Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sleep is so within my reach

I've eluded to it a couple of times during the last two weeks: I decided to stop breastfeeding Hope during the night. I made the decision three weeks ago. My decision was a result of two issues: the first was that Hope was not eating solid food well at all. She would eat a few crackers, some bread, yogurt and maybe some baby fruit if I was lucky, and that was her complete repertoire. The second issue is that Hope loves the boob. This isn't inherently a problem but after talking to a friend of mine who is still breastfeeding her 3 and a half year old during the night I saw my future. She's resigned to it now; it doesn't bother her; but I don't want to be doing that with Hope.

Hope is VERY into breastfeeding. She still breastfeeds about 4 or 5 times during the day and up until three weeks ago was breastfeeding about two or three times a night. I cut her off cold turkey. When she woke up wanting to feed, I would giver her a hug and kiss (at which point she started to cry if I didn't move to the chair quickly enough) and then I'd put her back in the crib. She screamed. I sat on the floor and sang to her. The first few nights I was up well over an hour a couple of times. My goal was to get her to 4:00 am before feeding her. We had some stops and starts. A couple of nights I did feed her before 4:00 because she was waking up every 15 or 20 minutes and was clearly hungry.

It went on like that for three full weeks. The girl is stubborn as a mule. John would say "as stubborn as her mother." Turns out I was more stubborn this time because two nights ago she went to bed and then didn't wake up for a feeding until 5:30. Last night she slept right through until 6:30 before she wanted to be fed.

We saw an immediate improvement in her eating of solid foods. She started to try new things: cheese, meat (wow!), vegetables (double wow!). Now, don't get over-excited. She is still reserved and cautious but it is a huge improvement. She is actually excited when she gets in her high chair and seems to be really interested in food now. It's a huge step forward and totally worth the efforts and tears of the last three weeks. Clearly she discovered rice, a new favourite:

It would have been all the better last night if Emily hadn't peed in her bed at 4:00. After that she came to sleep with me. It would have been fine if she'd actually slept. Instead she tossed and turned and talked and drove me crazy. I finally got her up at 6:15. Tonight she's back in Pull-ups. I'm having a hard time understanding the step backwards for Emily. She hasn't worn Pull-ups at night since the late spring. She went the whole summer with maybe 2 or 3 accidents at night, total. The last month she has had several. Nothing has changed for her in her eating and drinking or in her environment. I'll just wait it out and see what happens but in the meantime, it's back to Pull-ups. I'm just too excited about a full night's sleep to risk it.

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