Changing Our Sleep Patterns- Night 5

Continuing our way through Dr. Jay Gordon’s method of changing sleep patterns in the family bed (or family sleeping space as the case may be, we kind of take up the whole room).  We have crossed Night 5 off our list.  You can read about how and why we decided to start this here, as well as read through night 1, night 2, night 3 and night 4.

Official analysis?  Not terrible, not great but love is in the air.  Oh, and I can already tell I’m feeling better for getting more sleep.  What’s crazy is that this really is more sleep.

I like more sleep.  Even just a little bit more sleep.  With just a little more sleep I’m moving beyond just surviving.

We went to bed late again last night.  Usually on Saturdays we aim for a 10.30 bed time for the grown ups in the house but The Piano Man got bit by something on his hand while setting up the kiddie pool earlier in the day and it was looking really scary.  Concerned, I Googled.  Bad idea. When it comes to the internet and insect/arachnid bites, the intent of the internet is to scare the crap out of you.  As a friend of mine said “Dr. Google = Dr. Scary.”  Took me a while to be convinced his hand wasn’t going to fall off and he wasn’t going to die in his sleep.  Also, I had strange dreams.


midnight- We finally head to bed.  Smunchie wakes as we do, The Piano Man and I comfort in bed together, it’s a joint effort.  Lots of back patting and mm-hmming.  Took no more than 10 minutes.

12.30-5ish- moved Smunchie to her bed at some point, I don’t actually remember doing this.

5ish- I think I was dreaming when Smunchie woke because it took me a bit to register that it was her and not some child in my very odd dream about art work, spiders (thanks to my Googling) and some old friends.  Reality was way better than my dream.  The Piano Man got her and began to comfort her.  Pushing away, twisting, fighting cuddles, Smunchie would have none of it.  As much as she loves her daddy at this moment, this time, he was not the person she wanted.  It kind of sounded like he was pinching her.  Good thing I know he’d never do that.  He sat her on the bed and through her tears she crawled over to me.  When she reached me her crying stopped, I propped myself up on my elbow and she wrapped her arms tightly around my neck.  Following the lesson of the night before, I soaked it up until she let go.  Then, even in the dark, her little hand went straight for the neckline of my pajama top and with a little tug she said “bobbies.”  Kissing the top of her head I croaked/whispered “bobbies all done.”  She didn’t ask again but she did launch into a very angry sounding howl.  For a moment I considered going ahead and nursing her, we’d had a good stretch already and we could all probably just go back to sleep faster if I did.  Getting increasingly more sleep already helps me think a little more clearly it turns out and I remembered that I don’t do more than doze with a baby attached to the breast.  And we’d already come this far.  I whispered and sang to her, patted the bed beside me and she laid down.  For about 20 minutes she alternated almost falling asleep and then revving back up, remembering she was mad about something.  In that time she only asked to nurse once more.  Occasionally she tried to push me away particularly if I offered her a drink out of my cup (hey, it worked the night before!) or her sippy.  I continued to pat or rub her back, cuddle her close, and sing or offer our sing-song “mm-hmm.”  At some point 3 year old Squiggle Bug tried to join us but The Piano Man took her out of the room and slept with her until his alarm went off at 6:45.  It was after Smunchie and I cuddled for a while that she seemed frustrated with me as though I was crowding her, pushed me away and fell asleep.  So did I.  The last time I looked at the clock was around 5.28am

6:45ish- The Piano Man got up and ready to go.  He said there was a moment when he looked at Smunchie and I asleep in the bed and thought how sweet we looked.  Clearly he doesn’t mind the drooling, crazy hair look because I was totally rocking it.  The Piano Man here: the two of them were utterly adorable, each of them with an arm thrown over their head, on either side of the bed, sleeping soundly.  Beautiful.

7ish- The Piano Man came in to kiss me good bye and let me know he was leaving (I hate when I wake up and he’s not there, even if I knew he would be gone).  Smunchie’s eyes fluttered and within seconds she was sitting up and reaching for him.  Standing next to the bed her daddy cuddled her in one of her long, pressing hugs.  A rejection apology hug.  I think it made him feel better about earlier.  It didn’t end until he had to peel her off of him so he could leave.  He laid her down next to me and I got a special squeezy hug of my own.  Releasing me, she laid back next to me on the pillow and smiled and chatted with me.  I think it was all about the sun, the smell of our clean sheets and maybe asking where Ciel was (in her bed).  She copied me while she jabbered away, stroking my cheek as I stroked hers.  I asked if she would like bobbies, she smiled, looked at my chest and said “ah, ah” showing me her wide open mouth, a funny little practice left over from correcting the lazy toddler latch she had developed a few months ago.  Together we eased into the morning with my milk filling her tummy and all that she is filling my heart.

I’ve gotten through lots of nights with babies and toddlers.  Each child has been a different experience for so many reasons not the least of which include all our unique personalities and how The Piano Man and I have evolved as parents.  Still, I had forgotten how new stages and changes make me more aware and grateful for what I’ve had, what is now and what is coming.  Smunchie and I are doing well and perhaps paradoxically, enjoying each other more through this night weaning process.  This is starting to feel more like a relationship with interactions beyond meeting physical needs for safety, provision and comfort.  My love for her has always been strong but I sure am enjoying her developing expressions of love for her daddy and me now as well.  I suspect that this has been there for a long time but with more rest I’m actually able to observe and enjoy it because I’m not as consumed with just trying to survive.

We’re headed to bed here in a bit, we’ll have an update on night 6 for you some time tomorrow.

By the way, The Piano Man is fine, it looks like he’s going to live AND keep his hand.  After sharing the pic with a few doctor friends and talking with one at church this morning, we think he’s just have a bad reaction to a fire ant bite.


  1. Catherine Mackechney says

    I have been keeping up with y’alls night-weaning since you began. I have been working on night-weaning my 14 month old for a few weeks now and things have been less than smooth. They have not been terrible either, so I’m not complaining! At this point I am staunchly committed to no “milks” between midnight and 6:30 am, but there is still at least one angry baby fit in that time period, most nights there are several.

    One of the main reasons I have decided to night-wean my daughter is because I am now about 9 weeks pregnant with #2 and I desperately need some good sleep, which is even more difficult to come by now that nursing is uncomfortable (and sometimes painful). One big question I have for you is how did you correct Smunchie’s lazy toddler latch? My LO’s latch definitely needs help, but I have no idea how to go about changing it.

    Thank you for documenting your (and your husband’s and Smunchie’s) night-weaning journey. In my current journey I attempt to look at the clock every time Scarlet wakes and every time she nurses, but when I later try to recall the events of the night it has all become a blur, so extra kudos to you! I know there are a lot of moms and dads out there, myself included, that will be helped tremendously by this!

  2. Awesome progress, and yay to more sleep!!!
    Good job not taking the easy way out in response to the middle-of-the-night crying, it’s so hard when you’re half-asleep and have that habit but like you said, you’ve come so far, and she’s already learning and adapting to the new game plan.

  3. TheRealMBJ says

    I was pretty much in the same situation as you are 4 months ago. J would have none of the weaning though 🙁 But we left it a while and tried again 2 months ago and now he sleeps, still waking during the night but easily comforted with a cuddle between bedtime and 4H30-5am with no milk. I won’t. Feed him before 6am either so as he often just gets up if he can’t get milk (no more tantrums though) I go downstairs with him, make myself some tea, get him a drink and a snack, read and play and then feed if he asks (he always does) after 6am.