And so a new year begins. 2011. My little Ba-Bean has turned one and the day before she did, she decided she could take more than a couple of steps at a time. Yes, she resolved for the new year to walk longer, better and faster! Off she went. For her birthday I started to make a healthy baby-friendly carrot cake. I say started because she decided not to nap in the morning and to be VERY grumpy in the afternoon so Mommy ended up having to haul her around while Daddy finished the cake. And I use the word “cake” loosely here. Because the texture was decidedly un-cake-like. Could have been the recipe. Could have been our wonky oven that cannot keep a consistent temperature and always ends up running hot and burning things. But it rose. Then it sank. And it was a very moist dense… cake/bar/pound cake? I’m not really sure. But I slathered it with a mixture of cream cheese and whipping cream and we put candles on it and she liked it. I think she mostly liked the icing. She loves dairy this kid, much like her Mom. I think she was also just happy I gave her a big piece all to herself to play with and demolish. Success!
Then, as my new year resolution, now that baby girl was a year old, I felt ready to implement my custom sleep plan created for us. I must admit to dragging my feet on this myself, but then the sleep plan took forever to get sent off, and never did physically arrive in our mailbox so I had to wrangle a PDF copy from our sleep consultant. When it finally arrived in my email, BaBean was suffering from some pretty severe teething (grumpy viking, hear me roar) and caught her Daddy’s cold. So… sleep train we did not. Until the day after her first birthday. We were finally ready. It was time.
I was quaking in my boots on the inside. I’m not going to lie to you. I was terrified she would cry so hard she would vomit and not sure I could follow through if things got that harsh. I hate hearing her cry at any time, even in frustration. And she had slept with my for months, always falling asleep at the breast, with her warm little body next to mine. If it was cold out at night, I’d awake to find her snuggled up firmly against my side under my armpit and I was stuck sleeping wedged between her and the bedrail. But it was worth it in a way. I gave her the best start I could. She had lots of love, and nursing, and warmth at night. She grew big and strong. And now she is one-year-old and her independence is growing every day.
She’s not going to be leaving home any time soon. But she is becoming her own little toddler person. So we did it. I followed the plan in the big picture and the main important points. But… there were a few areas I made my own. A year of mothering my little girl gave me the confidence to tweak a few points that I felt were in her best interest and that I really felt with my Attachment Parenting vision would help and not hinder allowing her to go to sleep by herself safe in the knowledge that Mommy still loves me and will be there for me if I need her.
I gave her as much time to nurse before sleeping as she wanted (no “brisk feeding” as it was noted to do) for me. My little girl would get the comfort and nutrition she needed as she knows better than any time constraint or sleep consultant what she needs from my body. And it worked. The first nap and first night were the hardest. But she learned SO quickly. And she slept. And fell asleep on her own for the first time in months. And slept in her crib! She had NEVER slept in her crib before. I was SO proud of her I could just burst!
Now here we are at Day 3 of the plan and she allows me to put her into the crib and leave her to go to sleep and not even a peep. She was ready. I was ready. I miss her though. I really do. She may sleep well and not wake often or for long, but I am still waking up every 2 hours or so. And my breasts miss the night time nursing. Yikes! I haven’t seen them like this since my milk first came in a year ago! Crazy. But it will be good for us. I can see it. I am enjoying no longer being her human pacifier. Now when we breastfeed it is even more enjoyable than before as it isn’t frustrating if she doesn’t go to sleep. They aren’t needed for that any more. Our time together nursing is now that much more precious and wonderful to me. I’m so happy as I want to do extended breastfeeding with her, and this just makes that all the more possible I believe as there is no resentment, just enjoyment.
I’m also not going to lie that I am not “proud” of the actual CIO. But… I am proud that my little girl took it in stride and was ready. I feel very glad I waited although it was a really long year. It made the whole thing so much less painful than it might otherwise have been and feels like I made the right choices along the way. Hallelujah!
Now if only I could get some sleep too. Perhaps I will have to CIO myself?!?! 🙂