Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adventures in Parenting: Nursing?

I just found this post, unpublished, written back in January. I'm posting it now with an update at the end just in case someone out there can find it helpful. Enjoy my adventure.


It's a quarter after nine in the morning and both my children are asleep, in my bed.

This has been a long week, transitioning a snugly Bear out of our bed and into the queen size bed she shares with her sister. A move that shouldn't have been too terribly difficult is now bit exacerbated by that fact that I've stopped nursing Bear during the night.

The Back Story

She used to sleep through the night, she struggled a bit when we moved but fell back into sleeping. Then, sometime in October, she started wanting to nurse during the night and I haven't had a full night's sleep since.

Since B made the request that she and her sister share a bed and knowing Bear is such a snuggler, I thought it was a fantastic idea! {Couple that with the overwhelming support I received when I told a few people; I was actually surprised when they told me their children used to share a bed, cool!}

So when we were gifted a king size bed, we passed our queen to the girls. They were thrilled, well, Bear was until she found out I expected her to sleep in it. She was comfortable in her routine, nurse down in Mom and Dad's bed, mysteriously wake in the middle of the night in her own bed, return to Mom and Dad's bed, nurse and go back to sleep.

A change was needed.

I started slow, having her nap in her new bed. That was fine, she didn't care where she napped as long as she could nurse down. Then, it was time for the night time move. She didn't have a problem nursing down in her bed and for the first couple nights, when she woke up and came to my room, I took her back to hers and nursed her back down, then returned to my own bed. This was short lived. I was getting even less sleep then when she was sleeping with me.

What was I going to do??

When B was her age she liked sleeping with me too. I used the "cry it out" method with her and it about killed me. I'm so thankful I had an awesome friend who let me call her at any hour because that was so terribly hard and I can't help but feel pain whenever I look at the point of my parenting life. I knew I needed to try something else with Bear.

{If you're wondering why I went from our/us to my/me, I'm really not discounting my dear husband. Thankfully, I am not flying solo on this journey with Bear as I was with B, hubby was in Africa for that, but as I'm the one not sleeping he asks me, "what will help you sleep?" and we go from there.}

{Wow, I'm all over with this one, thanks for bearing with me.}

Armed with a new idea, we prepped B and warned her. When Bear woke in the middle of the night, I would soothe and comfort, call in Daddy when needed, and be there to support her and reassure her, telling her she did not need "Mommy milk" to go to sleep.


And that's where it ended. To be perfectly honest I'm not sure where we went from there. I remember a couple times having Dad try to soothe her as he didn't have "milk" but she'd just get more and more upset. I would eventually send him and B to our bed so they could get some sleep and I'd spend however long it took to get her to snuggle back to sleep. Of course I'd fall asleep in her bed.

I've since weaned my Bear; a very personal decision. I do miss it from time to time but in the end I do feel it was the right decision for her and me. I made it gradual, after we stopped the night time nursing we were down to two, before nap and before bed. I dropped the nap first and she didn't put up much resistance. She still wanted to snuggle down and I was okay with that. It was almost two months of only nursing at bedtime before I finally stopped that one, too.

The first night I didn't nurse her she slept like a dream, thank the Lord. One thing that isn't mentioned above is how much prayer went into this transition. I could not have done it without His help, His loving grace.

Nightly nursings are not missed, they've been replaced with scripture reading, Bible stories and family prayers.