Things have changed- again.
Last Saturday, it had been more than a month since Pa and I had been trying to get the little one to fall asleep on her own at night. We had heard good things about moms nursing babies to sleep and adversely, had also heard how important it was to get babies to fall asleep on their own. Pa, bless his heart, tried his best each night to get her to sleep on her own but we just couldn’t take it anymore.
At the moment, which I am humble enough to admit is subject to change at any time, Pa no longer puts Lula to bed at night.
In fact, I am nursing her before bed again and yes, I did write a post entitled, “How I stopped nursing my baby to sleep”. But here’s what’s different this time. I now bring Lula back to the nursery around 6:45 PM and I leave the nursery at 7, no matter what. If we nurse the whole time, she falls asleep and I put her in the crib, great. If she nurses for 10 minutes, I sing to her for 5 and I put her in the crib, great. I have let go of not leaving until she is asleep and instead I am using nursing to wind her down before bedtime.
We also questioned a couple of other variables that could be affecting her issues with bedtime. One, could anything in my diet be causing her distress? I heard that was a myth but some parents swear by cutting out certain foods so I tried eliminating peanut butter. I figured it probably wouldn’t hurt me to skip it for a week based on the calories I consume of it anyway! The result? I have no idea. Seriously, I don’t. Overall, she seems to be sleeping better but I really don’t think my consumption of nuts has anything to do with it (see below). The only thing that I’ve noticed is that I have a harder time getting filled up from good healthy fats without my lovely PB.
Then, we also questioned her naps…I have always woken her up from her naps. Most days when I open the door to her room, her eyes open immediately and she is raring to go. Some days, I have to work to get her up and I have wondered if she is frequently overtired.
Brittany had such logical reasons for why she lets her baby girl wake up on her own, I decided to see what happened if I did the same with Lula. Last Friday, after fighting her morning nap, she finally fell asleep at 9:50. She didn’t wake up until…12:30!!! I kept checking on her and I actually went into her room and read a few excerpts of books about baby naps, ironically, and the entire time I was in there, she didn’t stir. I then worried that she wouldn’t be able to fall asleep OR sleep through the night because of such a long morning nap but that didn’t happen either. She dozed a little in the afternoon, not what I would call a real nap, and fell asleep in about 5 minutes of me nursing her before bed. And, she slept quite well overnight!
At this point, it’s too soon to know what our nap routine is going to look like as we are still trying to get into a pattern. I am hoping that she takes a longer morning nap- 2 hours or so- and a shorter afternoon nap. It seems to me that by doing this, she will be less tired overall and eventually get into a routine in which she gets herself to sleep most of the time. I also feel that if I can slowly shift her afternoon nap a little earlier, that would be instrumental in a less stressful 7 PM bedtime.
We will be taking a little trip in the next few weeks so I know her nap schedule is going to get messed up again but I plan to write a post once our new routine becomes more clear. What I can say is that so far, the longer naps have really helped her overall mood throughout the day which makes both of our lives a lot easier.
So what am I getting at? I’ve learned that I can write a post, publish it, and everything changes immediately afterwards. I’ve learned that I cannot control what my daughter wants or does not want to do. I’ve learned that I am a control freak and that learning how to let go may be the best thing for me.
This parenting gig is really humbling.