We have turned a huge corner (in my opinion) in our constant quest for a full nights sleep. No Colin has not yet started putting huge chunks of time together while sleeping, but I have been making huge progress in curing him of his need to nurse to sleep. He has been doing very well at night taking the final step of going to sleep without nursing but still needed nursing to relax and settle into 'sleep mode'. Nap time was always trickier because I live in fear of the skipped nap. However this past weekend I was toying with the idea of just ripping the band-aid off and stopping it this week. This week was supposed to be 'Boot Camp Week' starting Wednesday night, Sean had even taken Thursday and Friday off of work but after us being so sick last week we aren't ready for boot camp yet (and Sean was happy not to miss more work.) We will get back to it but I'm thinking I can accomplish pieces of the goal without the extreme measures yet of the 'pick up/ put down' routine.
Last night after arriving home late from Long Island, Colin didn't show much interest in nursing (having eaten right before we got in the car) so I just held him and sang him some songs until he feel asleep on my shoulder. Feeling empowered I only allowed him to nurse for about 5 mins before his first nap of the day today and NOT AT ALL before his second. There was a good bit of crying involved, particularly before his second nap. At one point I looked at the clock and said to myself 'if he is still crying at 2:30 (ten mins away) I'll let him nurse', but by 2:30 I was laying him down in his crib fast asleep! Tonight I even decided to switch the order of his bed time nursing session and his story time with Daddy. Again. he cried and struggled in my arms but it lasted less than 15 mins and he was asleep. I know people think I'm crazy for not laying him down and letting him cry it out alone, but all I can say is I can't do it. Having him cry in my arms is 100% different than having him cry by himself.
I realize I have just substituted one crutch for another at this point but it is such an improvement! I am one step closer to putting him down and walking away and having him drift peacefully off to sleep. I find myself using an approach similar to one outlined in 'The No-Cry Sleep Solution' but I'm actually allowing him to cry a bit and having much more success. This isn't 'easy as pie', but it isn't nearly as hard as I expected it to be. Tomorrow should be easier, and by Friday I hope to have no problems at all!
Our overnight weaning has seen some set backs during my illness and subsequent decrease in supply, but we are working back toward the 4am goal we were achieving last week. The night before I got sick Colin actually slept from 9:00pm to 2:00am, that is FIVE HOURS, that is technically "through the night"! The best part, I was also asleep most of that time, waking with quite a start at 1:30 with the odd feeling that I had overslept. Colin has been doing well going back to sleep quickly without nursing most nights, and at least once a night he resettles himself without us even needing to tend to him. It doesn't help that 'city noise' (horns, alarms, fire trucks, etc.) causes at least 20% of his night wakings. All in all, I'm very encouraged by our progress on all fronts! Baby steps I know, but very important baby steps in my opinion.
A random picture (from our trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens) to reward you for reading all this: