7 1/2 Months Old (plus a few days)

Sleep. Oh sleep. I dearly miss you.

Daniel’s night-waking when he sleeps in his own bed is unacceptable. I have been so pooped out lately. Dan and I have been discussing what we should do about Daniel’s sleep habits, including whether or not I should night-wean, or whether he should sleep in our bed again.

I tried soothing Daniel with cuddling, rocking, patting, singing, massaging, etc. for a few days, but that was AWEFUL! Daniel knew what he wanted (milk) and he wasn’t going to let me get away with not giving it to him. Since I don’t believe in the “cry-it-out” method, and this appeared to be where we were headed with the night-weaning, I gave that up real quick.

“Cry-it-out” seems convenient for parents in the long run, but it sure doesn’t seem right for baby. Instead of trusting that when he cries, mom or dad responds, he learns that even when he’s screaming his head off, mom and dad don’t respond, so he might as well give up on them. Infants require mom and dad to do everything for them–feed them, bathe them, change them, and even help them to sleep. It’s silly to think that a 7-month-old baby is ready to do any of these things completely on his own. Imagine if a parent put baby in his high chair with food in front of him and let him scream because he was so hungry, expecting him to finally figure out how to get the food from the tray to his mouth. Or imagine if a parent sat baby on the toilet and forced him to stay there until he peed or pooed regardless of how much squirming and crying he was doing. Those things sound ridiculous. And they are. But so is forcing baby to fall asleep on his own if he clearly isn’t ready to do it.

So, that said, we quickly chose a different approach. We put Daniel in our bed. When he was first born, he slept in our bed. Then, after several weeks, we put him in a co-sleeper (basically, a bassinet with one low side that attached to our bed). But Daniel outgrew the co-sleeper, which is partially what prompted the move to his own bed in the first place. So with no co-sleeper as an option, we put Daniel right in the middle of our bed.

The first night was hard. Daniel was used to having to cry to rouse me from the other room, so he quickly went from sleeping to crying. The next night, there was less of that, but I was kept awake by Dan’s snoring, so my sleep was even more interrupted than usual. The third night was fantastic. Daniel only woke up twice. He woke up gently, and I only had to nurse him for a few minutes before he fell back to sleep since he didn’t have to wake all the way up crying to get my attention. The next night, I tried putting Daniel on the other side of me, next to a guard rail, but I felt trapped and was so hot being between two warm bodies, so I didn’t get good sleep. But last night, he went back into the middle of the bed, and I got plenty of sleep… well, “plenty” in this case is relative.

Now I’m lobbying for a bigger bed. Dan sleeps fairly well with Daniel between us, but he’s not able to sleep very deeply because he’s so conscious of Daniel’s presence (a very good thing for a co-sleeping parent, but still difficult to deal with). We’ve been wanting a king bed for a while, but it’s always been something for our future. We’ve been happy enough in our queen bed, and even prefer it in some cases. This is not one of them. But mattresses are expensive. And because we are currently sleeping on an expensive mattress, we’re not willing to downgrade. So it might be a few months before we get up the courage to spring for a new bed, but it will certainly be sooner rather than later.

Now, if only there were a solution for the snoring…

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