Friday, 19 June 2015

Weaning, Sleeping, and Other Disasters

Hey, where have you been? Well, I've been sleeping. Every chance I get. You see, I thought it was time to finish the job on weaning (rather suddenly, I was DONE), and all hell broke loose on our sleep routine. Here's what happened:

She seemed ready to wean completely to me. She was doing a lot of pretend sleeping, and would talk about sleep. At lunch one day she was tired and asked me for 'more bed'. She was out by the time we got upstairs! Her latch had also gotten lazy and uncomfortable since dropping to once a day, and it didn't seem to put her to sleep as quickly or easily as it had. Supply was also seriously dwindling. BUT, she was sleeping through. Beautifully, all night, every night, in her own bed. If ain't broke, don't fix it, right? We tried to fix it...

The first night it went ok, actually - her dad rocked her to sleep, and she was out before 9, which is an hour later than usual. Then it got later and later, and she was more and more upset to have her Dad there at bedtime instead of me. She would absolutely HOWL if I tried to leave them. Ever since she was tiny, she's been the type to go down quietly or not at all, even in the car. So ended up with the put-down every night, again, even though one of the major advantages of weaning was supposed to be more shared responsibility at bedtime. We'd rock a bit, then it was just humming and rubbing her back. Then, she developed the sixth sense of knowing when exactly I was trying to coyote out of there, and would LOSE HER MIND the second I left the room, even when she was dead asleep moments before, and not even touching her. It became really difficult to get her down, AND we had introduced another variable: the big girl bed. 

We bought her cot from IKEA, and it converts into a toddler bed. We thought, ultimately, we'd like her to crawl into bed awake, then fall asleep after a few bedtime stories. We also thought it might help with the put-down issues, since we could kind-of lean in a bit more. Again, disaster. It did make the put down slightly easier, but now if she wakes up at night, she just ambles into Mom and Dad's room - naturally. So now we have a difficult, protracted bedtime AND night waking. Awesome. 

Add to this a third variable, summertime, and you have a truly bad night. You see, it's light by 4am this time of year. So she's up before 6, pretty much every day. And she's warm, and cranky, and can't sleep in her usual gro-bag. We have a blackout blind, obviously, but they aren't perfect. 

Interestingly, naps have generally been easier, probably because she's shattered. Yesterday, though, she refused to nap entirely and was consequently in a rotten mood. She yelled at me for a full hour while I made dinner. I was partly glad though, because it was an opportunity to get bedtime back to a reasonable time, which leads me to our action plan:

Get bedtime back to 7:30 or 8:00
I'm one of those who believe that kids need an early bedtime, and god knows the parents do. If that means we can't all eat together on weekdays, or we have to start skipping 'hot tea' (hot milk) after bath time, then so be it. And, no, staying up later does not make her sleep later in the morning. She just sleeps less, which isn't cool. 

Get Dad back in the good books
This is her most serious Mommy-phase to date. Dad is chopped liver. It would be a nice ego boost if it wasn't so exhausting. I know that the tide will turn, and there will come a time when she only wants Daddy, but for now we've got to concentrate on keeping him in the picture at bedtime. Since we've failed so miserably at sharing bedtime duty properly, my guy has been taking over the story reading. I have to be there, mind, or else this is intolerable. That's a pretty inefficient use of time, when I could be cleaning up dinner or whatever, and god knows I don't need to hear Bears on Chairs, but I don't want her this dependent on me and only me. So it's a foot in the door. 

Encourage her to fall asleep in her bed
So I started out by rocking, then rocking slightly and singing while laying next to her, and now all I really have to be doing is rubbing her back a bit next to the cot, and humming her favourite lullaby for a bit. So we have seen some improvement, but it still isn't as easy as nursing. Also, she used to scream bloody murder if you put her in her bed before she was asleep, and now she will voluntarily climb in and lay down. Words help, interestingly: 'time to sleep', 'night night', 'sleepy baby', 'bedtime' - you get the idea. 

My guy has also checked out the toddler version of the No-Cry Sleep Solution  from the library today, so we will hopefully get some good ideas from that. And I will be sticking to the routine! Routines HELP. It will be a long time before I change ours again on a whim (with the exception of international travel. Gulp). I don't regret weaning, exactly, but if I had to go back I probably would have put it off a bit longer, until after she were settled into her big girl bed. 

So that's where we've been! Hope things have been better where you are!

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