Friday, July 15, 2011

My Story of Night Weaning and Sleeping Through

I thought it would be nice to add this to Milly's blog, I wrote this in November 2010 and posted it on a forum I visit to encourage other parents who also have struggled with night waking for a long period of time .... for those who don't frequent forums, DD2 means "Darling Daughter 2" ...

I just wanted to share the end chapter of my journey of a gentle approach to sleep and night feeding with my DD2 who is now 26 months.

As many who know me I have been committed this time around to allowing my 3rd baby to night wean and sleep through when she was ready. My 1st baby slept through at 2 months and my 2nd at 8 months so this has been a challenge for me when I still had a night waker (and feeder) at 2 yrs of age. The hardest time for us was around 11 - 13 months when I just didn't know if I could go on, I was so exhausted as some nights DD2 would wake 2 times (which I could handle nicely) and some other nights could be up to 5-6 times. The turning point for my husband and I was attending the Baby Expo in Melbourne at 13.5 months and chatting to Pinky McKay who was there. She was so encouraging of what we were doing and told us that our DD2 was obviously happy and healthy and we were meeting her needs to be best possible way we could. She told us that she has found that the largest percentage of children sleep through between 2 and 3 years (the ones who have been led by a gentle approach) and it is only the minority who either sleep through before or after this. From that moment on it just became easier again, both DH and I got rid of the clock that had slipped back into our room (we had gotten rid of it when she was only a few months old), we put a mattress on the floor in the bedroom at 15 months and she started going to sleep on that and then joining me in the bed 1/2 way through the night (and DH would go into the mattress - this was better than him going into the lounge and getting cushions off the couch to sleep on). So generally since 13.5 months it had been a breeze (with an odd bad night here and there).

At the start of September I found out I was pregnant with our 4th baby. DD2 turned 2 yrs in the middle of September and I was seriously contemplating initiating my own night weaning as I started to feel so tired with the pregnancy. DH and I planned to do it late September but it just didn't seem 'right' so we then post poned it until Christmas when we would both have a week off from work .... but DD2 had other plans .....

A few weeks ago DD2 had 3 nights in a row where she came into my bed in the middle of the night but didn't ask for "nums" and just continued to sleep. This was a complete shock and of course she then had one day of being sick with high temps and woke hourly for 24 hours and just fed and slept. A few nights after that she continued to wake and feed even though she was well again and I was feeling a little disappointed - do you know how hard it is to get 3 nights in a row of NO night feeding and then go back to it again. Again I should not have worried, within around 3-4 nights she started sleeping through again. Some nights she would come into my bed and whisper "nums' really half hearted and I would pretend I didn't hear her and she would roll over and go to sleep and there were other nights where she would start to get upset and then roll over and hug my DH and then instantly fall asleep again. We have also now had two nights where she has stayed on her mattress for the whole night and not even got into our bed. So this has been going on for around 3 weeks now (including the 3-4 night break) and I am still shell shocked that it has happened so easily and has been 90% child led (except for the few nights where I have said No to "nums' and she's complained for a few seconds and then turned to her dad for comfort).

So I guess I just wanted to share this to give those who are also taking this approach some hope. I know not all kids will lead it this early and I understand that we all have our own sets of circumstances that lead us to make the decisions we make to change to parent led weaning or not, but again I just wanted to share my experience of how quickly it *can* change from having a toddler who feeds anywhere from 2 to 6 times a night to not feeding at all and sleeping through!

I commend all my fellow gentle parents and encourage you (like Pinky did for me) that you are doing an AMAZING job and meeting your babies/toddlers/child's needs in the best way you can!

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