Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breastfeeding through pregnancy: Third-trimester update

boy and mama at 30 weeks pregnantNow that I'm firmly in the third trimester, I thought I'd give an update of how breastfeeding Mikko is going.

If you didn't see my original second-trimester post, it's here.

I don't necessarily want to repeat that post, so I'll keep this one short (I think). Mostly, things are the same physically, except that I feel, emotionally, a lot better about everything.


1. It still hurts.

A lot. I've been favoring one breast over the other, because it tended to hurt less — lately, they've both been hurting equally. I guess I helped that one catch up?

It's a stabby, cringey pain. I try to blow my breath out on latching and intentionally relax. Good Hypnobabies practice for birthing, I suppose!

It feels better after he's latched on, but never fully comfortable. I can't sleep through it, for instance, and I yelp if his latch gets lazy. I mostly nurse in very conventional positions now, to ensure that he's stable. I also remind him not to wiggle around — or, if he does, I make him come off the breast until he's repositioned himself.

One thing I've noticed — but don't know how much stock to put into it — is that my nipples are particularly white when they come out and hurt the most, particularly on the more tender side. I was diagnosed with Reynaud's phenomenon when I was about 10 — I have circulation issues anyway, and when I experience a change in temperature, my fingers and toes will sometimes go completely white and bloodless and feel numb. I had never witnessed a Reynaud's attack in my nipples, though I knew Reynaud's of the nipple happens to others during breastfeeding. My breasts have changed during this pregnancy, which surprised me, since I figured all the hormones that could go through that area already had, given that this is my third pregnancy and I've been nursing now for almost four years. It's possible that this nipple blanching is a new manifestation of Reynaud's — or that it's a bad latch, which was another thought of mine. Mikko's latch looks good, but I can't go on whether he's getting enough milk out or how good it feels — since neither's happening.


2. Mikko has not weaned.

Not even close. He seems to want to nurse more. I've been putting more time limits and using distractions a lot.

I pretty much never nurse in public anymore, because it seems like just too much of a spectacle: a pregnant woman and a three-and-three-quarters-year-old. I don't want to think of breastfeeding a preschooler as abnormal, and I don't, but I know other people do. My aversion to wanting to nurse at all (see point #1) makes it easier for me to refuse. Our compromise is that he always follows me into public restrooms and has "nummies on the potty" — a quick two seconds on either side. It's a compromise that works for both of us, so I'm fine with that. Unless there's an automatic flush. Then he kind of freaks out. (Please, auto-flush manufacturers, have some pity on us moms of preschoolers who run away from loud flushes!)

His latch still seems, from the outside, to look good (but see above about the nipple blanching). It will be interesting to see how much he will want to nurse (and how much I'll let him) when the baby arrives and my milk comes in.


3. I have colostrum.

Speaking of which, my colostrum started at 25 weeks, first in the breast I've let him nurse on more and the next day in both breasts. It's pretty watery (kind of a milky-clear rather than the thick yellow I remember) and not leaking spontaneously — it doesn't come out for me except when I squeeze.

I was so excited and showed Mikko and asked how it tasted. He was pretty blasé about the whole thing, told me it was fine. I don't know, then, if he's really tasting or ingesting any or much; whatever the case, it hasn't put him off nursing (fortunately). It also hasn't affected the discomfort level for me (unfortunately).

He's had a few colds recently (the dangers of preschool), including one with a fever and one with a persistent cough, and I was glad to think that maybe some of my antibodies were getting into him again.


4. I feel much less guilty.

In some ways, I feel like this is easy for me to say, because my child hasn't weaned, whereas I know some nursing mothers who really wanted their children to keep breastfeeding hug for boy and mama at 30 weeks pregnantthrough pregnancy but either the children self-weaned or the mothers couldn't abide the discomfort and led the weaning. I really wanted Mikko to breastfeed through pregnancy, and now that we're so close to the end, I'm feeling like, "Yup. He will. Huh, what was all my worry for?" But that's like saying, "The U.S. never had a nuclear war with the Soviet Union; pretty silly of us to have worried about that!" It could definitely have gone the other way.

