I don’t know why I feel like this is shameful to admit, but here’s my nasty little confession: Cate sleeps in our room. Not in our bed, although we have taken a few “family naps” together (as long as she’s between Dave’s pillow and mine, I don’t worry about either of us rolling over on her). But we have a Pack ‘n’ Play set up in our bedroom, and that’s where she’s slept since she was born.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. When she was about 6 weeks old, I tried moving her to the nursery. But she woke up every hour screaming in terror because she didn’t know where she was, and I woke up even more frequently than that because every little bit of static on the baby monitor had me practically flying out of the bed and down the hall. So that lasted about two nights. Then it was back to the Pack ‘n’ Play.
For the past several weeks, we’ve had a nice little nighttime routine going:
1. Cate sleeps about 5-6 hours.
2. She wakes up, I pull her into our bed and she has half of a bottle. (A million thank-you’s to Cat & Tony for this, which lives on my nightstand, so I can warm up a bottle without even getting out of bed.)
3. We go down the hall to the nursery for a quick diaper change.
4. If she’s wide awake after the diaper (which she almost always is), we head downstairs so she can play for a little while & burn off some energy, and I can take all the vitamins that I have to take every day (part of that whole gastric bypass thing, I have well over a dozen pills that I take on a daily basis, lucky me). I figure it’s one less thing I have to do when I get up for the day, so that’s fine.
5. When she seems tired of playing, we head back upstairs, and she usually zonks out before she completely finishes the bottle.
6. She sleeps another 2-3 hours, then we’re up for the day. (Although sometimes I pass her off to Dave so I can get a little more sleep.)
The whole process from start to finish takes about an hour. I know that some people have miracle babies that sleep through the night from the time they’re six weeks old; in fact, according to my mom, my sister was sleeping 12 hours a night by three months. (To be fair, my sister has always been a freak about sleep – take your eyes off of her for five minutes and she’s out like a light.) But I also know there are moms out there whose babies are still waking them up three or four times a night when they’re a year old. So by comparison, one wake-up call a night doesn’t seem like I have much to complain about.
The irony is that this is one of those things that I was so opinionated about before Cate was born. I was adamantly opposed to co-sleeping, and I still generally think it’s a bad idea. It seems like a slippery slope into something that can become habit-forming, and the idea of having a 5 year-old child who still sleeps with her parents… well, that’s just kind of creepy to me. I mean, whatever works for your family is great and all, but that’s not for me. But even just having her in the same room as Dave and me – I thought that we would do that for the first month, maybe six weeks at the most. Ha.
I guess I’ve just been thinking that this pattern has been working ok for us, so why mess with it? I was worried that if I put her in the nursery, we’d go back to waking up every two hours, and I’m just barely starting to feel like I’m recovering my sanity. I’ve been working on the crib idea with her – I put her there for naps sometimes, and occasionally I’ll just put her in there when she’s in a mellow mood and turn on the mobile, which she seems to like. I wanted her to be a little more familiar with it so she wouldn’t wake up in a strange place and freak out. But I hadn’t put her down for the night there, I guess because I wasn’t ready for it more than anything.
Last night, Dave and I talked about it and decided it was time to try the nursery again. And? Nothing really happened. She slept for about 5 hours, woke up, we did our routine, and then she slept for another 3 hours. Same as usual. Huh. Whaddya know.