Friday, August 6, 2010

Thinking ahead

I do WAY too much of that, by the way, but in following with that trend...

I've been thinking ahead to our return home from Seattle. For a couple of months now I've been thinking (well, deciding really) about getting Levi out of the habit of nursing to sleep. You see, he really only nurses 4-6 times a day now (wake up, down for 2 naps, down for bed and occasionally a couple in between if he has a rough fall, or we go someplace where lots of other babies are nursing) but it's becoming a bit problematic that he won't go to sleep without doing so.

In the beginning this was my LIFE SAVER. If he hadn't nursed to sleep I'm afraid he never would have slept - and I'm not exaggerating. But now, well, now he's 14 months old, and (as I sit here and listen to him talk through his first nap instead of sleep) I'd really like it if someone else could potentially be able to successfully put him to bed. Add that to the fact that 75% of the time he doesn't really fall asleep at the breast anymore (see previous parenthetical statement) and I'm ready to change up our routine.

Jonathan and I talked about it last night. Usually at night we do bath time, PJ's and then daddy reads stories with Levi for a good 20 minutes or so (I say a brief hallelujah for 20 straight minutes during which I can clean the kitchen from dinner) then he calls me in and we nurse to sleep. Well, I think we'll just flip flop things a little. bath & PJ's, then nursing, then story time with daddy. I'm sure he'll give us heck in a handbasket for the first week or two, but I simply think it's time for him to develop his own ability to calm down & drift off. Without sucking on me.

Now here's where I get confused. You see, during the day (and I'll preface this by reminding you that he's currently trying to drop nap number one; a process I always imagined being much more black and white than very very grey and muddled) I begin our nap routine (like our bedtime routine sans daddy and bath) when he starts fussing. When he starts hanging on my right leg. When he goes around the house doing all the things he knows he's not supposed to do. This used to work well. These were his tired signs. Now, though, I'm following the same signals but getting different results. He acts quite tired, he even yawns and rubs his eyes, and yet he'll stay awake for over an hour, talking and fussing in his crib. Some days, I swear he MAKES himself overtired by refusing to nap.

Whatever happened to "babies will sleep when they need to sleep"?

I mean, it seems logical to me. If he's so tired, why doesn't he doze right off. I sure would! I fully realize he thinks he's missing out on fun with mommy, but if he only knew that mommy is doing laundry, cleaning counters, and washing diapers while he's in his crib, maybe he wouldn't be so frustrated to be missing out on it all.

Add to that the simple fact that the less Levi sleeps, the less Levi will sleep. Does that make sense? The more overtired he is, the less likely he is to take a gooooood loooooong nap - or, for that matter, sleep through the following night and awake rested. It's a perpetual cycle that I'm SICK OF.

So, sage advice? I'm all ears.


Learning to Parent said...

I do not breast feed, obviously. And you have WAY more experience in the baby department than I do. But the pacifier has been a life saver for us. We use it only at bed or nap time, and if for some reason it is still in his mouth when I go to get him out of his crib I just pop it out and leave it in the crib. I'm guessing there is a reason you don't use one, but I'm just sayin it works for us!

Since we started using one he doesn't even fuss in his crib before falling asleep - once he's in the crib, he's pretty much down for the count. Of course this is also the child that sleeps 11-12 hours a night and regularly naps 3+ hours a day. So he really loves his sleep and is perhaps just an easy child. :o)

At any rate, good luck! I know how much fun hanging out with a child that got less sleep than he needed can be. :(

Honest to Christina said...

I am not a parent, but I have been involved in helping with many nieces/nephews. I know you have pumped before, but when ever I would watch one of the little ones, I would give a bottle of breast milk to help them go down. Maybe that would help the transition? Also, it would allow somebody else to put him down!

Just a thought, from a non-parent who has put many a baby down for a nap!