So we have made the big move, the one I was anticipating and dreading at the same time – Willow now sleeps in her own room at night.
One of the things I was really passionate about when I was pregnant was room sharing. I figured it would be much easier for me to breast feed in the middle of the night, provide the baby with comfort being surrounded by the smells of mom and dad, and provide me with the ability to check on her throughout the night and ensure she was still alive (no jokes, the number of times I wake up in a panic and have to check that Willow is still breathing will astound you!)
Room sharing worked brilliantly for us. I was able to feed with ease and was getting tons of sleep. Her crib was literally one step from my bed so I could pick her up, pop her in bed, feed her and put her back in her own bed with little fuss. In fact, I think I did this a few times in my sleep!
But then we hit the four month sleep regression and Willow started demanding to be fed every two hours or so – sometimes hourly! My sleep went to hell as did my husbands. While he didn’t wake up when I did all the moving and shuffling in the night meant that he wasn’t getting restful sleep. Worst still is that Willow’s sleep was impacted as well. She would be restless in the night and if Hubby snored or the cats were a little loud with their midnight games Willow was woken up too.
Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. The decision to move her to her own room was very spur of the moment. I didn’t plan it out or make a chart. One night I just decided it was time. She took to it a lot easier than I thought she would. It was incredibly bittersweet. I was elated to have a little bit of space, proud that she made the transition so easily and a little sad that she took to it so easily.
So how did we do it?
I was always told to start with naps as you are better able to deal with fussiness during the day. To be honest I didn’t do this. The first night I put her down in her own bed I fed her to sleep (cardinal sin I know, but my thinking was to put her into the crib fast asleep for the first few sleeps then ease off the nursing to sleep.) I would nurse her then slip her into the crib asleep and happy. I would then wrap the jersey I was wearing that day around her so she would smell me and slip out of her room. The first night she slept five straight hours and only had one night feed. The second she slept eight hours!
I have since stopped nursing her to sleep. Out nap routine consists of us going into her room, I change her nappy then put on her white noise machine and swaddle her. I will nurse her a bit (This is something I have tried to change many times and it never works. I would love to do eat, play, sleep, but Willow insists on play, eat, sleep…). I then break the latch when she is getting sleepy and will put her in the crib and gently pat her tummy until she settles down. I leave my hand on her for a minute or two until her eyes are closed and she is drifting off then I set the timer on the white noise machine for 20 minutes and quietly leave the room.
Our night time routine consists of a big feed, bath time, a story and cuddle then the same as naps.
Most nights and naps she will drift off easily and sleep for a good long time. Lately we’ve been having a bit of a rough time though. Willow has learned a bunch of new skills and is working on crawling. She is also cutting four (!) of her top teeth and has been a bit congested. The congestion is the worst factor because she can’t breath and this leads to bad feeds. And the bad feeds means she wakes up hungry. But I have faith that when all this is over she will settle down smoothly again.
If we have a sleep issue we’re working on – refining the routine, changing how we do feeds, putting her down sleepy but awake etc. I always start with naps – for some reason trying to do something new at night is incredibly overwhelming! Starting with naps makes me feel like my goals are achievable and within reach!
I can’t say that I have a hard and fast method or that this will work for every baby but I can say that it worked for us and I hope you find something useful in this post that you can use.