Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Sweetness of Baby Bedtime

When Xander was about eleven months old I stopped nursing him to sleep. Our pediatrician kept telling us how important it was to brush his teeth after nursing, so I finally decided to make the switch. I was devastated as in my mind it signified the end of Xander's babyhood. I was convinced bedtime would never be the same sweet, tender loving time we shared every night. To my great delight, I was wrong!

Xander adjusted in two nights from our old routine of bath, brush teeth, books, nurse/sing goodnight songs to our new routine of bath, nurse, brush teeth, books, sing goodnight songs. What an adaptable little guy! Sure, he still tries to pull down my shirt sometimes after we've read books when we're singing our goodnight songs to get to the"bibis" (as he calls boobies) but I gently shake my head and smile at him and he smiles back and puts his head on my shoulder. It's actually the only time I tell him no to nursing. The rest of the day he nurses at will and routinely pulls down my shirt when he wants to get to the "bibis."

As I brush his teeth he tries to brush my teeth too and we laugh as he sticks the end of his toothbrush in my mouth. This little boy is so sweet I want to eat him up like an ice cream cone! He also feeds me when he's eating. It's too sweet for words. We laugh, we nurse, we cuddle, we talk, we read. Then when I manage to pull myself away from our sweet cuddling and it's officially bedtime I put my sweet boy in his crib, say a prayer, bless him in Greek, tell him how much I love him for the ninetieth time, and say goodnight. He smiles at me, lies down with his blankies and lion stuffed animal and by the time I walk to the other room to the monitor he's normally asleep. 

It's so hard to leave him at night, knowing I won't see him again until morning. I miss him when he sleeps!!  Up until six months he'd wake up every 1-2 hours to nurse so we co-slept. Co-sleeping for six months allowed us both to get a little sleep but at six months he started to not go back to sleep after nursing. However, once it "stopped working" we knew he had to do something as we were all totally exhausted. We hired a sleep consultant and did a form of sleep training, though I knew I didn't want to fully night wean until he was a year old. I'd go in once when he woke up around 3 or 4am and we'd cuddle and nurse for 30-60 minutes. It was the sweetest time that I'll always cherish. 

But now he's a big boy and goes to sleep on his own after the sweetest hour of bedtime routine that we spend together. I love and cherish this time, just as I love and cherish my sweet angel baby. He is the true love of my life. 

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