June 15, 2013

nursing, sleeping, night weaning!

For Fred's whole life he's pretty much woken up every 2 hours to nurse, which I NEVER minded before because we were co-sleeping (till he was a year, then he'd go to sleep in his room and sleep walk into ours) and he would nurse in his and MY sleep. I hardly noticed at all and never felt slept deprived...but then I got pregnant and my milk vanished and the nursing hurt like crap and rather than gulping it down for about 5 minutes he just sucked and sucked for an hour or MORE!!!!! ahhhh.

So suddenly it wasn't fun anymore. Suddenly we had to make changes. Luckily, because my milk was decreasing by the moment, I've never gone through painful engorgement even though this has happened pretty rapidly. A friend had sent me this article, and I really like how gentle it was when it came to co sleeping and night weaning and how seriously it took the emotional attachment of a long time nursing relationship. But I also liked how sympathetic he was to needing sleep!!

Collin and I read it over apart and then together. We made a game plan, and we started. I honestly never saw it working. I couldn't see Frederick, who pretty much loves to nurse more than anything in the world, going 7+ hours straight without nursing. But, he did. Since we started he has not nursed from 11pm-6am.  We thought it would be difficult because he has a floor bed and can come into our room freely, and I also thought he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep without it but each time he came in, one of us picked him up, cuddled him, sang, laid him down and he went to sleep on his own within 5-15 minutes!!

We skipped the "nursing for a little while but not to sleep" because there's no way he'd ever stop. The first few days we gave him whole wheat tortilla and water, which he gobbled down vigorously. And MAN did he cry HARD. And it was definitely that ANGRY ANGRY cry. When I took him he wouldn't cry very much, just whimper cause I wouldn't let him nurse, but I was firm and consistent. I told him the milk was asleep at night from now on. It seemed to work. When Collin would take him, a couple of times he acted so mad that Collin was KEEPING him from his mommy! But he got over that. It was hard to hear him cry like that, and although I was used to no sleep, Collin had a bit of a hard time. But we stuck with it. After the first 4 days he wasn't really interested in the food part and would just drink. Then he would even deny that sometimes.

Now he goes from bedtime (about 7:30-8) to 6 or 7am without nursing. He does still wake 1-2 times per night, but he goes right back to sleep and we're working on it gradually. He's doing really great. He's just 1.5 years, after all! And Collin and I wonder WHO ever came up with the expectation of babies sleeping so perfectly so soon? I mean it's nice and all, but seriously, what adult doesn't wake now and then for a glass of water or to pee or because of a weird dream? And we have decades on them!!
Since I have no milk (it's turning into colostrum...AWESOME Kellymom article HERE). Fred is eating so much more regular food throughout the day. He nurses 1-2 times a day just for closeness, comfort, calm, familiar. And I love it. Life is good again.

It's good to see that everything we've done hasn't completely screwed him up...though I'm sure we'll make changes here and there with the next one. I know it's not for everyone, but we've loved co sleeping and nursing and how confident and independent while still appropriately attached to us it's helping him become. 

Now if only I could teach him to not throw food on the ground, spill every glass of water on PURPOSE, rip records out of their cases and climb up and mess with record player, terrorize the cats, slap and kick us or just teach myself to be patient with any of these!!!!!!!!! hehe. 


  1. isn't it amazing how different kids/people are?! i never wake to pee and consistently sleep through the night without waking, as does rhett. but chuck and ollie...well, they're totally different. i'm just glad that what you're doing works for you and collin and fred and little fetus!

  2. Yes that is incredible Erin!! My biggest fear is that this next kid will be 100% different! If its with sleep....then awesome. But Freddie is pretty evenly tempered so ill probably have a little crazy moody guy/girl next.

  3. love you and your blog! I've been feeling discouraged lately because of our baby's trouble going to bed at night, and it was so uplifting to hear someone with realistic expectations and a plan that worked for you, rather than some crazy extreme like let them cry it out without mercy or give them exactly what they want regardless of the toll it is taking on you individually. Someone should pay you to blog!