Weaning and Anxiety

Weaning and Anxiety

Today I had one of those light bulb moments: maybe I don’t have to be in control. Sometimes things just work themselves out.

One of the things I’ve been worrying about and vaguely hoping will sort itself out before the baby is born is Sophie’s nursing/sleeping habits. Until recently she’s been needing to be nursed to sleep for both nap and bedtime. In the past month or so we’ve slowly transitioned her to a different bedtime ritual, keeping her up a bit later to say prayers with us and Bella. I nurse her briefly either before or after prayers but she doesn’t fall asleep and when it’s time to put her down she kisses Daddy and Bella and then I go tuck her into her bed. She has loved being a part of our family prayers, delights in blessing everyone with holy water as is our custom. Some nights she blesses Dom up to a dozen times. Now when I put her into the crib I tuck her under a blankie with her dolly and draw a cross on her forehead and ask God to bless her and her guardian angel to watch her, tell her I love her and give her a last kiss and then walk away.

She almost never cries or protests anymore but smiles up at me and then snuggles in and goes to sleep. Especially after I began drawing the cross and saying a brief prayer. Funny how things like that really do matter even to such small children. She’s almost always sound asleep when I go to tuck Bella in a few minutes later. (Bella gets to stay up a bit later for a last Pooh story read by Daddy and maybe a read through a prayer book with me.)

So that took care of bedtime; but I was still worried about the nap. I’ve finally got both girls sleeping on about the same nap schedule (what a joy and relief that is!); but until this week Sophie has nursed until she’s sound asleep. However, since she takes a much shorter nap than Bella, I decided to try to put Bella down first if I can so as to maximize my quiet time and not use precious minutes of Sophie’s short nap in reading to Bella and getting her ready to sleep. So I’ve been letting Sophie play around on the floor in their room while I read Bella her requisite picture book and part of a Pooh story. Then I take Sophie into our room and nurse her and put her down in the portacrib in there.

But in the past week she’s started nursing for a shorter time and then pulling away before she falls asleep. So I’ve been snuggling with her a bit more and then trying to just put her in the portacrib awake. I’ve used the same sort of ritual I use at bedtime: tuck in her blankies and make sure she has her dolly, trace a cross on her forehead and say a brief prayer, tell her I love her and then firmly tell her to close her eyes and go to sleep. She’s got to the point where she no longer fusses when I walk out of the room but quietly snuggles in and goes to sleep.

Today as I tucked her blanket around her and looked at her smiling face I realized how exactly it follows the ritual I have with her sister. And then I realized that a huge part in the ease with which she’s made the transition might be that she’s been watching me put Bella down for her nap and seen how calm and quiet Bella is. She wants to be just like her big sister so I wouldn’t be surprised if that weren’t a huge part of why it has been so much easier of late. And I didn’t even set out to do it that way, it sort of just happened.

I was so worried that we’d never get to this point before Benedict’s birth and yet all the pieces keep falling into place. Gee, like maybe God has a plan and if I stop worrying and just let things happen it will all work out! Now I wouldn’t be shocked if in the next couple of months she doesn’t spontaneously wean herself altogether. Right now she’s nursing just three times a day: first thing in the morning, nap time and bedtime. Every once in a while she asks for a little extra when she’s feeling tired or upset and I give in and let her nurse for a few minutes but mostly we stay on schedule and I give her snacks at those times. We have played around a bit with skipping the wake-up session and going straight to her highchair for breakfast and some days she seems ok with that, others not so much. That is still the longest session and she seems to really be reluctant to even cut it short. She nurses almost half an hour some days. Still, as long as she’s making the sleep time transitions I’m not nearly so worried about force weaning her if she hasn’t got there yet when the baby arrives. (Yeah, I’ve heard of tandem nursing but for this my 3rd c-section I’m sure to be in the hospital for at least 4 days so she’ll have to go cold turkey that long at least and my guess is that will be enough to make her give it up altogether.)


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  • Thanks, GB. I feel like you give me too much credit.  Being a native Texan I do tend to be wary about snakes, even though I’ve never seen a poisonous snake outside of a zoo. However, I’m pretty aware of what poisonous snakes look like so I know which ones to avoid. There are only two poisonous species of snake in Massachusetts, which live in remote wilderness not in suburbia. This guy was definitely not a rattlesnake or a copperhead. He looked like a garter snake to me and was doing his best to get away from me, not threatening at all.

    If you don’t know what snakes are native to your area, it’s not a bad idea to find out. It’s the kind of thing I like to do anyway, learn about native flora and fauna. I’m not a great naturalist or explorer but I do like to browse through guide books and internet sites so I have some chance of making an identification when I do spy a species that’s new to me.

  • So, you’re barefoot, you see a snake, and instead of running as fast and as far as possible you take pictures? And the girls are in the yard, too? Hmmm, something tells me I could never be an “intrepid nature blogger” or anything like it, lol wink I know I’m pathetic: the idea of camping scares me to death, I tremble before the tiniest spider, centipedes send me running upstairs… Italy is such a “tame” country, but here I’ve come to realize the US are quite rich in things crawling, flying, jumping, slithering, you name it. My husband is from southern Texas, and after visiting last year, I’ve concluded Texas is for Texans, and I’ll never set my foot there in summer, ever again! I’ll never forget his grandmother laughing at a tarantula strolling in her front porch… It didn’t even occurr to her to kill the monster!! But if you have snakes in Ma., where shall I be safe?? (We’re in Northern Virginia – I’ve been lucky so far, nothing really dramatic, lol)
    I must admit, though: great pictures!