Thursday, November 21, 2013

Time's (almost) up

My wife and I are on the brink of night-weaning the baby, which is a sizable chunk of the overall sleep-training of the baby. First you take a baby who expects to be fed multiple times throughout the night and teach him that it’s no longer going to happen. The baby gets used to that, but still wakes up intermittently and expects to be comforted back to sleep. So then you teach him to get by on less and less external comforting, and he learns to comfort himself. And you end up with a baby who sleeps through the night. You might think that weaning, as an overall component of nursing, would fall under my wife’s domain, but actually it’s mine; my wife makes herself scarce, temporarily relocating to sleep on another floor of the house, and that way she’s not even tempted to give in and feed the baby when he comes half-awake at 1 a.m. and doesn’t know what else to do with himself. I get to accompany him through that, which still doesn’t come close to making up for the months and months of sleep-deprived nights my wife has endured, so I’m certainly not complaining.

Sleepy yet?
How bout NOW?

Much like with the other two kids, we didn’t really have a set plan for when the baby would sleep through the night. Every time, we’ve been as patient and understanding as human nature allows, willing to ride things out for as long as we could, hoping against hope that maybe the baby would surprise us by developing a reliable sleep schedule in his/her/his own holistic way. No such luck. There may have been a sliver of possibility that it might have happened that way with our youngest, but he has two older siblings who wear us out as well, in completely different ways of course but the end results are cumulative. My wife recently came down with some kind of bug which fortunately never fully manifested as anything too debilitating, but nevertheless made her acutely aware of how sleep deprived and generally run down she is, and has been for a while. That does not bode well for November, with the whole long plague-prone winter ahead of us. (Yes, we’ve all had our flu shots at this point, but still.) So, time to pull the trigger, and time to mandate a little more structure in the youngest one’s biorhythms. Not tonight, but pretty soon.

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