Saturday, June 20, 2009

Things that wail "mi" in the night

So we have bitten the night weaning bullet around here over the last couple of weeks. A quick background: Abi has slept through the night once since she was born and usually wakes up every couple of hours or so. She has/will occasionally do a four, five or even six hour stretch when she first goes to sleep, but after that first wake up (anywhere between 11pm and 3am) she will be awake every two hours.

After the tearing out of hair and trying multitudes of different strategies over her first 18 months I just admitted defeat and tried not to think about it too much. Nothing we did or didn't do made any difference and I have always been adamant that I will never leave her to cry or put her in a cot. So the traditional methods don't work for our family and I knew there was no point going to a sleep school. We co-sleep as part of our parenting philosophy and it is not something I am willing to compromise.

That's not to say I haven't often fallen into despair during the early hours of the morning, especially during those times, now mercifully behind us, when she would wake up and stay awake for anything up to an hour and a half. The only thing that comforted me during those times was the thought that "Thank God I don't have a newborn as well"...hang on, guess I won't be able to use that one for much longer.

So to night weaning. It's time, she's nearly two and a half, I'm still available for cuddles, songs etc, I know she's not insecure, we're just turning off the boob tap between midnight and six. I got this idea from a gentle parenting site written by an American paediatrician who points out that it is those six hours which are the most important for adults.

It hasn't gone too badly really. We started two weeks ago and have certainly had some bad times where she would wail "Mi, mummy more mi" over and over again, interspersed with screams of rage and flingings of bodies on beds. For a while I sported a nice shiner on my left eye from a back-of-head-meets-cheekbone contact during one of these sessions. At some point though each night she would subside into pathetic sobs and say "Abi tu'ool [cuddle] mummy" and I would know we were through the worst of it.

This is still going on to some extent and we have had a bout of gastro in the middle that hasn't helped, but generally I am standing firm and getting more solid blocks of sleep than I have had since she was born. I am cautiously confident that we will at least be down to one wake up per night by the time baby number two arrives, and hopeful we might be down to none, or at least no feeds.

I wanted to post a belly shot, but our camera has mysteriously disappeared. I will do so as soon as it turns up.


Mama Cass said...

Yay for Abi and you.

3TinLids said...

Good luck! Having had 4 children under 7 we still end up with at least one child waking every night and more often than not they end up in bed with us!! And it is not always the youngest !!