How Can I Stop Breast Feeding My 18 Month Old Child Without Causing To Much Stress. He Wont Sleep Without It.?

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My 1 1/2 year old has been sleeping with us since birth and has come to need my breast to be with him all night long. I need to put this to a stop but I also have to think of my poor husband who has to work and needs his sleep. If I just take it away he will cry all night long and it will be very stressful for all of us. What can I do? He wont even take a bottle or anything at all.

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7 Responses to “How Can I Stop Breast Feeding My 18 Month Old Child Without Causing To Much Stress. He Wont Sleep Without It.?”

  1. I’m with Mystic and Babies. I won’t repost their links!
    I think it is important that mother led weaning remain a gentle, peaceful, and respectful experience for the child.
    That will reduce the stress for everyone!

  2. Shut up Obber!!!! says:

    At 18mo the odds are decent that he will self-wean soon. No tears for baby, no hassles with engorgement for Mum. I’d hang in there a bit longer. If he’s going to ‘cry all night long’ he’s just not ready.
    There are health benefits aplenty to continuing; check out

  3. Just Me says:

    Just tell him it is all gone. Give him the bottle and hold him while he eats. It has to work. You don’t see too many grown-ups breast feeding.

  4. mystic_e says:

    While you can certainly try to night-wean your son I wouldn’t necessary wean altogether all at once. That will cause stress. Also your toddler still needs breastmilk very much.
    However there is no “need” to force it. He will outgrow this on his own, just as he learned to walk and talk on his own. If YOU want to change the situation by all means do it. However if you do not, if you are only doing this because of what “they” say is right you are going to have a hard time making the change and you may feel guilty about if for a long time to come. Regardless of what anyone tells you your son will not still sleep in your bed and want to breastfeed when he goes away to college. Many cultures let babies wean on their own and move to their own beds on their own. Most will self-wean betwen 2-4 years of age and most will move to their own room between 1-6 years.
    Any no-cry solution isn’t going to work overnight. Then again neither do the CIO solutions which usually take at least a week to work and most people have to do it again at some point.
    Elizabeth Pantely has a great book the “No Cry Sleep Solution” she has one for babies and one for toddlers. She has advice for both if you want baby out of bed or if you just want to nurse less during the night.
    There is also advice here:
    Night Weaning…
    It’s important to be realistic about your expectations for weaning. Stopping breastfeeding does not make mothering any easier or force your child to grow up any faster. Your baby will still demand lots of your attention; supplying this in ways other than nursing can be challenging. Breastfeeding can be a real work saver when you can count on it as a surefire way of getting a baby to quiet down or sleep. Often there are ways other than total weaning to cope with mothers’ feelings of restlessness or being tied down.
    If you choose to do so, there are many benefits to continuing to breastfeed as your baby grows into toddlerhood. This is the most natural path to follow. Babies who are allowed to wean at their own pace usually continue to nurse well past their first birthday (though this does not mean that you would be unable to wean later on if that is what you wish). As your baby learns to eat other foods and to drink from a cup, breastfeeding becomes more important for comfort and reassurance than for nourishment. When allowed to do so, children wean gradually, at their own developmental rate and when they are truly ready.
    All children will eventually wean, whether they are allowed to self-wean
    or are encouraged to wean on an earlier time frame.
    The same is true of sleeping. Human children are designed to be sleeping with their parents. The sense of touch is the most important sense to primates, along with sight. Young primates are carried on their mother’s body and sleep with her for years after birth, often until well after weaning. The expected pattern is for mother and child to sleep together, and for child to be able to nurse whenever they want during the night. Normal, healthy, breastfed and co-sleeping children do not sleep “through the night” (say 7-9 hours at a stretch) until they are 3-4 years old, and no longer need night nursing. I repeat — this is NORMAL and HEALTHY. Dr. James McKenna’s research on co-sleeping clearly shows the dangers of solitary sleeping in young infants, who slip into abnormal patterns of very deep sleep from which it is very difficult for them to rouse themselves when they experience an episode of apnea (stop breathing). When co-sleeping, the mother is monitoring the baby’s sleep and breathing patterns, even though she herself is asleep. When the baby has an episode of apnea, she rouses the baby by her movements and touch. This is thought to be the primary mechanism by which co-sleeping protects children from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In other words, many cases of SIDS in solitary sleeping children are thought to be due to them having learned to sleep for long stretches at a time at a very early age, so they find themselves in these deep troughs of sleep, then they may experience an episode of apnea, and no one is there to notice or rouse them from it, so they just never start breathing again. Co-sleeping also allows a mother to monitor the baby’s temperature during the night, to be there if they spit up and start to choke, and just to provide the normal, safe environment that the baby/child has been designed to expect.
