Torn, frustrated, and know better

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Torn, frustrated, and know better
Sat, 08-18-2012 - 9:03am

Bf'ing is really getting to me.  I've always hated it, but getting to a whole new level, where I feel my blood boil any time I have to do it, but at the same time I know I have to for DD's heath/survival.  DD feels the need to take ove the compression while bf'ing, if I try to do it she gets mad.  Last night DD was up 5 times to be fed.  6 month old babies are said to be ok if they sleep through the night without being fed (if my memory serves me correctly), so I can't figure out why DD can't make it through the night without being fed.  I give her an 8oz bottle of regular homo cow's milk at bed time so I am not having the bf'd her to sleep.  I get very irritable with her during the night especially when I bf'd her and then she stops on her own and the cries again a few min later to be bf'd again.  At time I get so irritated that I end up yelling at her to go to sleep; which I know is SO wrong, but it is so wearing on me.  Her weight has increased to where she is up to the 25th! So I know she is getting enough, but I think it might be the junk she eat (she won't eat healthy stuff).  I would be inclined to not give the junk, but that you force me to bf'd her more to maintain her weight.  Someone mentioned to maybe take out one of the sessions, but when I tried that and refused DD's request she becomes violant (yelling/screaming, and hitting me; but maybe that's normal?)

I have years to this to go, how am I going to make it through?


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Sat, 08-18-2012 - 11:12pm

Every baby is different when it comes to sleep habits. Some will be sleeping a number of hours at a stretch by six months, others will not. Some babies that have slept longer hours will revert to waking more later on, depending on developmental stages and different things. So to say a six month-old baby can sleep all night is not the truth. Nor is it true, even when they are older, as your baby is.

Rather than trying to worry yourself with what someone whose baby is different to your baby says 'should' happen, take a mental step back, and learn to be in tune with your baby's needs. I said needs, because they are needs, rather than how some people try to portray them as demands or manipulation. 

I am wondering if the 8 ounce bottle of cow's milk is actually causing the stomach to be upset. So as a result, your baby is seeking the comfort of breastfeeding even more frequently?

Is there a particular reason why you give her so much cow's milk in the evening, rather than lying down and breastfeeding her to sleep?

Are you nursing lying in bed when she wakes? Or do you get up and sit up, disturbing your sleep more? 

When you say she will only eat 'junk' food? what sort of food do you mean? What healthy stuff do you freely offer her that she refuses? If you don't have any junk food in the house at all, what would you be giving her? Have you ever tried that?

'Junk' food, with perhaps higher levels of sugar, trans (hydrogenated) fats, preservatives, added flavour and colour can also cause upset tummies and/or behavioural problems in children. Some of the behavioural problems could relate to sleep problems also. I know that this is disputed by some, but as the mother of a child who is severely ADHD, I know that it is true for some children at least.  So have you considered the possibility that the night-waking is partly related to this?

I am not trying to criticise you. I am asking you a few things, to get you to think of possibilities that could be contributing to the issues. Think over these things carefully, and see if there are any things you can modify, to see if there is an imporvement.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Sun, 08-19-2012 - 5:35pm

It can be frustrating when a baby who slept well now has poor sleep when they are oldr. I know, as it happened to some extent with all my children, but especially with one in particular. But they are our childre, that we love and chose to have, and it is part of parenting.

As for testing your toddler for cow's milk, I would not bother. I would try eliminating it, and any product containing any traces of dairy for at least a month, and see how she goes. That will give you some information.

I would not likely suspect she is reacting to dairy you are consuming - you have not noticed anything at a younger age, just now. However, while some will not react to dairy the mother drinks through breastmilk, they can still react when consuming dairy or cow's milk formula. It tends to be only a smaller number of very sensitive babies who react to dairy the mother has consumed via breastmilk. If she did not react when she was younger, I would not be worrying about eliminating dairy from my own diet now, unless there was something that stood out as a symptom. A large volume of cow's milk or cow's milk based formula is another matter though.

