I am asking for personal advice/opinions. I *know* that I need to do what is best for my family, but I thought other people might make me think about something I was overlooking, or just make me see something in a new light.
Moderators: I put this here instead of Nighttime parenting & the Family Bed because I wanted a wider audience. Thanks!!!
DS will be 2.5 years at the end of the month. He still nurses every 1.5-2 hours day and night. Occasionally, though, for whatever reason he will go up to 5 hours. I would like opinions on our nights, specifically.
When DD was just over 2 we "night-weaned" her very succesfully. I was newly pregnant and just needed more than an hour at a time. So DH helped her get back to sleep and let me get first a 4, then a 5 hour stretch at night. She went from 11pm-4am and then later started going to 7 (that was closer to 3, after DS was born).
I am considering, at this point, doing the same with DS. He is 35", 30 lbs so not small (he outweighs DD by 4 lbs at her age, but is within an inch of the same height). He gets plenty to eat and the opportunity to eat more, so while I realize the nursing at night does provide valuable nutrition I am not convinced it is needed.
DH, DD, DS & I all sleep together so he does get lots of cuddling at night if he is nursing or not. In fact, if he is not very tired DH puts him to bed (not me, nursing doesn't really put him to sleep well, though it does keep him asleep well). I still carry him most places because he refuses to wear shoes and he is just my little pumpkin and I see no reason not too. So, I am not convinced that he is making up for something lacking during the day, but more cuddles are always better than less!
I have had problems with depression for large parts of my life. It was particularily bad during my pg with DS and I do wonder sometimes if just a little bit more continuous sleep would help. With the "out of it" feelings at least. Before kids I was one of those people who just crashed at 10-11pm and slept straight til 6-7am. If I was woken up past 3-4 am I could not get back to sleep. As it is I can, but I wonder if that is because I am always sooo tired that I never get to the equivalent of sleeping til 3-4
One additional concern I have is that we will be taking a trip to TX this summer and it looks like we may drive (we live in WA). Its about a 37 hour drive but we will split it up a lot. That said, it would be really nice if DH & I could drive at night and not have to worry about the logistics of nursing DS every 1.5-2 hours. We did that last year on the way to Yellowstone and it added many hours to the trip.
I purely selfish desire of mine is to also have sex in my own bed more than once every three months (if that. when the ILs are visiting and take the kids out for a few hours). I'd love to put DS down in the bed in DDs room (she doesn't sleep there) and then have them sleep together for a few hours and THEN come to our room. The problem is now by the time DD is all the way asleep DS is ready for another nursing and by the time he is back asleep I am too!
I do not consider myself to NEED to night time wean. Then this post wouldn't even occur. But, there are some definite advantages. The disadvantages in my mind include:
Ds would probably cry some. This would be very upsetting to all involved especially since it is unneeded. I do think that it was good for DD to start sleeping more at at time, but neither of them have ever suffered for their sleeping habits so I can't convince myself it would be for "his own good."
DS will be our last biological child (so probably last baby). We really worked hard w/DD to not sleep on our chests while she was a very young baby and then when she finally stopped it was very bittersweet. I feel like this may be the same issue. I am getting ready to have a few hours sleep in a row (have not for almost six years, which is starting to feel like a very long time) but I also know it will herald the end of an era for me. The end of the baby years. Which will eventually come, and will eventually be bittersweet, but do I actually want to speed up that process?
I would really appreciate any words of wisdom here. They can be anything--- I'll take them to heart, but not too personally if you KWIM. Thanks so much for making it through this book I wrote. I think just getting it down on paper will be good for me.