When Kristin shared her story of how that first night went getting Finn to sleep, in his crib, I began to reminisce about how it went for me. Much like every challenging part of parenthood, my memory was foggy and replaced with a sentiment something like “well I don’t really remember so it couldn’t have been that bad, right?”. Wrong. I think evolution has wired us to forget the tough stuff so we continue to procreate. You got us good, God.
We began Ellie’s transition from the bassinet in our room to the crib at 4 ½ months. Initially, my goal was to keep her in our room for 6 months to a year since this is what the American Pediatric Association recommends. A few things made us reconsider and move her earlier.
Soon after Ellie was born, I opted into a program run by the county called the Follow Along Program. Every couple months the program sends us a packet with developmental milestones our child should be hitting at certain points, once completed, you send it back to them. If you write any concerns on the form, a county nurse will call to check in and offer guidance. Ellie has always slept fewer hours than most kids in her age group. She’s never really been a great napper. I noted my concern with her sleep on the 4 month documents so the nurse called to follow-up. We discussed Ellie’s sleep at night. Since she was a strong baby and we have not had any health concerns, the nurse suggested we consider moving her to the crib in hopes that she would adjust more to sleeping in the crib and, in turn, sleep more at daycare (she didn’t sleep anymore at daycare, but oh well).
The second reason we decided to move her at this age is that we have a heavy kid. We used a Pack’n Play for a bassinet but had to drop the bassinet down to the lower Pack’n Play level which was a delight for our backs. Plus, have you ever felt the base of a Pack’n Play? It’s like tagboard. Ellie, I think, welcomed the comfort of an actual mattress.
Lastly, selfishly, we wanted our room back. We were tired of tiptoeing around and wanted to be able to watch TV in bed again. And… we’re those crazy dog people who let their dogs sleep in their bed. Judge away, but I was getting tired of their stink-eye as we shut the bedroom door in their faces each night.
So, to get to the point of this post, we began transitioning Ellie to the crib on a Friday night and we were surprised with how smoothly it went. She still woke up her typical 1 or 2 times a night but went back down ok. We absolutely have had our bumps in the road, particularly when she is teething or sick, but we have not brought her back into our room. On those tougher nights, we tend to just rock her for longer. Lastly, we have gradually moved to Zach putting her down or going in first in the middle of the night. If I go in, she expects to nurse (mostly for comfort) so we are also making steps toward eventual weaning. At this point, she usually sleeps 11 hours a night, from 7pm to 6am.
The whole transition process has probably been toughest on me. During those first few nights, I was glued to the video monitor watching her chest rise and fall. I still do this occasionally. I tell myself this is normal and that all moms do this. I’m probably wrong, but don’t tell me, I prefer my delusion. What helped us out is that we tried to keep as many things the same for her as possible. We used a white noise machine in our room while she slept there and moved it to her room after she moved over. We also had a well established bedtime routine that we stuck with so that the only thing that changed was where she slept. If you are planning to do the crib transition soon, good luck. Every experience is different, but just be patient, it’s totally worth it!