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The Night-Time Wean

Now firmly ensconced in central New York for the foreseeable future, our vacationful summer having ended with our weeklong sojourn at the Jersey Shore, we’ve turned once again to trying to ‘fix’ the sleeping problem. It’s been a pernicious issue for the past year, a trying period of interrupted sleep that has led to several bouts of insomnia-induced sleep-eating in which I unconsciously polished off all the capers in our fridge. So now, without the distraction of overnight voyages, we once again find ourselves facing sleepless nights and a determination to end them.

A solution has thus far eluded us, and it’s not for lack of trying, that’s for sure. We’ve given many tactics a fair shake in the past, including the infamous ‘cry it out,’ the much-maligned cosleeping, and even the little known Canadian method, where instead of nursing we crammed bacon in her whenever she awoke. None of these worked particularly well, and the lingering smell of bacon still pervades Justine’s crib.

In this ongoing war against sleeplessness, we’ve finally have begun exercising the ‘nuclear option’ – nighttime weaning. Yes, for the first time since she crawled out of my wife 15 months ago, lantern and map in hand, sporting a toothless prospector grin,  the milk tap is closed from sundown to sunup, with a last call around 7 PM. This, of course, puts the onus of nightly intervention on me, as my naturally dysfunctional mammary glands aren’t a temptation for a bleary-eyed toddler whining in the middle of the night. I now arise 1-2 times to reassure Justine that everything is, indeed, allright and that, despite her furtive looks towards our bedroom door, the ‘boobies’ are not a-coming.

It’s certainly been an adjustment for me – in the beginning of course it was primarily my wife who made the nightly visits, thanks to her lactational abilities. As time went on we began to split duties, setting up elaborate ‘zones of responsibilty’ which determined who entered the baby’s lair at any given time. But for now, it’s primarily me – a fair trade for time served by my wife, and yet a productivity killer around 3 PM when I pass out at my desk, flinging coffee on nearby co-workers in the process.

The bigger question is whether it will work, and I’m happy to report that so far, results have been reasonably good. While she is still up generally once, and sadly up for good at the ungodly hour of 6 AM, she has been able to make it through the night without feedings for almost two weeks now.  We’ve even had a couple of “pretty much through the nighters,” which surprisingly leaves us MORE tired in the morning – probably a subconscious reminder that there is a significant “sleep debt” to pay off when this is all settled.

Now if only she’d just sleep all the way through the night, every night. Then I can stop napping at my desk during conference calls.

Posted in Day to Day Baby Living. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .

  • http://www.pjmullen.com PJ Mullen

    Ah yes, the weaning stages. I remember those days with little fondness. We started around 11 months as I took the morning feeding, then the evening feeding and ultimately the whole schedule until he was almost 13 months. Not fun. I validated the whole 'sleep when your child sleeps' theory those days.

  • http://heirapparent.frantzylvania.com mwfrantz

    I have such a tough time with “sleep when they sleep” thing because for me,
    I work all day and so after she goes to bed that's the only real time I have
    with either myself or my wife to do things like write blog posts and watch
    TV – it's tough to give up that. Plus I'm a night owl, so sometimes I just
    go up and there and lie awake in bed anyway. It's a no-win for me…

  • http://heirapparent.frantzylvania.com mwfrantz

    I have such a tough time with “sleep when they sleep” thing because for me,
    I work all day and so after she goes to bed that's the only real time I have
    with either myself or my wife to do things like write blog posts and watch
    TV – it's tough to give up that. Plus I'm a night owl, so sometimes I just
    go up and there and lie awake in bed anyway. It's a no-win for me…