    Armstrong KL, Quinn RA & Dadds MR. The sleep patterns of normal children.
    Medical Journal of Australia 1994 Aug 1;161(3):202-6.
    The above study is the definitive work on sleeping habits of (Australian) children to 38 months. The researchers surveyed 3269 parents, with a 96.5% response rate, over a one week period. The parents had to report on their child’s sleeping habits over the past 24 hours, plus answer a few questions related to their perceptions of their child’s sleep behavior.
    What did they find?
    * There is a wide range of normal childhood sleep behavior.
    * Circadian rhythm is not well established until four months of age.
    * Daytime sleep becomes less regular with increasing age, the most marked reduction in length occurs around 3 months of age. However, a surprising 11% under 3 months of age don’t have a daytime sleep every day.
    * Frequent night waking that disturbs parents is common from 4-12 months (12.7% disturb their parents 3 or more times every night).
    * Night time settling requires more parental input from 18 months.
    * Nearly a third of parents have a significant problem with their child’s sleep behavior.
    * Sleeping through the night: 71.4% did this on at least one occasion by 3 months of age, but many of these relapse into more frequent waking in the 4 to 12 month period. It is not until after 24 months that regular night waking (requiring attention) becomes much less common.
    Although this study did not address breastfeeding, it is relevant because a lack of understanding of “normal” sleep patterns can lead to supplementing, early solids, belief there is not enough milk, etc. The authors claim it also leads to misdiagnosis of gastro-esophageal reflux (GER) and overuse of sedative medication. A worrying 31% of 25-38 month-old children were disciplined (mostly smacking) to get them to settle. 27% of parents let their children cry, 11% at less than one month.
    Elias MF, Nicolson NA, Bora C, Johnston J. Sleep/wake patterns of breast-fed infants in the first 2 years of life. Pediatrics. 1986 Mar;77(3):322-9.
    Abstract: Published norms for infant sleep/wake patterns during the first 2 years of life include an increase in length of maximum sleep bout from four to five to eight to ten hours by 4 months but little decrease in total sleep in 24 hours from 13 to 15 hours. Thirty-two breast-fed infants were followed for 2 years and data collected on 24-hour patterns of nursing and sleep. Infants who were breast-fed into the second year did not develop sleep/wake patterns in conformance with the norms. Instead of having long unbroken night sleep, they continued to sleep in short bouts with frequent wakings. Their total sleep in 24 hours was less than that of weaned infants. This pattern was most pronounced in infants who both nursed and shared a bed with the mother, common practices in many nonwestern cultures. The sleep/wake development accepted as the physiologic norm may be attributable to the early weaning and separated sleeping practiced in western culture. As prolonged breast-feeding becomes more popular in our society, the norms of sleep/wake patterns in infancy will have to be revised.
    Extended Breastfeeding Fact Sheet…
    Nursing a toddler is NORMAL
    * The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.” (AAP 2005)
    * The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that “Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired.” They also note that “If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.” (AAFP 2001)
    * A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two. (Novello 1990)
    * The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1992, WHO 2002).
    * Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).
    A Natural Age of Weaning…

  5. mark says:

    Good information except for the SIDs information. Sleeping people do not notice if their child has stopped breathing, Scientists do not know what causes SIDS and only a quack would say that sleeping next to your child will substantially decrease the likelihood of it happening.

  6. chevy says:

    After co sleeping with all three of my children untill the age of two, I truly believe it is the most natural way. I do believe that sleeping next to your child will substantially reduce the risk of SIDS, and that comes of having 6 years of experience of having a child in my bed and being aware of there health throughout the night.
    What some people might call bad habits or a rod for your own back are just the patterns that we fall into naturally because it is better for mother and child, how nature intended.

  7. chevy says:

    After sleeping in my bed untill 2yrs old and then a gentle progression to their own bed and weaning, both of my older children 4yrs and 6yrs now sleep soundly through the night. I believe this is due to being next to mum and having the breast availabe all night every night for the first two years of life. Now they have no worries about getting up continually and looking for comfort in the middle of the night, those are the problems of a lot of people who put their babies into cots in a seperate room from an early age. It is not natural for a baby to be in a room, alone, away from any human contact.

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