Lilith has been sleeping through the night for about two weeks now. Not that crappy “five hour stretch of sleep” definition but really and truly going to bed and not waking until she’s up for the day. Or at least waking only to roll over or half blindly grab her blankie in the middle of the night. In other words – not needing the boob.
I did nothing to encourage this. Around this age with Sabine was when we started trying to cut down on night nursing sessions. She was killing me. We were up 8+ times per night and I was seeing visions of Wendigo and shit on my drive to work, scared I’d wreck my car. That last part is only sort of a joke. So we turned to The No Cry Sleep Solution and, bless Elizabeth Pantley’s heart, we were all sleeping much better in a few weeks (with no crying).
This time around I was rather apathetic to night weaning. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was that I was already accustomed to less sleep (let’s face it – even when your child is sleeping through the night, you’re still getting WAY less sleep than you did pre-kids). Maybe it was that Lil went back to sleep relatively quickly in the night whereas Sabine would throw all out parties at 1am. Maybe it was that we’d jumped into bedsharing enthusiastically from the beginning this time instead of approaching it reactively when I could no longer stand dragging myself out of bed at night to nurse an unhappy baby. Whatever it was, I wasn’t really interested in changing our routine.
Then Lilith didn’t wake up one night. And I thought, “Huh. I hope she’s not sick.” Then she didn’t wake up the next night. And I thought “Wow. So that’s what sleep feels like.” And it was good. For a few days I relished it. I could sleep with my shirt fully on! No one was touching me all night! No baby latching onto my armpit or my side boob accidentally!
Then I sat awake in my bed at 3am one morning thinking, “WTH kid? I am awake and you are not and I’d really like to snuggle you, yet you keep pushing me away, and this is utter BULLSHIT.”
I used to hear people say, “I actually don’t mind night nursing sessions. It’s such a great bonding time!” And I’d want to punch them in the face. Now I sort of get it. If this sticks … IF this sticks … that’s it. We’re done. I will never spend a few quiet alone minutes in the middle of the night nursing my half-asleep baby. Eyes rolling back in a milk coma. Warm and heavy. I will never again know the ease of putting a baby back to bed by simply unlatching my tank and rubbing the hair out of her face. I face night weaning this time, not victorious, but saddened.
Don’t get me wrong – I love me some sleep. And I’m grateful that my daughter figured this whole sleep thing out by herself, on her own schedule. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel a little less needed. A little less like the mom the baby. And a little put out that time moves so quickly.