I don't feel bad anymore (much) for refusing to nurse him when he's clearly just bored, or rolling him off me at night before he's fully fallen asleep. I feel like we've both adapted — that he knows I'm sore, and that he has other things to do/eat/drink besides nummies. And I know that my own needs and feelings count for something, particularly this far into a pregnancy when there's a lot of discomfort for me all around.

Also, as he gets closer to being four years old, I get closer to expecting him to wean. I know he's not firmly on that path right now, but every day brings us nearer. It still makes me feel a little weepy to think of it, but I know he'll figure out when cutting down feels right for him — and, anyway, I have a new baby to nurse who's on the way.

The strange corollary to this is that I feel a lot less like a martyr when I do allow him to nurse. I own it as my choice at that moment, and I feel good that he's had that comfort to see him through this pregnancy.


5. I don't know how tandem nursing will go.

I'm of two minds about this (ha! tandem minds!), because on the one hand (head?), I like the idea of smoothing over for Mikko the jolt of adding a new baby into our lives. I haven't fully processed the idea, so I'm sure it will be quite a shock for him when this baby takes over our house and never…goes…home. Just yesterday, I was trying to imagine a newborn here, in my living room, in this glider with me, and Mikko climbing up with us, and it was all such a novelty to my brain. I doubt Mikko's even gone through those imaginative steps.

On the other hand, I'm already feeling touched out by Mikko's insistent requests for nummies in pregnancy — how am I going to feel when I'm cluster feeding a newborn? How will I feel if both of them wake in succession all night long for the newly reopened milk bar? We had this idea to transition Mikko to his own mattress, or to Sam's other side, or even to his own room, but none of this has happened. (See the next point below.) If the baby's on one side of me, and Mikko on the other, I could definitely see a drive to nightwean Mikko if he decided to renew his nighttime nursing (but see below as well).


6. Bedtimes are still awful; sleep's OK … for Mikko.

I mentioned in the earlier post that one of the consequences of not having milk anymore is that Mikko's sleep schedule got thrown out of whack. He still refuses to fall asleep unless we all go down with him. Sometimes even then (lights off, sound machine on, Sam and me quiet and drifting), he'll stay awake and fidgety for an hour, kicking us in the face and talking loudly. I'm so annoyed and frustrated by this I don't even want to go into it all here.

We've tried waking him up earlier in the mornings so that he'll be tired at the appropriate time at night. ("Appropriate" meaning, at least a couple hours before I drop from exhaustion so I can get some relaxing done with just Sam. As a night owl myself, I have no ability to relax in the mornings when I get up earlier than Mikko.) The result of this seemingly foolproof plan is Mikko is super groggy in the morning, super cranky all day, and then super wired in the evening and on into the wee hours. I cannot figure it out. He'll fall asleep in the car at 2 p.m. (therefore ruining his bedtime even further) but not if we're out at 9 p.m. and optimistically think, "Oh, he'll fall asleep, and then we'll just transfer him inside!" We've tried wearing him out; we've tried taking him outside all day (hard to do in the rain, though); we've tried calming him down gradually at night. Nothing.

I don't mean for this post to be about bedtimes, though, so I'll stop and just say that it's frustrating. It's made any bigger changes to our sleep arrangements moot at this point. We're basically just trying to get by for now.

I actually have a Master Nesting List whereupon I have written all the myriad tasks I want to accomplish before Earthdown of Baby B. On the top is "Get Mikko to sleep consistently by 10 p.m." Sam scoffed when he caught that bullet point.1

But, as for sleeping itself, Mikko generally nurses to drowsiness and then finally — finally — goes to sleep. And he typically doesn't wake up again to nurse until morning. So that, at least, is much like it was before my milk dried up. I'm hoping he can keep that habit going even after the milk's back in, so that I'm not nursing two kidlets all night long and having to swing back and forth from one to the other — or, alternatively, having to do some hardcore nightweaning of Mikko right off the bat.2

So, Mikko's been sleeping all right once he's been sleeping, except when he's sick. I, on the other hand, am in the throes of third-trimester insomnia: up to pee, can't get back to sleep, then sleep in too late. I remember this from when I was pregnant with Mikko. I didn't like it then, either.


All right, I don't know if that was short after all, but I didn't think too hard about it. That's what counts, right?

