Saturday, September 10, 2011

A New Sleep Strategy

It has become increasingly difficult to get Peter to sleep. He hates sleep. We have a consistent bedtime routine and generally put him down for the night at the same time, but it's not unusual for me to spend an hour with him before he falls asleep.

So tonight I developed a new plan. Rather than limiting his nursing time (which I did in an effort to limit the time spent on the entire ordeal), he can nurse for as long as he wants. He can even nurse to sleep, if that suits his fancy. But when he is done nursing, I will lay him back on his mattress and leave the room. If he cries, I'll go back in and nurse again, but those are his two options: nurse or sleep.
This is him fooling me.
"Look how tired I am, Mommy. But I will not sleep for the next 85 minutes! Haha!"

Tonight, after only two attempts to pick a third choice (let's play, Mommy!), he opted to nurse himself almost to sleep and then drift off on his own. Granted, this still took an hour, but there were no tears -- from him or me. ;-)

I think this will work. When he wakes to nurse at night, he nurses until he's drowsy and falls asleep on his own, so it's definitely something he feels comfortable doing. Once he has figured out this is the new routine, I am hopeful that he will spend about 20 minutes nursing (like he does at night) and then sleep. This would be awesome.

This plan also addresses my concern that he's waking overnight from hunger. I'm not sure exactly how much a breastfed toddler should be eating during the day, but it's probably more than he usually eats. (The nutrition guidelines I have are for toddlers who are weaned.)

Today, for example, he ate 2 tbsp yogurt, 1/4c chopped pear, 1/2 slice of bread, 2 tbsp cucumber, 2oz ground beef, and 1/2oz cheese. On the plus side, it's a balanced diet, but it's less than a cup of food throughout the entire day. Hooray for breast milk!

2 comments:

  1. That sounds like about what my son ate at 12-15 months. It's just not a very hungry time. But he eats a lot more now!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement! The other day he ate 1/2 a veggie burger in one sitting, so it definitely comes and goes. Oh, children. :-)

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