But eliminating dairy from her diet would have to be coupled with eliminating the other types of foods you mentioned such as flavoured oatmeal. Plain oatmeal will be fine. As she is used to the extra flavours added, she may object at first, but continue to offer that every day, and no falling back on other choices. I am sure that if you get rid of any of the less than healthy junk food options you have in the house right now, today, and only offer her healthy things, she will eat them when  she is ready to. She will not starve herself.

I have never heard of KD, so I don't know what it is.

Breaded fish fillets - if you are making these at home from fresh fish yourself, and fresh breadcrumbs are not liely to be 'junk' food. But if you are buying frozen, and cooking, then likely they contain some preservatives. If they are the freashly prepared ones, that you have made yourself, using bread crubs you prepared at home, then try using a bread that is preservative free. It can be hard to find such breads, but it is worth trying. If that still is an issue, then try using rice crumbs to coat them. Or why not just get the gresh fish and grill it with no coating? Easier still. What sorts of foods do you cook and eat for yourself? Offer that to her. Easier still as then you are not preparing something extra.

I am puzzled as to why you have nursed her in the toddler bed or on the sofa? Is it that you do not feel there is enough room in bed with you and your husband? Husband's do not come 'last'. You and your husband can have a lot of joy with the baby, together. I remember my husband often being the one to wake when the baby woke up as he was the lighter sleeper. He would change the diaper and bring the baby into our bed, and I would nurse. Not always, but at times, the baby would spend the rest of the night in bed with us. Maybe nursing a few more times even, but because I was just lying in the comfort of the bed, it barely disturbed me. I too would be sick of it all if I felt I had to get up and go and spend the rest of the night on a todder bed or the sofa. If you don't want to have the baby in your bed, perhaps try having another matress on the floor beside your bed. Once she wakes up, get her, lie on that to nurse, and crawl back into your own bed.

I think it would be very tiring to do what you are doing. It has been shown that breastfeeding mothers tend to get more sleep than mothers who bottle feed. But if you are getting up and going to another part of the house where you are not comfortable, you are taking away one of the easy aspects of breastfeeding and making it more tiring and difficult than it needs to be. 

ADHD is a complex issue, and I agree that you can't test for it in a toddler, because all toddlers have a short attention span which is the main thing they test for! 

However, I would keep her diet as healthy and simple as possible, just on the basis that this is what is good for her. It is also possible that it will help her sleep.

Do you realise that as long as she is getting a few nursing sessions a day, there is no need for dairy at all. In fact, humans can and do get along just fine without dairy in their diet. 

Is she drinking plain water? One time, when one of mine would wake at night frequently for very short nursing sessions, I ended up quietly and matter of factly offering water for a few nights, with no cuddles, or contact. Within a few nights he was sleeping much better. He was waking more from thirst rather than hunger. Another possibility to try.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-21-2011
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 1:57pm

I'm really not an expert on this by any means but I wanted to offer just a few thoughts that may be helpful (or maybe not).  My DS always woke frequently at night to nurse.  I had always figured it was because he was a big kid and was hungry since he wasn't particularly interested in solids for along time.  When he did start taking solids well, even then he would still wake up a few (maybe 2-3 times) per night to nurse.  I know they are all different but at this point he was taking longer and longer to nurse back to sleep, and I was getting more and more unhappy with it because I was pretty sure that he wasn't hungry and didn't need to nurse that much or take so much time messing around (because he is a joker).  By the 3rd feeding of the night, I was pleeding with him to stop playing and just sleep.  He wouldn't settle with me any more at this point, he would decide that if we were both awake, we should be doing something fun-like reading books or playing with toys or jumping on the bed.  It would take me 60-90 minutes of minimal eye contact and barely responding to him "it's not time for XXX, it's time for milks and sleep" repeated over and over.  I was just mad about it and I resented nursing at those  points.  It didn't bother me during the day if he wanted to do it , maybe once every 3 days, but those times were nightly and they were making me crazy.

I read something by a favorite parenting source that really struck a chord for me.  It won't be right for everyone but I wanted to share.