If you've already been through a third-trimester breastfeeding experience, how was it for you? If you're considering breastfeeding through pregnancy, is this update more reassuring or still not so much?




1 It took a few days for me to post this, because I couldn't find a suitable copyright-free picture, so I had to recruit Sam to take one. Wouldn't you know — in that time, Mikko's gone to bed without our going down with him for three nights in a row. Amber says it's the Curse of the Internet. Which means I'm not sure how posting this addendum is going to pan out.
2 Along the same lines, because he's been going to bed earlier but I haven't, he's been waking me up earlier than I want to and wanting to nurse for, like, an hour. Ah, well.

36 comments:

Isil said...

I breeastfed my daughter during pregnancy. It wasn't always easy,sometimes it hurt, sometimes felt uncomfortable but she still needed it so we continued. Sometimes I distracted her, sometimes we counted to 10 and stopped, sometimes I felt so tired, breastfeeding was the best thing to do. I found LLL's Advntures in Tandem Feeding very helpfull.
My baby boy will be 15 months old tomorrow and I am tandem feeding them. And my daughter, at 4 years and 3 months, she is still an avid nurser :)

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

This is a terrific update. I love reading about breastfeeding while pregnant because almost everyone I know weaned while pregnant. I've nursed through 3 pregnancies on our journey into our current tri-andem nursing (4y8m, 2y7m, 8m)

Each pregnancy, like each nursling and nursing relationship has been different. I hope to blog about it within the next month. There is just a lot to write about and find an order to it. Also before I post, I'm attempting to have someone around to take a photo of us tri-andeming because my hands are too full to manage it.

Congratulations on continuing your breastfeeding relationship while pregnant. It is challenging, but if the two of you can make it through, the sibling bonding that will happen directly on your body is well, perfectly, weepily, deliciously sublime

Adrienne said...

Thank you for the update. I was literally just going to post somewhere on here asking you for an update! I'm so curious about breastfeeding while pregnant and your updates are helping me learn about what it could be like. Thanks for sharing it all for your blogging audience!

I recently blogged about breastfeeding too, but a bit of a different topic. :)

Great post!

Becky said...

I'm in adoration that you have so much milk and determination to make this work! I was watching Super Nanny one night, and Nanny Jo was appalled when they put their kids to bed at 9:45, Um... I thought, "What would she think of my parenting?" The usual is for my 19-month-old to drift off to sleep after 11. Glad that there is at least another family in the same boat!

Robbie said...

I am relating so much to your experience. I am 21 weeks pregnant, my son is two, and a very aggressive nurser. Right now, the milk is gone. He is still nursing a lot and it hurts, I have seen my nipples white also, but don't relate to having your diagnosis. He will fall asleep without nursing, but he gets hungry at night and makes me get up with him to get a snack. I also have one breast more sensitive than the other, and relate to the pain at the initial latch and lazy latch. It feels so annoying. I figure I will get my boobs back in about 5 or 6 years. All of my friends assure me the pain will go away once the baby is born and the milk comes back. I'm sure my son will still be nursing :)

Betsy B. Honest said...

Have your tried an earlier bedtime? In my experience it's kids who are going to bed too late that are hard to put down and don't sleep well.

Have you asked him if he wants his own big boy bed? He might.

I have enjoyed tandem nursing my babies but they've always been good night sleepers and I haven't had a lot of nipple pain. I did have a nursing aversion in my third trimester of my third pregnancy. I just hated nursing him for a good month. So I cut back a lot. And it all went away after the baby was born. I think it's hormones.

And trust me, there's nothing you could possibly do at this stage that would not make him unwean himself as soon as your boobs start manufacturing newborn milk. So keep yourself sane!

Momma Jorje said...

I got my reassurances from previous commenters to your second trimester post. I had really hoped (for your sake) that once your milk came in, it would be easier on you.

As for sleeping, I'm picturing Mikko in the middle and the baby on the edge. I can see mikko getting up and leaning over you to nurse from the top breast while baby nurses on the bottom breast. I hope he'll sleep through the night, but this was the image that sprung to mind.

I still hope to 1) get pregnant, b) nurse through pregnancy and c) co-sleep after the new baby. We shall see, though.

