One of the biggest mistakes we made as first time parents was getting J in the habit of nursing to sleep. Didn’t seem like that big of a deal until recently…but there’ve been a few things recently that have made this mistake very evident, and the consequences not so fun.
1 – as J gets older and I continue to nurse him, he doesn’t so much nurse for nutrition but more-so out of habit. As part of that, he tends to “play” more than actually drink anything. As my nips are quite sensitive now (yay pregnancy) this “play” tends to feel almost like torture – either being painful or just plain annoying.
2 – Since J doesn’t have much opportunity to socialize with other little ones being at work with me, the Hubs and I have discussed a few options – either childcare, or mommy/toddler classes – as a way for him to get this social interaction a few times a week. If he does go into childcare, he has to be able to fall asleep on his own, and his nap schedule would change pretty significantly. Likewise, if we do any toddler classes, they tend to fall right in the middle of his naptime as it is now.
3 – when the Baby comes, I won’t be as available at bedtime as J is used to now, as I will be splitting my time with Baby and Daddy will be helping with putting J to sleep as well. I’d rather start to change J’s expectations around bedtime now then throw him another curveball when the baby comes and changes his whole life anyway.
So, we made the decision on Thurs. night to change a few of these things since I know that we’ll have a full 3 days in a row where we can implement these changes.
Change #1 – no nursing at bedtime. We kept his bedtime routine the same otherwise, but instead of spending 5-10 minutes either nursing or rocking J to sleep, we simply snuggle him for a few minutes then lay him down in his bed and leave the room. This has worked spectacularly for the past 2 nights…I am simply amazed…
Change #2- only one nap a day instead of 2. Today I tried an 11am nap, but J wasn’t having it, so we did a 1pm nap instead after getting home from lunch with Daddy, and he slept for an hour and a half. Plus he didn’t throw a huge fit earlier in the morning, which makes me feel better about only letting him take one nap. I think this is still going to be the biggest transition though…and I’m kind of dreading it and how it will work at my office when I won’t be nursing him either…
Change #3 – less nursing in general. Today J didn’t nurse at all. He didn’t ask for it either. Plus I’m OK with giving my sore nips a little break. I don’t know that I am done with nursing J, but I certainly don’t intend on nursing him before naps or bedtime…we’ll see how that all works out going forward.
The fact that the last day and a half has gone so well with these changes makes me feel like my intuition as a Mama is working as it should. Trust your gut! If you feel that it is time to make a change with the way you are doing something with your little one, why not give it a try? In my case I have to be 99% convinced that it is the right time and the right decision, but so far my gut hasn’t led me astray when it comes to J and his needs.