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    “It’s a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it’s light out.”

    Bill Watterson

    I have a confession to make.  My sixteen-month-old daughter has been waking up in the middle of the night, (usually around 3 or 4am,) and I’ve been nursing her back to sleep.  I feel as though we’ve regressed back to the first months of night-feeding.  It goes against all of the marvelous sleep-strategies that I’ve read about, but I’ve been feeling too exhausted in the wee hours to let Crazybaby cry it out.  I know she’s not teething, she’s not sick, and I don’t think she’s hungry.  My hunch is that she likes the comfort of nursing to help her get back to sleep.

    Crazybaby was pretty good at sleeping through the night until we went on holiday at the beginning of the summer.  We were sleeping in the same room and when she woke up, instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, she’d see Mama and think, “Boobie!!!”  Unfortunately, it only takes a night or two to establish a new habit, and this is a bad one.

    I know that I could probably break this pattern if I just got tough; I’m pretty confident that she would get herself back to sleep eventually if I just let her cry.  I’m just not thrilled about waking-up the household at 3am and losing another hour of sleep.  So, I tell myself that she’ll grow out of it.  I tell myself that there’s no use getting tough while we’re still on summer holiday.  I tell myself it’s going to be easier in the fall when it’s still dark in the wee hours of the morning, when the birds are still asleep at 4am.  I tell myself that, in the grand scheme of things, my sleep-deprivation is only short-term.  Am I telling myself lies?

    sophie(Here’s the Little Miss who’s responsible for the dark circles under my eyes.)

    4 comments to Confessions

    • Jen Bobroff

      Well….i’m not sure i have the right answer for you but Kazlo generally still falls asleep on the boob and i keep wondering when we should bite the sleeping bullet and get him used to falling asleep on his own, in his crib. I’m also not thrilled about him screaming for what feels like will be weeks while he works out our new system for him. should we do it during summer where only one of us is ‘working?’. or shoud we wait until fall , as if it’s a new years resolution. Let me know what you figure out…..xo

    • Karen

      Maybe we should do it at the same time, Jen. We could designate one of our homes as the ‘sleep-training’ household (Kaz, Crazybaby & the two dads of course because they’re not lactating,) & the other house could be a sleep-retreat for those of us who have no problem sleeping through the night without being nursed. It’s tough to stay on a schedule in the summer, so we could all start in the fall. It wouldn’t be ideal timing for the men going back to work, however, they are off kayaking together at the moment, aren’t they?

    • Jen B

      We are in the same boat. My son is much older, 21 months, but he still seems so small and it is almost always so peaceful and restful when I nurse him to sleep. When I am working (I too am a teacher) I miss him during the day and “catch-up” with night time snuggles. The problem is, my husband feels that his has created a wedge between us and will make going “back to school” harder as my little boy tends to wake up when I wake up in the morning because I usually end up falling asleep during that 3:00 am wake up. I’m sleeping great, compared to how I sleep when we try to sleep train. I never thought I’d be nursing a kid to sleep, let alone a growing boy, but those wee small snuggles are cause for sweet dreams and I’ll miss them so dearly when they are gone.

    • Karen

      Jen, first of all congratulations for nursing your son for so long; I think he’s very fortunate to have you so dedicated to providing the best nutrition possible for him. And I’m sure he appreciates all the love and snuggles you shower upon him.
      I can only imagine how precious that evening time together becomes when you’re working. Your comment is so great for me to read because it reminds me to ask myself the question, “Is this behaviour serving me or my child?”
      For example, it would be easier for me (and more lovely) if I fell asleep with my daughter when I nursed her in the middle of the night, but it doesn’t serve her well, because she wakes up earlier in the morning. So, I stay awake and take her back to her crib after nursing her, instead of letting her get used to sleeping with me.
      I do believe it will serve her better if she can learn to put herself back to sleep instead of relying on me to nurse her, but I still have to gear myself up for that transition. In the beginning, I know I won’t sleep as well, but it’ll be better for all of us in the long run.
      So thank you for making me think! Good luck with whatever path you choose with your son. Trust your instincts and know that you are doing the best that you possibly can at this moment in time.
      Let me know how things evolve!

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