Friday, August 26, 2011

Ignorance is...confusing

For some reason, I refuse to read books about parenting. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm afraid of thwarting whatever natural instincts I've got. (And hell, I've kept a baby alive for ALMOST FOUR MONTHS! Therefore I am THE SHIT! QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM! Do you like being yelled at IN LATIN?) Or maybe it's that I know there's a ton of conflicting information out there and I don't want to get involved. Or maybe I just spend so much of my life reading and assessing and learning that I just want to fucking BE IGNORANT.

It's worked fine so far. But this is simply because I have the world's easiest baby. (Want to see my certificate from the Baby Grading Department?) Suddenly, however, my baby is presenting parenting challenges that need to be solved. So I could read books, or look at The Internet. Or ask you. I'm going to ask you.

The question I'm currently facing is the transition from family bed to crib.

I chose co-sleeping because it just seemed natural to me, not because I have a strong commitment to a particular parenting style. It's been lovely. However, something has to change about our current sleep set up.

First, Mr. Bunny has been kicked out of bed. The problem is that he's a prodigiously loud snorer. It's like sleeping with a wolverine. (Everyone knows wolverines snore, right?) In the past I just dealt, but with Bun Bun in the bed, I'm sleeping more lightly. I'd often find myself lying wide awake next to a peacefully sleeping baby--you know, sleeping so quietly that I'd check for signs of life--and a monstrously loud husband. I realize this does not compare to having a screaming baby who has to be soothed back to sleep every hour, but how unfair to have a good sleeper and not be able to take advantage of it! So now some nights he sleeps in the guest room, some nights I sleep there and just drop in for her middle of the night feeding (so that he gets some time with her). The important feature is that he and I don't sleep in the same bed at the same time. And while I'm remembering how much I LOVE sleeping alone...apparently my marriage is important or something? So I think my goal should be to sleep in the same bed as my husband eventually.

Second, Bun Bun has begun to get a ton more active and is fighting the swaddle more and more. Lately she's super into grabbing her feet, and will wiggle out of any swaddle for the delicious pleasure of grabbing those toes. So I'm sleeping less well.

The most amazing thing I've ever seen.

So maybe now is the time to transition to the crib? I know through osmosis (since I refuse to read) that around the four month mark is a typical time to think about deswaddling/ moving to a crib. But somehow I've been unable to pull the trigger. During the day, I keep saying, yeah, I'm ready! But then when night rolls around, I somehow find myself unable to deal with the idea of leaving her all alone in another room. Or something? I'm honestly not sure what the issue is.

If you have any advice, please share. Or if you just want to tell me how stupid I am for refusing to educate myself, go for it.  


  1. Don't read books. Book learnin' is just more confusing than ignorance.

    Also, wolverines are terrible snorers. And we're lousy at football as well. (Go Blue?)

    Four months is around the time our pediatrician told us that "sleep training" is quite effective, and hence any sleep habits you'd like the baby to have, you should introduce around that time. We went to the crib sooner than 4 months, but I would suggest maybe sleeping part of the night together and after a late feeding, put her to bed in the crib...let her make the association. And/or find a comfy spot for you to fall asleep in her room so you can soothe her if/when she wakes up in her crib, until she gets the idea that that's a dandy place to fall and stay asleep. Depending on how close your room is to hers, you may need to crank the monitor up to "deafen" if you want to catch her before the cries for food get loud -- I've always tried to get to Jackson when he was just stirring, so I'm more or less feeding him in his sleep.

    Also, be prepared to not sleep at all the first few nights she's away from you. And be prepared to hold the monitor next to you ear listening for ANY sound, and to say "aw fuck it" and go peep in her room repeatedly to make sure she is alive and kicking in her crib. It's an adjustment for Mommy, too.

    Oh, and it's way normal for there to be random sleep regressions beginning around 4 months and continuing off an on as new motor skills and teething commence. So don't be discouraged if the crib thing seems hard at first, or goes swimmingly and then suddenly gets hard later. Just wait until you walk in and find her standing in her crib holding the monitor receiver to her mouth like a I did with Jackson with morning. Capital-A-Awesome.

  2. We co-slept until about 3 months, then we started using a bassinet right next to our bed. W was a terrible sleeper, so for a month or so it would be some bassinet and some bed, depending on how often he woke and how tired I was, but by the end of the month he more or less slept in the bassinet. Then we started putting him in his crib in his room at the beginning of the night and he would sleep part of the night there and part of the night in the bassinet (cause that walk across the hall for the fourth time in a night was loooong and I could only do it so many times). He didn't sleep any better or worse in any of those spots, it was more a matter of convenience for me and the fact that I wasn't ready to have him out of our room where I could hear him snort and breath. I think 3 or 4 months is too young for a baby to really know what's going on so it's probably easier to move her now than when she's one. I say just try and if it doesn't work try something else. I read all the baby sleep books and none of them did us a lick of good.

