Sleep in your Own Bed

25 01 2007

When Eliana was a tiny baby, she slept in our bed. It was ok for a while as it helped a couple of new parents get some sleep.  When Eliana cried, we were right there and were able to change her diaper quickly and get back to bed. After a few months, Eliana grew larger and stronger, and began kicking in her sleep.  This was not a nice thing for two tired parents. So, the solution was that is was time for Eliana to sleep in her own bed. As new parents, we didn’t know the best way to go about it, so we tried to be nice and just let her sleep in a playpen next to our bed.  I still remember the shrills of that night. Eliana cried herself to sleep after about 2 hours.  We were there and listening for every minute. Then we heard that instead of just doing two transitions (one into a new bed, then into a new room), just start putting her to sleep in her own room. It was tough at first, as Eliana would still cry for a while, but eventually we had a routine going.  I remember spending about 30 minutes every night for at least 6 months sitting in the rocking chair my mom had bought and rocking her to sleep. I remember when Eliana wasn’t quite asleep, she would peek at me as if she was going to say “Where are you going? I’m not sleepy”. A few more minutes in the rocking chair never failed. I would put her in her crib without incident, and close the door. Those were the days.

Now, Annabelle on the other had has been a whole different story.  From the start, we didn’t want Annabelle to stay in our bed too long because of our experience with Eliana.  I knew we were in for little sleep in the beginning, so that was ok.  But we tried to get Annabelle out of our bed sooner than Eliana: at about 3 months as opposed to 9 months with Eliana. That was a horrible failure due mostly to some respiratory problem Annabelle had.  For some reason, she wasn’t able to take a full breath of air through her nose (as all babies breathe) without something making a weird sound.  It was this sound that was bothering her. I’m not sure if she was in pain or not (I hope not), but we didn’t know what to do. So, she stayed in our bed. Not wanting her to get used to this, I tried my best to get her into the crib.  Basically it was the same method I used for Eliana: rock her to sleep and just put her there.  However, this strategy didn’t work because Annabelle is too sensitive. When I would go to put her in the crib, she would always wake up.  I know what a sleeping baby looks and sounds like, and I know she was asleep every time I tried. Back to our bed she went.

This has been going on and off for the past 9 months. Some days, she would manage to sleep in the crib, but would wake up crying in the middle of the night. Others, I find her in our bed in the morning because her mom doesn’t know how to calm her down. The only way shes knows to do is bring her in bed.

So, it has been with great surprise that Annabelle has finally been able to sleep in her own bed for about the past week now. Our bedtime routine consists of getting Eliana to bed first, or at least in bed if she is not already sleep. But Eliana is a great help, because she knows how hard a time has to sleep.  But, really putting Annabelle to bed has become as simple as knowing when she’s sleepy (it’s not hard to tell because she starts to cry) and hold her for a bit to calm her down, and while she is still awake, just put her face down on the bed.  Now, I know about the badness of this with SIDS and all, but she loves to sleep face down. She would sleep like this in our bed. I don’t watch her at night, but I’m pretty sure she rolls over at least once at night.  (Neither of our kids can sleep in one spot; they move around all over the bed.)  So, after putting her in the bed, I cover her with a couple of blankets, and just pat her back to calm her down. Some nights she doesn’t need that. Most nights she does.  Some nights, she also just wants to hear that I’m there, so I’ll talk to Eliana a little to help her to sleep.

So far, this has been what we needed, two kids sleeping in their own beds for the whole night.

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