Yesterday for the first time ever I let my 7.5 month old cry herself to sleep for her nap. I knew that I probably would have to eventually do this but I was envisioning myself doing it when she was at a bit older. I only did it now because she has shown me that she could do it and because I needed her to start napping once again in her crib since she is so mobile now. She can't crawl yet but she can move herself around pretty good. Her naps lately have been in our bed since I could either take a nap with her or tip toe away after she was asleep. I could never master transferring her from my arms to her crib without waking her up. It was almost impossible to get her back to sleep after that. Since she is more mobile I am afraid that she will fall off the bed even with pillows surrounding her.
I used to nurse her to sleep for naps and at night and that was all fine and good until I needed to start weaning. For a time I was happy with half nursing/half formula feeding her. You only have to look at earlier entries of my blog to see all the trouble I have had with nursing so I thought I had finally found a happy medium that I was okay with. Any breast milk is better then none. I would have continued this for as long as possible if it wasn't for the fact that I need to go back to work at the end of January and that I seem to need to take donperidone to keep my supply up. Nursing to sleep had let me keep my sanity and our days were much better because it wasn't a long, long, long process to get her to finally drift off. Most days I ended up just skipping her nap altogether because after an hour of trying to get her to sleep I was exhausted. As I started to wean off of donperidone at the same time, I could tell my supply was decreasing. I got to the point where I was only nursing in the mornings and at night. Unfortunately for me getting her to fall asleep with the bottle was not working anymore and it was getting stressful for me again since if she did not sleep she was cranky and clearly tired and it made me upset so we both had not so good days. (Having said that I definitely did not give her her bottle and leave her to fall asleep with it, I would take it out when she was either asleep or switch to her soother. Maybe that is just as bad but it worked and I knew I wasn't going to do that for forever.)
It came to the point this week that she would eat all of the bottle and be cranky because she wasn't asleep. I was frustrated one day and had to put her in her crib and leave her for a five minute break to calm myself down and refresh my patience batteries so I could go and try to get her to sleep again. Well she cried for a few minutes then there was silence. I checked on her and she was fast asleep in her crib and actually slept for longer then she normally EVER does. I was in shock but relieved because I really did not have the energy to fight with her to get her to take a nap.
Yesterday was the first day that I let her cry it out and it was SOOO hard. She cried for almost 20 -30 mins straight with only a few slight pauses. I did everything I could not to go in there and get her. I twittered, I rambled on in a email to my hubby and my friend. Finally she was silent and when I checked on her she was asleep! It worked! It actually WORKED and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. She really surprised me. I was relieved and so happy that she had stopped crying because that seriously broke my heart to have to listen to her go through that! The kicker is that she slept for almost 1.5 hours!! Her max used to be 30 mins at a time which never was enough and when she woke up she was happy and not crying. I was also relieved that she had a big smile for me when I came in to get her. I thought she was going to hate me. She was content and ate lunch and played on the floor without whining or crying because she actually had a decent nap for once. Her second nap came and I have to admit that I delayed it as much as I could (but only for about 10 mins) because I was afraid that I would have to listen to her cry again and it would break my heart again.
I did her nap routine, (which is pretty short, basically wave to ourselves in the mirror, change her bum, turn on her music, shut the door and then feed her and kiss her night night and walk out) and the second nap there was not a single peep out of her and she again slept for 1.5 hours.
Today for her first nap she only cried for less then 20 mins with long pauses and slept for over an hour again. I am in COMPLETE shock! She woke up again and was happy. She was actually jibber jabbering to her little monkey for a bit after she woke up. I am so happy that she is finally getting decent amounts of nap time sleep and that she is happier in general! It was the same for her second nap today. A little bit of crying but you know what the little monkey butt is actually asleep. I now might be able to get some house work done if she continues to take decent lengths of naps! I just can`t get over it! I don't know if it's just because it had to be done, or if it's because we were trying to be consistent in her sleep routines, or if it's because of her age or what. I just know that I am happy that nap time is no longer a emotionally draining heart breaking fight!
Sadly yesterday morning was the last time I am ever going to nurse my little monkey and despite all the problems I have had with nursing and how much I hated it, I have to admit that I am a bit sad. I had dropped the night nursing session last week sometime and was planning on keeping the morning one for a bit but being completely weaned off of the donperidone and her not nursing hardly at all, I have dried up. I could tell all this week in the morning that she wasn't getting too much. So as of today she is completely weaned and I am sad that it's over but happy that I was able to nurse her for as long as I did. Despite all the problems I have had, I do plan on nursing any future kids for as long as I can and hopefully the next time it will be a much better experience because I will not make the same mistakes again and I will know what I am doing. As for now I am going to go enjoy my quiet time while monkey is still soundly asleep and just have to say that 'Victory is mine!!' ;)