk is preparing for a new cub..
What strange times for such a wee child..
Mother her through it :o)
Enjoy! and be well!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2001 at 11:44PM
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