  3. I am going to be of no help, I fear, as I still co-sleep with my 3.5 year old. He would probably return to the womb, if he could. There is just no keeping him off a sister.

    My younger one is 8 months old and he's always had a love/hate relationship with co-sleeping, so maybe I can share our perspective here. With the wee one, he's always seemed to prefer his own space but loves to be in proximity. He used to sleep in one of those bed-top snuggle beds. Then he outgrew that, so I placed the crib right next to the bed and viola - we're cosleeping with a set of little wooden bars between us. Also, he started to fight the swaddle at about 5 months. I transitioned him to the sleeper sack first and then out of the snuggle bed. I didn't want to introduce too many changes at once.

    My husband has been taking medication for the past year and a half that really impacts his sleep, so we don't sleep together any night. He needs his own space and absolute quiet. I'm not stressing it. We spend a few hours of alone time together at night before bed then go our separate ways.

  4. i haven't been reading any books at all. if i have questions, i generally hit the internet up. and sometimes i get good answers and other times i don't, so i just go with my gut.

    we didn't co-sleep here but we did have the baby boy in our room in a pack and play. i had decided long before he was born that i was going to transition him into his crib at 3 months. don't know where i got that from but that was my timeline. 3 days before his 3 month birthday, i decided i had to try it out ... cut the "cord" so to speak. it was awful and i hated every second of it ... but baby boy was just fine. in fact, i think he slept better. and, after a few nights of getting used to it and not feeling as though i was abandoning my tiny baby in that big cold lonely crib, i was fine too. and now i sleep much better because, while we have the monitor in our room, i don't hear every single little noise he makes and so i'm not checking on him (you know, for breathing and stuff) every 15 minutes.

    the swaddling, well thats another story. i bought a couple of those swaddle straps and he is the only kid out there that can wiggle out of those bitches in no time. he's outgrown all of his other swaddles and receiving blankets just aren't big enough to swaddle him in (he's a whopping 17lbs at 4 months!). problem is, he still really needs to be swaddled to sleep. so i do the best i can with the swaddle straps and a summer sleep sack but i do have to get up sometimes several times a night to re-swaddle. i've heard from friends that cutting the swaddle cord is pretty tough and makes for a few really long nights but that they get used to it pretty quickly. so, if you figure that one our or have any other advice for me, i'm listening :)

  5. We did it at 3 months. I was a wuss. I was unable to sleep for the first 3 nights but at that age he was already 26 inches long and kicking the bars of his bassinet. The thing is he did sleep better as a few others have mentioned and I do too now. We gave in and bought him a big baby size woom.bie - the "Houdini" version. I am continually impressed by these things. Now a month later I'm fine with him in his nursery in the crib. He might be in the woom.bie until he's 10, but it's working out. Two amazing things happened when we moved him...the first being he dropped that middle of the night feeding and the second is he started sleeping 9 hours straight during the night. My uneducated guess is because he can no longer smell food constantly while sleeping somewhere close to me and my husbands pack of lumberjacks.

  6. No, what I want to tell you, lacking any useful advice, is that I used to write a zine called QED. The first issue is still online at I learned the phrase from my high-school Calculus teacher. Mazel on your great sleeper! And oh yeah, marriage. Take good care.

  7. Oh, I second the Woombie nomination. We switched to that and kept Jackson swaddled until around 6 months.

  8. Isaac's sleeping in a pack'n play next to our bed, although I do bring him into the bed after his last morning feeding (around 5 or 6) if he won't go back to sleep there, hoping to get another 30 minutes of sleep or so out of him...which usually works.
    When he does sleep with us, he has to be attached to the boob the whole time, so it doesn't really end up in restful sleep for me. I use the Swaddleme thingies to swaddle him, because he is SO STRONG and can get out of a regular swaddle in a heartbeat. My niece is still being swaddled at almost 18 months old - she loves it! She manages to get an arm out every time, but apparently it still calms her down. We plan on swaddling as long as possible too. Even if he keeps getting out of it, it helps him fall asleep and stay there when I lay him down.
    I don't know if we'll move him to the big crib soon. I love that he's right there next to me, I can hear his breathing, and I'm not ready to give that up yet :). But I do like that he isn't sleeping ON me. I did want to cosleep in the beginning, but using the Lact-aid to nurse doesn't really make that easy for us, since I have to sit up to nurse with it anyway.
    Good luck whatever you decide!

