I have been very candid in the past about my son's nighttime sleep habits (or, unfortunately, lack there of). I believe very strongly that sleep decisions are very personal decisions made by families based on both the parents' needs and their children's needs. I also believe that there is a balance to be struck between the two. Too often, we are told that the only way to approach sleep is all or nothing. Sometimes it seems like our choice is between make them cry it out in a bed by themselves or night nurse them forever in the family bed. I think in our hearts we know that we should (and do) have other choices, but sometimes we are afraid to "make it up on our own." It's always a wonderful and refreshing opportunity to receive help in the form of materials that support you in your effort to forge your sleep balance in your family.
Gentle night weaning is an idea that we've been considering in our house (now that our son is experiencing a lull in teething and is approaching his second birthday in two months). I've read websites that have gentle night weaning ideas. But when when offered the chance to review a children's book on the topic, Nursies When the Sun Shines, I practically jumped for joy!
Not to judge a book by its cover, but my first impression was that the book (by Katherine Havener and illustrated by Sara Burrier) is absolutely beautiful. And I wasn't the only one to notice it, my son, as soon as I opened the box containing the book, took it from me and hugged it! I think its soothing blue and purple tones set the perfect stage for this sweet little story about a dear little nursling who learns that while mama will always be there to "hold you and love you while you drift back to sleep," nursies happen when the sun shines.
The language itself is rhythmic and it lulls young listeners with its repetition. "Baby" always comes first in this story, followed by "Mommy," and then "Nursies" to underscore the primacy of the mother/child relationship that will continue long after "nursies" end. (I also enjoyed how the pictures themselves provided repetitions of a pet cat, which my son also enjoyed pointing to on almost every page.) Refreshingly, the book was not focused on the fact that the nursies were going to change or go away, but rather that nursies are something special for the daytime. Instead of focusing on the separation, this book builds to a reunion. The last image features a happy nursling latched on as the whole family snuggles together (even the cat looks pleased).
Despite its subject matter, my son loved the book and insisted I read it again and again. He also enjoyed pointing out that mommy, daddy, and baby were in the bed together. An image, alas, that he does not have in any of his other bed time books. While we are not ready to begin night weaning quite yet in our household (we figure our recent cross country move is probably enough excitement for this month), I am confident that if/when we do decide to night wean, this book will be a very useful tool in making the transition from all day nurser to just day nurser that much more smoothly, besides at just $9.99 it is steal! (You can even get a hand signed copy for just $12.99.) They are available for purchase from the book's website!
Interested in finding out more about night weaning? Check out the Nursies When The Sun Shines resources page.
Thanks for reading!