No More Night Nursing!

Ok, first a quick clarification: I don’t mean no night nursing at all, just no nursing while I’m in bed trying to sleep, which is definitely close enough for me.

I’ve been feeling for a while like it’s time to take a step back from nursing, like I’m ready to do it less and have my body more to myself.  And nights were getting rough.  Owen was having trouble sleeping, especially by himself in his own bed, and sometimes Cole was getting exiled (voluntarily) to the guest bed in the office.  A ravelry friend posted this in a breastfeeding thread, and I thought it generally seemed like a good idea, except that there was no way Owen would ever calm down if I started nursing him and then took the boob away. It would be too jarring for him; he’s a sensitive little guy. So instead, I moved to only nursing him at night if he specifically asked for it (“durse” and jabbing me in the boob). Because previously I’d been whipping out a boob anytime he woke up as fast as I could so we could all get to sleep. But I found that about half the times he woke up, he could resettle himself and get back to sleep without it. We did that for, I don’t know, several days. No grumps about this at all from the baby. Then one day I decided I was ready to tell him no, or at least to attempt it. When he woke up and said, “durse,” I’d just pat the bed and say it was time to sleep (Owen’s been sleeping in the big bed for a while). Patting the bed is his cue to lay down, and he’ll do it any time of day, he just mostly pops right back up. So he’d lay down and get up and lay down again. I found I had better luck saying, “I love you, baby. Time to sleep,” instead of “No nurse.”  Go figure.

The first two nights were pretty easy. I was prepared to give in if he was really upset, but I didn’t need to. He only woke up and asked once each night, and then slept the rest of the night with no problems. The third night was rough. I think he woke up more than usual (like he was more awake, not more times), and he squalled for a little while before finally falling asleep laying backwards across my knees. Really, it was only like a half an hour, though, probably. We’ve had more good nights and one that was terrible, but I think it was teeth-related more than anything. He is doing really well at laying down and closing his eyes and (mostly) holding still by himself so he can fall back asleep, but the one night he just couldn’t settle and nobody slept much at all. Since then, though, we’ve had 2 nights where he slept straight through the night, last night sandwiched between Cole and I. It was so luxurious!

So, I should mention: Owen still nurses to sleep. We have a little routine (bath, jammies, Where the Wild Things Are, then nursing and singing a certain song so he knows it’s sleep time), and I lay him down in his baby bed on the floor. If he wakes up before I’m ready for bed, I nurse him back to sleep on his little bed. If he wakes up after I’m in bed, I haul him up next to me and usually he falls right back to sleep. One of these days, I’ll wake up in the morning and find that he’s spent all night in his bed, and it will be amazing, but right now I’m just glad he’s sleeping.  I am very, very happy with the situation.

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