Posts Tagged ‘night waking’

When Your Baby Doesn’t Want to Stop Nursing

Monday, November 30th, 2015

When your Baby doesn't want to stop nursingFellow mommas, here I am writing this blog while I am deep in the trenches. My son Levi is days away from 14 months old, and he doesn’t want to stop nursing. I mean, not at all. This boy could nurse 6 times a day and be as happy as a camper. With my daughter, we started weaning the week after she turned 1, and by 13 months, it was over. With Levi, we are still nursing very frequently.

Now I know this isn’t necessarily a problem. Getting to this point is an accomplishment, and I don’t take it lightly. Many moms struggle with troubles with baby’s latch, poor milk supply, and other health concerns, that hinder their nursing journey. Levi’s journey has been a breeze, except for one devastating bite incident back in the spring.

Do I want to stop nursing? Not necessarily. I want to stop when Levi is ready. I know it is precious to him, and to take it away quickly would not be caring on my part. However, has anyone else ever felt this way?

I would like my body back. While nursing is very beneficial in my bra size, I would like to wear my pretty bras again. I don’t want to wear nursing pads anymore, either. Selfish, maybe. Nursing is a gift of love, and in a way, it takes a part of you.

Many moms don’t experience the return of their fertility while nursing. My daughter was weaned solely so we could try for baby 2. Here I sit, no fertility, and not sure. Breastfeeding can hinder ovulation in moms and this can cause family planning to be a little tricky for some of us.

But, what’s important to me is that I let Levi wean at his pace. Baby-led weaning is a popular technique. I have been slowly introducing cow’s milk to Levi, and it’s going well. He still wakes in the night to nurse, but I know someday soon that may be a thing of the past.

If you are ready to wean your baby, you can take some steps to encourage baby to get on board. Offering milk at nursing sessions or rocking your baby before bed can help. For me, simply singing some songs to Levi before nap has helped.

So, mommas, has anyone else ever felt this way? You wouldn’t mind being done, but your baby just doesn’t seem ready. Here’s what I think. I think it’s important to acknowledge that baby isn’t ready. Sure, I am tired. I dream of the day when I can sleep in and my husband can get up at 6 a.m. with Levi. Sure, I am a little over it. Not going to lie. But, I know that babies don’t keep and babies change so easily. By the time I figure out how to slow Levi down, he will start weaning himself. So, momma, if you’re like me, hang in there. Keep nursing for now. There will be a day when your baby won’t care. There will be a day when I’m sad that Levi doesn’t care. For now, I nurse and contemplate how to wean. For now, I find joy in the fact that my little guy still finds me his comfort, his love, his mommy.

Karyn Meyerhofff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana who will be up at 4 a.m. to nurse Levi tonight. 

When Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night

Monday, November 16th, 2015

When Your Baby Doesn't Sleep Through the NightDark circles. Endless cups of coffee. Short-tempered moments with a toddler. Sound familiar to anyone else but me? This is how I am when my son Levi sleeps poorly. Lack of sleep creeps up and affects my day, caffeine intake, and the way I interact with his sister. Levi is 13 months old, and he still doesn’t sleep all night long. Some nights, he is up once. Some nights, he is up every hour or two. How do we as moms handle life when our older babies sleep like newborns?

  1. Know You’re Not Alone. When I decided to do this blog, I was amazed by the number of moms who also are in this same boat. What? You are, too? It’s not unusual for an older baby to still wake at night. Babies wake for several differentreasons. Hunger, wet diapers, loneliness, fear, boredom, who knows! Just remember that when you are up, there is another mom somewhere up too. Yes, moms, I’m right there with you.
  2. Ignore the Critics. Every time we go to a check-up at our local pediatrician, I feel scolded because my son still wakes. I am told to let him cry. Well, moms, I do let him cry. I don’t let him cry for longs period of time, but I do not jump out of bed when I hear a whimper or fussy sound from his room. Everyone has their own opinions. Every baby is different. Your decisions are yours, but you don’t have to night wean your baby if you don’t want to.
  3. Do What You Feel is Right. Levi is still nursing. Some days, he could nurse all day long. I’m sure he just wants the comfort, but some nights, I just feel like it’s okay for him to nurse. Sure, he’s not hungry, but I’m there for him. I am the only one who can truly comfort him in that way in the wee hours of the night.
  4. Stay Hopeful. I am struggling with this currently. In reality, yes, your child will sleep through the night, eventually. I wish I could tell you when, and I wish I knew when I would be able to sleep all night, as well. However, we are moms. We are on the clock 24 hours a day, and that doesn’t stop when babies go to bed. My 3-year-old hardly ever wakes up in the night. Someday, Levi won’t either.
  5. Remember There Is a Reason. I refuse to believe that my baby waking is somehow my fault. Teething has been a big culprit for Levi’s sleep issues. Babies also wake when they don’t feel well. A fever or runny nose can keep any adult up, so of course, it will keep up a baby. Don’t ignore your baby. He or she needs you now, and they won’t need you forever.

