Posted on: Tuesday
She has been nursing herself to sleep since her birth, so these past few milk-free nights have taken quite a bit of adjustment for our family. No more five-minute-and-she's-out nursing sessions at the end of the day. No more co-sleeping (waking up to a screaming half-asleep little girl trying desperately to nurse through your t-shirt is no fun for anyone). We've had to search for another way to gently ease Biet into sleep. And we finally figured it out. And it's glorious.
It goes something like this:
At the end of the day, Biet gets a meal & a bath, and we warm up a bottle. When she starts to get sleepy (cranky + rubbing her eyes), I swaddle her and rest her in the crook of my arm. If I'm lucky, she'll drink from the bottle, but sometimes she's too smart and looks at my shirt and cries, knowing that Mama has other milk. Eventually she eats, though, and after her belly is full, the real magic happens. I put her up against my chest with her head resting on my shoulder, walk around and around the darkened room, and begin to sing. I feel her relax & her head nestles into me, and then, she begins to join in. A little babble song of many notes emerges from baby girl's mouth as she tries to harmonize with me. Her voice get's loud & soft, high & low, and then, after about 10 minutes, fades to silence. She sings herself to sleep.
This works like a charm every time. She really sings herself into slumber. A few moments after her voice trails off, I quite literally feel her drift into dreamland. When she truly falls into deep sleep, her weight suddenly intensifies. One moment, you have a sleeping baby on your shoulder, and the next, a limp sack of potatoes crushing your back. And I love it. When I feel the weight change, I know that it is time to lay her down in her crib and that she will be calm. I will never forget that heaviness of my baby girl falling asleep on my shoulder. It is the feeling of her at peace, knowing that she is never alone.
Here is Biet just after falling asleep on Gaby's shoulder the other afternoon. **Gaby deserves for credit for inventing the naptime-shoulder-lullaby**
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