Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Should I Allow a 14-Month-Old to Nurse Several Times a Night?

A mom wrote to One Sassy Doctor asking if she should stop allowing her 14-month-old to nurse several times a night. One Sassy Doctor jumped right on that one! Nursing your 14-month-old at night? Well, may not be the best thing for you and your baby. Here’s why!

If you are nursing your already-sleeping-through-the-night big baby several times at night, you have got to break free of this for both of your well-being. The beauty of nursing is not only nutritional sustenance for your baby but also the bonding and feeling of closeness that to you both experience during these moments. By 14 months, these wonderful moments should be limited to daytime hours only. The breast milk shop is closed at night!

Babies do not require feeds during the nighttime at this age. Middle of the night feeding sessions means stimulation (mommy’s touch, voice, lights, motion) at a time when babies/toddler should be sleeping throughout the night. The feed reinforces awake behavior, and means that it will be that much more challenging to break free of the cycle when you are ready. So, stop the night feeding cold turkey tonight. Your little one may cry—and the crying may last for a long time—but let her cry it through. Each night it will get better, and eventually you’ll both be sleeping peacefully!