So previously I’d blogged about getting Boo to nap better. I’m happy to report that it worked! I am now able to leave the room once my little man is asleep…..it’s liberating and amazing and incredibly convenient.
How did we do it?
Exactly as planned: Once my little man was asleep I put him in his crib, but I stayed in the room and sat next to the crib for a few weeks where I could hush and soothe him as needed. Next, I moved across the room. I did that for another few weeks and I did my very best to only verbally (and very minimally) soothe him if required. Note that in both of these scenarios, I didn’t just sit there staring adoringly at my sleeping child. No no…I took advantage of not having him in my arms and fiddled on my iPad or worked on my laptop.
Finally, I left the room altogether where I could do….whatever I wanted! (Provided whatever I wanted to do was in the house.)
Unfortunately, none of this helped his suck-to-sleep association. Though he was napping off of me, he was still totally hooked on my nipple to fall asleep. For naps. At bedtime. When he’d wake up in the middle of the night. It’s all he wanted. In fact he seemed to need it. Desperately.
So we’ve begun to tackle his bedtime/nighttime nipple obsession.
One of my attempts to break (or at least lessen) Boo’s suck-to-sleep association, was the introduction of snuggly blanket, or a lovey…I slept with it for a few days to make it smell more familiar, then began nursing him with it. He couldn’t care less about it for a good long while. Only now – maybe 2 or so months after its introduction – is he starting to take notice of it.
The plan: Create a very predictable bedtime routine that moves nursing to its beginning. Following nursing, change diaper and put on pyjamas. Next up comes all of the hygiene-related activities like brushing teeth, washing face and hands, and anything else that may pop up (e.g. put on moisturizer, drops in ears, whatever). Go say goodnight to Daddy. Return to bedroom and read a story or two. Then once story time is over, sing a bedtime song as I put Boo into his sleepsack, turn on his sound machine and turn out the light. Finish song (I usually sing it twice), kiss Boo goodnight and then rock him to sleep. Put him in crib.
Boo’s new Graco Sound Machine runs continuously through the night – not sure if it helps him get to sleep, but it does seem to help keep him asleep by muting other noises in the house or on the street (Montreal middle-of-the-night street cleaning anyone? Ugh).
So far, the plan is working quite well (dare I say very well?). Though the little man stages many escapes through the beginning of the routine (mostly after PJs and before story time), we’ve been sticking to it religiously. Once I start putting on his sleepsack there’s generally a fair amount of complaining, and much more protest after I put out the lights…but I’ve been sticking to my guns and only rocking and shushing him to sleep. No boob.
If he wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s the same story. No boob.
And you know what? It must be working. Even though he still clearly doesn’t like bedtime, he barely wakes up in the middle of the night anymore. Which means my little man who previously woke up an average of 2-3 times per night is now SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT most nights! Or, he’s waking up and soothing himself back to sleep, aware that there’ll be no boob offered if he calls to me.
Which totally rocks.
I’ve been trying to read at least two different books at bedtime. One longer, and one MUCH shorter one. Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La La La!
fits the bill perfectly – Boo loves making animal sounds, and I can get through it in about 1 minute…so even if he wants me to read it again….it’s ok!
The next step in our plan is to gradually move up when I put him into his crib….it’s going to be tough, as Boo does not appear to have a dozing-off stage. He goes from eyes wide open…..to suddenly eyes closed and then asleep within moments. I’m going to spend the next little while looking for any additional clues for when he’s getting sleepy (which will be tough…because I’ll be honest, I don’t sit there staring at him…I tend to close my own eyes and relax).
In the meantime, I’ll start devising a plan for getting him off my nipple at naptime….stay tuned.