There comes a time in every parent’s life that they think to themselves, “I really need to start getting more sleep.” For most, this thought happens around month 5 of pregnancy, and then again just about every night until your child is in college.
For those of us who choose to cosleep, it can be a bit of a rough road getting an infant or even toddler to sleep through the night because of the ever tempting milk laying so near to them. But is it possible to get a full night’s rest? Absolutely. It’s not a quick process, but slowly and surely you can successfully phase out night nursings while still sharing a bed.
The first order of business is to determine if little one is COMFORT nursing or nursing out of real hunger. If you find that your little one is responding to real hunger cues at night, your first course of action should be to give them a nice, big feeding or meal as close to bedtime as possible. When they begin rooting around for the breast, try rolling over and see what happens. Once the immediate smell of milk is out of the way, some little ones are able to settle right back down after fussing for a minute or two.
If your little one is having a hard time with that self soothing, introducing a lovey of some kind could be very useful at this stage. When Sebastian was an infant, he went to bed nearly every night with a slightly damp fish shaped wash cloth. When he would wake up and not get the nipple he was searching for, he would suck a little water off the cloth and drift back off to sleep. He no longer needs fishy towel to soothe himself now at nearly 2, and with the addition of a later last feeding of the day, he is now only nursing one time during the night. His stomach is about the maturity of an 8-10 month old, so I consider this to be pretty great progress. I can clearly see that goal of a whole night’s sleep dangling in front of us now, and I can only hope it isn’t too long before we can reach out and grab it.
What are some methods that have kept YOUR child from nursing all night?