The first night went way better than I expected, and I can’t help but wonder if it was a fluke.
First of all, here’s my strategy:
I’ve decided to concentrate on getting him to fall asleep in the crib. I want to build up the classical conditioning so that he believes that the crib is a place where he CAN fall asleep.
Everything else, like night weaning, can wait. One battle at a time. This part is more like the No Cry method, which moves in stages, but slightly more extreme, because I’m skipping ahead a bit.
Like my friend recommended, though, I have decided be consistent and determined about it, even if I had to pick him up and put him back down a zillion times.
So after his normal bedtime routine, I started to nurse him down on the bed as per usual. Now, normally, as he begins to doze off, he begins alternately falling off the breast and then frantically latching back on as he wavers between wanting to sleep and wanting to stay awake.
This time, the first time he pulled himself off, I picked him up and carried him to the nursery. He decided that he DID want to keep nursing, so I sat in the rocker and nursed him for another couple of minutes. Again, his eyes drooped, and he pulled off. Then he stiffened, arched his back and began the struggling fussing that so often characterizes a difficult night. Instead of trying to cuddle and soothe him, I dumped him in the crib.
As I could have predicted (because we have tried this in the past when he starts fighting us like that) his fusses switched to high pitched screams of rage. But I started to pat him rhythmically and sing Old MacDonald to him, and he stopped crying and focused on me.
He was asleep by the 15th animal or so.
It was like a miracle.
He stayed asleep for an hour and a half, and when he woke up I give him a quick nurse and he dropped back to sleep before I could get him back in the crib.
He stayed asleep for another hour and a half. The next time he woke, I gave him a quick nurse and I DID get him back in while he was dozy but awake. More patting, more Old MacDonald, and he was asleep.
Before I went to bed, my friend texted me, and reminded me again, “Consistency is key!”
So it’s unfortunate that I woke up at two in the morning with Babby snuggled up against me on my booba, and no memory of how he got there.
Perfect Husband doesn’t remember either. Sometimes he brings Babby to me in the night, but he has no memory of it if he did.
So that was a flaw.
But when Babby woke at 3:00 am, I moved back into the nursery and didn’t come out until he had fallen asleep in his crib. This time took a little longer – I had to take him back out several times and re-offer him the breast. When he finally did fall asleep, though, he did it just staring at the seahorse while it played, and I just sat nearby and tried not to fall asleep.
I tiptoed back to bed at 4:30, feeling accomplished.
He slept until his usual 6:30 – in his crib!
His morning nap was easy. Nursed, laid down in the crib, and then patted, his eyes rolled back in his head almost as soon as Old MacDonald began, and he slept for two and half hours.
I decided that I was clearly awesome.
I had forgotten that the afternoon nap is usually a much bigger struggle.
On the bright side, it was a typical struggle, with him biting me and then crying for the breast, and then biting and arching his back. When he does this he often gets rocked to sleep, but this time I just kept putting him in the crib. I sang round after round of Old MacDonald, but he just kept getting more rageful. The fact that someone outside was trimming hedges with chainsaw did NOT help.
He would rage, I would nurse him, he would bite me, I would dump him in the crib and sing, and he would rage again.
After an hour, PH, who was home sick with a migraine (poor man – not the ideal time for a screaming baby) spelled me off and the change startled Babby into drifting off.
…We’ll see how tonight goes…