BACK STORY: Let me start by saying my kiddo has slept in our bed from the time he was a month old, and he LOVES nursing. Like most exclusively breast-fed babies, he adores the booby an he has nursed AT LEAST 3 times a night (like clock work) every night up until about a week ago. Did I mention he despised his crib? Like, would scream if I put him in it.
Seriously, he’s only ever fallen asleep without nursing a hand full of times, and each of those times have been when he stayed the night with his grandparents (after he turned a year old). Even then he co-slept! lol
The schedule for what seemed like forever:
Bedtime- 8:00 pm
Snacktimes- 10pm, 12pm, 2am, 4am
10pm snack stopped around the time he turned a year old.
Fast forward to March 2016, little man is 15 months old. Mama is tired. So, I reviewed the pros and cons of co-sleeping and what felt like constant night nursing.
-Unlimited baby cuddles
-I could sometimes nurse him back to sleep in the morning and sleep in
-He was getting unlimited breast milk all night, which is wonderful for his immune system & his development
-I woke up in the sweetest way possible every morning
-More cuddles. All the cuddles, snuggles, and kisses
-I wasn’t getting much sleep at ALL. Instead of nursing back to sleep at 2 like he has done for so long, he started to toss and turn and wanted to stay attached to the boob all night
-Him being latched while I fell asleep meant I had to sleep on my side, which at this point I had been doing for almost two years (9 months pregnant + 15 months PP).. I was over it
-No cuddles with my fiance, no time just the two of us
-I need to focus on work and school when he’s sleeping, and by him waking up to nurse so often productivity levels were really down
-HE’S HUGE NOW and takes up half the bed, see above
-Let’s be real, mama gets touched out sometimes.
I was starting to think he would never sleep in his own bed and he would always nurse through-out the night.
We didn’t feel comfortable letting him cry it out, we tried it for a couple nights and it was seriously awful and broke my heart. So, I would nurse him to sleep in our bed then at 2 when he was being restless I would nurse him until he didn’t want anymore, then lay him in his bed. He would fuss a little bit but not full on cry, and he would fall asleep in his crib within 5 minutes tops. I was starting to see the light.
This went on for a few nights until I decided to nurse him in our bed at bedtime but NOT let him fall asleep nursing- I would unlatch him and carry him to his crib when he was just about to fall asleep. I would turn the diffuser in our room on 15 minutes before we laid down, and I would have the diffuser in his room on as well with the same combo so that when I carried him in his room he would feel just as calm and comforted as he did in our bedroom. He associated the scent of his bedtime combo with sleep, and without diffusing his combo there was just no sleep happening at all, even in our bed. I know that it comforts him and relaxes him enough to get a good nights rest.
Important side note: we struggled to get him to fall asleep from the time he was 3 months old until we started diffusing lavender every night. As time went on we added gentle baby and cedarwood to the diffuser as well.
So, it’s been almost a week and he is officially sleeping in his crib all night and at nap time too. After the third night I started nursing him in his room in the rocking chair taking the same approach, nursing him until I can tell he is about to fall asleep then laying him in his crib while hes still awake but not fully awake. I tell him night night and that I love him, give him his teddy bear and shut the door.
He fusses when I lay him down, but when I am out of his sight & I shut the door he doesn’t cry. I watch him on the baby monitor and he either sits in his crib swaying or tossing and turning until he falls asleep completely. It hasn’t taken him longer than 5 mintues to fall asleep since we’ve started this routine, and most nights it’s two minutes. I know, it blows my mind too, seriously. I still turn the diffuser on 15 minutes before we go in his room to nurse, and because it automatically shuts off I turn it back on around 12pm. My mind is blown. I never in a million years thought we would get him to sleep in his own crib.
I think the reason he doesn’t wake to nurse through out the night now that he is in his own crib is because he knows I’m not right there, basically the buffet is no longer open 24/7. Out of all the nights hes slept in his crib this week, he’s only woke at 2 am twice and I didn’t go in there because he wasn’t crying. He was just kind of tossing and turning and fussing, and he put himself back to sleep within a few minutes.
It is bitter sweet and while it feels like an accomplishment, it’s so sad to me at the same time. He’s growing up and can put himself to sleep now! This is nuts. Feel free to drop any questions in the comments, I know how frustrating it can be and if I can further explain or help in any way I’d love to!