We've stopped using fertility tests, though, as we felt trying specifically for a boy was too much pressure. It was causing us too much stress.

Momma Jorje said...

hahahaha, like my alphabet there? I couldn't decide which way to go so apparently I just did both.

Cassie said...

Oh man, the sleeping thing is SO us right now. And just like you we've tried everything. Luke is a bit younger (21 months) and still takes a nap in the afternoon so we have to be careful about when that takes place too. We've tried everything too.... I'm hoping once the milk comes back it'll get a little easier, though, I too am afraid of how much he's going to nurse at night again. Because now he's more less 'sleeping through the night'. We've never imposed that ever but it's a nice little convenience while pregnant and oh so tired.
Thanks for the update, it's so awesome we're about the same far along and our breastfeeding experiences are pretty similar... Finally someone understands!!

bitt said...

I love your passion and willingness to share. I'm a big breastfeeding advocate even though I have not birthed yet. Thanks for sharing.

melissa joanne said...

I really appreciate your honest, open sharing of this experience. If all goes according to plan (ha!), I'll be nursing through my second pregnancy in another year or so, and I'm just glad to have the benefit of knowing about the experiences of others - and that it's neither impossible nor completely rosy. It's all about realistic expectations.

Lisa C said...

Ugh. I really want Michael to wean before I get pregnant again! Although I don't know that the chances are very good. I've decided I won't actively wean him before age 3, but we'd like to start trying for another after his birthday, so...um...either it's weaning boot camp this summer, or I'm going to be nursing while pregnant--if we get pregnant right away.

Ugh, it would be a nightmare trying to night-wean Michael, but I guess we'll have to do it at some point. He still wakes so often at night that I just don't see him quitting the boob any time soon.

Patti said...

I nursed my 2-year-old daughter all the way through my 4th pregnancy and IT HURT right until I delivered. In fact, the week of my due date I contacted Dr. Jack Newman (the Canadian BFing guru who also consults for LLLI) because I was TERRIFIED to nurse the new baby if it was going to continue to hurt so much. He suggested the use of a nipple cream and that the pain would likely subside after delivery.

An amazing thing happened--the minute the baby was born my nipples stopped aching.

My daughter continued to nurse once or twice a day but she started to ask less and less until several days would go by without her asking. A couple of times when I was really engorged I asked her to help me by taking some of my milk so that the baby wouldn't choke and gag on my heavy let-down. Now she has completely weaned (at 3yrs 3mos) but she still asks if she CAN even though she doesn't want to latch on. It's cute how she wants me to say YES even though she doesn't really want to nurse.

Good luck to you and Mikko and baby. Even though I don't KNOW you, I am SO EXCITED for your new baby and I LOVE your pregnancy photos--they make me jealous even though I just had a baby 8 months ago!

Young Mom said...

I've always nursed through pregnancy because my first 2 were 14 months apart and my third was 17 months after that. I never ended up tandem nursing though since my older 2 both weaned themselves as they got more active (if I wasn't going to crawl around on the floor following them, they didn't want it) and I think my milk changing in the third trimester may have had something to do with it too. This time the gap is going to be 21 months, and my third is currently 18 months old and going strong, no signs of her losing interest yet, so I'll be watching your blog to hear how it goes after baby is born.

Terri said...

I had much the same experience while nursing through pregnancy - oh it hurt and irritated me like hell! I think if my girl had been older I would have quit but she was just 6 months when I got pregnant again so I was determined to keep it up.

17 months later we are still tandem nursing although I feel like her latch has never felt the same. I can sleep through my baby boy breastfeeding but with her I need distraction to allow her to stay on me for more than a few minutes!

I did a post about my experiences on tandem nursing when we first started and really need to update. It's here if you are interested (http://tiny.cc/tandem-nursing)

I read the LLL Adventures in Tandem nursing which was wonderful. But never was able to simultaneously nurse them that was sensory OVERLOAD!

Wishing you all the best with the big transition :-)

jenny of all trades said...

Whether it's reassuring or not, it's honest, and I appreciate that. I'm hoping to nurse until my little guy is ready to stop. We'll see how nursing while prego goes. Thanks for giving me a real window into what the reality looks like!