Basically, the gist is that if you feel like you are going to lose it (or do lose it), you are in a situation with your toddler where some sort of respectful limit needs to be set by you/me--the parent--because we are in charge and we let things go further than we were capable of handling.  "If you are getting annoyed, that means you are giving your child too many chances and choices."

So I decided I needed to set a limit.  I talked about it with my DH and he agreed that if DS was not really hungry or in need of food we would try something different.  So we set up his room so that it was 100% safe for him and got him a little night table.  We started putting a cup of water and a snack (slice of whole grain bread with almond butter and jam--a favorite of his) on his night table after he went to sleep at night.  And, we put some of his books right on the night table too.  And I just stopped going to him one night.  I told him at bed time that he was a big boy and that he had everything he needed right there and that if anything happened, I would come to him.  But that he was ok and could have his snack and look at his books without mama's help.  DS agreeed with this.

The first night, he woke up 2x and ate the snack and drank all the water and looked a books for about 90 minutes total between the 2 sessions.  I sat up the whole time and listened to the baby monitor in my room.  He called for me a little, but didn't cry so I just waited it out.  The next night it was shorter and the night after that shorter.  By the end of about a week, he was done night feeding and by the end of 2 weeks, he wasn't even waking up for his snacks much any more.  I think part of what we had to do was just to get him out of the habit of trying to spend quality time with me at 3am.  Any time he cries I go to him and he will still occassionally try to nurse--like this weekend when he had a bad dream and woke up shouting "mama Tree!!" in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  But mostly, he sleeps better and I sleep better and I am happier with our nursing now that I have set a clear limit that is respectful of both our needs in this relationship and not just his.

I don't know your DD, but I know my DS and he complained when I set limits on nursing and expected him to be more respectful about it--but he learned those rules anyway.  I feel so much better nursing a great big kid who has a lot of strength when he 1) does not tug at my clothes and touches my body with respect, 2) does not stick his fingers in my eyes or nose and 3) asks nicely by saying please and thank you just like for everything else in his day.  If he hits or bites (because he anger bites sometimes because he is a toddler).  I guess I feel like if she is trying to take over your compressions and hitting because she can't nurse, she needs to have some limits set about the fact that your body does not belong to her--but this is my opinion.  If it were me, and when it is me, I tell DS "If you want to sit down for milks with me, you have to touch me gently. I won't let you hit/bite/poke me."  And he cries a bit, and the next time he does a little bit better.  And if he is trying to poke my eyes out when he nurses, I tell him he can stop or we will be done with milks.  Then he either stops (about 95% of the time) or I unlatch him immediately, put him down and tell him very calmly that I didn't like how he was touching my face so I decided it was time to be done.  I think nursing manners do a world of good with a bigger, more opinionated kid. 

Just my opinion though FWIW.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Tue, 08-21-2012 - 4:34pm

You have some great tips from the other poster as well, about instilling some nursing manners. 

How is it going with offering healthy food options after disposing of the less than healthy options from your house?

If your child's poor sleep has been disturbed by these things, do not expect an instant turn-around. It can take a few weeks for everything to get out of a person's system.

You are the adult here, and you know what is best, so for the sake of your child, even if there are tantrums or objections, you need to be the one to stand firm. A child is not in a position to decide what is best for themselves in these matters.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Sat, 08-25-2012 - 10:43am

Oh, sweetie (((HUG))). Toddlers can really be challenging whether you are breastfeeding or not! I agree you have gotten some great ideas so far. I think of course it’s also important to acknowledge that every baby and family are different.

I don’t remember how old your LO is but of course anything you do should be age appropriate and appropriate for your baby.

A natural part of weaning can be some negative feelings on the part of mom. Don’t forget the process of weaning starts the minute your baby takes any other food in addition to breastfeeding.

I also agree it’s not too soon to teach some breastfeeding manners and to use some sleep routines/strategies.

Taking the baby off the breast whenever she does something you don’t want her to do usually works if you are consistent. So if the compression is bothering you don’t feel like you need to allow it. Just remove her and show her or explain why and be consistent in taking her off quickly when she does that. She will soon learn she can’t compress if she wants to breastfeed.

