My husband and I are about to go away for 6 nights on business and our 2 1/2 year
old son will be staying with his aunt and uncle.
Here's the catch... I am still nursing our son. He goes to sleep while nursing and just to make it even more complicated, we are also co-sleepers.
We did an overnight, trial run recently and surprise! our son and his aunt did not get much sleep. He had a very difficult time getting to sleep, then woke up in the middle of the night looking for mommy and the nummies and then could not get back to sleep for hours. .
He has never really taken a bottle and I don't know that pumping is the answer either, because it's, for the most part, about habit and comfort for us now. I do not know how to make this time away easier for all involved.
Any thoughts? I could really use the advice!
Re: Outta Towner
Would the aunt feel comfortable sleeping in the same room or bed with your son? that may help, assuming he knows her well and is comfortable with her.
Are you going to pump and leave some momma milk for him? if so, she could offer that at night or during upset. In my experience just having that familiar taste seems to help. It need not be in a bottle, use whatever he usually drinks out of. I would suggest experiment with giving him expressed milk before hand, and explain this is how he can have mommas milk when he is visiting his Aunt and Uncle. I would also suggest, when discussing the situation with him ahead of time, making the focus HIS visit to his aunt and uncle (or their visit with him) and not as "When mommy and daddy are away" or talking about your trip as something fun or a vacation.
I stressed out like mad when I left my nursing and co-sleeping 2.5 year old son with a friend overnight when I went into the hospital to have his brother, I was able to leave him with another mom who was also bedsharing with her 2 year old son, so I gave her permission to have my guy with them, and it went ok.
Even a non-cosleeping, non nursing 2.5 year old is often going to struggle with overnight visits, I have done enough babysitting to know. So don't let anyone blame your parenting choices for the sleep issues.
there are two approaches I think might help, polar opposite ideas. The first is, making the overnights as much like home as possible (to the point of having them stay at your home while you are gone) and with same rules, same schedule, similar food etc as home. or, making it so different and fun he is distracted from missing mommy. Ideas for that would be, setting up a tent and go camping in the living room, getting to watch something special he normally would not get to watch, eat stuff he is not normally allowed to eat (within reason- you don't want him getting sick) etc.
Or just add one fun element/special privilege into it somehow.