Nursies When the Sun Shines, a book about night weaning, was sent to me by the author (who also has a very cute blog) to review, early in the summer. I started thinking about night weaning back then, but only in the last month or so, did I really get the courage to get serious about it.
Penelope and I have been co-sleeping since she was a baby. Our story is a little different than most co-sleeping, breastfeeding, parent-child relationships. I didn’t get her to nurse till she was 5 months old, and then it was months before nursing at night became easier for us (it took a long time for her to get out of the habit of being rocked to sleep, to being able to nurse to sleep, while laying down), and then another couple of months before I could get to the stage of sleeping without my shirt off and she “finds” me in the middle of the night herself. I, being the light sleeper that I am, still wake up, even she latches on herself. She also likes to lay on top of me as she is nursing, and tweak my other nipple. Fun times.
Part of the reason it took me so long to night wean her, is because since we lost the first 5 months of nursing, I felt like I wanted to make up for that time and she always nursed the best at night. It was like, she was really able to let her body take over at night and she actually got milk. Whereas during the day, her comfort nursing was so light, that she doesn’t get much at all. I have gotten clues of how much milk she was getting at night before (like when she was sick and threw up a ton of milk first thing in the morning) and now as we have started the night weaning process, she gets up about 1.5 hours earlier and the first thing she says is EAT! She is hungry without her nightly snack of milk. Just in the last few days, she also started requesting a glass of milk with meals, like she is trying to make up for the calorie reduction.
I really enjoyed this book and so did Penelope. The little one in the book looks to be a 1 or 2 year old, so it is clear to Penelope that it is a baby her age. Not a tiny baby, but not yet a big toddler. When we read the book, we say Nuh-Nuh (her word for nurse), so it is even more resonant with her.
We started reading it together as soon as we got it. I like that we read it for several months before even attempting to night wean. I think it was a peaceful introduction to the concept and made for a nice transition to actual night weaning. Nursies, is a groundbreaking children’s book, the first-ever to focus on night weaning. Its goal is to facilitate communication between parent and young child, thereby making the process of night weaning as gentle and easy as possible
I am a big fan of using books to help babies/toddlers learn something new. When I was teaching Penelope how to nurse (I got her to comfort nurse at 5 months, but was trying to make the switch to nutritional nursing at about 10 months old) I made a book of all the the pictures of us nursing.
I started night weaning Penelope about 3 weeks ago. I found this series of posts over on the Leaky Boob to very helpful and encouraging. The first night, I siked myself up and decided that the best way to attempt this would be to nurse Penelope and read her books in a rocking chair and then lay down together and tell her no Nuh-Nuh’s till the sun shines. Total disaster. I only let her cry for about 2 minutes. But you would have thought I was poking her with a hot stick and torturing her. So I quickly scrapped that idea and nursed her to sleep. I was pretty sure I traumatized her for life, so it took me a few more days to go to plan B.
Plan B, was to nurse her to sleep like normal, and then tell her no all night until the sun came through window. The first night, she woke up about 3 times and fussed when I said no, but did not fully wake up or start an upset cry. By the third night, she realized I was standing firm and that life was really not that bad, she still got to nurse to sleep and again around 6am when the sun came up. So she has settled into the routine of hugging instead. Now instead of calling out for nuh-nuhs,in her half-asleep, groggy voice, she says hugs. It’s pretty damn cute.
In the last week, she will sometimes go all night with only waking up once. But mostly she still wakes up 3 to 4 times a night. Our next step will be to get a toddler bed and put in our room and see if that helps a bit with the night waking.
And last week, I slept upstairs in our guest bedroom, while my husband was on hug/wake up duty. It was pure heaven. I have been lusting and fantasizing about sleeping by myself, since Penelope was a tiny baby. I would dream of going to a hotel, by myself, for like a week, and just do nothing but sleep. But this night upstairs was just the ticket. The next day, I was bouncing off the walls, I had so much energy. I didn’t go to sleep till like 3am that night either. I hope to try and do that at least once a month, and later once a week. I am very slowly starting to prepare my mind and body for my next pregnancy and catching up on sleep is at the top of my list right now.
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By Best Kids Health Blog