My dil taught my granddaughter to ask nicely for milk too. If she threw a fit or yelled, etc. she did not get breastfed.  If she threw a fit about it she went to time out (standing in a corner) She weaned at 3 on her birthday b/c mom was feeling like she wanted to be done.

If you pump an alternative would be giving the bottle of ebm vs cows milk.

I don’t mean to compare everyone to my dil and son but I do think they are doing a great job. My son is a school psychologist and therefore an expert on child development so I really enjoy watching and learning from him.

I was a yeller at times (I know I hated it too). When my son is angry he actually lowers his voice and pulls his daughter in close. He practically talks in a whisper, slowly and handles her gently. I think the best thing he does that I’m afraid I struggled with is consistently not giving in when his daughter throws a fit. He also tries to prevent ‘fits’ by watching her behavior and if she seems to be getting wound up he tells her to sit and hug her legs for a count of ten. It seems to help her regroup and often prevents problems.

It’s also really important for toddlers to have plenty of exercise that uses their whole body. Running, climbing, jumping etc. Exercise may help her to sleep better.

Bedtime routines are a great help for sleep issues. Routine in my mind just means a set plan of what you do at bedtime. Like bath, then 2 stories, a back rub and then lights out, etc.  Or bath, story, sing a song, say a prayer, lights out, cuddle time. It can be whatever works for you and your LO. It’s also ok to set time limits, use an alarm if you need to. One of my boys loved to chat at bedtime. I eventually set a time limit. “Ok we’ll talk for 10 minutes and then it’s time for you to be quiet or I will leave. Then I would stay a bit longer cuddling but also leave after a period of time and promise to come back every 5 minutes just to check on them until they were asleep.

A sippy cup of water by the bed can be helpful if your LO can handle that on her own. You may want to try a ‘transition’ item like a teddy bear or blanket. Have the baby cuddle the transitional item when breastfeeding and often they can then transition to just cuddling the item instead of breastfeeding.

I think if you make a plan, keep it simple at first. Definitely involve Dad. My dh used to powder our boy’s backs and give them a back rub as part of their bedtime routine. Work on one behavior at a time or make only a change or two at a time. Don’t expect your LO to change overnight, this is likely to take time. But, I bet if you set a plan you might feel better. It’s ok to trial a plan and change your mind but anything you try needs a fair trial.

It’s certainly ok for her to sleep through the night but it’s also ok and normal for some toddlers to wake up at night. That doesn’t mean you can’t try to change the troublesome behavior though.

One thing that worked for me was to leave the kids with Dad on some nights for him to take over the bedtime routine. It also allowed me to have some ‘me’ time and R and R. Even when my boys were breastfeeding they easily accepted Dad as the bedtime parent if I was not home once they were about a year or beyond and that’s without using any bottles ever.

I think it’s ok for you to offer other things at night instead of breastfeeding. Would Dad be willing to get up with her once per night? He might be able to offer a sippy of water, and a back rub or cuddle. It’s also ok to remind her you did just breastfeed if she asks again and offer cuddles instead. If she screams make it clear that screams do not result in breastfeeding or you will only cause her to scream more. You can even explain to her……..”in the past mommy would breastfeed you if you screamed but we aren’t going to do that anymore I want you to say “……..”.

If she hits you, that may warrant a time out. The rule we used was one minute per year of life. So a two year old would time out for 2 minutes. I think it’s really important for babies to learn early hitting is a no no.

If she’s past a year she needs more than breastfeeding, so continue with food but try to make it healthy as you can. I agree that testing for ADHD is not appropriate at this age. Toddlers are supposed to have short attention spans and high energy.

Get back with her age and I may be able to offer more age specific information.


Kathy Kuhn IBCLC

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2005
Sat, 09-22-2012 - 9:32am

Thanks for the ideas ladies. 

I tried taking dairy out of her diet, but I didn't realize how much I depend on dair as a calorie source, and for myself I eat a lot of dairy.  I've really struggled finding other things that she will eat.  Money has been extremely tight, and I am just about in tears when I put together something for her to eat and it just sits there, and I have to thow it out.  I think I really should make a dr apt and demand that she have allergy testing.

