So, this 10-month old has now made clear that she does NOT want to sleep without a nipple in her mouth. This has been an evolving theme. Early on, she would nurse and then often take a pacifier. It would sometimes pop out or sometimes she would keep it in while she slept, but either way, she slept. As she became more aware and more assertive, she decided that she didn’t really like pacifiers. She would take it occasionally to soothe herself in the car, but when it was offered as an alternative to the human nipple, she raged. Around the same time, she started rejecting bottles, because, well, synthetic materials just don’t meet her standards. I used to be able to at least get her near to sleep by nursing, and then let her fall asleep on her own, next to me. At this point, though, if the nipple leaves her mouth, she immediately starts whining, writhing, and push/kicking me to give it back. When I do manage to sneak out of the room with her asleep, she’ll only stay asleep for 20-30 minutes before she realizes that her nipple is gone and she wakes up.
While I’m still willing to accommodate her for at least a few more weeks, the nanny is STRUGGLING to get any decent naps in. Last week, she mentioned that she would like to start some kind of nap training. At first my stomach clenched and I thought NO WAY. I just don’t really want the baby to lay there and cry, wondering why she is not being helped. I know that’s silly. I know there is nothing wrong with her figuring out that she does NOT need a nipple (or someone holding her) for her to sleep. It’s just an emotional reaction. Also, I figure I’m paying the nanny to tend to her, so if it’s burdensome, oh well.
After several days of reflection, I’m actually considering letting the nanny try to let the baby cry it out just a little bit. For one, she does need better naps – two or three broken 20/30 minute snoozes are not enough. She gets to me at 3:00 and could nap for 3 hours straight (with nipple). For two, my back freaking hurts from laying in the position that allows her to nurse endlessly all night long. For three, it’s got to happen sometime, right? For four (fore), I can tell that her self-awareness is MUCH greater than it was a few months ago when her cries signaled fear and confusion. At this point her cries mostly signal irritation, frustration, or outright anger. I’m more okay with her working through those emotions than I am with her lying there scared and confused about why she is alone.
So, hive-mind, what say ye? Tips, tricks, advice to teach a 10-month old to nap? I’m open to hearing anything you have to give. I haven’t read any of the sleep books since the first few weeks postpartum when I was just SURE we were going to avoid bad habits, create a restful, healthy, sleep pattern, and do ALL the right things as new parents! Ha!