Lindsey said...

Thank you for sharing this! I nursed through my second pregnancy and it would have been nice to hear such candid feedback at the time. There are benefits: snuggles, downtime, and the knowledge that my first child wasn't "forced" out of her "mama-nursing" but it was trying at times. I've been tandem nursing for nine months and it continues to be the best decision for my family. Still, it's not always roses.

dr. becky said...

Hey there - love this post. My son is much younger (18 months) but I have similar, crazy bedtime issues. One thing I have found that helps with the pre-going-to-sleep-crazies is an ealier bedtime. It seems counter-intuituve, but it is usually the case that my guy takes longer to go to sleep and fights me harder (and boy, does he fight, like physically) when he is up later and gets over-tired. So I would suggest if it is at all feasible, bumping his bedtime back by about 15 minutes per night until you can get it to as early as you can manage? For me 7:00pm is ideal, but with this week's daylight savings time we are back to 8:30pm. Good luck and I hope it gets better soon.

Olivia said...

Thank your for sharing an update. My daughter is nearly 2 yrs old and still an avid nurser. We are planning to get pregnant next fall when she is around 2.5, and I don't know if I will want to nurse during pregnancy. I'm still mostly okay with her nursing as much as she wants, but I'm finding myself saying no to her more and more lately. I'm tired of nursing in public because she always wants to switch back and forth between both sides. And I'm starting to get tired of night nursing. Most of the time she just nurses at bed-time and then once more during the night, but there are some nights like last night that seem like she's attached all night. Anyway, I guess time will tell.

kristindoggirl said...

I nursed throughout my third pregnancy and have been tandem nursing and co-sleeping with two, for 16 months. I can so relate to everything you say! Hang in there, the pain goes away when the baby arrives. My older son was so happy that there was milk again...there was just this palpable sense of relief coming from him and he stopped eating all together for several days while he gorged on breastmilk every hour! It was a relief for me too and by far the best early nursing experience I have had - no oversupply for me! Although nursing a toddler and a baby brings with it a new set of challenges, I'm sure you will face them head on! Good luck.

Becky said...

I wanted to add (on an unrelated note) that I might be diagnosed with Raynaud's. A dermatologist referred me to a rheumatologist. He thought my "purple toes" could be Raynaud's. The follow up appointment is on the 24th and the appointment with the rheumatologist is on the 30th. What changes have you needed to make with this condition?

I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Thank you so much for all that you've shared! I've never really read about this topic before, so I really appreciate all of this candid info.

You're such a great mama! I'm sure that when the new baby arrives, you will figure things out naturally, just as you seem to do with everything else.

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings said...

I haven't read any of the comments, so my apologies if I missed anything there!

First off -- I know people who carry around a pad of post it notes for public restrooms flush issue! Put it over the sensor for the flush and it won't go off until you take it off (I haven't personally tried this, though)

Nursing -- I am super impressed you have made it through despite all the pain! I also have had the white nipple thing an I think it got a lot worse in pregnancy, though I also had it with newborns. I have poor circulation so that could be at play for me as well. OUCH! Your current limits on nursing sound good -- I know its hard but I am all for creating limits around this kind of stuff and think it will help all of you when the new baby is here.

Sleep -- Ugh, that sounds rough (though your footnote comment sounds promising!!!) I know our situations/schedules are way different so I won't claim to know any tricks, but I'd love to chat about it sometime!

You guys will definitely figure all this out as time goes by. We just bumbled our way through, trying different things, until we found things that clicked.

Sheila said...

For a better bedtime, have you tried dimming the lights for an hour or two before bedtime? Since you are all night owls, I wonder if he's not noticing bedtime getting nearer as you all keep up with your normal activities. We used to have a problem with the baby staying up too late, and we would turn out all the lights in the living room but the tiny desk light and the one by the door. I think it helped!

I get that pain while nursing during my period. For a few days, it feels like sandpaper or something! Major ouch - I sure would get tired of nine months of that.

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

I'm also 30 weeks pregnant and nursing my 27 month old. I just finished the LLL book Adventures in Tandem Nursing and highly recommend it! It was full of tips and advice on ways to make it work, but also a lot of encouragement if you find you're not able to work. Good luck!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

So good to hear everyone else's experiences & thoughts!