Kathy, my baby is only 34 months. 

"A natural part of weaning can be some negative feelings on the part of mom. Don’t forget the process of weaning starts the minute your baby takes any other food in addition to breastfeeding."

We are not weaning, DD needs to continue bf'ing for a long time yet as you know. Sometimes I have to remind her to BF'd (ie when I get home from work) but I question if she is really getting anything as she is super quick (not even long enough to get a letdown, IMHO) DD will be starting school next September, will I need to work on getting DD to bf'd more so she does not get sick? And how do I go about it?

While it may be right for some, I do not feel right about making DD wait to be fed, it is the same as refusing to give a child supper, it is my duty as a parent to feed DD (feeding on demand is what the drs told me at the hospital)

On a side note, is it common to continue having problems (ie pain) even after 34 months of bf'ing.  Each episode is different.  This time in is inside, and while I can feel the discomfort through out the day, it really hurts when I bf'd from that side.  Clugged duct maybe? 

On the sleeping side of things, it's the same.  I guess I was comparing DD to my DS.  While DS had his medical issues, he was sleeping throught the night by 2 1/2, once all of his meds got sorted out.  DD has no issues, so I figured that everything would be easier with her.  I also read that bf'd babies are supposed to be more independant, but DD is far from that, she is definitely the more needy of the 2.  She has a real fear of me leaving her.  DH needs his sleep, that is why we have this arrangement, plus DD is waking because she needs to be bf'd (DH can not do anything about that) if she didn't bf'd through the night she wouldn't be getting the min 4 bf'ing session she needs.  It's not been as bad as it was when I first posted, it is when she bf'ds and does not settle that it drives me nuts, and is hard to handle.

I am getting the impression that DD will have a very strong personality, and will know exactly how to push my buttons, lol. 




iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Sat, 09-22-2012 - 2:42pm

Stephanie, I’m so sorry. Can you please refresh my memory about your situation? I remember some GI issues but my memory isn’t clear.

It’s my understanding that allergy tests might not be valid at this young age. At least that’s what my son’s allergy doctor had told me years ago.

We are not weaning, DD needs to continue bf'ing for a long time yet as you know

Again, I don’t remember why can you clarify for me.

DD will be starting school next September, will I need to work on getting DD to bf'd more so she does not get sick? And how do I go about it?

One of the amazing things about breastfeeding the older child is that the immune components actually concentrate in the breast milk as the baby breastfeeds less often. So a nursing toddler gets a lot of help for the immune system even when breastfeeding infrequently. Of course breastfeeding is never a guarantee that there will be no illnesses. Even the healthiest toddler will occasionally pick up an infection.

While it may be right for some, I do not feel right about making DD wait to be fed, it is the same as refusing to give a child supper, it is my duty as a parent to feed DD (feeding on demand is what the drs told me at the hospital)

Have the doctors told you this recently, to feed on demand? When you cook supper for your toddler certainly there are times that she has to wait, even for food to cool down to temperature that is safe. So at this age it’s appropriate for your toddler to learn to wait in small doses. Of course not for long periods.

If you are having breast pain that you think is a clog usually you would notice some congestion near the site of the pain.

I also read that bf'd babies are supposed to be more independant, but DD is far from that, she is definitely the more needy of the 2.

The idea that bf babies are more independent is really opinion, not science based. All babies are of course different and bf babies are no exception. I think your assessment of your baby’s personality differences from your ds is right on target. No one who has more than one child would ever disagree with you that they are all different from each other………….:-)

I think when they are young sometimes we view those challenging aspects of their personality as a problem but try to hang on to the idea that the same things that drive you crazy now may be just the thing that blossoms in to many positive aspects of her life. For example my oldest was very argumentative during his teen years, always trying to draw us into arguments about almost anything. Now at 34 he’s a successful attorney……..perfect career match for him!

Again, I’m so sorry for my forgetful brain about your whole story.

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte