Why is my giant 9 month old son nursing all night long?

Angie - posted on 10/04/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I love nursing him and I really don't mind night nursing. He sleeps in bed with us and I usually just sleep through most of it anyhow. However, my back is killing me lately because of the uncomfortable positions I have to sleep in all night long in order to meet his ever-growing demand. I feel like hes just nursing more and more. He's waking us up around 5 times a night lately, possibly more. And he is a very big boy. He's off the charts in weight and height and snuggly fitting into his 18 month clothes, so I try to keep in mind that he may be hungry part of the time. Part of the time i dont think he is even eating. I don't want to cut him off, I just don't want to be so tired and uncomfortable.



Sorry for rambling. Anyone else go through this?



He is very active. Cruising and crawling a lot. He usually sleeps around 11 hours at night but he may nap too much. I'm sorry to say that I am not the greatest at keeping track of naps. No schedules or anything. He has four teeth and we do the baby-led weaning thing. He has a meal of solids three times a day. Can I do anyhing to help us sleep better?

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Mary - posted on 10/09/2012

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I have read (I think in the book No Cry Sleep Solution) that it's actually normal for babies to wake up often throughout the night - so frequent wakings don't mean he isn't resting well, it's just normal, and he wants to nurse when he wakes up. Eventually he will learn to just go back to sleep. You could try moving him to a crib (maybe when he's a little older) with the mattress on the lowest setting and the outer wall off, so you can nurse there. You would want to start trying this when you can afford to not sleep well for awhile. It may be that he would eventually start waking up less because he is not right next to you. Or, he may wake up even more often!



Your milk has the highest fat content in the early morning hours (12-5). :)

Sally - posted on 10/05/2012

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He's probably nursing more at night because getting more active makes him do it less during the day. My almost three year old does most of her nursing while we're both asleep. Sometimes, we end up in a position that hurts my back, but a well placed pillow usually fixes it. How I wish either of my children slept 11 hours at any age. They take after their daddy instead if me in sleep needs. :)

Experiment with pillows and positions until you find a way that doesn't hurt you and enjoy him still needing you while it lasts.

Good luck

Ronda - posted on 10/16/2012

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Feed him something that keeps you full at bedtime, like oatmeal. My baby was the same, now she sleeps a lot better.

Christine - posted on 10/09/2012

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Hello! As your already know, nursing is an on demand sort of thing. At night, when he has stopped sucking, you can certainly break the section and let him sleep on his back on a firm surface. Have you tried turning over on your other side so the one side doesn't get uncomfortable? He may also be going through a growth spurt. Keep up the good work Mom!

Lori - posted on 10/04/2012

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Angie - it sounds like you're doing just fine. Taking care of him now, and letting him nurse when he does wake up will not set him up for sleep problems down the line.



And my husband jokes with me that there are more pillows on the bed than there is bed.... I use lots of pillows. I also have a bad back from a back injury, so I need extra support constantly.

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Alisha - posted on 12/23/2013

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Just wondering if anyone possibly had any success stories? My 9 month old LO is comfort nursing so often & so vigorously that my nipples get irritated ;(

LaRiena - posted on 11/01/2013

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Sounds just like me and my son! Have you figured anything out yet? I'm worried its my lack of discipline and schedule that has us in this situation. I also love sleeping next to my 10mos old and it really made life easier and comforting to cosleep up until this point. It seems he's starving all night long. He eats with vigor lately. He is walking now and doesn't like nursing a full feed during the day time. He has frequent sips but rarely a full feed. He eats 3 meals of solids during the day as well but doesn't like filler foods like cereals. My son is rather large as well. 96 in height. 80 in weight any tips?? We're trying to transition him into his crib now only because I'm so exhausted from not fully sleeping

For me its not so much that my back hurts too bad to continue, its just that Im very aware of being literally attached all night long. It used to be that cosleeping made nursing at night easier, we slept more, snuggled etc. I could sleep-nurse and my child slept while he ate. Now he nurses so vigorously and all night through that i can't sleep. I'm so so thirsty. Last night i drank 3 pint classes of water throughout the night. He also wakes up and screams if i get up to use the bathroom. I think its because I'm so sleep deprived that I feel so suffocated at night these days. i love snuggling with my baby...i love nursing..i just need some shut eye. This all started when he began taking his first steps and hasn't improved in close to 6wks. We've begun transitioning him into his own crib because Im so exhausted but it makes me sad. I'm torn over the thought of our cosleeping days ending but i also don't feel i can be a good momma without sufficient sleep. We've been trying "no cry sleep solution" suggestions but haven't had much luck so far. We're only half way through the book though. Its not just suckling to soothe. That was our initial thought...but now my husband is able to get him to sleep for naps and bedtime without milk. Not sure what to do. Currently his crib has been converted to a toddler bed and is pushed up against our mattress. Occasionally he will stay in his crib/toddler bed for a couple hours but thats rare. He naps in his crib.

(Sorry for the rambling)

Shelly - posted on 10/05/2012

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There are a few things that come to my mind. One is that he may be nursing for comfort more than for need. Since you are there, and he can start whenever he wants, it's all too convenient for him. It sure doesn't sound like he needs the extra milk.



Another thing that I'm thinking is that you might be actually waking him up if you are sleeping with him. My oldest was an extremely light sleeper. I had to put her in a different room when she was just a few months old as we ended up waking each other up all night long. She slept very well in her own crib, and slept through the night from about 6 months on. But even then, if I just tiptoed into her room to see if she was covered up, she'd often wake up. You might want to try putting him somewhere else to sleep, and see if that works for you. Even a bassinet next to your bed might help.



You also said that you don't really follow any schedules. For some kids this works well. Others really do better with a regular routine. You could try following a schedule for a few weeks, with regular meal times and nap times, and see if that helps his night time sleeping.



I hope you find something that works for you. Waking up 5 times in the night is not beneficial for either of you.

Celeste - posted on 10/04/2012

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Angie, I used the Dr. Jay Gordon Nightweaning method. Honestly, it wasn't easy. They were not happy at all..

Angie - posted on 10/04/2012

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Celeste. Although I am not ready for that yet, I'm interested to know how you night weaned. Was That easy to do at almost 2 years?

Celeste - posted on 10/04/2012

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No, you aren't doing anything wrong. My twin boys woke up several times a night until they were almost 2 years old. I felt that before a year, that it was a need to nurse during the night. When they got closer to 2, I chose to night wean.

Angie - posted on 10/04/2012

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So do you think he is sleeping well enough when he wakes more than 5 times a night? I mostly want to know that we aren't doing anything wrong. I really do need more pillows. Thanx for the tip.

Lori - posted on 10/04/2012

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I use pillows to help support my back while I nurse my LO in bed. I've found that a round pillow (a cylinder) works very well tucked behind my back as I lay on one side and let the baby nurse. I also put a pillow between my knees which also helps take additional pressure off the back.



My oldest didn't start sleeping through the night until she was 17 months old. And my LO is now 22 months old and does not sleep through the night. I know it's frustrating when you hear other mommas talking about their baby sleeping through the night, but I think it's much more common for babies to wake several times during the night than it is for them to sleep through the night at a young age.

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