Recently, I discovered that Noah can actually sleep through the night, without his usual middle-of-the-night nursing session. (Yes, he’s two years old, and still being nursed to sleep. No, I would not like to hear your opinion on how children his age shouldn’t be breastfed anymore, or should be taught to fall asleep on their own, thank you very much.)
All along, I thought that he was hungry, and needed some milk in the middle of the night, because he doesn’t eat much. It didn’t really bother me, because I’d gotten so used to waking up at least once a night to nurse him, and because he goes straight back to sleep after that. One night, I decided to try telling him that he was no longer allowed to wake up for milk at night, and could only have milk when the sun is out again. He listened to me, promised not to wake up for milk, and amazingly, he didn’t. This went on for a couple of nights, then one night, he refused to take no for an answer, and whined till I nursed him. Thankfully, that was a one-off occurrence, and he has since been sleeping through the night.
Now that we’re back in Singapore, and have his cot next to our bed, I decided that it was time for us to stop co-sleeping with Noah. He likes to snuggle up to either of us in his sleep, and moves around way too much for my liking. I’ve been woken up way too many times by his kicking, and it is really not fun to be kicked in the face while you’re sound asleep.
I got C to lower the cot to its lowest possible level, placed a pillow, a bolster, a bean sprout pillow, and a few of Noah’s favourite soft toys in it, and told Noah that he was to sleep in his cot at night. I also reminded him that he could not wake up at night to ask for milk, and had to sleep through the night in his cot. I reiterated that he could only come out of his cot when the sun comes out, and he repeated this a few times after me.
I still nurse him to sleep, and once he is sound asleep, I unlatch him, and place him in his cot. The first night, he woke up after two hours, and instead of picking him up, I offered to pat him back to sleep, and he agreed. Thankfully, he managed to fall asleep again rather quickly, and slept through the rest of the night.
Smiley boy in the morning!
The second night was a lot tougher. Noah woke up three or four times, within the first two hours after I put him in his cot, and kept asking me to pat him. Each time I stopped because I thought he was asleep, he would sit up, and say, “Mummy pat.” Finally, I got tired of patting him, told him that I wasn’t going to pat him anymore because I was going to sleep, and told him to sleep on his own. And he did! I felt so silly and gullible for agreeing to pat him before that. In the morning, I woke up to see that he had managed to turn 180 degrees in the cot!
Sleeping at the other end of his cot
By the fourth night, he was waking up only once a night, but I didn’t have to pick him up at all. I would remind him that he had to sleep in his cot until the sun came out, and he would lie down by himself again. He was really exhausted on the fifth night, and managed to sleep through the night. When I picked him up in the morning, he was in a pretty good mood, and I found him hugging his toy tiger when I came out of the toilet. He ‘rescued’ it through the cot’s bars, and was hugging it quietly while waiting for me. Awww…
Sleeping on his tummy
Hugging his toy tiger
The next morning, he was very busy playing with his toy tiger in the cot, after he woke up.
Checking to see if the sun was already out
Playing with his toy tiger
Since then, he either sleeps through the night, or wakes up once to ask for milk. I always ask him if the sun is out yet, and remind him that he has to sleep in his cot the whole night, until the sun is out. Once, he told me, “Mummy! Poopoo. Change.” and because I was so sleepy, I didn’t do the “smell check”, picked him up from his cot, lay him on the changing table, and realised that there was no poop. I promptly put him back into his cot again, and he fell asleep immediately. A few nights later, he woke me up, and after asking for milk a few times, he decided to change his tactics, and started calling for C instead. Unfortunately for him, C didn’t hear him at all, so he ended up lying down again, and going back to sleep. Such a cheeky little fella!
I’ve noticed that he doesn’t like sleeping on any of his pillows, nor does he want to use a bolster, or cuddle any of his soft toys when he sleeps. He hates being covered by a blanket, so I didn’t even bother giving him one in his cot.
At the moment, Noah sleeps through the night in his cot on good nights, and wakes up around 6 or 7 to ask for milk. After I nurse him, he usually falls back asleep, and I allow him to sleep on our bed, just so he will sleep for a while more, until 9 or so. His bedtime is pretty late, and can range from 1030 to 1230, depending on his mood, so this is a pretty decent schedule for us now. I think this is a pretty good start, and hopefully, he will figure out that there’s no point waking up in the middle of the night, and start sleeping through the night in his cot properly!
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