Starting tonight, we're trying a new bedtime routine--we're taking me out of it. On nights when Peter falls asleep easily (within 10-15 minutes), it doesn't matter who's with him. He's always nursed awhile and then cuddled up with one of us. Lately, the nursing time has dropped to about five minutes because it hurts me too much to let him continue. Generally he doesn't mind, so long as one of us stays with him. On long nights (20-45+ minutes), he won't go to sleep with me at all. If after nursing, he doesn't immediately settle down, then Dan comes up and sings to him and stays there until Peter's asleep.
As my belly gets bigger and this baby's birth grows closer, we're realizing that we aren't going to be able to spend so much time getting Peter to bed. (I'd guess that he goes to sleep in 15 minutes or less about half the time, but averages 30 minutes the other days.) At the very least, it can't take both of us. Since my presence is less consistently helpful and the painful nursing isn't an experience I'm enjoying, we're going to have Dan put Peter to bed. Also, we're going to try our best to be more consistent in his bedtime. This week, he's gone to bed anywhere between 8:45 and 11:30 and we have the feeling that isn't helping any. Usually the variation is due to all three of us being out visiting somewhere, so we'll just make a point of being home by 9 to get him to bed between 9 and 9:30.
Back to thoughts on nursing--Peter's been averaging once or twice a day for the past couple weeks. With my working, I'm often away during naptime. He's had a few nights falling asleep in the car, too. Now that we're cutting out the night nursing completely, I'll be curious to see how that affects the early morning, especially. Most mornings, he nurses for 15-20 minutes, but there are still days when it's more like 45-60 if we're both tired enough and don't have anywhere to go. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I got up at 8am after Peter nursed earlier in the morning (5:30-6:00 once and 7:50-8 the other day) and was surprised to hear that Peter stayed in bed with Dan until after 10 am both days. He hasn't slept in that late with me since we cut back on the morning nursing. Our guess is that with Dan, he knows he can't nurse, so he doesn't wake himself up getting annoyed with my refusal to nurse more. Either that, or we've exhausted him with all the Christmas get-togethers.
Tonight, after Peter's bath, I went up and told him goodnight and he asked to nurse (and cried when I left), but it was about the same as nights when Dan comes after we've nursed and it's not working. It took about half an hour before he slept. Not bad for a first try.
2 more months to iron it all out before the baby comes--and there's no guarantee that Peter will willingly stick with the same routine once we throw a baby into the mix. We'll see, I guess.