Welcome to another Carnival of Breastfeeding. This is a reposting. I originally wrote it in 2008 when my first, now five year old daughter was two and a half and an only child. As this Carnival is about breastfeeding and toddlerhood I figured I ought to look back to when I was actually experiencing it, instead of trying to remember it while currently nursing her eleven month old baby sister. Though I am going through something similar. We are co-sleeping and nursing to sleep, but I’d like to transition out of night-nursing sooner, within this next year. There are a record number of Carnival postings! Take your time and enjoy.
I was raised on, and have subscribed to the Attachment Parenting philosophy. Probably the easiest way to describe it is learning and responding to Baby’s/Child’s cues. For me, life has been easiest when Sara Ellen slept with, or near me, breastfed when she requested, and was worn (or held). I also agree with the La Leche League mantra that breastfeeding works best when it’s beneficial to both mother and baby. This also applies to the previous parenting actions.
Obviously, things have changed some as Sara Ellen has grown. She is now my nursing toddler, so she eats lots of other foods but still loves “mommy milk” a few times during the day. She loves to run around on her own, though she still rides in Ergo Baby Carrier from time to time. She also still has a place in our bed though she has her own “little bed”. The latter is what has changed for the so-much-better this week.
As I said, she still loves breastfeeding. But it is beneficial for me to refuse at times and steer her onto other food or another activity (funny how nursing is both). Infants are wired to nurse at times during the night, that’s just how they are made. However, Sara Ellen carried that habit into toddlerhood. I’m the type of parent who enables her child to grow at their own pace, move into new stages without force. HOWEVER, I don’t sleep as soundly as I did when she was an infant and she no longer just nurses and falls asleep, she likes to go back and forth. The latching on wakes me up, and if it keeps happening… I don’t wake up rested. I become quick to annoy and prone to use the loud scolding voice Sara Ellen does not like. Instead of bright-eyes and bushy tailed, it’s more like bushy-eyed.
This past Wednesday, we had a night like that and had a horrible morning. Absolutely horrible. I know that it is possible for her to fall asleep without nursing so I decided that night I would make a change. Into that choice, I included trying to get her back into her own bed. I tried it several months ago with a fit of crying on her part and that’s what happened. I don’t like “crying it out” but at least I was with her. I hoped she would fall asleep. After a while there was a knock at the door and my mother reported she could not sleep so I grudgingly brought Sara Ellen in to bed. I was still determined not to nurse her to sleep because that encourages the nursing through the night. Instead I told her stories and such. She was worn out already and went to sleep. I think I may have nursed her once during the night but just once and she went back to sleep. We woke up in the morning, both bright-eyed!!! She had her morning milk, which I’m not opposed to, and our day went well. I repeated the no-nursing bedtime Thursday, but without the forcing her stay in her bed. She didn’t want stories so I sang Veggie Tales songs. At some point she rolled over and went to sleep! I think I actually stayed up and read, and woke sometime around 4 and couldn’t fall back to sleep but that was my head and the weather’s fault. Another good morning. And a third!!!
I have heard stories of parents deciding to get their baby to sleep alone in their crib and how they feel so refreshed after a good night’s sleep. While I won’t force that on any future children, I am so glad to have found a bedtime routine that works for us now!!! I’m sure when Tim comes home tomorrow and experiences these results, he’ll be relieved as well.
Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues
Elita @ Blacktating: The Last Time That Never Was
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk
Tamara Reese @ Please Send Parenting Books: Extended Breastfeeding
Mamapoekie @ Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?
Reproductive Rites:Gratitude For Extended Breastfeeding
Jona @ Breastfeeding Twins :Breastfeeding Older Twins
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler
Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term
Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler
Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding
Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!
Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama
Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding
Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things
Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows
Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering
The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?
Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding
TopHat @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes
Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings: Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding
Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close
Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding
Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding
Jona (Breastfeedingtwins.org): Breastfeeding older twins
Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments