Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breastfeeding, Cosleeping & Nightweaning, Oh my!

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about nighttime parenting and nursing. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 

When I was pregnant, I knew I was going to breastfeed.  I also knew I was  going to have Jack sleep in an Arm's Reach Co-sleeper for the first 6 month and then transfer him to his crib.  When he was old enough to understand.  At six months.

Of course, it turned out that I couldn't stand to be inches away from him and had to have him in bed with me.  It also turned out that he wasn't one of those magical "good" sleepers that I hear so much about.  And, well, while my child is obviously brilliant (lol), he did not understand at six months that sleeping alone was good.

At twenty-two months old, Jack still sleeps with us.  It's a love/hate kind of thing.

I believe that cosleeping really helped our breastfeeding relationship -- especially in the beginning. Those wee hours were so much less painful when I just had to roll over, nurse, and roll back over to sleep.

As time has gone, and Jack has matured to being a very independent, very active toddler, cosleeping and breastfeeding has helped us to reconnect even after a long day of climbing and jumping and frustrations.  I credit some of his independence on our nighttime relationship.  I credit some of our bond to it as well.  And I wouldn't change a thing.  Even though I know that I would sleep better with him in a different room, or if he weaned, I've stuck with it. 

Most of our nursing, at this point, has been happening at night.  He's too busy during the day to nurse - and has been since 14 months old.  So, for the most part, he nurses 3-4 times during the night, first thing in the morning and right around naptime.

Or he did.

Last Friday, July 16, we began nightweaning.  As important as breastfeeding and cosleeping is too my parenting relationship, it is beginning to wear on my relationship with my husband.  He needs space.  He needs me.  And I want to have another baby.

We went cold turkey.  Knowing his personality, a slow change wouldn't have worked.  The "Pantley Pull Off" or Dr. Gordons Plan would have frustrated the heck out of him.  So, instead, I taught him "light and dark" and then told him that when it was dark "nursies went to sleep".  And he understood.  I know he understood because by the second night he would SCREAM when he heard those words.  And I held him, and snuggled him and told him that as soon as it was light he could nurse.  And he went back to sleep.

Last night, the 9th night, he slept 8.5 hours straight, woke at 4:30, I told him it was dark and nursies were sleeping, and he rolled over and went back to sleep.  He slept until 6:30 when we nursed and got up for the day.

He nursed at naptime today, and I'm enforcing (encouraging?) a before bed session as well.  And things are changing.  In the next few months we're going to help him move into his own room.  I'm on the hunt for a boat bed for him, as I know it will thrill him.

In part of Dr. Jay Gordon's sleep article, he says "“Yes, for the past many months we have enjoyed voting “1 to 2″ — non-democratically — in favor of . . . the baby. ‘Anyone want to get up all night, feed and walk the baby and be really tired all day and the next day too?’ Well, the vote is 1 to 2 in favor of the baby.  Now, what we’re saying is, we will sometimes be voting two to one in favor of the baby’s family. This “baby’s family” concept may be abhorrent to he who considers himself the King of England, or Emperor of the Whole World, but our knowing he has that feeling of power allows us to confidently demote the dictator to a majority-respecting member of the family. His family."

Because he is a part of our family.  A very, very important part.  But as he matures and approaches two years old, he - and I - are having to realize that he is not the only part.  And his Daddy counts, too.


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