I read this quote from a mom on, and it so resonated with me. Maybe it will with you, too. “Both of my children nursed once (occasionally more) at night through their second year. Since this doesn’t bother me, I did doing nothing to change it. We co-sleep, and neither my baby nor I generally wake up completely when she nurses. Both started sleeping through the night on their own, when they were ready.”

Remember, babies don’t keep. Nap while you can and drink some coffee. Babies love their mommies, and some day this will all be a memory. Goodnight!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives, writes, and nurses in the night in Northeast Indiana. She frequently goes to Starbucks and has an afternoon cup of coffee. Don’t judge.

When Your Baby Would Rather Nurse Than Sleep

Monday, April 27th, 2015

IMG_0174This is my life right now. My son Levi is 6 months old. He has woken up the past several nights at least 4 to 5 times. When Daddy goes in, he is looking for me. He would much rather nurse on momma than sleep through the wee hours of the night. So what on earth do you do when you find yourself in this situation?

Breastfed babies wake more often than formula fed babies because they digest breast milk quicker. So, they need us. They need to nurse. Night nursing helps to keep milk supply plentiful. The highest milk supply levels and levels of prolactin are released during the night hours. This ensures mom can keep up with the demands of baby’s milk needs.

There are all sorts of sleep-training methods that claim to “break” baby from night waking, but there are several reasons why a young baby would rather nurse than sleep. Here are some common reasons for night waking and nursing:

  • To Get Mom’s Attention:  Nursing creates a secure, safe environment for baby. The smell of mom, the touch of mommy’s hand, all create a safe place. Baby has your attention and you are there to respond.
  • To Not Feel Alone: Babies are not fans of mom leaving the room at night. Sometimes when they wake, they just don’t want to be alone. Cue crying, cue mom entering, cue nursing session.
  • Because they’re Hungry: This one seems obvious, but many pediatricians will tell you that a baby should not need to eat in the night. Sometimes, they are just hungry. My baby boy is usually hungry a few times a night still, because he has limited solid foods in his diet. Don’t ignore the cries. Feed your baby.
  • Growth Spurts:  See above. Feed that baby. An hour later…feed that baby.
  • Learning New Skills:  Babies wake often while they are learning new things. Crawling, rolling, learning to sit-up. All of these skills can cause baby to wake in the night and maybe just maybe want to nurse. Nursing to sleep is not a bad thing.
  • Teething Pain:  Sometimes, babies who are teething just want to nurse for comfort. Mommy is the ultimate soother and being close to you is just what the doctor ordered.

While it is good to know there are reasons why babies wake often in the night to nurse, it can still be hard to get through. Hang in there, mom. I’m right there with you. I have nights where I am exhausted. Levi will wake hourly to nurse and I just want to hand off the feedings, but then I remember how special I am to my little guy. Nursing in the night helps with SIDS prevention, as well. I can’t tell you how often I check on Levi. At least with all of his waking, I know he is safe.

So when your baby is waking hourly to nurse, remember there is a reason. They aren’t trying to manipulate you. They aren’t trying to drive you crazy. They need you. You need them. Together, you make the breastfeeding relationship work and be successful. Together, you may not get as much sleep, but I promise that one day when they sleep all night and are weaned, you will miss those precious hours of the night where they were close to you and only you.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two from Northeast Indiana. She loves breastfeeding and sleep. That’s why she drinks a cup of coffee each morning.