Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bye-bye boobies!?

Warning, this is going to be kind of long, and it's all about breastfeeding. If that bores you, skip this post!

When I first had Logan back in April of 2005, we had trouble getting started breastfeeding. It took us about a week to get the hang of it--a tearful, frustrating week for both of us. I had a stupid nurse at the hospital telling me (the very night I had him!) that he was crying because I was starving him and I should let her give him formula. He was NOT starving. I stuck to my guns about breastfeeding only, and requested the lactation consultant come in to help. She gave me some good tips and several days later, after begging the baby every 15 minutes, day and night, to nurse, he did, like a pro.

Nursing Logan at home

At the Sleeping Bear sand dunes

In the ghost town at Fayette State Park

One year later, on his first birthday, I nursed him before his nap. It was the last time. We had weaned so gradually that I am still not sure if it was led by me or by him. It just happened, with no effort at all. Neither of us missed it. We were just done.

So, when I had Jordan last February, I planned to do things the same way. Nurse for a year, and call it good.

Jordan, as second children tend to be, was completely different right out of the starting gate. He took to nursing immediately in the hospital. When we came home, I found myself in the middle of a two-hour nursing session in the middle of the night. This kid liked to nurse! I broke my own vow and gave him a pacifier, just to give myself a rest.

Logan used to fall asleep every time he nursed. It was like his comfort thing. He'd wrap his little hand up in my hair and fall into dreamland.

Jordan was all business about nursing. He would eat quickly. So quickly I wasn't even sure he was getting enough. He never fell asleep from nursing, though it would relax him.

Lunchtime at the bowling alley

Just the other day, trying to get him to nap on a tough teething day

As soon as Jordan discovered solid food, he got a lot less interested in nursing. He'd still do it, but was much more interested in FOOD food.

As the months ticked away closer to his first birthday, he was only nursing in the middle of the night. Like, two or three times every night. No, my baby didn't sleep through the night. He was in some sort of reverse cycle that made him think he needed to nurse all night even if he didn't want to during the day.

Because the pediatrician told me he was "in danger of falling off the charts" due to his size, I kept allowing him to nurse at night, because he was getting extra calories. Plus, it was the easiest way to get him back to sleep. Nurse for five minutes and back to bed, easy peasy.

But getting up all night started getting old for me, and Jordan started waking up more and more. I decided I wanted to night wean him so he wouldn't expect to nurse in the night, and maybe he'd actually sleep through.

I enlisted Hubby's help. So, a couple weeks ago, he started getting up in the night with Jordan, because if the baby saw me he wanted to nurse. We had a small battle because Hubby thought if we were trying to get the baby to sleep in his bed, we shouldn't pick him up. I, of course, wanted to snuggle and comfort my crying son. But, I could see Hubby's point and he WAS the one getting up so I let him try it his way, and my goodness it worked.


Now, though, ONLY DADDY can get Jordan to go to sleep at night. He still wakes up once or twice or sometimes more during the night (especially when these new teeth that are trying to break through are bugging him) but now ONLY DADDY can get him back to sleep. If I go in there, he just screams. I don't know if it's that he wants to nurse when he sees me, or if Daddy's become his "lovey" or what. I do know, though, that Daddy gets REALLY crabby when his sleep is interrupted!

He is really good at getting Jordan to go back to sleep, though. I witnessed it this morning. Hubby was about to leave for work and Jordan woke up. It was 2 hours before his normal wake time so I went in there to get him to go back to sleep. He just screamed. After a few minutes, Hubby came in, said "Go night-night, Joe Bugs," laid him down, covered him up and the kid just quieted right down!

Unfortunately I was still in the room, sitting in the rocker, and after Hubby left I tried to sneak out. We have REALLY creaky hardwood floors in our house and there's no sneaking out of Jordan's room. He popped up and started throwing pacis at me (His signature move. He stands in his crib and pelts me with pacis.)

So, I nursed him. He nursed happily through a song on his Rainforest Lullaby CD and then I put him in his crib and he went right back to sleep.

Which brings me to now.

What is the next step?

We were discussing it at dinner last night, and Hubby thinks I should stop nursing altogether. He thinks once it's gone completely, Jordan will stop expecting it. That makes sense. Lately, I have been nursing him at bedtime, occasionally--like today--when he wakes up and it's an hour or two too early for him to get up, and once in a while during the day if I'm trying to get him to nap.

And Hubby's idea makes sense. I can see where it would work.

I don't even think Jordan is really that attached to nursing as much as he is to the idea of it. I say that because when I nurse him before bed, for example, he usually will nurse for literally two or three seconds and then pop in his paci. Then 15 seconds later, he'll nurse for two or three seconds and then pop his paci in. Repeat, repeat, repeat. He's not even GETTING anything, it's like he's just making sure it's still there. It's a comfort thing.

And I have to admit, I am sad to stop, too. I'm not having any more kids. This is my last child to nurse. However, the stop-and-start nursing isn't really that pleasant anymore and I am kind of ready to get my body back. (Even though I know from past experience that means I'm going to go from a 38C-D down to a 36A again!)

Bye-bye boobies!

In a way, it kind of hurts that Daddy has become his comfort person at night, because that's been MY job. It stings when I go in there and he just screams, and then Daddy walks in and he calms right down. I guess it lets me see what Hubby has been going through all these months when I was the comfort person. I guess he's just getting his turn.

So, anyway, if anyone has any tips to help us complete this weaning/teaching to sleep process, I'd love to hear them!