The tiny one is 20 months old and until two nights ago, still fed to sleep. As I'm training as a doula, about to have a book published and hoping to go to a midwifery conference in Germany this fall, I thought it might be handy if someone other then myself (and my boobs) could send her off to slumber.
Not being one for controlled crying, I wanted to find a different way of helping my little monster fall off to sleep. I'd read somewhere about the whole "kissing" them to sleep thing. Unfortunately, not being the most diligent of students, I forgot the bulk of what I'd read and only remembered that it had something to do with kissing your baby at increasing intervals until they went to sleep.
So I lay her down and told her quite seriously that it was bedtime and that now mama was going to kiss her three times and she would then fall asleep. I leaned down and studiously delivered three quick kisses to her cheek.
She started to giggle.
I kissed her again.
She giggled louder.
I kept kissing her.
She started in on some pretty serious belly laughs.
The serious side of my brain, the side that reads sleep studies and understands concepts regarding dim lights and silent rooms, was horrified! Surely I was winding the child up and she would NEVER settle!
But the other part, the part that truly believes that by wishing on the first star of the night, my book has a better chance of being a success and that my children will be happy and healthy all their lives, said that perhaps this laughter, much like the crying that I did not want to do, would eventually wear her out....
That all of this wrestling and laughter and tickling and kissing combined with the dim lights and warm blankets might just maybe help to put my baby to sleep....
So we kissed and we wrestled and we tickled and we laughed...
I told her made up stories about "Spencer" (her favourite character on Balamory. )
I sang the alphabet, always a sure hit with her big sis.
I tried Twinkle, Twinkle. Again, a regular chart topper of the snot queen's.
And then, I hit pay dirt.
I started to sing softly... "What 's the story in Balamory, wouldn't you like to know?"
She lay stock still and looked up at me, eyes wide...
"What's the story in Balamory, Tell me and we will go..."
She smiled dreamily...
"La la la la la la la la la la la la la, Baaa Laaaa Mooooorrrryyyy"
Her eyes began to close....
A few minutes and several verses of my hap hazard version of the Balamory Theme song later, she was down for the count.
No stress for me and more importantly, no tears for her.
Even better, she fell asleep happy.
So for anyone out there wondering if their breastfed baby will ever fall asleep without the boob, there is tear free hope indeed :)
Forget controlled crying.
For us, it's uncontrolled laughter all the way.