Thursday, February 11, 2010

night weaning, night seven...zzz...

and by zzz...i don't mean that i'm boring myself....just merely drooling on myself.  ok, not really, but this is the first time, since my son was born 15 months ago, that i have had to deal with heavy-duty sleep deprivation.  oye!  more on that below.  we have always done bed-sharing, so sleep has usually been pretty good.  and i'm so happy that i am going through this now instead of when my son was a newborn when so many new experiences are constantly unfolding.

in my experience, there isn't a lot of attachment parenting info out there, so i will continue to share my first hand adventures in case anyone cares and may perhaps find it helpful...

ok, back to night weaning.....

we have been so torn about fully removing him from our room at night, because we LOVE waking up with him and cuddling in the morning.  i cannot even put into words how wonderful it is!

after many months of resisting putting our son in a crib to start to night wean him, we have decided to try a different, more gradual, method. you know, the kind of method that turns your bedroom into one giant mattress.   we brought his twin mattress into our room, and it is next to our already frameless/lowered bed now.   his is about 6" lower than ours which has worked out to be a nice delineation.

it's gone pretty well actually.  here's what i've learned:

1.  i immediately realized that his nighttime soothing methods had everything to do with being on me as opposed to my breast.  so his mattress has a couple of pillows and my usual night shirt on it....perhaps i should have just dressed a body pillow as me...hmmm. also, HE NEEDED WARMTH.  very important.  once he was bundled well in a footed onesie, he slept better.   we don't run the heat at night, and a blanket wouldn't stay on for long.

2.  when he wakes every few hours, i quickly grab one of the queued pacifiers next to my pillow and put it into his mouth while verbally soothing him and cuddling up next to him in his bed.  then, in stealth mode, after he has "dead arm", i slither back into my bed.  i have proudly mastered the art of nearly silent non-sheet rustling.

3.  i nurse him to sleep in his bed, and otherwise once a night around 4am (he sleeps 9pm-8am).  i can tell he's actually hungry at 4am, because he doesn't settle like the other times throughout the night. otherwise, i keep my henley sleep shirt buttoned up completely to keep my breasts on lockdown.

4.  we give him a little snack 30 minutes before bedtime to be sure his belly is full.  the food is high in fiber and low in sugar like avocado, rapini, or mushrooms.  UPDATE : we stopped this after the first few nights...once we felt secure that hunger wasn't the issue.

i'm pretty happy with how things are going.  certainly, the end goal is getting him to sleep through the night, so i'll let you know how that goes.

the only deeply twisted thing that happened once i got him out of our bed is that i had HORRIBLE insomnia for the first several nights---it must have been either separation anxiety or the hormonal change of not releasing relaxing oxytocin all night while nursing.  hence the zzz's in my post title!

UPDATE : please see my second night weaning post for the next installment....

photo courtesy of liza banfield at

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