So there's the mainstream camp who's kids have been "trained" to sleep through the night since like 4 months old and think I'm utterly insane for having a 16 month old whose never slept through the night. And nursing him no less, I must be a crunchy nut-pretty much. Then there's the AP (attachment parenting) camp who thinks I should probably co-sleep and nurse longer, even at night.
Yeah, well, what are you going to do about it? We've done what's worked best for us thus far, and for Karter. Especially given his low weight and concerns, I haven't felt to stop that night feeding up until now. And even now, it's more for my benefit and comfort, but his as well. I think he'll sleep better and not as many hours per day if he gets a solid chunk at night. 16-18 hours of sleep per day for a 16 month old is, by most standards, too much. I hope that by getting him to sleep maybe 8-10 straight hours at night we'll scale back the need for so many naps and so much sleep during the day.
Phase I has been night weaning. Yes, he's still nursing. Not often, a couple times at night and a couple times during the day. And somedays if he didn't nurse, then he'd probably have zero calorie intake. So, it is what it is. Thus far I have found that bringing him in bed with me creates a constant want for him to nurse, so step one was to return him to his crib, or only bring him to my bed after he'd calmed from waking. He's becoming a very restless sleeper, kicking and throwing blankets off and has actually slept better in his own bed. This wasn't always the case, up until about October he slept better in our bed. And we both didn't care as it allowed us all to get more sleep. The boys always start in their own beds. Kian comes in our room maybe twice per week.
We started Monday night. The holiday drama was over, we were back to routine bedtimes and daily normalcy. I told him ahead of time that we'd rock at night or have a snack but not nurse. The first night he woke up every 2-3 hours but went back to sleep after about 10 minutes of rocking. Last night he woke up every 4-4.5 hours and at 3:30 am asked for a snack instead of rocking. He had half a pastry (Kevin's little treats ha!) then went back to sleep. When he wakes up after 6am, I let him come in our bed or nurse. Usually he then falls back to sleep and stays asleep til 9 or so, after transferring him to his crib. I can live with that.
I'm sure many are wondering why Kevin doesn't partake in this wonderful process? Two main reasons: Karter won't let him-or anyone else comfort him and second-Kevin gets up at 4:30 am, that's good enough for me.
I'm counting on about a week of this process to fully get over the night weaning and start stretching the wakings to longer periods of time. I don't need a quick fix, I haven't slept through the night since April of 2009. Yes, I remember because it's when I started getting up several times a night to pee while pregnant with Karter. Oh well. Part of being a parent. I'm just hoping we start getting better sleep, especially Karter, because it's well known the body can't function or repair itself on little or poor sleep. I think this might in turn help his weight and growth issues. He definitely made up for any lost calories during the day. That and no dairy or eggs the last couple days and we've seen the diarrhea almost gone. Little steps, little victories.