November 15, 2011

Stopping Night Nursing - The Journey - Night 1

So you all know that we co-sleep, but what you may not know, is that Beckett doesn't sleep through the night. He still wakes often, sometimes hourly, to nurse, or sometimes I think it's just to latch on for comfort and fall immediately back to sleep. This is pretty normal for co-sleeping babies - I mean imagine sleeping next to a bag of chocolate chip cookies - you'd probably snack a few times during the night. This worked for a long time, but B is getting bigger and he's turning into quit the floppy sleeper. For the last few months my husband and I have not been getting quality sleep. What to do?

Well I came across a great blog, The Leaky Boob, at the exact time the woman who writes the blog was going through this same thing, although I think she toughed it out longer than I have and with more children. She had good results with a method she tried and it seemed to be along the same parenting guidelines H and I are comfortable with. The program is from Dr. Jay Gordon's website. I recommend reading the entire thing if you are considering this, but here is a little bit about part 1 of the plan.

He recommends this for babies over a year old, not infants. This is the plan for the first 3 nights.

"At any time before 11 p.m. (including 10:58) nurse to sleep, cuddle and nurse when he wakes up and nurse him back to sleep, but stop offering nursing to sleep as the solution to waking after 11 p.m.. Instead…..

When your baby awakens at midnight or any other time after 11 p.m., hug him, nurse him for a short time but make sure he does not fall asleep on the breast and put him down awake. Rub and pat and cuddle a little until he falls asleep but don’t put him back on the breast (or give him a bottle if that’s what you’ve been doing). He must fall asleep with your comfort beside him, but not having to nurse to feel comforted enough to drift off.

Now, he will tell you that he is angry and intensely dislikes this new routine. I believe him. He will also try to tell you that he’s scared. I believe he’s angry, but a baby who’s had hundreds of nights in a row of cuddling is not scared of falling asleep with your hand on his back and your voice in his ear. Angry, yes. Scared, no, not really.

During these first three nights, repeat this pattern only after he has slept. He might sleep for fifteen minutes or he might sleep for four hours, but he has to go to sleep and reawaken to get cuddled and fed again."

So I began this process last night. Hillary decided to sleep in another room, so at least one of us was rested for the day. Of course, B must have known I was up to something because he slept from 8 to 11:30 in his crib - which he never does. He has some bad diaper rash and I changed his diaper when he woke, so he was very upset. So I cheated a little and nursed him to sleep at 11:30.

He woke at 1:15 a.m. and I nursed him for a few minutes, unlatched him and snuggled him in tight. He did not like this and as predicted proceeded to thrash around, scream, sob and press his face into me for the next 30 minutes. My will started to give a little around the 20 minute mark, but I held strong and did not let him nurse. I patted, I shushed, I sang, I squeezed, I kissed. Finally he flopped down on his face with his butt in the air and went to sleep. I have never been so relieved.

At 3:30 and 4:30 he woke. Again I nursed for a few minutes, then unlatched. He protested, but nothing like before. He was back asleep within 10 minutes.

At 5:30 he woke again and I was tired. I figured it was close enough to 6:00 and just let him nurse. He fell back asleep and we both slept through the alarm until almost 8:00. So no shower for me before work. At least it's a home office.

I am pleased with the results. It could have been worse. We'll see what happens tonight. I will try to stick to the rules this time.

1 comment:

Katy said...

Oh, mama, I feel like I am going to be getting on this train soon...June woke up to nurse 3 times last night. Good luck!