We as parents might not think we can learn a thing or to from our offspring but the truth of the matter is our children are are our teachers and we can learn a great deal from them if we allow ourselves to. My Son taught me a lesson last night…. to Never Underestimate A Child’s Ability To Adapt To A New Scenario and this came in the form of his bedtime routine. Here is what happened yesterday evening…
A quick glance at the clock reveals it is 22:29pm. I’ve just got in bed with my now sleeping Son but am overcome with sheer excitement about a HUGE PARENTING WIN and the Parenting Lesson Learnt just now thus documenting it on this blog with my smartphone whilst my Son and partner sleep either side of me….
Despite it taking over 1.5 hours I managed to settle my usually nursed to sleep boy for the night with nothing but cuddles whilst laying down in his soon to be playroom accompanied by a few renditions of his favourite nursery rhymes and badly sung versions of Earth Wind and Fire’s ‘Always and Forever’.
I know I know, I can’t get my head around it myself either but would you also believe this was achieved without my Son shedding ANY tears, general fussing, the occasional slaps and screams of frustration (both are developmental phases so I’m told!)
I can hear you wondering ‘but how did she do it’ The answer beautiful people is a simple one…
The Art of Communication!
As he understands a great deal more than he is physically able to communicate at present I simply spoke to him, informing he what was happening whilst giving him my complete undivided attention for the period he was awake.
Ok, allow me to break it down…
Eco missed his only afternoon nap which happens anytime between 12pm – 2pm. He insisted on staying up to play with his new wooden toys and learning materials my Mother In Law kindly ordered him and so didn’t go to sleep until 5pm. He slept for a total of 3 hours (nursed once in between) before waking up at 8pm much to his annoyance!
He was still clearly tired and wanted to get back to sleeping so I decided to take him into his room where there were less distractions. We read a few books before he made it known that he wanted to nurse.
Drawing the curtains, I laid down on the floor with Eco in my arms and he nursed on and off for approximately 15 minutes. When he is tired and desperately wanting to sleep but can’t, he’ll start to frantically fidget, switching from one boob to the next in quick succession whilst twiddling with the other nipple.
Now Eco may think otherwise but Mummy is not a trampoline and my pain threshold can only take so much of the twists and turns each nipple endures from tiny hands but an oh so strong pincer grip (I’ve yet to invest in a nursing necklace) that I thought to try a new approach in a bid to get him settle.
Rather than take my usual course of action at this point (allowing Eco to continue bounce around on me until he eventually fell asleep whenever that maybe) I made a conscious decision to explain to him that he drank all of mummys milk when he next broke his latch.
I did not have to wait long before the opportunity presented itself and I lovingly explained to Eco that..
“It’s finished Sweet Pea… you drank all of the milk BUT you can have some more when you wake up in the morning please god”.
He looked at me and did the same sign he naturally does with his hand whenever I say ‘finished’. His sign is not the actual Makaton sign for finished but seeming that he has chosen to sign this way for that particular word I am more than happy for Eco to use it as an indicator for understanding what I have just said.
He did of course tug at my top and made numerous attempts to help himself to some of Mummy’s milk but for each time he did this I explained again that he drank all the milk and it was now finished but he can have some more when he wakes up in the morning please god.
I had committed myself now and there was no going back for I was mindful I will be giving Eco mixed messages if I gave into his requests to nurse. Consistency is key!
Admittedly in unfamiliar territory I invited him to lie down with me and quietly sang his favourite nursery rhymes including but not limited to Twinkle Twinkle, Wind The Bobbin, Zoom Zoom Zoom, Humpty Dumpy, Five Little Monkeys and Incy Wincy Spider.
He was more than happy to oblige and would occasionally get up to point to the ceiling and floor whilst doing the actions to Incy Wincy (he is such a smart cookie).
It was clear he was enjoying the extended nursery rhymes session and was content at lying down in his playroom snuggled under his favourite soft sky blue blanket he has had since his arrival.
Usually I would have my phone close by and be tempted to glance at the time but decided to tuck it under my make shift pillow and not look at it until my boy was fast asleep.
To my surprise he stopped asking to nurse (he never does this by the way) and instead nestled closely into my arms for the loveliest of cuddles and as time went by he slowly began to drift.
Eco was now in light sleep mode for what felt like approximately 20 minutes and would often open his eyes and stretch out his arms to make sure I was still there (he has to have contact with me when sleeping).
I switched tactics and began singing Earth Wind and Fire’s ‘Always and Forever’, a timeless old school classic which he associates with sleep for I have been singing this song every day to him ever since those two lines confirmed that my significant other and I were expecting our first child.
Gently stroking his hair and face his breathing became heavier…
Could he really be drifting off to dreamland for the night without being attached to my boob?
With persistence and consistency from my end and a sleepy little Eco the answer is YES!
He eventually fell asleep lying peacefully on my chest without the need to nurse 🙂
This beautiful people is my Parenting Win, a MASSIVE accomplishment in our household, a parenting lesson learnt from my Son and a new bedtime routine I will now be repeating each night going forward please god.
I have mentioned in passing on previous #Livingarrows posts my desire to night wean Eco as I do not think relying solely on me (my boobs actually) to get himself to sleep is a healthy habit with each month he gets older.
Whilst I’ve honestly LOVED every one of our breastfeeding sessions, I want him to be nursery ready by the time he is two please god and if he cannot sleep without being nursed or lying right to/ontop of me this transition will not be a smooth one.
I also want him to be able to sleep if he is tired and to not get hysterical when in Daddy’s care if I am out running baby free errands or on the rare occurrence absent for a few at my local hairdressers for a much needed cut.
I have been exclusively breastfeeding for 15.5 months now (no bottle or pump) and recognise Eco is nursing purely for comfort and not necessarily because he is hungry as he eats solids + snacks during the day.
I will endeavour to keep you updated as I work on gradually reducing his night feeds to only morning feeds but something tells me this stage might take time as I want the process to be as gentle as possible for my little Eco.
If you are reading this and have night weaned your breastfed baby I would sincerely appreciate any advice or tips you may have by leaving me a comment in the box below.
Thank you as always for stopping by to read the articles I write, it is always greatly appreciated. I’m now going to visit dreamland myself before he wakes to nurse again. Night all x