At Samantha's six month appointment, I asked when we should start night weaning, when I should let her sleep through the night and got the "uh, 2 months ago" answer with some printouts on how to help.
Samantha was nursing every 2 hours through the day, eating about 1/2 a jar of baby food twice a day and about an ounce or two of prune juice every other day. She was also nursing every 2 hours at night. Oh boy was I tired.
The read out suggested a few things and made some awesome points. One was to start stretching out her feeds to every 3-4 hours during the day so she wouldn't "graze" so much and then go longer stretches through the night. Ok. Sounds good. I tried that. I got her to go about every 3-4 hours during the day, one 4 hour stretch at night and then she was up every 2 hours or so.
Not bad really. It also said that we should start letting her put herself to sleep. Yes, this meant allowing her to cry or fuss for a bit to learn how to sooth herself. When I know a baby's needs are met, I do not mind letting them fuss some. Especially if I'm in the room with her, shushing her and keeping my hand on her chest to show her mommy's there. But, it's tiring. After 3 weeks, she could fall asleep during naps in about 30 minutes. The problem is that the 30 minutes of crying would result in maybe an hour long nap. Maybe. On a good day. Twice a day. At night, it would take about the same and get a 4 hour stretch in.
It suggested I cuddle with her at least 3-4 times when not feeding her so she could still feel that closeness. I already do that, I hold this baby all the time, just snuggling her in before she's too big.
Yesterday, I gave it up. Really, it was just frustrating. She would want to eat and I felt like I was denying her. I hated the stress of her crying herself to sleep. I hated how long it took. I hated how long she didn't stay asleep. And really, I didn't feel anymore rested.
So, I decided to just enjoy this time. Enjoy the constant nursing. Relish in the cuddling. Take pride in the snuggling in bed and nursing in the wee hours in the morning. And to be honest, I think I feel more rested the last two days than I did the last few weeks. When she's ready to sleep on her own, and I'm ready for her to have the independence of her own room, we'll get there. For now, I'm going to enjoy having her snuggled up in the bed next to me and listening to her cute little baby sleeping noises.