@Isil: So glad to hear of a nurser of a 4-year-old! The older my boy gets, we find fewer and fewer kids still nursing at that age. I'm glad he can keep on as long as he needs to and we'll still have company. :)

@Zoie @ TouchstoneZ: Triandem! You're the champ. :)

@Becky: Night owls unite! Also: Super Nanny chaps my hide.

@Betsy B. Honest: Yup, tried an earlier bedtime many times in hopes of psyching him out. He just gets out of bed and wanders off and finds a million reasons to stay awake. (Stupid cosleeping with no bars on the bed… Maybe a leash? Or chains!) We have a big boy bed set up, but so far he's refused to sleep in it. He likes hanging out in it, though. I'm looking forward to having milk, and I bet he'll be excited, too!

@Momma Jorje: That's what I was thinking, too, actually. This is really dumb, but I have a still-tender piercing in my left ear that makes it hard for me to sleep on my left side. That's mostly why I prefer nursing while on my right side. But I guess we all have to make sacrifices! Mine being the result of poking needles in my skin for fun…

@Lisa C: I hear ya. I wonder, since you know your pregnancy wish date, if you could start at least gently night weaning him on a relaxed schedule. Not that I personally know how to night wean, clearly…

@Patti: I am SO happy you said that your nipples stopped hurting after giving birth. That's the hope I'm clinging to!

@Terri: Loved your tandem nursing story, and it ended up in my Sunday Surf!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

@dr. becky: This is going to seem like a stupid question, but with a 7 p.m. bedtime, does that mean you just don't do anything in the evenings? We currently have two family evening commitments a week that start at 7 and go till 9, so the earliest we get home is 9:30 — meaning, if we want to keep our bedtimes consistent throughout the week (which makes more sense to me than fluctuating early/late), 10 is the earliest. But, honestly, 10 p.m. for Mikko is a huge step back from 2 a.m. (ahem). Do people (and not just you, but anyone with early bedtimes) who put their kids to sleep at 6-8-ish (a) not go out in the evenings, (b) not go out with spouse/partner in the evenings and trade off putting kids to bed (but then what about nursing to sleep?), and/or (c) always hire a sitter (but what about the cost and, again, the nursing to sleep)? I'm just wondering how people coordinate that. The evening commitments we have, we've tried to make earlier — but the people we're meeting with work and have to get home, change, eat dinner, so 7 is really the earliest they can meet. We've become pretty strict about cutting it off at 9 so we can get home, though. Maybe this is an urban thing? Or the fact that we tend to meet exclusively with people who don't have young kids?

Also, and this is going to sound completely selfish because it is, what time do kids get up if they go to bed at 7? Because, seriously, if trading off bedtime battles for a consistent 5-6 a.m. wakeup call is what's on the table, I'll pick the bedtime battles. ;) Did I mention Sam & I are also night owls?

@kristindoggirl: I was wondering if Mikko would stop eating in favor of breastmilk again! :)

@Becky: I have asked several dermatologists what to do about Reynaud's (while there for an unrelated condition), and their answer has universally been: Keep warm. I know — fancy, right? Also, warm up when you've gotten cold. I was worried that maybe the blood restriction would cause damage if it lasted too long, but not so far. I just try to chafe and warm whatever extremity is having problems (not my nipples, though — yowch!). The longest I've had an episode last (in my toes) is about 5 hours, but usually it's much less extreme and only several minutes. Now that I hear so many others have had the nipple blanching, though, I suspect it might just be a poor latch, at least on that side. I don't know! I guess I'll see if the blanching/pain goes away when Mikko nurses when the milk comes back.

@I Thought I Knew Mama: Aw, thanks! That was reassuring.

@Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings: Post-it notes! That's brilliant.

@Sheila: Sometimes I remember to dim lights, and sometimes I don't. Your comment reminded me to start that in again, so thank you! And, yes, it's the same as the period-type nursing pain — only, for me, maybe 3x worse. And lasts for nine months. It's actually one of the first signs I had that I was pregnant, that it hurt worse than normal. Yours sounds pretty bad as is, but maybe that's the max for you (I'll hope).

Megan said...

