I think it’s because at 23 months now, Jack has finally gotten all his baby teeth, because he started miraculously sleeping through the night recently! Just a few weeks ago he was waking up every 2 hours all night, and now it’s often times just 1 wake up, and a few nights ago he slept 11 hours without nursing! I’ve been in such disbelief because I’d basically resigned myself to the fact that I’d have a 4 year old who still woke in the middle of the night and came into my bed.
I have been (kind of inconsistently) using a gentle technique of picking 1 or 2 wakeups and nursing a little less time than Jack wants. He has never been soothed by getting patted or being sung to or anything which is kind of sad for me, so the best thing I tried was unlatching him and just rolling over and pretending to be asleep. He would usually say “more” and fuss for a few seconds, and then would go back to sleep. If it kept going longer than maybe 20 seconds or so I would turn back over and nurse him because I didn’t want him to get too upset and really get awake. I did this most nights once or twice for several weeks and saw no change.
Then one night he woke up 2 hours after bedtime as usual but I was so tired that I didn’t want to nurse and thought I would wait a few seconds before nursing on the off chance he would go back to sleep. He ended up just going back to sleep on his own, and then sleeping for 4 more hours which was a long stretch for him! I tried again the next few nights and for some reason not feeding him that first time seemed to be the key to getting longer stretches all night.
We also got the Nursies when the Sun Shines book which couldn’t have hurt, but it arrived after the longer stretches had already started. The book is really sweet though, and has beautiful illustrations. Jack loves it and likes pointing to the cat.
In general, I think this is more of a “wait it out” success story than any technique because I’m pretty convinced it was the constant teething that was really making nights rough for us. Also Jack is finally eating more solids so that’s got to help as well. But nursing him a little less and seeing if he could go back to sleep on his own seems to have helped too, so I wanted to share in case someone else is in a similar boat.
Hopefully this post doesn’t jinx us for tonight!
Jack helping at his learning tower
Parenting a toddler has been fairly challenging lately, and Jack is definitely getting more assertive with his choices and communicating it more. Our days have been involving a lot of mini tantrums where he gets upset that he has to put on a new shirt because his current one is wet, or we need to get in the car to drive somewhere but he wants to take a walk,
One thing that seems to help us a lot is following the Montessori idea of giving Jack as much freedom as possible and letting him help with our daily activities so he has a sense of control over more things. One of his favorite ways to help has always been in the kitchen. Getting a learning tower has been one of the best things we have bought. Jack loves to wash produce, transfer it from one bowl to another, or put things in the food processor and help turn it on. He is also more likely to get excited to try foods that he helps prepare.
Jack also helps with the laundry by putting the quarters in the slots (even though he likes to play with them so it takes way longer). He will also help move things into the dryer or carry some items back down the hallway for me. When I unload the dishwasher he will help with the non-pointy silverware, and he loves helping to clean up messes with a rag. Jack has also been enjoying turning lights off and on by himself and opening and closing doors. He likes to somewhat accurately water the plants too.
There are some activities he loves to help with so much that I have a hard time completing them; if I ever get out the swiffer while he’s around I have to wait quite a while until I can get a turn with it!
at the USS Midway museum
Our family took a road trip to San Diego recently, and it went much better than I expected! I was worried because all our other trips with Jack so far have been a pretty stressful disaster. I guess now that he’s 22 months we have hit a turning point, since he doesn’t hate the car, can manage to mostly sit through a (quick) restaurant meal, and falls asleep a little easier.
We rented a place through air bnb, and I chose somewhere with a king size bed so Jack and my husband and I could all cosleep comfortably. It worked out great which I was surprised by. I nursed Jack to sleep for naps and at night and he slept just as well as at home. I think one of the pros of cosleeping is that your child feels at home wherever his parents are I stayed in the room on my laptop when Jack was asleep to make sure he didn’t roll off the bed and also set up a barrier with pillows.
We planned some family-friendly outings like short hikes by the ocean which Jack loved, and seeing seals at La Jolla cove. We also went to the USS Midway ship which is a museum and Jack loved sitting in the airplanes! We did a mix of eating at restaurants and picking up food to eat at home since Jack can’t handle sitting still at restaurants too often, and we found nice vegan options for him and I to eat.
Jack also stayed in underwear the whole time, and we brought the potty in the car and to the rental house. We just stopped at the side of the road for him to pee on the trip down which worked out great, and it was not a problem at all.
I’m glad that the trip went so well- I think that after around 18 or 20 months things have definitely started to get easier in many ways! There are still lots of times when Jack gets upset when things don’t go his way (he is very assertive), but I try to be as AP as I can and hope that it pays off in the long run. I’m excited to plan a road trip up to Northern California in the Spring now that this road trip went so well. I’m also 5% less anxious about our upcoming plane trip across the country for the holidays