Ai yi yi… this was a doozy. There were days I never thought he would sleep in his crib, but I’m hear to report that after some trials and tribulations, he is sleeping in his crib!
Warning: This is going to be a long post. I know baby sleep is like talking about religion sometimes, so these are just my experiences. I’m not saying they are right or wrong.
Okay let’s start from the beginning.
I brought Aiden home from the hospital with no intention of putting him in his crib until he was about 3 months old. I had blissful thoughts that he would just go in there at that point. I was wrong.
We bought a rock n’ play that was perfect for his first bed. It was angled, so if he had reflux, it would be easier on him, prevented SIDS, was set up like a little nest (which I hear they like) and could be transported around the house.
In the meantime, just before 3 months, we decided that he was going to outgrow this thing and we better start transitioning him somewhere, or we’d be up a creek. We also had a pack n’ play that was set up in our room, so we figured that would be the next best thing. I really wasn’t ready for him to go in his own room yet anyways.
So this scene of him sleeping in the pack n’ play happened this one time for 10 minutes and that was the only time. We tried and tried to get him in there and all we got from him were screams, cries and howls. Each time, we inevitably gave up after hours of trying. One night, David was trying to get him in there and after about 2 hours of him crying, David picking him up, calming him down and trying again, I was crying and the whole thing was off.
I had read enough and talked to enough moms to know that babies maturity levels sometimes aren’t ready for this yet. I gave up and decided it would happen when he was a little more mature. He was just shy of three months at this point.
He stayed in this bed until he was 4 months old when one day I realized that he was able to roll around in it. I’m a freak about SIDS, so I was nervous from this day forward. He still wouldn’t sleep anywhere but here, so we had to resort to fastening the safety strap on him for about a month!
The day inevitably came where he was just too big for this thing and it was time we did something different. Here is the design we came up with next:
At this point he was 4 months and two times in his life, he took a nap in his crib for 25 minutes. Other than that, he would wake up and cry every.single.time I carried him over and put him down in there. I knew that he slept okay with me in bed, so I resorted to this. I would lay on the air mattress and roll over to nurse him while he was in his crib in order for him to get used to it. I thought this would be a short solution, but we ended up staying like this for nearly a month. It did work and he was sleeping through slightly longer stretches of sleep. At 3.5 months, we hit a sleep regression where he was waking up every 2 hours on the dot. This lasted a month too.
We went to Minnesota where we only had either my bed or a pack n’ play to sleep in. He slept in the pack n’ play for a couple of hours and then would come to my bed.
When we got back, David and I decided that now was the time to get him to sleep in his crib with it fully functional. We tried it and to our surprise, he slept. I still had the air mattress in there and I would sleep in there about half the night. He didn’t sleep long, but he was in there! I called it a success. We kept doing it each night and eventually it got longer and longer.
We didn’t really do any cry-it-out (CIO) methods. The most we would do is let him fuss (not scream) for about 10 minutes. If at the end of the 10 minutes, he was still awake and upset, we picked him up and tried again to get him to bed.
Okay, so he’s in the crib now, but we still have work to do. I didn’t add any lengths of sleep stretches in there. At 5.5 months, he was sleeping about 4-4.5 hours in the first stretch and then a couple 2-3 hours in the stretches after that. He still nurses to sleep every night and for every nap, which I know is a problem. I’m just going to battle the problems as they come.
In the past couple nights, we’ve hit a Wonder Week (the one on relationships) and he’s gotten into separation anxiety and it’s gotten back to being hard to put him in his crib. I’m hoping this isn’t a long developmental phase, but I have a feeling it might be.
I’ve definitely learned that once you get yourself (and your baby) together and think you have a good thing going, they change it up again. I’ve given up on this and just have learned to roll with the punches. It’ll be over too soon and I won’t even remember how hard these nights are. Thank goodness for mommy-amnesia.