Sleep. It’s simple right? I never knew about sleep training before I was pregnant. After hearing advice from all my friends, the blogs, coworkers, etc., I bought the swaddles, read the books and was well-equipped with a bassinet and sound machine.
While in the hospital the nurses gave me instructions to make sure that J didn’t sleep more than 2/3 hours at a time because it was important that he was breastfeeding around the clock. Who knew that babies weren’t supposed to sleep through the night?
Between the breastfeeding every hour/two hours and waking him when he slept too long, trying to set up the sound machine, wrap a swaddle nice and tight (but not too tight) – my head was spinning!
People were always asking about and giving advice on our sleep. “How’s he sleeping?” “Sleep when the baby sleeps!”
My son never took to a swaddle. Not even in the hospital. He was wriggling his arms out and seemed soothed with his hands up next to his face. At home I tried a modified swaddle where his legs were wrapped but his hands and arms were free. Voila! No more squirming and crying. But even after that, the swaddle didn’t last long in our house.
At 7 weeks I returned to work. We were just hitting our stride with breastfeeding and now I had to adapt to a whole new routine. I began to notice that J started to wake more during the night. He would nurse every few hours just as he had when he was a newborn. The only way I could be a good employee and a good mom was to start co-sleeping. I would let him nurse through the night on demand. Since he was next to me there was no getting up and getting him, no swaddle to unswaddle and reswaddle. It was actually kind of perfect. We had our nights where he was more fussy than usual but up until he was 9.5 months old, we were side-by-side all night.
I never intended to co-sleep/co-bed, it just was just our way of survival once I returned to work. I could sleep, he would sleep.
He was always easy to put down for the night, we never had to let him cry. We would start the night putting him in his crib but a few hours after going to bed myself, I would hear him cry and we would be together until I got up for work in the morning and he would go back in the crib.
I will never forget the first night he sleep straight through to morning, I got up a few times just to check on him. These days he still ends up in our bed most nights but now it’s when he wakes up too early and I want to catch a few more Z’s.
You have to do what works for you and this plan certainly doesn’t work for everyone. For me, I’ve never had a particularly cuddly baby, he’s extremely active, he’s a little busy-body, and he may be our only baby, so I will hold him close for as long as I can.