Wednesday, August 4, 2010

no tears required

Night before last, my little guy was much less a turtle and more of a wiggle worm. He whimpered in his sleep and kept wiggling out of his co-sleeper. So after a bit of a restless night for all three of us, I thought maybe, just maybe he was telling me it was time to give the crib a try.

For the last couple of weeks, the Turtle has been napping in his crib. And he's happy there. This in itself is a triumph. I've read horror stories about babies that scream at the mere sight of their bed. But despite the Turtle's love for his crib, and a somewhat successful nap routine, his nights have been spent in the co-sleeper with me and Chris. This was for a couple of reasons:

1) Nursing: In an effort to keep up my milk supply, night-nursing is essential, even if an hour or so of my early morning sleep is compromised. It's a small price to pay to get to the one-year mark for which I'm aiming.

2) Safety: Most experts agree that newborns should be sleeping in at least the same room as their parents. And, if done intentionally and safely, co-sleeping, specifically, has added benefits.

3) Time: During the work-week, I'm out the door at 8:00 and don't get home until 6:30ish. Co-sleeping has stolen back a few of those otherwise lost hours.

All of that said, we were intending to transition our little guy to his crib between 5 and 6 months (before separation anxiety settled in). But in an attempt to read the Turtle's cues and let him "be the boss" on this subject I thought "What the hell, let's put him in his crib and see what happens."

So this is what we did:

At 9:00, I watched the first ten minutes of The Rachel Maddow Show, then took the little guy into his nursery. We followed our typical night routine; we put on his PJ's, nursed, danced and sang a song (no story because he was just looking a little too sleepy). I lay him in his crib just on the verge of falling asleep. At about 9:35 he woke up crying. I picked him up, bounced him a bit, then lay him back down in his crib. He didn't wake again until 4:20am.  At 4:20, I picked him up, nursed him, and he's back asleep. If he sticks to his typical morning schedule, he will now likely sleep until 7:00.

Perhaps it was a fluke, but right now I am overjoyed by the fact that there was no forcing the sleep issue, no tears, no "crying it out."And I have to admit, I'm giving myself a little pat on the back for reading my baby's cues  (one of my biggest challenges as a parent).

I also have to give kudos to Chris who so carefully read my cues. He asked when he came to bed, "are you doing okay?" knowing it was breaking my heart to not have my little guy laying next to me. And truth is, yes, I was the one and will continue to be the one having a tough time with the co-sleeper to crib transition. Just imagine what a mess I'll be when we send this kid to Kindergarten!

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