We love to nurse in this family. My kids have never had an issue learning to nurse properly (and OFTEN!) and I’ve never had an issue beyond the initial few weeks of ow-ow-ow-WOW this hurts a bit! Ernie, our oldest, nursed till I weaned her at 22 months. We never planned how long she would nurse, and never found a reason to stop until we were ready to try for another baby and wanted to give my body a few months of rest. (Given that Mimi is a little over 3 years younger than her older sister, we didn’t know how long that rest would be!)
Mimi is nearly 17 months now, and still nursing. I think we’re reaching the end, though. I decided last night.
Now, I’m of the (unpopular) opinion that some kids just don’t sleep through the night. If there are thousands of books written to help parents teach their kids to be “normal” and sleep 12 hours at a time…perhaps we need to re-evaluate what normal means? Seems that if only a tiny percentage of children sleep through the night at 6 months, it’s perhaps not a typical behavior. I don’t want my child crying for me if she’s hungry, or in pain (and despite what doctors say about teething, anything that can turn our cherubic kids from happy-go-lucky to snotty-nosed criers…it MUST hurt!) I also know that when Mimi has dairy, she does NOT sleep. Our yogurt experiment led to her only able to sleep in my lap in the middle of the night- I caught an hour or two early in the evening and early in the morning. Our morning-milk experiment led to awake and wailing every 2 hours, from 8 pm to 7 am. Our last experiment, a goat cheese pasta (which I didn’t think of as an experiment) has brought us to 3 wakings during the night, and a lusty “good morning!” yell at 5 am. (She’s added a morning nap to her routine, as well as her noon nap, and moved bed time to 7 pm.) I know it’s “morning” because she looks at me, picks up all her blankets, throws them over the side of the crib, and then points around the room to everything I *must* do: open the blinds, shut off the space heater, switch off the humidifier. It’s morning!
If Mimi is just unable to put herself back to sleep, though, that’s where I draw the line. She MUST have that skill. Ernie was such a different child- her whole world revolves around routines, and it was my job to teach her a new routine. Mimi is motivated by needs most of the time. If she’s not hungry, she doesn’t eat. If she IS hungry, she pulls the 5 pound bag of pretzels out of the pantry and drags it to wherever I am in the house. Ernie nursed every three hours, until I weaned her. It didn’t matter if she was hungry or not, that was her routine. Mimi just won’t try, if she’s not hungry.
I’m eliminating all dairy from her diet for the time being- I know she can handle small amounts, but it seems like a detox is in order right now. I’m giving her extra day-time naps, to help her catch up on lost sleep. I’m going to stop offering nursing to her- if she asks for it, great. If not…it will just slowly go away. As it should, as children grow up.
Filed under: Children |