16 Months Nurses All Night Help

18 Replies
Debbie - April 24

I have br___tfed for 16 months (strickly for 8 months), my son is weened during the day but he awakens up to 8 times a night and nursing him is the only way he will go back down! I do not believe in letting him cry it out. What can we do? He isn't hungry, it is just all he knows to do. Help!


cathy - April 25

that is too old to be nursing a child.


michelle - April 25

My 13mo old wakes once or twice a night. If she begins waking more often, I check to see 1. Is she teething? 2. Is she sick? 3. Am I spending enough time with her when she is awake? If the answer to these questions is no, then perhaps, instead of nursing when he wakes, try patting or rubbing his back or some other way of soothing him back to sleep (whatever works for you) until he learns how to do it himself. If he gets frantic, you may have to nurse him but try other methods first. It can take several days/weeks to teach him to go back to sleep on his own depending on his temperament. Easy going babies shouldn't take too long, will be longer with fussy, high-need types. Check out kellymom.com. I don't remember if she addresses this issue but I always find her helpful and informative. I never let mine cry either. They all sleep through the night. Good luck.


Jen - April 25

My pediatrician said that nursing is fine up until 2 years old. My son 19 months, wakes up at least once a night and I don't let him cry either. I think that they just want to make sure that we are still there. I usually bring him to bed with us and he goes back to sleep. Sometimes I can sneak him back into his own bed. I realize that getting him into the habit of sleeping with us could be hard to break but sometimes you just need to sleep.


debbie - April 26

Thank you for your advice! I just do not understand why he wakes up so many times! He has always done this! He is not sick or teething (when he is it is even worse, like 12 times a night). I am just so tired...you know? How could I ever have another one anytime in the near furture? I wish he would only get up like twice a night...


sara - April 27

cathy, you need to give Debbie helpful advice not your unhelpful opinions. Also 16 months old is in no way to old for a BABY to be nursed. Ask any pediatrician or LLL consultant. Debbie, I bet you demand fed your son and now he nurses for comfort and to fall back to sleep...that id a difficult situation. Maybe when he can communicate with you better you can start to verbally explain to him you are sleeping and when the sun comes up he can nurse before he gets out of bed.


k - April 28

He may just be using the nursing as an excuse to keep you near. Try cutting out the nursing, just stay with him until he is asleep. Give him water if he needs something to suck. especially if he has teeth. You do not want to cause him tooth decay by allowing milk to stay on his teeth at night.


DJ - May 3

Wrong, Cathy! Women do this regularly in lots of places. What you mean is "I am uncomfortable with the idea of nursing that long." This is your choice. Right on, Sara! Debbie has a real problem here. Maybe you should feed him solid food before bed to keep him from waking up hungry so soon. I think it will take some long nights to help him out of this phase. I think you should comfort him, but start to cut down on the frequency of his feedings. I think it will be hard, but if you are with him and making him feel safe, it will eventually work out. Best of luck!


Liz - May 3

I don't know why people think just because they don't agree with something that it's "wrong". Come on... everyone has their own opinion...don't try to force yours on other people Cathy. And Debbie... I nursed my daughter until she was 8 months.. I would have done it longer, but she didn't want it anymore. She still woke up during the night but wouldn't eat.. so I started giving her a pacifier. Some people don't agree with that, but it made her feel comfortable enough to go back to sleep.


