Thursday, September 15, 2011
We have made a little progress towards independent sleep. My most recent set up has been to put Julia's toddler bed in between my bed and the wall. This makes it impossible for her to fall out, and makes it pretty easy for me to lean over and nurse her in the night without waking her up every time I roll over, which I did when we were sharing a twin bed! Living in close quarters with family means that I'm not comfortable with nighttime crying, so I've been letting Julia nurse to sleep and nurse on demand through the night. These past weeks, instead of nursing to sleep at the breast, often Julia has nursed until drowsy in my arms and then pushed away. I immediately side her over to her bed and miracle of miracles, she rolls around for a minute, looking for a comfy pose and then falls asleep! On her own! No tears! She still wakes up and wants to nurse in the middle of the night, but several recent times have been less than a minute before she is back asleep. The early morning hours are when she nurses the most. I can soothe her into sleeping for an extra 1-3 hours by offering a nurse when she lifts her head. I suppose one day I should try just getting us up when she first wakes, but I really love my morning sleep. In fact, since mom and dad are up and about, I let Julia get up and go out to them, and I go back to sleep!!! (usually not for long, since she comes in to see what I'm up to, but still, the act of falling back to sleep is wonderful!) I kind of think that if I gave her a few minutes, she would fall back asleep when she wakes in the middle of the night, but since Olaf is sleeping in the room with us, and mom and dad are sleeping across the wall, I feel that any crying at all would wake everyone. It is kind of hard to remember how many times I nurse her in a night. Last night, I don't remember nursing at all until morning. Maybe there was one I forgot about, but maybe not! Some nights she wakes several times though, and I can remember that come morning. I'm not actively trying to wean Julia. Research tells me that a lot of babies who self-wean do so between ages 2 and 3, and we're still 6 months away from age 2. Since I'm not trying for any more right now, I feel fine with continuing nursing for the health benefits for both of us. Since breast cancer and osteoporosis have made an appearance in my extended family, I'm particularly aware that the longer I nurse, the lower my chances of getting either. One statistic I found says that women who lactate for a total of two or more years reduce their chances of developing breast cancer by 24 %. In case Julia is my only child, I'm happy to aim for two years of nursing.