Friday, December 9, 2011

Nightweaning thoughts (3) (or, "Dreamfeeding, not screamfeeding")

OK, I think we're done. First I cut down on the nighttime feeding, then I stopped, we had screaming all night, we had screaming some of the night, we had brief nightwakings with no screaming, we had one brief nightwaking per night with no screaming, and then it stopped altogether. Baby Seal has been sleeping through the night from 7.30pm to 6.30am (apart from a quick dreamfeed at 10.30) 90% of the time for the last month or so. Yours truly is a happy mummy.

Now...I suppose this is the point where I am supposed to talk in heartbroken tones for a bit about how I am going to miss those lovely middle-of-the-night-quality-moments, the way Dr Sears, the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and every last flippin' poster on Kellymom and talk about when they are doling out the usual bullshit-bingocard advice to mothers who are cracking under the strain of sleep deprivation: "They're only little once, mama! Treasure these golden moments when you can snuggle them in the middle of the night for the 14th time! You'll miss it one day! [insert annoying dancing and blinking huggy emoticons]" Well, as a matter of fact, I don't. Not one little bit. I have never understood why the experience of being woken up from a sound sleep by a wailing human being is supposed to fill you with a sort of golden glow of motherly love, especially when the wakings go on and on all night. Yes, there is snuggling involved, but snuggling together is something you can do any time of the day, without compromising your sleep--or, alternatively, you can do what I'm doing now and enjoy some middle-of-the-night snuggles on your terms, and without any interruption to your sleep, in the form of a dreamfeed.

Oh dreamfeed, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Baby gets milk and sleeps soundly. Mummy has her breasts emptied just when she needs it and gets lovely post-nursing sleepy hormones as well. As someone who has always had trouble dropping off to sleep, I have to say that there is nothing to beat the feeling of falling asleep after the dreamfeed--like sinking into a warm milky bath. Screamfeedings suck. Dreamfeedings are where those golden glowy motherly love feelings are to be found.

Only question now is, what on earth am I going to do when Baby Seal outgrows dreamfeeding? ("Mum, I know breastmilk's good for my immunities and all, but this dreamfeeding business is starting to get in the way of my A-level studies...") Perhaps this could be the answer to the mystery of why women in some parts of Papua New Guinea used to adopt and nurse pet piglets when their children grew past nursing age. Wonder if our Russian Blue cat Otto would be interested....