This is what nursing a toddler is like.

It’s almost 2 in the morning. I’ve finally convinced Sadie that she wants her dad instead of me. I’m paranoid that as soon as he tries to put her back down in her crib, she’s going to start crying again, asking for “nuh-nuh” and “mama.” So I can’t fall back asleep.

I feel like I’m in some Catch 22, where if Sadie had weaned (more like, if I had weaned Sadie) before she got so old and demanding and strong and cognizant of what she Needs and Wants, maybe we wouldn’t be here. With a 21 month-old who demands–with hits and screams and tears and bites–that the only way she’s even considering going back to sleep is with having first nursed. But I made the decision early that we’d follow her lead, and so here we are.

In the light of day, after having finally woken fully up, say, after lunch, I’ll tell you all the reasons we’re letting Sadie wean on her own terms. Comfort, nutrition, immune system, security, Attachment, World Health Organization.

But now, in the middle of the night, and at 5:30 this morning when Sadie is UP? I am so fucking sleepy.

Lots of you probably have suggestions and ideas. They’re probably either helpful or offensive. Or we’ve already tried them and failed.

Sleep somewhere else a few nights? I went to Africa for a week.

Let her sleep in our bed? She never stops nursing long enough to sleep. Well, almost never. And she flails all around the entire time she’s nursing, so nobody else is getting any sleep.

Let her cry it out? Not. Gonna. Do it.

Tell her the nuh-nuhs are sleeping? She’s too smart for that, apparently.

I’m not looking for her to Sleep Through The Night or anything magical like that. I just want to be able to stay in bed every once in a while and have Sadie let Trevor calm her back to sleep.

And I just want to know… When did all that oxytocin I was promised turn into resentment?

9 thoughts on “This is what nursing a toddler is like.

  1. Sam

    sounds exatly. like. our. house. down to the flailing and screaming! Only I’m only on month 12….. I offer no suggestions, only empathy!

    1. Brooke Post author

      I’m trying my darndest to work more on how I respond/react to the flailing and screaming. I don’t think, at least for the time being, I can do much to discourage her from wanting to nurse. Or to change how she expresses it when she’s DESPERATE. The past few days have been better, and I think it’s mostly because I’m telling myself it can be better if I just relax and roll with the punches (ha).

    1. Brooke Post author

      Yes, I think I do need to try harder to make it to LLL meetings. I did some reading on their website, and I think I’m in a slightly better place about it.

  2. Amber Ludwig

    Hello! First, let me say that this is the first time I’ve checked out your blog and I think it’s great!
    But to address this post, have you ever considered pumping occasionally? I only ask because I was in a situation where I was still taking part time classes and finishing up my degree when I was nursing. At first my husband came to every class with me and waited outside and I would nurse in between classes. But then we purchased a Medela breast pump and a few bottles. Medela products met our standards (BPA free etc.) If you don’t want to use their plastic bottles you could always use glass.
    This worked out really well for us and our son did not have a problem with switching from nursing to taking a bottle three times a week. Also, sometimes when I was really tired, my husband would give him a bottle at night of the milk I had pumped for reserve. This usually happened once very week or two.
    It can be a bit of a hassle to sanitize everything. So this might not make it worthwhile to you. But the plus side is that you can always sanatize when you have more energy.
    You should probably do more reading about whether this might cause a child to wean sooner than he or she naturally would. However, this definitely did not seem to be a problem for us.
    I also found that pumping often helped with increasing my supply and I liked having milk on reserve just incase something happened and I ever got sick or something unexpected happened.
    Anyway, just a suggestion… Something you might want to consider (or not, lol) if you ever get really, really exhausted and desperate, lol. Good luck. It sounds like you are doing a terrific job.

    1. Brooke Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Amber. I pumped when Sadie was an infant and I went back to work (6-12 months). But now that she’s a toddler, she’s not nursing so much for the breastmilk. It’s really about the comfort for her. But these are all good ideas!


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