Tonight for the third or fourth time Isabella went to bed without nursing and without even asking to nurse.
She had a very difficult time falling asleep early on. Even in the hospital everyone noted how alert she always was. She hardly slept at all. Not what I expected from a newborn. And during the first year of her life she almost never fell asleep unless she nursed herself to sleep. The only exceptions were falling asleep in the car or stroller. She’s down to nursing only once or twice a day now, just for her nap and at bedtime. Some days she goes down for a nap after falling asleep in the car or stroller.
In the past months I’ve finally got her to the point where at bedtime she’ll nurse for a while and then I can put her to bed still awake with a sippy cup full of water. But she demands that nursing time after bath and prayers with daddy. And unless she falls asleep while we’re out, I can’t get her to go down for a nap unless I nurse her until she’s sound asleep in my arms, which usually only takes a minute or two if I properly catch her when she’s getting tired.
Anyway, one day last week—or was it the week before? my time sense has slipped with being sick the last two weeks—one night she surprised me. She didn’t ask to nurse. After prayers she grabbed a couple of board books from the basket and I read them to her. The we started rocking a bit. When I stopped she rocked back and forth to try to get us going again. I noticed she was blinking quite a bit so I started singing to her. The eyes got heavier and heavier and soon she was fast asleep. I put her into her bed with no fuss, still clutching her board book in one hand.
The next night she was so tired she fell asleep in my arms before we even finished saying bedtime prayers, much to Dom’s amusement. Then for the next few of nights she reverted to asking to nurse once prayers had been said and I didn’t refuse.
Tonight she leaned back in my arms during prayers and laid her head against Dom’s chest. When he got up and left she continued to lay there with her head thrown back over my arm, staring at the shadow on the wall. I held her and we rocked and I sang through my repertoire of lullabys until her eyes got heavy and she resettled herself into a sleeping posture with her head snuggled against my chest, doll and blanket still clutched in her hands. Before this she’s only fallen asleep while I rocked her maybe a handful of times total.
Maybe I will be able to accomplish this final phase of weaning without having to put her down crying and screaming.