You can sleep when you’re…bored to death with all this nighttime schedule talk

While E was out of town for a couple nights, I decided it was time to make a few adjustments to the baby’s nighttime schedule. (Changes go a lot better when I implement them myself and declare a new Baby Law.) As much as I loved our cuddles and the ease of nursing the baby without getting out of bed, this 7 month old little monster child is NOT the sweet little baby who snuggles. This one kicks and squirms and thrashes and the other night he stuck his fingers up my nose, Three Stooges style. Let me tell you, that is at the top of the list of uncomfortable ways to wake up, right behind with a car on top of you.

So I sat Baby Evan down and explained it was time for him to sleep in his own room, he agreed, and we lived happily ever after. AHAHAHAHA if only babies were that easy, I’d have a dozen more. The first thing I did was move our entire bedtime routine upstairs – bath in the bathtub instead of the sink, nursing in the nursery instead of on the couch. I also decided it was time to do away with the swaddle, in the hopes that he wouldn’t wake up trying to break free. And the third thing I did was drag out the Baby Go To Sleep music cd I tried months ago but never really seemed to work. I’ve also been trying to convince Baby Evan that the blue blanket my mother-in-law knit for him is his lovie (or as I called mine, Favorite Blankie) so it can take over some of the comforting during the night.

Pretty much the only thing my The Baby Books agree on is that infant sleep cycles are only 90 minutes, and ever hour and a half babies wake, check their surroundings and resettle. The “resettle” part is the key word in that sentence, because according to The Books, I have created some Bad Habits with my baby and breaking those Bad Habits means anything from 4 nights of screaming to 8 weeks of sleep deprivation to three more years of getting kicked in the kidneys all night. I have not allowed my baby to learn to resettle – because of the swaddle and the rocking or nursing to sleep – and now I must pay the price. Luckily for me, my baby didn’t read The Books and has no idea he’s supposed to torture me for my poor planning. Letting him sleep unswaddled allows him to literally check his surroundings at night, rolling around to get comfortable or scratch his nose or get closer to his blanket. Playing the Baby Go To Sleep cd while we rock him to sleep and setting it to repeat all night is enough of a reminder that it’s bedtime (and as a bonus it drowns out a lot of the tossing and turning noises so I can sleep more). And now he’s nursing just when he’s hungry instead of using me as a pacifier all. night. long.

While he was sharing our room, I was getting about 4-5 total hours of sleep. That is definitely not enough for a functional human being, unless you are currently the parent of a baby who sleeps even less than that, in which case I am so, so sorry. With the baby in the nursery last night, I slept EIGHT HOURS, even including getting up to nurse at 2 am and getting up to bring the baby to bed at 5 am, where he slept happily until 8:30. I’m not banishing the baby from our bed permanently – I’m not even taking down the co-sleeper yet – because when he’s teething/having a growth spurt/reaching a developmental milestone our night schedule might could will change again. And I’m dealing with a little bit of attachment-parenting guilt for choosing my sleep over maintaining a family bed. But after 7 months of exhaustion, I think even the most ardent attachment parenting expert would agree it’s time for a change.

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6 Responses to “You can sleep when you’re…bored to death with all this nighttime schedule talk”

  1. Yay for happy transitions! *knocks wood so as not to jinx it*

    I also agree that you’re entitled to choose sleep – It makes total sense to me that as babies get older the definition of “family bed” changes. I didn’t grow up sleeping in the same bed as my parents every night, but I always knew that if I had a bad dream or wanted to cuddle or warm up after a bath (I totally used my mom’s awesome comforter as basically, a towel when I was 5-6 – Sorry mom!), it was open and available to me as a source of comfort.

  2. AGreenEyeDevil says:

    Do not feel guilty for giving equal consideration to your need for sleep!

  3. h_a_l says:

    I’m so glad this is going well for you and I hope it stays (mostly) this way. I’ve been trying to write a post about how Ivy has gone from a self soothing awesome sleeper to a “I don’t want to go to sleep and when I do finally give in to sleep it will NOT be for long”. But I started it on Saturday night and still have not gotten around to finishing. You’re lucky that Evan didn’t read that book. I think Ivy did and is now punishing me for creating bad sleep habits :) And wow to Evan being 7 months old already!!

  4. Andrea says:

    Yay! I am glad it is working out :) In our experience, the key is consistency and creating a sleepy-time routine. Don’t feel guilty! YOu have done co-sleeping for seven months (impressive!) and if you felt you were not getting enough sleep, maybe it was time for you to find a balance that worked for the three of you. It doesn’t have to be black or white, you can still snuggle in the mornings (as you say you do) and take naps together sometimes. Congratulations to Evan for such a big accomplishment!

  5. Merin says:

    I am so impressed! Let me know when you want to come over for a few nights and teach this routine to Cora. She’ll be seven months is December so go ahead and put that on your calendar.

  6. Brigid Keely says:

    Wow! It sounds like you’re handling the bed time thing really really well! Good job. :)

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