I’ve been reading the No Cry Sleep Solution, and I really like the book. It elaborates a lot of the things I struggle with regarding co-sleeping, nursing, crying it out, sleep training, etc. I have always considered myself a middle-of-the-road attachment parent. I didn’t start with any agenda or dogma, but I knew I wanted a strong relationship with my kid(s) and was willing to prioritize that. As the past 15 months have passed, these are the things I have found to be comfortable for me as a parent:
Co-sleeping, in my bed. I read the sleep books before birth. We had a crib in our room. I tried putting her to sleep in her crib, getting up to nurse her in the night in a chair next to the crib, then getting back into my own bed. It was awful. I have never been so exhausted. Within 3-4 weeks, I plunked her down into our bed between our heads and that was that. She slept happily there for the next 14 months.
Baby-wearing when comfortable and convenient. I wear her at least once or twice a day to walk the dogs, walk to the grocery, or get things done. I like it. She seems to like it. We also use strollers regularly, and she’s fine with that too. I don’t usually wear her for naps unless we’re hiking.
Extended (?) Breastfeeding. I hoped to be able to breastfeed and I was thrilled to have a good supply. In fact, I had an oversupply and a kid who would not drink from a bottle, so I was able to donate a few thousand ounces. I hoped to make it to six months. I then hoped to make it to a year. Here I am at 15 months, and while I am going strong, it now looks like I’m going to be doing some weaning to hopefully jumpstart my fertility. I would like to keep breastfeeding, but I’m happy with what we accomplished and proud of our journey thus far. I’ve introduced Ripple pea milk as a hopeful supplement/replacement. The jury is out whether my daughter is willing to tolerate it. Other than milk from the boob, she has previously only accepted water (since 10ish months) so any additional calories and calcium would feel like a win.
Anywho, back to the point of night weaning. I don’t like Cry It Out. I know it can work, I know it works well for some people, but I also STRUGGLE to hear my kid cry. I can ignore whining and fussing with the best of them. But the second I hear her start to have fear or sadness in her tone, I break. So I am not yet at the point of trying this, though I know it’s another option. In the meantime, I have a kid who wants to nurse back to sleep whenever she stirs. She isn’t always eating, and she isn’t even always awake. She just wants the comfort of the nipple.
I’m attempting the method of removing my nipple when she’s sleepy, but not yet asleep. Over and over and over. As soon as it comes out, of course she stirs and whines. I put it back, count to ten(ish) and then try again.
Last night she fell happily asleep by 7:30 (after nursing). She cried at 9:00, and I waited a long time to see if she could put herself back to sleep. She could not. I let her nurse, then started the nipple removal method, and she was frustrated but back asleep in a few minutes. At 10:15 she was up again, so I did the same thing. This happened about two more times in the night (I’m not totally sure when, because I was half asleep). At 4:30 she woke up because she actually wanted to nurse, not just comfort suckle. I let her, and I did pull away, but she may have been too soundly asleep for it to matter.
In summary, about 5 total wake-ups, two to actually eat, three to comfort nurse. At each wake-up an average of about 4 removal, root, repeats. Slept from 7:30ish p.m. to 6:30ish a.m. Overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars, not the worst, and not the best. Hopefully she gets better at having the nipple leave her mouth and being able to fall asleep without it.