Saturday, July 08, 2006

Quote of the day:

"Weaning is going to be a wocky woad."
- my husband :)

I'm afraid he's right.

But I'm also sort of thinking that weaning, per se, isn't going to be the issue. Or at least not the main issue. Yes, on occasion Jonathan will tug on my shirt and ask...but it is fairly rare. The bigger problem is that nursing to sleep is his routine. Not just nursing before sleep, but nursing until completely asleep. I have, in the past, tried to nurse him to "almost asleep" the way they tell you to in the books, but it just doesn't work. I have a kid who wakes up the moment I move away and wails unless he's completely out. (To be fair, he has on occassion nursed to calmness and then gone to sleep in his crib...but these exceptions are few and far between.)

So I think the issue is sleep, really, not nursing. And I am not looking forward to dealing with this one. Jonathan is an incredibly stubborn little boy. We've seen that since he was very small, and it is getting more obvious as he grows. I know that eventually, this trait will become perseverance, and will probably be one of his greatest assets...but right now...! The most basic things are often met with stubborn disobedience and then tantrums. Repeatedly. Naptime, even when he asks for it, can be a pitched battle. This afternoon Gabe listened (I was out of the house, thankfully!) to Jonathan cry for an hour and a half because he had awakened as I moved away after nursing him down, and we decided that it really was naptime and he really did need to stay in his crib and fall asleep. (Jonathan had been acting tired earlier, had requested to go "ni ni" and nursed himself to a light sleep, so we knew that he did need the nap.) I hate doing this, and it goes against almost everything in me, but I don't know what the better option is. The "help your baby sleep gently" books haven't worked for us from day one, and not for lack of trying them. My mom says that they wouldn't have worked for me, either, which is somehow comforting and also not very helpful. I gather I wasn't a very cooperative baby. ;)

I think the hardest thing about this happening now is just that - it is happening now. While I'm pregnant, and tired, and finding life to be very hard. I'm already set to cry over next to nothing, so dealing with tantrums and screaming naptimes feels like more than I can handle. I will handle it, but I am less than certain that I will handle it well under these circumstances, and that is another worry to add to the pile.

I wish there was a checklist that I could follow that would promise a happy, sleeping, weaned child at the end (and preferably throughout, as well.) But all the checklist books don't seem to apply to this child. I'm starting to wonder if perhaps all the "how to" books for child rearing only really work on passive, easy children.

So: does anyone out there have a stubborn, strong-willed child that has been weaned successfully? And who goes to sleep without a battle? Because if so, could you please tell me your secret? :)


Linds said...

Your son is stubborn? I never would have guessed... :) I think you and I are going to be cursed with stubborn children. The good news is that once they learn to recognize right from wrong, they'll stubbornly cling to what is right. Maybe that can be your mantra until then.

I don't know much from personal experience, but my mother always tells me that she got to the point when she just had to grit through it and let me scream. I eventually learned. My comeuppance: to hear about it for the rest of my life. :)

Anonymous said...

Have you tried using a bottle instead?

kelly t said...

I had the same problem with Lucy. Around a year, we weaned her from being dependent on nursing to fall asleep through having Jess read to her till she fell asleep. It took awhile at first, but within a month we just had to give her a book in bed and she was content.

Secondly, does he have a self-soothing companion besides your breast? Lucy had nothing (she wouldn't take a pacifier or suck her thumb). So, when I wanted to wean her, I basically just hunted around for something to become her 'security blanket'. This is where her newfound obsession with Cinderella came in handy and she ended up weaning herself!

Anyhow, good luck!

slowlane said...

I can't give you any pointers, but I can give you a powerfully motivating story that might help you get through the unpleasantness now.
I once babysat for an almost four year old whose mother told me not to worry if the child was not asleep by the time they got home at 11 because he never went to sleep without nursing. She said she didn't have a problem with that. I quietly decided that I did.