08 May 2007
it happened quickly, overnight you might say. i'd been fearing and dreading the time when i would finally find the courage to try night-weaning cosmo. you see, he's been nursing throughout the night for many months now. it hasn't been a real hardship on me. i always felt like i got plenty of sleep. but i knew, for his sake, that he needed to begin to learn the skill of getting himself back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. i also suspected that if he learned this skill, he would probably wake up a lot less. i meant to start this process a couple of months ago, but i got the feeling he wasn't quite ready (or maybe it was me who wasn't ready?) and decided to wait. one of my friends was having great success with her daughter at the time, and she's a few months older than cosmo. it made sense to me that if i could explain to him what was going on, it might be easier...he might not feel so confused and betrayed. i wanted to wait until he would be able to understand my words more fully.
so, i guess it was over week ago now, one night he woke up and was nursing, but he wasn't falling back to sleep. he was in fact, thrashing about, climbing all over me, switching breasts etc. it was keeping me up, and it wasn't working as the quick sleep aide that it used to be. so, i stopped the nursing and told him to lie down and go to sleep. he fussed for a bit, then did exactly that. he fell asleep. i was astonished. from that point on, there was no turning back. i still put him to sleep at night by nursing him, but when he wakes up, i go to him, and tell him to lie back down and go to sleep. sometimes i pat his back. a few times he cried and made the sign for nursing, once he even made the sign for "hurt" which just about broke my heart, but i felt so certain that i was doing the right thing for him. each time he cried, it was for less than a minute (often more like 10 seconds), and i just stayed with him and tried to soothe him, and he fell asleep so fast i couldn't really believe it--MUCH faster than if he had been nursing. then, after a few nights of this. he stopped waking in the night. he sleeps for 8-9 hour stretches now, undisturbed! once in a while he will cry out, but when i go to him, he is already sound asleep. i no longer need to assist him in getting back to sleep. he knows how to do it, and does it. once morning comes (any time after 6:30am) i'll nurse him when he wakes up, but night nursing is now officially in the past.
it is tempting to think that i should have tried this much sooner, but i honestly believe that the timing was just right. i don't think it would have gone so smoothly with cosmo had i tried any sooner. i knew i couldn't handle a "cry it out" approach, and i actually have done a lot of research on this topic. i know i had some fear which was preventing me from trying it, but i was also listening to my intuition, and i listened to cosmo. he changed. the previous methods weren't working anymore, so we moved on to something else.
in any case, i am so proud of him, and proud of us.