I am extremely desperate. I am actually a pediatrician which makes things worse....I have a 17 months old girl ...she wakes up 4-6 times a night to nurse- she is cosleeping with us- and will scream bloody murder and cry heartbrakingly if I don't nurse her right away. ...She nursing is her only source of comfort.. I would nurse her until she is ready to stop- my husband(who has no medical background) is pulling up all these articels that after one year- you have to stop- because it increases carious lesions and earinfection. I am starting to feel like I failed - I am exhausted at work from sleepdeprivation and my heart brakes when she cries and I can't sooze her with nursing because I am workign a 12 hour night shift. What should I do?
As I wrote in my earlier PM to you, I am so sorry for the delayed reply to this message. I have been wanting to look into some of the issues you mentioned. Firstly, it is my understanding that extended nursing does NOT increase ear infections or dental caries. In fact, it decreases ear infection incidence, and the dental caries thing did not pan out when studied. There has been a lot of recent reports about this.. I will try to find and link them here. If you research the topic online you can definitely find as much if not more support for extended breastfeeding in this area from very reputable sources (try www.llli.org
for starters). We are actually in very similar situation -- I have an 18 month old and am lucky to get a 3 hour stretch at night out of her. Some babies are just like that. You can try to force them to be a different way, or you can accept them for who they are and what they need at that time. Violette's suggestion of using your husband to help by "going in first" is often an effective one (and one I discuss in my night nursing article). At 18 months, I am feeling like she is nearly old enough to start accepting delayed gratification during the day with nursing -- accepting someone else's care and attention and assistance instead. Once I feel like that is really breaking through with her in the day, I plan to have hubby go in at night and telling her that there will be more milk when the sun is up, that night is for sleeping. But first she has to understand those CONCEPTS -- and she's just not quite there yet, as I suppose yours is not either. Your daughter is likely suffering some separation anxiety from your long shifts, which is just something you'll both have to adjust to given your situation -- but denying her the breast when it IS available will only deepen that issue, not eliminate it. When you are not there, the important thing is that your husband empathize, not take it personally that she wants YOU (as opposed to him) and comfort and support her as best as he can. Eventually, this too shall pass. Please write back and tell us how it is going.