My pregnancy was planned, my move across the country (9 days after having her) was not! I had my daughter on January 15 and I was packing up our car and home on January 24. Because my husband is a marine, a lot of our decisions are not “our” own. We are told when and where to be, and we are left to determine the details on our own. This is fine, and it works for us! I needed to be induced so that I could have my daughter a week before her due date, this was to ensure I had at least a little bit of time to re cooperate before our great big move to Wyoming (from NC).
Because we knew we would be moving, I never “set up the nursery” or had all of those fun experiences that expectant women have. Our Pack n Play was set up in our bedroom, and I determined that is where she would sleep until we moved to Wyoming and got settled in. Now before we get into this I should say – I’m against cosleeping. If you are a cosleeper, you should not be offended by this. I believe that sleeping arrangements are to be determined personally and with your significant other.
Here is why we chose NOT to cosleep:
1) My husband and I sleep smackdab right next to each other all night and burrow under 3 covers like hibernating bears. You literally cannot see our faces. This is not something you just “change” at 25 years old. All of those blankets and the need to be right by one another massively increases suffocation chances!
2) I enjoy sex with my husband. And not in another room on another bed. In my bedroom, in my bed. That may seem blunt, but I refused (even if some determine it selfish) to curtail our sexual relationship because our kid shares the bed with us. I’ve heard many cosleepers say it isn’t that hard, maybe not for them. But I found even the idea of it tedious.
3) I’m a roller. I flip from my side to my back to my stomach back to my side. I am constantly tossing and turning. I know some say that you are aware of your child being in bed with you, and claim that you just naturally stop that process. That is the furthest thing from the truth for me – and I will share that story here in a few sentences.
4) My child goes to sleep at 8:30PM. I go to sleep at 10:30-11PM. It is impossible to get in our bed without disturbing my child.
Now, when we returned home from the hospital I had not slept in almost 48 hours. Between being induced (and overnight process for me) and the uncomfortable-ness I felt the night after, I didn’t sleep much. If I am not in my bed I am an extremely light sleeper. Every person that walked up the hall of the hospital, every monitor beep, every noise Baby E made I was wide awake. I looked over at my sound-asleep-can-sleep-on-a-hangar-deck-with-two-jets-turning marine husband and wanted to punch him. Because I was so exhausted and Baby E needed constant binky adjustment I said “screw it” and threw her in the bed with us. She only woke up once to eat. We all slept soundly.
This continued to happen until we moved to Wyoming. I rolled on my child 4 times over the course of 2 weeks. Fortunately I did not hurt her, and she gave me a yell to let me know I was on her leg or arm. Each time I cried myself back to sleep, and pushed her closer to her dad.
One of the most difficult things of transitioning Baby E from our bed to her own was body heat. She was used to sleeping right in the middle of us, all cuddled up by her dad, and she was adjusted to the ample amount of body heat. Additionally she had not achieved perfect binky sucking techniques, so I was constantly up and down putting the binky back in her mouth. My way around this was to put her in her vibrating bouncy seat next to the bed. She was out of the bed, but only an arm’s reach away for me to just pop the binky right back in. It was great. That transition took about a week and at 5 weeks old she was sleeping through the night.
Now that she has been on her own for a few weeks and she clings to the binky like it is her source of life we have been making the transition to the crib.
Our plan of action is this:
- All naps will be taken in the crib. At each nap time I will lay a drowsy, but awake, baby down in her crib with a fresh diaper, full belly, and something to soothe. (In her case a binky, blankey, and background noise.)
- Let her cry for a few minutes at a time when her binky comes out. If she falls asleep on her own, great! If she doesn’t after a few minutes, replace the binky and soothe. Exit the room. Repeat process. Even if it takes up the whole naptime.
- If I want Baby E to go to bed by 8:30, I start the process at 8PM. Meaning after her last bottle we change the diaper, lay her down, and repeat process. Binky, soothe, exit. Binky, soothe, exit. Binky, soothe, exit.
- Grab a glass of wine, watching How I Met Your Mother, and makeout with my husband.
I DO recommend Baby Wise. I know a lot of people do not, and I know many feel that sleep training and determining your child’s schedule just isn’t right. I’m not one of them. I love that Baby E has a set eating and sleeping schedule. As a full time student and as a marine family – it is nice to have everything concrete. Planning our days is much easier than playing it by ear and hoping she doesn’t get cranky and tired when we are out shopping or out to dinner. If I know these things, it’s easy to determine what each cry means. There is no panic everytime she starts screaming. We aren’t looking at each other going, “Is she hungry?! Is she tired?! Is her diaper wet?! Is she in pain?!” I look at the clock, is it dinner time? Yes! Problem solved.
Here are a few key points to remember for transitioning the baby from the bassinet/your bed to her own bed:
– It will take time.
– It will take dedication. Do not give up because you’re tired and just can’t do it anymore. Been there, done that, and regretted it.
– It will take patience.
– It will take a thick skin. Remind yourself how much better you will all sleep when she is in her own bed, and how much happier you will all be.
– Dress the baby in layers and have a warm blanket to cover her. You might think she will be hot and sweat, but they’re not like us. They need those extra layers. And it will avoid any waking up due to her being cold.
– Remind yourself it is a temporary challenge to a long term solution. If you want your baby to sleep in her own bed, you have to go through the crying and the misery for a week or two of training.
– Before laying the baby down for a nap or for bed ensure that she has a fresh diaper, full belly, and something that soothes her. (Binky, blankey, etc.)
– This is a tough one that many women won’t want to hear – but coming from someone who has breastfed please understand I feel your pain and I had to go through it too. It is not good for you to take the baby out to nurse her each time she screams. One of the biggest goals to a baby sleeping on her own is the ability to self soothe. You remove that ability by nursing after each cry. If you feel that you would rather soothe her through nursing – this will be a much longer process for you.
One of the biggest things that will help your baby sleep through the night is having a great eating schedule. I’m working on a post about that and how I got Baby E on a great eating schedule. (Despite being told I wouldn’t be able to because I was a breastfeeder, pumper, AND formula feeder! I refer to it as “hybrid feeding.” ;])
Now, I’m going to finish most of my parenting tips posts with the same thing. How you raise your child, how you parent, and the decisions you make in regards to your child *are your own.* My sisters and I will share our tips and tricks based upon things that work for us and for our children. Many people refer to us as “old school,” and that works for us. If that doesn’t work for you, if you don’t like the idea of crying it out or formula feeding – just move past it. No judgement, no harshness. To each their own, right? In the end it is your child, and no one can tell you how to raise them. Embrace it and do what feels right for you.