Night Weaning: Week 1

For those that know me, you know I’ve recently passed the 2 year mark of breastfeeding. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m afraid the hardest part is ahead of me: weaning. I decided that the first thing to tackle was night weaning. Gerrit has never truly slept completely through the night, and I blame a lot of that on his dependency on nursing to sleep.

I purposely started our night weaning journey on a Friday night: I wanted two mornings where I could sleep in if needed. Andrew hasn’t started pilot training yet, so usually his schedule is fairly free. But he is occasionally called in to do something in the mornings, and I wanted a weekend where I could count on sleep if I needed it!

Night #1

I didn’t give Gerrit a lot of warning about weaning. I honestly didn’t see the point. Telling him about it a week or days in advance would be meaningless since it wasn’t affecting him immediately. So the day of night #1, I talked to him a little about how we were going to let “booboos” rest at night. I told him that he could have booboos at bedtime, but then no more until the sun came up. He said “okay” to it, but I knew it would be a different story around midnight!

I nursed Gerrit to sleep and put him in his crib around 10pm. He first woke up just before midnight (almost 2 hours of sleep). I nervously went to him wearing a cotton t-shirt (instead of a stretchy top or a nursing top). As expected, he got upset when I didn’t immediately give him the breast. He started out crying and saying, “Booboos! Pease, Mama! One booboo!” Ah, it broke my heart to have to keep telling him no. I just kept repeating, “No, booboos in the morning” or “Booboos when the sun comes up.” From wake time to being back to sleep, it took an hour. Not terrible, right?

After that he slept from 12:50 until 5:15! I brought him to bed with me then and let him nurse, and he got up for the day at 8:25. Not a bad first night.

Night #2

This night started earlier (thank goodness) at 9:55. Again, he only slept for an hour and 45 minutes and was up at 11:45. When he woke up, it was basically a repeat of Night #1. He cried, asking for “booboos,” and I repeatedly told him he could have them in the morning. Gerrit let me rock him to sleep without nursing which is a first! He fell asleep just under an hour after he woke up.

Gerrit slept from 12:40 until 5:05! I ended up just bringing him to bed with me then and letting him nurse. He woke up for the day at 7:40. A little low on total sleep, but not too bad!

Night #3

So Gerrit’s nap this day was off. He slept for an hour and 15 minutes, and woke up crying. Usually when he wakes up upset, it means he’s still tired. So I brought him to my bed to snuggle for a bit. He nursed and ended up falling back to sleep for a whole hour! Honestly, I was shocked! Gerrit rarely goes back to sleep when he wakes early from a nap.

That night, he went to bed even earlier than normal: 9:35PM! That is a great bedtime in this house. I swear, Gerrit is as much a night owl as I am! Anyway, after I got him to bed, he was up at 11:50 (just over 2 hours later). And this night he was not so upset about me not nursing… he was MAD! He ended up pointing at his crib, saying, “Bed!” So I put him back in his crib. Gerrit let me rub his back for a few minutes, then said, “Bye, Momma.” So I walked toward his door. He started crying a bit, so I walked back over to rub his back. He fell asleep that way, only 30 minutes after I first went in to him. Progress!

…and then he was up 15 minutes later. I managed to calm him down just by rubbing his back again, and then he slept until 5:10! At that point, again, I brought him to bed to nurse and sleep, and he slpet until 8:15.

Night #4

I had high hopes this night! I nursed Gerrit to sleep and put him in his crib at 10:10. He slept longer than usual, making it to 1:55 (just under 4 hours). I was able to calm him fairly quickly, and he was back to sleep at 2:10. He only slept for 2 hours though, and I brought him to bed with me at 4:10 where he nursed and slept until 7:30.

Night #5

I nursed Gerrit to sleep and got him into his crib at 9:55. He woke up at 12:25, and I was able to calm him fairly quickly. He was back to sleep in 5 minutes without nursing! He slept another 2.5 hours, and I brought him to bed around 3AM. I feel like I should have pushed him further, but I was tired and didn’t want to deal with it.

Night #6

So around Night #4 or #5, Andrew noticed that Gerrit’s bottom 2-year-old molars were coming through. Ughhhh…. Could I have picked a worse time to night wean?! For those who don’t know our history, pain medicine has little affect on Gerrit. During the day when he’s teething, you would have no idea except he wants to gnaw on things more often. At night he’s up all the time. Give him Tylenol… same thing. The pain relievers don’t seem to give him enough relief to sleep longer, so we just skip them now. Back to night weaning…

Gerrit went to bed earlier again (9:35), but he only slept an hour! He let me calm him down really quickly and was back to sleep by 10:45. He woke up a little over 3 hours later at 2:05. Again, I was able to calm him down just by rocking him and rubbing his back. He slept from 2:15-4:35. At that point, I just brought him to bed with me and let him nurse and sleep until he woke at 7:40.

Night #7

The end of the first week! And it started out great: he slept from 9:45 until 2:15! It took him awhile to get back to sleep though. I was in his room for half an hour, rocking him, rubbing his back in his crib… he eventually was back to sleep around 2:45. He slept for just over 2 hours then, and I brought him to bed around 5AM to sleep for another 3 hours.