Debbie - May 16

Thank you everyone, except Cathy! Unfortunately I have tried almost all of your wonderful advice...except the two of you that have suggested that I offer him my physical comfort but to not nurse...I think that is what I am going to have to try too. I KNOW it is going to be awful though but my husband wants another baby and I am not nursing one each hour all night long!!! I will try. Thank you so much. Any other advice is welcome! Debbie


Happy Mommy - May 17

Hi Debbie, Good girl for nursing! I understand exactly what you are going through. The thing that helped me so much is having my oldest daughter take him into her room at night and offer him a sippie cup with milk, juice, or water. He didn't like it at all at first, but after only a few short nights he was sleeping so much better. Also, Daddy's firm voice to tell him to go 'night night' and lay down helped too! By the way, I am pregnant and I am also still nursing my 19 month old. I will continue as long as he wants to nurse. Once in a while I still nurse at night, but it is mainly during the day a few times, early in the morning, and just before bed. Another thing to try, I'm not sure if he is using you as a 'living pacifier' but mine was, so I had to allow him to fall asleep without nursing. You see, the big problem is that we have trained our babies to fall asleep while nursing. This is what has happened and they just do not know how to go back to sleep without nursing. Don't worry about having to nurse two babies through the night if you get pregnant. If you just do as I have advised this may help you. Don't quit nursing all together if the baby really wants to continue. You will regret it later. I promise you! Take care and don't stress out too much over this. I am speaking from experience. This time pa__ses so quickly and then all we have to hold on to is the precious memories!


Happy Mommy - May 17

To Jen, What pediatrician would say that "nursing is fine up until 2 years old"? What is wrong with even longer than that? Many mothers do this and it is completely healthy and wonderful! That just sounded ridiculous "up until 2 yrs old". LOL And then what? Just say, "Well, you're 2 now, no more for you!" A mother may nurse as long as she and her baby feel comfortable with it. And if 'society; makes you feel weird, just look around, they have made b___sts into a perversion for the world to see. I believe it offends the world to see a mother doing what God designed her to do with her b___sts! Breastfeeding is 'udderly delightful!" :o)


Anna - May 17

I agree that nursing is the way to go, but it sounds to me like Debbie is absolutely exhausted. If you won't let him cry and you don't want to get up with him 8 times a night, then you have backed yourself into a philosophical corner, Debbie. Either you have to put up with it or you have to change the rules. It sounds awful, but exhaustion is dangerous for you -- you could get very ill. Take care of yourself, too.


Angela - May 18

I ran into a similar problem with my daughter. I sympathize with you because I know that the lack of sleep can make you crazy. I also don't believe in letting a child cry it out. However, you need to teach your child to self sooth. What I began to do is cut out a feeding every two nights. When I cut out the feeding I picked up my baby, held her briefly (10 seconds), gave her a pacifier, kissed her, put her back in her crib, and walked out. Sometimes she cried briefly, but for the most part she went right back to sleep. I find that she often wakes in the night, lets out a little cry, and if I don't go to her, she goes right back to sleep! I thought to myself, I should have tried this sooner!!! I recommend the book "Healthy Sleep, Happy Child." The author has outstanding suggestions for getting your child to sleep. Good luck.


debbie - June 4

Wow! Everyone of you (except Cathy) have been so helpful and supportive! Thank you so much! Aaron is still getting up at night but I am trying to let my husband handle it up to about 5 or 6 am, then he has to go to work. After that time it is back to being a "living pacifier". I think Anna has a point...I need to make a consistant decision...it is so hard listening to him cry, even though I know he is with my husband some nights I give in and once you give in.... The more ideas and advice the better! Any responses are welcomed! Thank you!


hbmw - June 4

sigh- my 16 mo still nurses every couple of hours during the day and night. he doesnt wake up at night- he just tosses and flails until i roll over and nurse him. if i dont nurse him he just cries. he's fine on nights when i am away (i am a student midwife so sometimes im not home at night), but if im there, he wants to nurse! its sooooooo hard! and to cathy- um 16 months is a BABY!! i know 3 and 4 year olds, even a 5 year old, who still nurse. nothing wrong with that!


sara - June 11

you said he was weaned during the day. i a__sume that he still takes a nap during the day. i found that with my son if i nursed him down for a nap and then napped cuddled up with him he slept better at night only getting up twice. i dont know if this is an option but i would try nursing him during the day a couple of times and see if that helps.



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