About weaning and sleeping

I’ve been looking back at some old blog entries, and a lot of those entries covered the topic of sleep and the topic of nursing, so I thought it was the perfect time to update the ol’ memory bank on the topics. Back in late October, Aaron and I were pretty fed up with Addison waking up about 5 times a night. I was especially fed up because even when Addison was sleeping, she was basically surgically attached to one of my nipples. And it wasn’t like there was any eating going on – basically, I was  a human pacifier. At some point, we decided that we were going to wean her, and to do that, we would start putting her to sleep in her crib at night (I think that was precipitated by a really rough night trying to get her to go to sleep and Aaron said, “Forget it! She’s going to the crib!”)

Addy went to sleep really easily in her crib for the most part. We’d lay her in there with all the lights off except for her night light. (It’s important to note that we had already converted her crib into a toddler bed in hopes that she would play on it during the day and start to like it.) We’d sit on the floor next to her, and I’d sing a few songs to her. She’d say, “Twinkle!” so I’d sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Or she’d want to sing “Sunshine” (“You Are my Sunshine.) A lot of times, she’d want to sing “Barney” – “I Love You, You Love Me.” Now, I know most people hear that song, and it makes their skin crawl. Addy made me love that song because when I’d sing, “With a great big hug,” she insisted on giving me a big hug, which was followed by a giant smooch when we sang, “And a kiss from me to you.” I’m sorry, but that shit is precious, and if you don’t agree, then you are heartless.

So, anyway, we’d sing some songs, and then Addy would fall asleep. Sometimes she would sleep in there for an hour or two, sometimes less. For the first few times, one of us would go get her when she woke up and started to cry. We’d bring her back into bed with us, and even though I had the best of intentions to cut her off of the “ums,” she would beg for the goods, and I was sleepy, and I felt like I was emotionally scarring her, so in the middle of the night, I would give in and nurse her.

Fortunately, Aaron stepped in. Many nights when Addison woke up, he would go into her room and put her back to sleep. He figured out pretty early that she would go back to sleep faster for him than for me. He also figured out that if we were ever going to get her weaned, he’d have to play a major part in that. Some nights he would just sleep on the floor in her room to keep her asleep and happy and away from me. Other nights, I would go in and lay in her room. She would often wind up on the floor with us when we were pulling night duty, but for whatever reason, she wasn’t as quick to want to nurse when we were in that situation. I think it was partially because I had the boobs on lock-down, and also because she associated being in bed with me to nursing, but on the floor was a new thing that she didn’t associate with nursing.

We had Addy sleeping in her crib for about three weeks. She never slept through the night without waking up multiple times leading to one of us going into her room to finish out the night. If she came into the bed, she would want to nurse. But over the course of those three weeks of not sleeping in our bed, she stopped asking for “ums.” I don’t know the last time I nursed Addison, and I’m kind of glad that I didn’t know it was the last time, because I think it would have broken my heart.

We hit a crossroad when we went to visit Aaron’s family for Thanksgiving. We were staying with Aaron’s Aunt and Uncle, and Addy was in the room with us. We decided to just let her sleep in the bed with us and see how it went. She never once asked to nurse, and she slept like a champ the whole night. We were both actually really happy to have our little snuggle bunny back in bed with us AND to be getting a good night’s rest.

When we got home from Thanksgiving, Addy was no longer going to sleep easily in her crib (no surprise there) and we brought her back into bed with us. Since then, she has slept with us every night, whether in bed with us or on a little pallet next to our bed. We’ve actually been having a few issues with night terrors, but aside from that, we’ve all been sleeping much better most nights. There are still nights when one of us will wake up with a foot in our back or a hand in our face. I woke up two nights ago with Addison’s leg draped over my shoulder and her smelly diaper in my face. How does that even happen? We’d probably sleep a lot better if we had a King size bed, but really, it’s working quite well.

Also, I am reallly, really, REALLY enjoying not nursing Addy anymore. My goal was to make it 12 months, and I did that while working and finishing Grad School. Addy finally stopped nursing completely around 21 months old, which I think is pretty darn admirable. We’re still close as peas and carrots, but now I don’t have to worry about having more than one glass of wine (which I’m enjoying IMMENSELY) or taking some cold meds when I’m sick. Nursing Addison was one of the best things I ever did, and I am so, so happy I did it. But its time had come, and I’m happy we’ve moved on to another stage of her life.

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