Wednesday, February 22, 2012

post 21 of 30: sleep training and weaning

i usually do not blog about parenting, yes the random photos of wren and posts of family events, but that's it.  well it has been eating at me to post about weaning and sleep training, so i am just going to bite the bullet and hope for good positive comments.  as a mother i know we all have our opinions and they are usually strong ones, and i respect i am reaching out to you.  reaching out for your opinions and hoping for positive ones, or at least ones that i can relate to.
W(our daughter) was born on march 26th, 2011.  when we brought her home from the hospital she like most babies had her days and nights confused.  M(my husband) and I would take turns throughout the night with her.  i had many family members begging to help us, but i was breastfeeding and did not see how that would help, i felt like in the end it would only be a tease to our new sleep habits and could possibly destroy my nursing relationship with W.  so we took turns.  around 8 pm i would nurse W, then sleep until the next nursing session.  we had to hold W to get her to sleep, everytime we tried to lay her down, she would just wake up again.  (during the day, we had no problem getting her to sleep without being held.)then i would wake and nurse,and M would go to sleep.  then we would repeat, doing this until morning. 
finally i figured out that she would sleep at night if i put her in her bouncy seat, and then we would not have to hold her.  so that is what i did.  she would fall asleep while nursing/just by being held(it was easier back then) and then i would place her in the seat.  i would then push the seat into the bedroom and blissfully sleep for 5-6 hour stretches at a time.  we wondered if this would be a bad habit, and if we could ever get her to go back into her bassinet.  after a week or so of this practice i drug out the swaddler(before we were just using a receiving blanket).  when bedtime drew near i would do the following routine:  bath, lotion/massage, pj's, swaddle, nurse and bassinet at 7( i would shove the shirt i wore that day in the corner of the bassinet so my scent would be near).  she would sleep for a few hours and wake around 10/11.  we would change her diaper(something we do not do now unless there is poop because it just wakes her that much more and takes that much longer to get her back to sleep), i would nurse her to sleep and put her back down.  at the time we would all lay down.  W would sleep 5 or 6 hours and wake, and we repeated.  sometimes she would go back to sleep while nursing and sometimes she would stay up. 
by 6 weeks, when i returned to work, we had a pretty good routine.  i would get a total of 8 hours of sleep with only one night time feeding.  at this point we had stopped the nightly bath routine, still doing the other steps, but only a bath every few days or so.  at that age they simply just do not need a daily bath.
by 9 weeks old she was sleeping through the night.  she would sometimes wake around 5a.m. and would feed.  sometimes she would stay up and sometimes she would go back to sleep.  this continued until around 8 months when she began to crawl and pull up on things.  she got a sinus infection and was constantly waking up from the aches, pains and congestion.  me having the same infection and being sleep deprived nursed her back to sleep.  it was a horrible habit to start again but try telling me that at 11,2, and 5 am when all i wanted to do was go back to sleep.  it was a "quick fix". ever since then i have been battling with what to do.  at her ten month appointment, the pediatrician urged me to stop nursing her to sleep and to stop feeding her at night.  i agreed.
the first step for me was sleep training and weaning during the day.  for the last two and a half weeks i have been giving her breast milk in a sippy during the day and going with the don't offer don't refuse method when it comes to nursing.  the grandparents have been using the same method with the bottle during the weekdays.  she is down to only 2/3 bottle or nursing feedings a day.  at nap time i read her two books rock and sing for a little, then kiss her and lay her down.  she usually plays and babbles, sometimes a little whining and is asleep within 15 minutes.  there have been a few times she has cried, so i try to repeat or nurse her until she is calm and lay her down (this works but does not help with the weaning.)
after a few days of positive results i tried it at night.  oh boy this is a whole different can of worms.  she screamed like i had abbandoned her.  i knew it was too early and continued the old routine.  well last night i got ballsy and decided to try again.  she was doing so good and then M got home from the gym.  he was starving and well she heard us and she began crying.  so back to the old routine again i went.
it is hard for me to relate or get advice from other mom's cause their story is not always the same (i.e. bottle fed, or paci user).  but i am curious, what worked for you?  gradual or cold turkey?  did dad play a part? did you use juice or milk?  how long did the process take?  did you do cio or another method?
 i want to hear it all! 

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