Although it sounds like it has been challenging for you, Bravo! Mikko is one lucky boy.

Amber said...

This is so totally, TOTALLY off-topic, but I can't believe you're in the 3rd trimester. Man, time flies!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

@Amber: I know, right? I feel the same way!

bhn said...

@Lauren @ Hobo Mama

My 19 month old goes to bed at 7pm, and he wakes up at 7am. He has pretty much gone to bed at 7pm since he was born, although of course at the beginning his first wake-up would have been at like 10 (if I was lucky). Now he generally sleeps through. He is nightweaned and sleeps in his own bed in his own room. If he wakes in the night only my husband goes in to him; this was how we managed to nightwean him.

Once he's in bed, husband and I have about 3 hours together before we go to sleep. That's lots for us!

Going out in the evening is difficult, I'm not going to lie. Until last week he was nursing at bedtime so we would have only ever gone out once he was asleep anyway. Now my husband puts him down with rocking and cuddling. Once he's consistently going down without nursing we should be able to let him be put to bed by a caregiver (luckily we have grandparents in the neighbourhood).

He's just not capable of staying up past 8pm. He gets cranky, starts falling down and dropping things, and rubbing his eyes. He's recently started announcing "night night" and "bed" when he's ready, too :)

Of course I do work outside the home three days a week so he goes to a care provider - which means we have to get up fairly early anyway. The downside of the early and consistent bedtime is that he gets up at 7am 7 days a week, no matter how late we stay up on a Saturday night and wish we could sleep in on a Sunday morning.

I am encouraging him to drop daytime nursing sessions, gently, as I am 6 weeks pregnant and it's getting uncomfortable for me (sore nipples) and I am not interested in tandem nursing. He was a demanding baby feeding-wise, a slow gainer, borderline failure to thrive. I just couldn't deal with that again, and a 2 year old nursing as well. I love nursing my toddler and I am already starting to miss the sessions we're dropping (e.g. before bed). The last one to go will most likely be the first one in the morning, when he comes into my bed and we have milky snuggles :)

Julie said...

I'm impressed you can still nurse at night. I had to night-wean my toddler as soon as I got pregnant with number 2. Daytime feedings are ok, I just distract myself and double-check that she has an open latch. Because my milk is so low right now (2nd trimester), she squeezes tighter and tighter until I find tooth marks around my areola.

I'm a full-time mummy said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I'm currently in my 2nd trimester and nursing my 2 yr old - mostly before his naptime and nighttime sleep.

Now I know what to expect and just the good thing that my book order of the 'Adeventures in Tandem Nursing' arrived today! I can finally read more about this!

~ Jenny @ http://www.imafulltimemummy.com/

granola catholic said...

Kudos for you on continuing to nurse. I nursed my oldest all through my pregnancy with the second. She nursed right up to labor, when it was no longer comfortable for me. Mostly at bedtime. After delivery she nursed again in the hospital. Some of the nurses heard about me tandem nursing and came to see how I did it. At that point I was just nursing one at a time. I had no problem because thanks to my oldest nursing through out the entire pregnancy my milk was completely in in less than 12 hours. My second daughter gained 1 lb from her lowest weight after birth, within one week. The doctor thought I was a rock star. So did I. Just take it one day at a time only you and your "baby" can decide when it is time to wean. BTW my oldest nursed until she was 3 1/2 then second until she was 3. So I tandem nursed for 1 1/2 years.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment on the sleep issues. :)
Read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Excellent advice!
My daughter goes down at 7-7:30, and wakes up @ 6:30-7am.
It's great! Also she's 12 months old and I'm still nursing! No night waking problem here. She learned that she has to wait till the morning. Now all 3 of us get a solid nights rest!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this - I am currently 37 weeks pregnant with my second and still feeding my 2 yr old and i could have written your post word from word..
It is a really hard road and i often wonder if all the pain i am feeling this pregnancy will ever go away! My nipples have experienced the white painful stinging sensation during both pregnancies and i find that a hot shower does the trick - or letting my son feed and trigger a letdown also helps. My doctor called it Nipple Vasospasm. thank you for sharing your story it helps to know i am not alone in having these feelings whilst still wanting to meet the needs of my little one.

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