Saturday, July 28, 2012

Giving up my superpower

I can still change a diaper at lightning speed, and in the dark no less. But my power to get Bubba to sleep in 15 minutes or less is slowly fading.

There have been many methods that we have used to get Bubba to sleep over the past year. From bouncing, to the sling, holding his hand through the cradle bars, controlled crying (this one was the worst, and only was tried a couple of times because I became convinced all it did was have him scream til he passed out rather than "teach" him to go to sleep), and finally our current method: let him run around in the playroom after bath until he looks really tired, then take him to bed and let him pass out nursing, then sneak him into his crib and escape.

This last method has been working great for many months now. We get a little extra time to play, no one fights and I get a couple minutes of snuggle time while he falls asleep. Except one small problem. I have to wean Bubba.

I have psoriatic arthritis and the meds are not something I can take while I breastfeed. Bubba has already switched to whole milk with meals and eats like a champ, so I am not worried about that part. He actually only nurses to go to sleep, so only 3 maybe 4 times a day. Its also been longer than I originally planned to breast feed anyway. He is over a year old after all. Before he was born I said until the first tooth comes, then I'll switch to pumping.  But when Bubba's first tooth came, he never bit me. So I figured, ok no problem, this is easier than pumping anyway. It wasn't til his fourth tooth that he bit, and just like they said to, I firmly said "No." and ended the nursing session. It only happened one or two more times before he got the hint and stopped.

Another reason I kept going was, Bubba still has never been sick. Once we thought he might catch a cold that was going around the house, but a few coughs and that was it. Magic milk!

But the real reason it has been so hard to give it up lately is that with milk I can get Bubba to fall asleep so easily. It's kind of lazy on my part I guess, but it is tricky when nursing is a source of food, and comfort. I could always rationalize it by saying to myself, well maybe he is still hungry, or thirsty and I can't deny him food. But lately I noticed even if he had lunch 5 minutes before nap he will still nurse, so it is mostly comfort thing.

I decided on a plan but have been stalling because I remember what getting Bubba to sleep was like before I got him to nurse to sleep. I figured that the first week I would get him to sleep without nursing for afternoon nap, then next week we will work on morning nap, and finally bed time, which I imagine will be the hardest.

So now my effort to get Bubba to sleep for one nap a day with out milk began. Here is my log of how it went.

Day One: Went by with out incident. We were out late the night before so Bubba slept in, and ended up skipping his morning nap which meant by afternoon nap he was really tired so I gave him is nuk and blankie, then lay him in the crib, patted his back for a minute and out like a light. This just may not be so bad.

Day Two: I went to work on the condo and my mom was watching him and he is used to her putting him in the crib awake to go to sleep, sure he fusses, but she sits in there with him til he falls asleep and sneaks out.

Day Three: Bad. Bubba marches up and down in his crib trying to climb out. He bangs his head on the bars, he does head stands (more like tripods), he throws his blankie and nuk and screams. Finally after an hour he flops down and closes his eyes.

Day Four: Better but not great. Bubba cries a bit then lays down, but pops back up. He still tries to climb out and throws his blankie and nuk. I decide to lay on the floor next to his crib (doesn't this one sound familiar!) As if he remembers as well Bubba sticks his hand out through the bars and reaches out to mine. I take his hand and with my other put his nuk back in and give him his blanket. We lay there for a minute holding hands through the bars and he closes his eyes. Only about forty minutes this time so maybe there is hope.

Day Five: Not so good. Fifty minutes. It may have been the diaper change in the middle of it that extended everything. In the beginning he lay down and took my hand though the bars. "This might just be the easiest day yet", I thought. "Psych!" was his response.
He thrashed to the side and jumped up, paraded around the crib with his blankie then tried to climb out by bracing his feet on either sides of the corner. It was scary how high he got! We may have to get him out of the crib sooner than we planned. A toddler bed seems safer than falling on his head. Finally he sits down puts his nuk in his mouth and picks up his blankie. He tickles his favorite corner of the blanket against his nose for a while. In a minute or two, "Timber!"  He slowly droops forward and falls asleep in a crazy baby yoga pose that is a mix between downward facing dog and child's pose. A moment or two later he sighs, stretches, and flattens out to his belly as I make my escape.

Day Six: An easy day for me! Back to the condo to do some work, so Grandma is the lucky one again today ;)

Day Seven: Luck number seven?  Heck no! Sixty-one minutes before I get him to sleep.  (Not that I was counting or anything.)  Not much crying this time, but still the usual parading around the crib, throwing blankie and nuk overboard, thrashing, sticking his feet through the bars, and trying to climb out. The annoying part is he "asked" to go to bed. I took him to the playroom to burn off any extra energy, and before his feet even touched the floor he screamed, climbed deeper into my arms, and waved toward his room. (Bubba waves "night-night" every time, but rarely does "bye bye" it seems to confuse him) Anyway he gave the signal, but when I put him in bed he had a surge of energy. He must be sneaking Mt. Dews or something.

They say it is a process. I have been through this "process" before. Last time he was younger, and there was more crying, but this is really close to the battles we used to have before Bubba fell into the pattern of nursing before going to sleep every time. I guess time will tell, but I am not looking forward to next week when we start "no milk" for morning nap as well.

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