Well, we’re past the worst of it, I suppose. It really was only two or three nights that the boy screamed when he wanted to nurse, and then he just started sleeping more, which is really good. When he wakes up, it’s usually around 11:30, and he lets me snuggle him back to sleep. Unfortunately, he only allows this to happen in our bed and not his, which means sleeping with him all. night. long. He then reawakens at 5am. Every morning. He’ll snuggle, and then point at the light. He’ll sit up, ask to nurse, and then lie back down again. Then the whole process starts over again until he finds some sharp object to play with and inevitably pokes me in the eye. But even then, he’ll periodically point at the light, say, “Ka!” which for some reason is his word for “light,” and ask again to nurse.
You see, we told him that he could nurse when the lights came on. He caught on very quickly (like the second day of this), and as soon as the lights would come on in the morning–at 6am–he would get so excited, smile broadly, and shout, “NA-NA!” as though my boobs had just walked into Cheers.
So while he isn’t crying, screaming, or otherwise freaking out about na-na being gone at night, he is expecting morning to come a bit earlier. Before all of this, he would start nursing at about 5am and would do this marathon thing while we kept sleeping. Now, it’s this struggle to get him to lie back down, snuggle with me, and go back to sleep. So far, it’s not happening, so we play this game until 6:00 when we turn on the lights, and NA-NA! arrives once again.
One morning, I caught him at 4:30am trying to turn on the light. This boy thinks he’s found a loophole.
Some friends of ours who went through this almost a year ago say that this is what happened with their daughter at first–that she kept waking up at her normal nursing times even after she night-weaned, and that eventually she slept straight through. Someone out there, please tell me that eventually this boy is really going to sleep. I cannot subsist on five or six hours of sleep every night (and my work keeps me up until at least 11 most nights, or believe me, I would be in bed earlier).
Our next step will be bed weaning and getting the boy first to sleep all night in his portacrib in our room and eventually (probably after we move due to current neighbor noise problems) in his crib in his own room.
It’s exhausting this sensitive sleep training, but it is worth it, and it is working. He’s taking much longer naps most days (before, he never slept more than 40 minutes at a time; now he’s taking sometimes 90 minute naps all on his own and in his own bed), sleeping longer stretches at night, and when he does sleep well, he’s a lot happier and more even tempered. But somehow, I’m getting far less sleep than before (I became really good at sleeping while nursing, even during those all night nurse-a-thons), and I’m really ready for my kid to sleep and sleep and sleep when I am also sleeping. One day, right?