Bedtime and morning weaning from nursing
Jenson recovered from his mysterious virus over last weekend and is back to himself, though a little clingy still. Basically, he vomited for 7 days without having any other symptoms of flu or other illness. We went to urgent care first (on a Sunday after Christmas), and to the pediatrician 3 times within a week so they could keep an eye on his vitals/weight/etc., since he’d lost 2 lbs. (and he’s already on the smaller side). He had xrays, blood work, and a catheter to check his urine, and none of the tests showed anything specific. (side notes: holding him down while watching the tech dig around with needle to try to find a vein in his arms was awful – he was so dehydrated that it was extra hard). (second side note: the tube they insert for a catheter is like 2 feet long! – so holding him down for that was pretty awful too, though it didn’t seem to cause him much pain). The Dr. was pretty stumped by the lack of other symptoms, but decided it must be some sort of virus, though nothing they’ve seen going around.
I was home with him for all of last week (and my leave for Christmas started on Christmas Eve), and apparently having 24/7 access to me for 12 days made him think that his every whim would be granted forever. So he’s still constantly reaching for me when Lo is holding him, or when he’s walking or crawling or playing, and will often break down into fake crying if I don’t swoop him up or quickly distract him. It’s quite a difference from him being obsessed with Lo, like he was for the last month or so. I’m still nursing him at bedtime and in the morning (please let this stop soon!), but while he was sick and couldn’t keep anything down, I was trying to let him nurse at other times because he needed the hydration and nutrition, and breastmilk is considered a clear fluid. I don’t produce much milk during the day since I don’t pump anymore, so he didn’t get much during the day and would sometimes get mad about that – but didn’t want a bottle of frozen breastmilk – so it was mostly for comfort. He was so miserable and sick, that I didn’t mind letting him comfort nurse.
I definitely have felt judged by a few people because I’m still nursing him, but it really doesn’t bother me. It’s just another subset of the breastfeeding wars (damned if you do – esp in public, damned if you don’t, damned if you do too long, or not long enough, etc). I have no intention of wanting to continue until he’s 4 (or even 2…or even 18 months). As a matter of fact, he’s now 15 months old, and I’d be happy to be done with it within the month. He almost always sleeps through the night, so now I need to figure out how to wean him in the morning and at bedtime.
I don’t think the bedtime one is going to be an issue. He doesn’t usually nurse to sleep, or if he does, he wakes up as I’m moving him to his room, so he does fall asleep on his own. Lo had been able to put him to bed on the nights that I had volleyball games, and since the league starts up again this week, we may just try to have him put him to bed for the next week or so and see if it sticks. Even if I have to make it look like I’m leaving or something, I can say goodnight and then sneak down into the basement to do some organizing until he takes him upstairs. Hopefully after a few days, he won’t care if I’m still there or not. The last couple of days he seems to want to go to bed earlier and earlier, and I think its because he wants to nurse and he knows that’s when that happens! He’ll say “sleepy” and “night night” and pull at my shirt or just fuss against me until I take him up to bed. I think he may actually think those things mean “nurse”.
The morning weaning is going to be the problem…
He wants to come into our bed between 5 -6 a.m. and basically stay latched until 7 or so, which isn’t cool…but we don’t want to get up with him at 5 a.m. either, and it’s the easiest way to get him back to sleep! I can usually detach him after 20 minutes or so (if he doesn’t himself), but sometimes not, and sometimes we just do the latch/detach thing over and over until it’s a decent time to get up. Sometimes I sleep most of the time he’s latched, but sometimes it so annoying and/or physically irritating that I lay there awake and mad. Part of the issue is that we like having him in our bed in the morning (maybe not so early would be great), and we also hate to hear him cry for 20+ minutes. We try not to bring him into our bed before 5 a.m., and that usually works. Any earlier and he’ll usually just cry for a few minutes before he goes back to sleep. But he seems to know that when it’s after 5 a.m., we are eventually going to get him, and he doesn’t stop crying. Once he’s in our bed, he wants to nurse within 20 seconds or he starts fussing….so that’s going to be the problem. I can’t find any good suggestions at how to handle this. We don’t technically co-sleep since he only comes in at 5 or 6, and he doesn’t night-nurse…and most of the tips for weaning apply to those situations. Basically, I want him to sleep until 7-8 a.m. without nursing – whether he’s in our bed for part of the time, or in his crib the whole time – and then get up and have breakfast and such. That’s not too much to ask, right? Right now, the only thing I can think to do, once we’ve tackled the bedtime weaning and are ready to handle the morning weaning, is to have Lo get him from his crib put him in bed with him, and me go sleep in another room for the rest of the morning. It could backfire by having him be awake at 5 a.m. for the day, or it could work and he would maybe start sleeping in his crib later, or be able to sleep happily beside me without clawing at my shirt. We’ll see…