20 answers

Toddler Won't Stop Nursing!

Hello, this is to anyone who can sympathize and hopefully offer any suggestions on the matter of nursing a 20 month old. I am still nursing her all night, she will not sleep through the whole night without nursing! HELP! We finally got rid of the crib months ago because she never slept in it anyway. Baby & mom share spare bed. I don't mind sleeping with her but the nursing must stop. She's usually ok throughout the day until she gets bored or tired, then she wants to nurse. How can I make the milk dry up fast so there's nothing coming out? I always end up giving in because otherwise I get even less sleep and she has a 1-track mind and it's just easier. Thanks!

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Thanks everyone! I don't feel so bad about nursing my "toddler" anymore after reading your responses! I guess we can keep it going a little longer because it does work for us & our lifestyle, regardless of what other's opinions (ahem.. my mom's!) may be. Yes I do get less sleep, but I'm a mother and it comes with the territory. :) I'm used to it now anyway.

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OK, this may sound crazy but have you tried just telling her that there's nothing left? I had the same problem you did with my son, and was at my wit's end, and then one day when he asked for a feeding, I told him, "Oh no! No more!" And he totally went with it. He never asked to be breast fed again. Sometimes we work so hard taking care of their needs that sometimes we don't see that they can be ok without something. Don't know if it will work for you, but just a suggestion.

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My daughter had a hard time sleeping through the night without nursing as well. I suggest reading the book "Solving your child's sleep problems" by Ferber. It talks about the Ferber method and basically says, like anything else we teach as parents, we are responsible for teaching our children appropriate sleep habits and how to to fall asleep independently and stay asleep. They used the comparison of an adult who usually sleeps with a pillow and in the middle of the night taking their pillow away, and how many people could get back to sleep without the pillow? Not many. The pillow is your breast If your child needs it to sleep, unless you plan on letting her have it in her mouth the whole night, she will never sleep through the night without it. The results were amazing. It involves extending periods of time of letting her cry before going in and talking to her. IN your absnese, she will roll around, start getting comfortable and eventually find a replacement for the breast, whether it is something big like a special blankie or something small like my son, rubbing his nose in the bed until her gets tired enough to sleep.
The great thing is, for us it only took 4 days of doing the method precisely and she was sleeping through the night. The book says no one takes longer than 2 weeks when they follow the method to the "T". Which would be wonderful knowing that at the max you will be resting soundly and all getting a good night's sleep in only 2 weeks. I must warn you it is VERY hard listening to your child cry and knowing that you can just pop a breast in her mouth and she'll be asleep in no time. But if you are serious, then short term misery for long term gain. Also I just told myself, would I let my child think that running across the street is fine just because when I stop her from doing it, she cries? No. Just like any change in life doesn't come without being uncomfortable, so is teaching your child to sleep through the night.
Good Luck! I empathize, I really do!

My son 22mo nursed all night until I found out that he was allergic to gluten, found in wheat. Now he nurses briefly to fall asleep, but then sleeps all (most of the) night.

i nursed both of mine until 2.5, neither one was quite ready to wean at 2 (just at bedtime, daytime was weaned much earlier). it worked out funny, because i thought i would nurse less with my second child, and ended up nursing a little longer than the first . . . but that was a wonderful bonding time for us, and even though at times i was tired of it, i could sense that they just weren't ready yet.

when the time came, i would cut the time shorter and shorter, letting them know that they had grown so much and their teeth were getting so sharp and pinching me. it was a gentle way that worked for us. also, we had added a book to reading time about growing up, called "Michele the Nursing Toddler." it's a very sweet story. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0912500409/ref=cm_rdp_pr...

good luck:)

Dear S.,
She is quite little yet. All of my sons nursed to at least 2 1/2 years. The middle one was the son who was very strong willed and continued to nurse longer. He did start sleeping through a little after 3 years, but continued to nurse just before bed until 4 years. He stopped them because he made the decision to do so. He wanted to be a "big boy" like his brother. I tried, but he would scream and scream and eventually vomit so it was a mess. The doctor would only say that he was a smart baby and knew what he wanted. It all depends on your child's personality and how strong willed she is.
I would not force her to wean until about 2 1/2 years because mother's milk is the best thing for bone and brain development. At that time, she will be drinking from a cup and after you have introduced regular milk during the day, you can offer a bedtime drink of warm milk from a "tippy cup" and tell her there is no more in from you. She will be talking more at that time too and understand more. You may have to be very firm in your decision, and if you get something to help dry you up from the doctor it would help. I believe that is about when you will start drying up naturally anyway.
My best to you and your little one,
H.

OMG! This is my exact problem too. My son is 17months old and I've finally decide I've had ENOUGH! He must stop nursing this week. I need to get more than 2 hours of sleep at a stretch and I'd like for my husband to come back to our bed (he's been on the couch since our son was born). I love my son tremendously and actually kinda miss not having him sleep right next to me at night but the ALL NIGHT nursing was too much. Coupled to his daytime weekend nursings (he's drinking regular milk at daycare during the week so I know he likes it) he was not getting enough food to eat since he'd really just rather nurse. So, I decide this week to just stop him, cold turkey. He's been fussy as heck and I even became engorged the first night (a short pump in the middle of the night relieved my aching boobs and covering them with cabbage leaves at night does wonders!). But, after four days I can feel my milk beginning to dry up (although my boobs are still an enviable size C+). I'm hoping they will completely dry up by the week's end. My son is still fussy though but instead of sleeping all night with me he's on the couch with my husband and keeping him up all night with bottles of milk instead of boobs. We're trying to get my son to drink water instead of milk at night in hopes that he'll eventually stop that too and just eat more during the day. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it'll all work. Good luck to you.

Hi S.,
i feel for you! just went through what you are going through at 25 months...here's my suggestions:

first, get her in her own bed.
you will be a new person getting full nights sleep. so, let her nurse in the morning or evenings for a week or two more, but get her into her own space for sleep. we ended up doing basic sleep training, alla sleepy planet, and within ONE night he slept better than he ever had after crying for 17 minutes. by the 3rd night he didn't cry at all!!! SERIOUSLY saved our sanity. i used to spend an hour trying to get him to sleep.

Then for getting rid of the morning/evening feedings, just use distraction and say that your boobies are tired and give her LOTS of extra love. Hugs, kisses, extra attention all day for a few weeks and try to give her more support for transitional objects. My son has not transitional objects really - no blanket, no pacifiers, no favorite toys...and i wish he did because it would be nice for him to have them. i think he may never have developed a lovie because my boobs were his comforters...

I also had a difficult time with my son. He was so determined and did not give up. I understand that it is very difficult. Finally, I decided that no matter what, we were done. I said that I would never nurse him again. In a way, this is a little sad and it was difficult because when he was so upset and crying because he wanted to nurse, I knew that I could easily calm him by giving in. I did not give in and my milk dried up from not nursing. We had 2 days that were difficult and then it was over. I suggest just stopping. I know it's not easy, but it does not last long. It is better than suffering for months. In a few days, it will be over. Good luck!!

When my daughter was two I rubbed a little mustard around my nipples when she wasn't looking and when she went to nurse she could smell it and wanted nothing to do with nursing again (I think I did it twice). This way there was no struggle, it was her choice to stop. We had already struggled with explaining that she was a big girl now and that she could use a cup and so on, which didn't work. But the mustard, this worked beautifully!

I do agree with letting her nurse a while longer. She is still quite young! Enjoy your little love!

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