 

Overall, I think Week 1 of night weaning went well! The first 2 nights were the worst, but Gerrit caught on pretty quickly to the new routine. It’s hard to say if it’s helping though: it feels like he is okay with not nursing, but he still wants me there to comfort him back to sleep. I was hoping not nursing would mean a start at self-soothing, but I’m afraid I will need to wean him from ME completely. 😦

 

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Life Lately: Summer 2016

I have seriously sucked at blogging this summer! I think my last big post was when Gerrit turned 18 months old… and that was back in May. Wow. So here’s my attempt to catch people up on what has been going on this summer before I go into more detail on things (if I have time).

Summer in North Carolina is hot and humid. I knew we would be outside a lot more this summer compared to last summer, since Gerrit isn’t a baby this summer. He is a very busy toddler who loves to be outdoors! We spent lots of time in the backyard checking out Andrew’s garden, playing in the dirt/mud/water, playing on the slide, drawing with chalk on the patio, and checking out any bugs we came across. Our patio is pretty well shaded in the afternoon, so most outside time happened after Gerrit’s afternoon nap and before dinner.

Look at the garden grow!

Look at the garden grow!

This particular patch of dirt became "The Mud Hole"

This particular patch of dirt became “The Mud Hole”

An afternoon at the splash pad on base

An afternoon at the splash pad on base

We had lots of fun with our little pool

We had lots of fun with our little pool

So much mud...

So much mud…

The day after the 4th of July, Andrew left for Officer Training School in Montgomery, AL. My mom spent the first couple of weeks of his training with us to ease the transition, but it was hard when she left. July was a pretty quiet month for us as we got used to life without Dada for awhile.

In August, I decided to take on driving from North Carolina up to Michigan for the annual family reunion on my dad’s side of the family. This was a big deal for me because 1) I had never done a road trip with just Gerrit & me before, and 2) Gerrit is usually not a very happy traveler. And I wasn’t sleeping well at night (ahem, Gerrit), so I was worried about actually making it to our destination without falling asleep at the wheel! Needless to say, we survived: North Carolina to Ohio, Ohio to Michigan, Michigan to Wisconsin, Wisconsin to Ohio, and Ohio back to North Carolina. Nice little tour of the Midwest… which I will blog more about soon!

Stopped in traffic in Chicago

Stopped in traffic in Chicago

We got back from our Tour de Midwest, had a week at home, then repacked and headed for Alabama for Andrew’s graduation from OTS! Thankfully, my mom came with for this trip. And it was a much shorter drive (one day instead of two). We loved seeing Andrew/Dada as well as Andrew’s parents, had a great time celebrating Andrew becoming an officer, and saw some friends as well! Again, a more detailed post on all of this to come.

Touring Maxwell AFB

Touring Maxwell AFB

Now here we are, mid-September, and we are preparing to move! I’m hoping I will have downtime here and there to get back into blogging, since this is a pretty exciting time for our family. Stay tuned for posts about our summer travels, our move, and our new home in TEXAS! ❤

 

Potty Training: Phase One

So… here’s another old post that got forgotten over the summer. I REALLY want to get better about blogging again, and I wanted to get these drafts published first. Bear with me, friends!

Who hates potty-training? I do! I guess a downside to working with kids prior to actually having kids means you know some of the hard parts before you get to them with your own offspring. Potty-training is one of them for me.

My first experience with potty-training was with a few of the kids with autism that I worked with through WEAP. We approached it step-by-step, with getting used to sitting on the potty first and eventually leading up to a “potty day” where we basically worked hardcore on getting successes on the toilet for a whole day. It took a lot of patience and hard work! Next I worked on potty-training with a few kids when I worked at the Child Development Center in England. These kids were under 2, and I think some were more ready than others. It definitely seemed like girls were more ready than boys in most cases. And that was another reason I was nervous to start potty-training my little guy.

But I decided to jump in and start anyway! Around 18 months, I introduced a potty book and a little Elmo potty in the playroom. Gerrit liked the book, and we practiced having his stuffed animals sit on the potty during the day if he showed interest in the Elmo potty. I didn’t want to use the Elmo potty for actual potty-training because I didn’t want to transition between that and the actual toilet. So despite him being pretty little yet, I bought this potty seat and stool for the bathroom.20160614_170614

(Okay, how do I seriously have no pictures of this kid on the potty?! I’ll try to add one later, sorry, guys! Here’s a cute one in just a diaper though, haha ^)

A little before Gerrit turned 20 months, I started having him sit on the potty seat on the toilet before bath time. He was definitely apprehensive about it, and he would only sit for a second or two to start. I made sure to praise him just for sitting on it though. If he said he didn’t want to sit on the potty, I never forced it. Eventually we had an accidental tinkle on the potty! And then Phase One of potty-training was pretty much complete!

Once Gerrit realized what the goal was, he started going pee on the potty pretty regularly. I try to sit him on the toilet at every diaper change, and he almost always pushes a little something out, haha! He loves getting praised for a potty success! Sometimes he wants to read one of his bath books while he’s on the potty, and reading a book on the toilet was actually how we got that first success from him. I’m so proud of him for doing as well as he is right now!

So what’s next? I really would like him to have a poop success on the potty, but I’m not rushing that! And I also want him to start telling me when he has to go. He told Andrew once “pee pee” and proceeded to have a success on the potty (yay!), but that hasn’t happened since. I’m not rushing any of this, since Gerrit is still really young, and I want him to have a positive experience with this. I have heard too many stories about kids being pushed to potty-train earlier than they were ready and shutting down and refusing to potty-train because of it. So I’m hoping that easing Gerrit into all of this is the way to go. Wish us luck! 🙂