Today I experienced a moment of parenting clarity. One of those brief moments in life, when the clouds part and the winds calm and you’re able to see things clearly for just a few seconds.
Cadence has finally been weaned off milk before sleep!
This has been a point of stress in our house for the last four months or so. The milk before nap and bedtime wasn’t horrible, but it was the milk in the middle of the night that was driving me nuts.
Cadence pulled the classic double standard when she woke up in the middle of the night. If daddy went in to put her back to sleep, she didn’t ask for milk. But if mommy got up with her, she INSISTED on milk. And if mommy told her “no”, she would scream and cry until she got her milk.
Matt and I both agreed that she needed to stop drinking milk in the middle of the night. For one, we were using way more diapers than necessary and two she doesn’t need those middle-of-the-night calories and should be getting those calories at dinner or breakfast. But holding a hard line on the matter was making everyone miserable.
So instead, I started gently pushing her towards “no more milk” simply by not preparing any milk before naps and bedtime. If she asked for it I would tell her “you just had your milk with lunch/dinner. Here, let’s read a book!”. Sometimes this worked and sometimes she really wanted some milk. In which case I didn’t argue, and just warmed up some milk.
I’ve started doing the same thing at night when she wakes up. I’ll go in and comfort her without milk, and if she asks for milk I put her back in her crib while I go downstairs to warm some up.
After doing this for weeks and weeks and weeks….she’s almost completely stopped asking for milk.
This is the part where my eyes are wide and my jaw is slack and I am just completely amazed that it worked.
We are 95% milk free for sleeping. And she’s sleeping through the night more often now too!! The only time she asks for milk, is occasionally in the middle of the night. But I have complete confidence that in a few more weeks, even the middle-of-the-night milk request will stop. SO EXCITING!
I had a similar experience when we weaned Adelaide off her pacifier. Come of think of it, she was about the same age as Cadence. We did the same thing, where we just stopped offering her paci for nap and bed time and eventually she stopped asking for it and started going to sleep without it. I really thought it was one of those things unique to Adelaide, but after seeing a similar practice work for Cadence too, I might try this approach in other areas of our life. Like potty training this summer (crossing fingers!!!!!).
Anywho, kids amaze me. I love this lesson my girls have taught me: gentle pushing + time and consistency = results, without any fighting at all. Hooray for no fighting!!