Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Up All Night: Adventures with a Mostly Co-Sleeping, Nursing Toddler

This too shall pass....this too shall pass....this too shall pass.....

Over the weekend Chris was out of town which naturally means that something will happen. This past weekend, that something was Owen getting some new teeth. My parents were here helping, THANK GOD! Owen had trouble sleeping and when he has trouble sleeping, he wants me. Owen never took to a pacifier or luvie, like our other children. I am his pacifier and his luvie.

His night nursing was at an all time high over the weekend but in truth, it's been keeping me up at night for awhile now. Gone are the days where, while co-sleeping next to him, he'd quietly nurse and I'd sleep. Now, there's no way I could sleep through his middle of the night snack fests.

This is the longest I've breastfed any of the boys. I'm not necessarily ready to stop (and it doesn't seem that Owen is either) but I'm not used to this phase of what I'd describe as "acrobatic nursing". He's upside down, he's twisting around, he's off and on and shoving his fingers in my belly button and playing with the excess skin on my tummy and pinching and laughing..... and basically acting like he owns my boobs. At all hours. He can now say, "NAH!" for nurse and pulls at my shirt for them. He does not like to wait. It's kind of obnoxious :).

Lately, his desire to night nurse (read: nurse all night long) has become exhausting. We are supporters of co-sleeping and if he'd simply come into our bed and actually SLEEP, we'd be totally fine with that. But the all night acrobatic nursing? No thank you. I'm over it. I'm done.

Like I said, this is new territory for me because this is the longest I've breastfed any of the boys. I know that for right now I want to continue breastfeeding but not through the night. However, I'm not sure the best way to change up this pattern we've gotten ourselves into. I should add that my mommy instincts are also telling me that it's time and that he's ready. So I feel comfortable making this shift, even if it's hard.

Our current plan, that we're fully implementing this week, is that Chris is getting up in the night to comfort Owen, instead of me (Owen always starts in his crib, but usually calls for us during the night at some point and expects to be brought to the boobs). In fact, I'm pretty sure that if he could talk in full sentences, that's what he'd say at 2 a.m. "TAKE ME TO THE BOOBS!" Instead, Chris is going in his room, comforting him and putting him back in his crib to sleep. Let's just say that Owen does not love this plan. But it seems to be working.

The first night was really hard. The second was much easier. Each night is getting easier. This, coupled with the fact that I still feel good about the decision, tells me that for us, it is the right decision.

If this works, and I can reclaim the night for restful sleep, then I think I might be a new person. I'll be ready to take on the world!

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