I need to have my sleep back. I can no longer function on half a night’s sleep. I can no longer have tiny feet kicking my incision site on my stomach from my surgery and having pain and anxiety that my incisions will tear open. Most of all I don’t want our breastfeeding relationship to be ruined in my memory buy a time where night feeding just is not working any longer.
With my daughter I was able to night wean her by 18 months. I let herself mean with very very gentle encouragement to cuddle me instead of nurse if she woke up. She ended up completely weaning a month after her second birthday. From 18 months until that point she only nurse twice a day; once for a nap and once for sleep for the night. It was an incredibly gentle process and I really could not have asked for it to go any better.
My son has always been a heavy nurser. From the time he was born we had breastfeeding issues. I take that back. Right after he was born he actually found and latched onto my breast right away. My milk was still in from nursing A. And I was able to feed him from the start – until I couldn’t. I had noticed that my breasts were very tender and painful and were constantly bleeding and that when he would latch, the pain would almost send me through the roof. I begin seeing a lactation consultant when 1 to 2 times a week until my son was about four months old. At that time he had gotten down to the 11th percentile for weight. I can’t explain the anxiety and fear and the hatred I felt for myself for not being able to sufficiently feed my child. At one point I even bought some containers a formula and hopes that he might even take that but the moment he tasted any formula, he would get very upset and not feed. I was feeding him nearly every hour almost 24 hours a day.
The next time I went into the lactation consultant I was in tears. I explained to her that if something could not be done quickly then my son was going to have to be placed on a feeding tube or have other medical interventions and I needed help and guidance. We reevaluated my son’s latch and took a very close look at his tongue ties and his upper lip tie. It was determined that that time that we had a tongue tie that should be evaluated even though the pediatrician had told me that the tongue tie was not a problem. I was then referred to an ear nose and throat doctor for an evaluation and that same day his tongue was clipped. Ironically later in the week he did something with the a toy that split his upper lip tie. The following month he went from the 11th percentile to above the 50th percentile for weight.
He was getting enough milk which was wonderful but because his latch was conditioned to be a certain way for so long his lunch still was not great. This caused me to then have mastitis and my breast once a month for over a year. It was an absolute nightmare but I was determined to breastfeed my son. Once we got the kinks worked out for the most part or breastfeeding relationship has been great. Until now.
With all of my health and physical issues that I’ve been going through the last few months combined with my son’s need to nurse through the night it has left me extremely exhausted and sleep deprived. I know that if I am to ever get healthy again I need to focus on getting more sleep. So in order to do that right before my son’s 2nd birthday, I am making the strong attempt to stop the night feeding. I’m unsure what else I can do beyond what I’m doing. I nurse him to sleep at night and then if he wakes up at night I have on a shirt with a higher collar so he cannot pull my breasts out and if he wakes up I just hold him and comfort him and tell him that I’m there and it’s time to go night night and that Mom is going to hold him and that he’s not going to have milk. As I said before its resulting in him thrashing about screaming and then protesting sleep for the rest of the night off and on.
Last night I slept about 3 hours and it’s now 3:00 pm and my son still hasnt napped today. I’m praying with my wholeself that this means he will sleep solid tonight.