The return of sleep

{ Friday, January 21, 2011 }
My friends, night weaning is something that's been on my mind for a while. It all started when the bean was around 6 months old and I read that most 6 month olds slept through the night. I waited and waited for that to happen, but we were nowhere close. Since then, I've read several books and tried a slew of tricks to get the bean to sleep longer stretches at night, but we've only had minimal success.

I've known for a while that we would have to wean at night if I was going to start getting uninterrupted sleep and I was starting to feel like 18 months was a perfect age to be night weaned, but I wasn't sure how to go about doing it. To be honest, I didn't actually set out to night wean last month, but something strange happened to the bean's latch during the night that made nursing very painful. I guess it was the combination of all those teeth along with her being half asleep, but whatever the cause, it was enough for me to not want to nurse at all. I tried over the course of a couple nights allowing her to nurse for a few minutes at each wake up and then comforting her as best I could back to sleep, but it almost seemed to make matters worse. I finally decided we would nurse to sleep at bedtime and upon waking in the morning, but no more nursing during the night. The bean and I have had many conversations to this effect over the past few months, so it probably wasn't much of a shock to her.

It was definitely rough going there the first couple nights. The bean would wake up and ask to nurse, I would remind her that we don't nurse at night any more and she would completely lose it. The boy and I tried everything we could think of to comfort her and get her to fall back asleep, but there were definitely a lot of tears at first. We ended up losing even more sleep through this process, but the end was so worth it. The bean has slept through the night without waking exactly one time--she's usually still up once or twice during the night, but when she is asleep, she sleeps much more soundly than she did before and she falls back to sleep faster. The number of times she wakes is less and, the most amazing part is that she sleeps from the time we put her to bed (around 8pm) until around 2 or 3 am without waking once. This is incredible for her as before I would be running up to nurse her back to sleep once or twice between the time that she went to bed and when we did.

Our daytime nursing is still unrestricted and you can bet the bean is making up for those lost night sessions by nuring eleventy billion times during the day, but I'm so glad we were finally able to stop the night nursing. (And also a teeny tiny bit sad that our bean is getting to be such a big girl that she no longer needs it.)

1 comment:

reproducinggenius said...

This is so encuoraging to read right now because we are smack dab in the middle of night weaning. I am sleeping on the sofa while my wife comforst our son to sleep, and I'm hoping that once I start sleeping in the same room with him again we have longer stretches of sleep. BG is also making up for the missed nursing at night by nursing what seems like a thousand times during the day, but it's so worth it not to have that weird, painful night latch (yep, we had it too). Thank you for posting this, and congratulatons on getting more sleep!