Thursday, October 7, 2010

Night weaned....

Well, it's official.... KB is night-weaned.  It was always my desire that any part of the weaning process would be completely child-led.... and while it was, in it's own way... I can't say it wasn't exactly the transition I expected. 

After several months of KB wanting to nurse/suckle almost all.night.long.... it got to the point where weariness & lack of [deep] sleep on my part, were starting to affect the dynamics our daytime relationship...  and I knew enough was enough. :-(   It had been a beautiful 36+ months, and we had had a great run... but I knew in my heart she was ready... and more importantly, my body was telling me it was time.

But how does one encourage a natural, gentle weaning... while still maintaining the nighttime bond? That was my prayerful consideration for  days.  I now know how the mama bird must feel, when she has to push her fledgling out of the nest for the first time.  All this time she had depended on me - as for 3+yrs I was her pacifier... and now, while she still will need me for support... it was time to give her that little push, to show her what she is truly capable of....

What we ended up doing, and it worked for us... was to gently explain to her, how mama's boobies needed rest at night time... but she would be able to nurse again, "as soon as the sun woke up".  I also made sure to she knew, mama would still be there for her with lots of snuggles, if she needed anything.  I anticipated a major struggle with this.... but as it turns out - since it was put in terms she could relate to, she seemed to really understand & accept them. On occasion, she'll still wake up and want to nurse... and when she does - just as I did during those first couple of "adjustment period" nights....  I snuggle her close (I found going someplace other than the bed (like a rocking chair) for the beginning nights was very helpful!!), affirm her feelings, and gently remind her that she can have what she wants "as soon as the sun wakes up". Interestingly, I've discovered with her personality that repeated reminders, only seem make matters worse (she becomes more restless & agitated).  So after affirming her the first time or two ("I know you do")...  I will then give her the reminder... and then go back to affirming, each time she requests. It's typically not long before she is drifting back into a sweet sleep.

Another thing that has been helpful is semi-transitioning her into "her own bed".  For the most part (since Sept) she now sleeps her crib mattress on the floor next to our bed.  I still nurse her to sleep (often in her bed - lol), and she's usually right back in bed with me (ready to nurse) at about 7am - once the sun is awake..... which buys me more time to sleep, since she will nurse/doze with me, until I am ready to get up! ;)