Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Floor Beds and Night Weaning

As Peter slowly approaches his first birthday (mid July), my husband and I have been discussing what changes will be made for bedtime. Peter has almost out-grown his travel pack-n-play, so he certainly needs a new place to sleep. At this point, we are planning on a floor bed, since his room is completely baby-proofed. I am looking forward to this because I can lay down with him to get him to sleep, then just ease myself away instead of trying to transfer him into his bed without waking him. I am a little concerned, though, that if I'm not there to keep him on the bed until he falls asleep, he will never sleep.

You think I'm over-reacting. Of course he will fall asleep. Eventually he will get tired and just lay down and sleep. You're wrong.

Tonight, after our regular routine (dinner, bath, story, prayers), I took Peter up to get him to sleep, a bit before 7:00. He nursed, I sang a lullaby or five, we cuddled, I prayed the Rosary with him. I tried holding him, laying him next to me on the bed, laying him in his crib. Around 8:00, I gave him to my husband. It is now almost 8:30 and Peter is still awake. Still rubbing his eyes, still fussing occasionally, but still very much awake.

So that is one concern.
What I wish Peter was doing now
(minus the hot water bottle, since it is almost 80 in our house)

The other topic of conversation is night weaning. Originally, I thought that was a good plan. He is only waking about three times a night at this point, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get him to sleep through. After all, he will be down the hall, making it difficult (impossible) for me to respond without waking completely.

That's where the night-weaning train derailed. We have agreed that our parenting choices will not be based simply on our convenience. If it's not best for Peter, it's not an option. As much as I look forward to the occasional night of continuous sleep, I'm not going to force him to night-wean just for my convenience. If he wants comfort and a quick snack in the middle of the night, it's his. He will eventually outgrow it on his own. I will not make him act like a "big kid" earlier than he needs to.

Besides, as long as he is nursing around the clock, he might continue to suppress my fertility. And that is definitely a win-win situation!

3 comments:

  1. Your 2nd-last paragraph shows amazing insight and compassion for your son.

    And at the risk of sounding like a know-it-all (just 'cause I have 4 kids!)I have to say that having a child who takes a LLLOOONNGGG time to fall asleep is SUPER-NORMAL. At various ages and stages, each one of my children has taken a very long time to fall asleep, even when I KNOW he or she is really, really tired.

    Try a somewhat later bedtime. And be patient as this too shall pass.

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  2. We recently made a switch to a floor bed in a different room as well. It did take awhile to make the transition, but now he goes to sleep pretty easily and sleeps better than he used to.

    Here's what I did: First, I would nurse and rock him to sleep exactly the way I used to, and lay him down on his bed. Then, after a few days to get used to the new bed, I would nurse him and rock him to sleep, but before he was deeply asleep, I'd move to the bed and lie down with him (still latched on) for awhile before breaking the latch and creeping away. Slowly I moved the transition to the bed sooner and sooner in the nursing session, so that now we only rock till his eyes are shut, though he's still twitching a bit. The transition to the bed wakes him a little, but he resettles quickly. I also started unlatching earlier and earlier, so that now he nurses in bed for a couple of minutes and then often unlatches on his own and rolls away from me! Other times I unlatch as he's ALMOST asleep and pat his back for a bit.

    It's really a one-inch-at-a-time transition. With bedtimes, a quick transition leaves babies not knowing how to go to sleep in the new situation. Our transition has been slowed down by a move and some other things, but it's taken a couple of months to get to the point we are now.

    The most wonderful part? He's getting used to going to sleep without as much help, so he's slept through the night three times recently! I hope he makes this a habit!

    Take heart, his sleep will improve; it just takes time!

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  3. @Patti: Thanks for the encouragement. We tried a later bedtime last night and things went much more smoothly. Hopefully this is at least a short-term solution. :-)

    @Sheila: Thank you so much! When we begin the transition, I'll try those steps and hope that it works well for Peter. I appreciate you sharing this with me!

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