Friday, January 22, 2010

extended breastfeeding- nightfeeds be GONE!

UPDATE: *** the morning after: Well, classic, classic classic. Not a peep. he woke at 9:45 pm and complained for about 4-5 minutes (seemed like aneternity for me) but I was determinded to let him work it out himself so he was aware he could put himself back to sleep without me. He did. And then nothing until 7:15 am! Of course I woke up at 4:30am and sat up worried something had happened and eventually poked my head in to make sure everything was OK. Ahhh, mamahood. Thank you all for your kind words and support. I am still going to be strict about no milk at night, but this whole situation was just another example of how when you're really at your wits end they change their ways and go back to their regular old selves. xx m.

Preface: for those who have not been following my extended breastfeeding updates, my little one is almost 17 months now and I am still feeding.

Well, after three nights of what seems like newborn behaviour (waking every hour, screaming, tantrums until being given milk, etc.) I have had it. Of course, I am going to continue breastfeeding during the day - his regular 3 feeds- morning, before the afternoon nap, and before bed, but I am seriously pulling the plug on any nightfeeds E-V-E-R. We seem to have gotten into a vicious cycle where L'il B truly expects to be comforted by my boob and nothing else will do, and to say the least: it is not working for me, my sanity or my body. He self-settles for his sleeps, fully awake in his cot, takes about 10 minutes to nod off and most of the time sleeps through the night. But when he does wake up, he insists on a breastfeed. The past three nights he has thrown the whole routine in the garbage and has decided that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he can't get back to sleep on his own and calls out for me. This is fine, I can see that he might be going through some separation anxiety and needs a little more comfort and cuddles than usual (I have taken him to the doctor to chack for an ear infection or other ailment and he has been given the all clear). But when my breasts (which is well and truly empty in the wee hours) are being used as a never-ending pacifier, I have to draw the line.

Please let me know what you think of this resolution, and if you have any tips, or if you totally disagree with me and think I should continue to feed him while he goes through this stage. I am all ears.

In the meantime, here I go. Night one. I am expecting at least 5-7 wake ups (as has been the past 3 nights) and this time, Mummy is not giving in. No matter how much rocking, singing and patting my husband and I have to do.

As I told, L'il B tonight, "Say Night Night to Milk, see you in the morning Milk". It's going to be a long night...


Kate said...

I have no tips except to say that I believe that you need to do what feels right for you and your baby and noone else. In a way its about survival and waking up to feed every few hours like a newborn is not great. I breast fed my babies for as long as they would breastfeed. Coincidentally all three stopped at 2, although with Pepper being my last I would have liked to keep going for a bit longer. The only thing I can think is that it is hot and he might just be thirsty so try some water in a cup. Good luck for tonight. I hope it is an easy transition. XX

Ola said...

Oh, wow. I think I may be in your predicament in about 8 months time. Xavier has never slept through the night and has at least one feed every night. I think you need to think about what makes you a good mother and if still feeding him at night is no good for you, you should not feel guilty for saying that enough is enough.

Good luck.

MoederKip said...

I agree - there is no right or wrong here - you will know when changes need to be made.
The only thing I would say is give it a night or two, and see how you're feeling. It will be tough I'm sure, and that's fine if you're prepared to work through it.
But if he's going through an anxious stage, it's also possible that making changes could make him even more clingy (although this was just my personal experience, so I might be a bit biased!!). Whereas if you can let him get through it, he might be more ready in a few weeks time to change the night feeding.
But it really depends on how you and he are feeling. If it works now - great. If it doesn't, don't let it get you down - you can always try again.
You seem like a really in-tune Mama, so I'm sure you'll be able to use your good judgement and get through this. Will be thinking of you :-)

Tricia said...

I had to do the same with my daughter. We stoped night feeds over a year ago when I wasn't well and really really needed some sleep. It was hard on my husband - but after a week or so he became the one she expected to settle her at night time. It actually really strengthened their bond...and I think made my husband feel good about being the one she expected at night.

I'd read a story or two and then say goodnight and my husband would settle her to sleep. If she woke at night I just didn't exist. I think this is what helped us the most. If I had tried to settle her she would have just wanted a feed. It didn't take long - and it wasn't like we were leaving her to cry - my husband just walked or cuddled her.

She's still feeding (she'll be 3 in April) and night time feeds still don't happen (unless we are travelling or she's super unsettled and I just want to get her to sleep quickly).

I say go for it - look after yourself - put some ear plugs in - and give your husband a big kiss and thank you cuddle. :-)

Cass said...

Sorry, no words of wisdom here except trust your instincts and do what you feel is best for you and your child. Yes, in that order. You then him. You need to look after yourself (which includes some uninterrupted sleep at night) to be able to mother him the way you desire and to function as a human!

Lola Nova said...

I want to make it clear that my comment comes from my own personal experience and what worked for me, may not be best for you.
Trust yourself, if you are feeling stressed about night feedings, then the little one reacts to that stress, possibly becoming more needy. It is hard to remain firm in your resolve but, if you shows to your child that you are a follow through parent who's committed to doing what is best for the whole family (I know, a rather heady concept for a baby, but they can feel your confidence or lack thereof - I believe). There are ways to comfort and show that you are there for him, without giving him the boob, even if he doesn't seem to think so :)
I found it becomes even harder if you resolve to do something and then after two nights of hell, you go back to old ways. The next time around is often a longer and harder road.
Well, don't know if that helped at all. I am sending you positive thoughts and I hope that you find a rhythm that brings peace to your entire family. Oh, I'm yawning just thinking about it.
And know this... Mama, you rock!

My Love is..... said...

ohhhh meagan! No extra words of knowledge or support to add but sending my support and hugs down the wire to you and lil B. Good luck with the this transition.

One pair of Hands said...

I remember the health centre sister saying to me, "Who's the boss in your house? Night time is for sleeping and you need your rest." Easy to say when you're not the one struggling with the problem. I've quite honestly forgotten how we coped which probably means it wasn't much of a drama. I think the drink of water is a good idea. Little ones understand a lot more than we give them credit for and the fact that Mummy's not on tap at night but she doesn't want her Lil'B to be thirsty will sink in. Take heart, I reckon it will be all over by next week. Hope so anyway. Sending good vibes your way.

Kelly said...

hi- as a mum of 3, first two did the co-sleeping attachment parenting, extended feeding thing, third baby swore none of that coz in hindsight it did my head and body in! (its all good if you have oodles of extended support and arent doing home alone), breast fed baby 3, co slept for the first few months and then insisted he learn how to sleep without breast, best thing i EVER did. slept from 9 months from 6-7. brilliant. independent happy soul he is. put to bed now and bang! go for it if thats what you hear yourself saying.

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