So, my son is almost 9 months old, and so far in life he has only got to sleep by nursing or being worn. This has never been much of a problem because my boyfriend and I didn't leave him with with anyone else, and I work very part-time so I have been able to nurse as much as he likes. Now, though, I am kicking my self for not helping him find other ways to fall asleep ... it's as though he believes that nursing/being worn are the only ways he can fall asleep.
At this point, I am not even interested in night weaning him. My priority is to put him down to bed, which is usually between 7-8, and then have some baby-free time until around 10-11. The challenge is that baby boy wakes up about every 30 minutes, sometimes less, unless I am in bed beside him. My partner can go in and lay with him to give me a break, but if DS wakes up fully then nursing is the only thing that will soothe him back to sleep We need help keeping him asleep for 2 hours straight in the evenings so that we can be together!! Even 1 hour straight would be great at this point!
I have read the "No-Cry Sleep Solution" and am (attempting) to apply the gentle pull out method in the book ... taking baby off the breast when his sucking changes from real sucking to just fluttery comfort/sleepy sucking. I do this when I am putting him down to bed. Generally I pull him off and he wakes up, roots, I put him back on, count to 10 (or 100) and then repeat. I put him down in the family bed when he is too sleepy to resist. I am wondering if anyone has experience with this method, or even just this situation? We have a solid bed time routine, as the book suggests, and we play soft music while he is sleeping in our room to help block out other noises. The lights are off and we have a baby monitor.
It is basically like DS knows I am not there, and will not sleep well until I am there. For the past 8 months I have just gone to bed with him, but now I am really needing some alone time in the evenings.
Any help/experiences are much appreciated!
I had a baby like yours -- that would nurse continually and would notice when I would leave. Because the way I am wired (I can't nurse and sleep simultaneously), after 2 months my milk gave out (it came back after I slept for about a day straight). SO ... we had to change things entirely. We put my husband in bed with my daughter. And he gave her one bottle at night (which was all she asked for). It wasn't a hard transition for her at all. Now that eventually led to night-weaning -- which I was OK with, but you may not be ready for.
So if you want your baby to be less dependent on you -- it's totally on your boyfriend who can offer the comfort but not tempt with the breast. He has got to take over putting the baby to sleep. Entirely.
Second-- you need to ultimately (it's still perhaps a little young for this at nine months), if your baby is the type that "senses" when no one is there ... you need to move from sleeping in the same bed to sleeping in beds side by side. So the baby is not sleeping in your arms, etc. and isn't used to the constant contact. This can be a challenge -- I am thinking we didn't do this until ours were around 1 and half or two and we could speak to them. But when they are older, it takes a week or so. And you lay with them, holding their hands, stroking their backs, but do not allow them to crawl into your bed.
Once this is established -- it will be no problem whatsoever to get your block of "couple time" or "me time" once your baby is asleep. Because they all tend to sleep really soundly the first part of the night. Then you crash with them when you are ready for bed ... which coincides when they are more wakeful in the second part of the night.
But like I said, your boyfriend is going to have to lead the way with bed time right now because of your baby's nature.
We're in a similar situation with my DD (6 months old). When she was really little, she'd fall asleep in lots of different ways--nursing, being worn, stroller, carseat, dancing in arms, you name it. Then she hit 2 months old and refused to sleep unless I was holding her. As in, she would nurse to sleep and I couldn't put her down. I used the No-Cry Sleep Solution method...she still falls asleep nursing, but wakes briefly when I put her down and is able to go back to sleep. Often, if she wakes briefly in the night or during a nap, she can fall back asleep on her own. Nowadays, if she's feeling good, she goes to sleep about 8ish and will sleep for several hours (though often she wakes up after 30 minutes and needs to be briefly nursed to sleep again---not sure why that is, but it's not so terrible).
However, DD is super sensitive to soooooo much stuff in my breastmilk (gets terrible gas, etc.)--to so many things that it's almost impossible to avoid everything. When she's got tummy trouble, she WILL wake up every 30 minutes or less, no matter what, and want to nurse for comfort.
I guess that's just a long-winded way of saying that the No-Cry Sleep Solution thing works, unless your baby is sick! I think it took my DD about a week to "get it". And she still sleeps better in the family bed than in her crib (where I put her before we go to sleep--I transfer her at my bed time)...I just put it down to her being used to Mommy sleeping next to her.
Mom to the wacky and wonderful Kalyani (August 2011)