  9. I third the Woombie. We *just* stopped swaddling at night at 8mo, and it was just happenstance over vacation, not something we were necessarily trying to do. There are summer weight ones, and organic ones (what we used), and super strong Houdini ones (which I think JB used for J). Anyway, it's good stuff.

    I have so many mixed feelings about the sleeping issue. We're still co-sleeping, and I want to say that it's this strong philosophical pull driving me to do it. But, I've got to be honest: I'm lazy and tired. I have a kid who is a night-nursing fiend, and I seriously wonder which issue beget the other. Did our co-sleeping promote easy access to the boob, which then instilled the breast-to-sleep conundrum I now have? Or did my baby's need to nurse (and my serious fear of doing anything to fuck up our BFing relationship) promote this extended co-sleeping issue? IS the co-sleeping even an issue for me? I don't fucking know. I'm dealing. It's liveable.

    (As I type this I have a heavy, sweaty baby napping on me with a nip in his mouth because that's how entrenched the breast-to-sleep deal is.)

    I've only read attachment parenting books, and that has to do with the social worker who wants to do everything I can to promote healthy, happy attachment (though surely AP isn't the only way to do this), but it also has to do with me not wanting to read ANY shite about how I'm doing something wrong. So I just stick to safer territory. Like you, I have snuggled into a little pocket of selective ignorance because I don't want to read something that's going to freak me out or second guess myself. I've got enough neuroses, thankyouverymuch. Sigh.

    I have no real wisdom here, but I like the sound of Jen's experience and encouragement. I will probaby come back and read the later comments, maybe for my own future attempt to wean from the family bed. That is, if I ever get up the balls and the energy to attempt it.

    Good luck!

  10. Hey -- it's irrational again and I still can't figure out why blogger hates me on my work computer.

    Anyway, here's my view on the transition to crib (although my insight is based on transitioning from a swaddled babe in his carseat in his crib to an unswaddled babe in his crib, so it's different, but not that much):
    Just do it. Set aside a weekend when you are going to make the transition and just go cold turkey. It will likely be harder for you than for the little lady. In fact, if she is anything like B (and from your descriptions of temperment, I think she is) she will not fuss at all and will just go to sleep and be fine. At 4 months exactly we made the shift -- we had prepped ourselves for a weekend of no sleep and howling and got... sleep. We also started using a sleep sack (the summer weight aden&anais ones are good, and I love the grobags) and keeping his arms in when he was asleep, but it didnt really work as a swaddle and he got his arms out and was just fine. And now, if it is warm, he just goes to sleep in his onesie (he can open his diaper, so has to wear something!). My view is that he moves so much at night that I would rather make it easy for him to get comfy than have him fighting a swaddle or anything.
    Anyway, I'm sure that my "always in a crib and allow him to cry it out" is harsher than some people would choose, but it as worked great for us.
    And parenting books? Who needs 'em when you've got us??

  11. I am of no use to you.

    Committed major and mortal sin this morning by crawling into The Big Girl Bed with Toddlerina for a measly extra 45 mins sleep.

    Weeks of progress flushed down the drain.

  12. hell if i know. hell if i know anything about sleep; i hear it's something other people do. sounds enjoyable.

    really just posting to say hi, sorry i fell off the world for a bit. am tired.

    oh, and i haven't read any books, either. every time the sleep gets especially excruciatingly bad, i try to, but i find i can't really make words turn into ideas on those days. (good thing i'm not due to start teaching writing in two days or anything.)

    oh, i say keep the swaddle if she'll still go for it. the bean rejected his in no uncertain terms at 3 months. i miss those days, because it was harder for him to punch me. now he's getting so he can crawl/wriggle across the bed and punch sugar, too. (we're not officially cosleeping, but some nights the interval between the end of one nursing session and the beginning of the next seems hardly worth the effort.)

  13. Not sure how I missed this post but I'm not a ton of help since I never co-slept with the kid. But I can say that although he's been sleeping peacefully in his crib since 2 weeks, napping was a bit more difficult and I found that I had to commit to whatever I was doing. Waffling does not cut it and the kid won't get used to things in bits and pieces. So whatever you decide, go for it all out and it will be fine.

    As far as swaddling, they say you should quit the swaddling when you kid can roll over. I cut out the swaddle at three months and like I said above, cold turkey. It was about 4 hours of torment before he went to sleep but once he did, he was just fine.

    Some people like to ease out of the swaddle one arm at a time but that just seems more difficult to me.

    I dunno.

    Here's a thought - do whatever you want cuz frankly we'll probably fuck up our kids in worse ways when they're older and this will all seem trivial :)

  14. I still haven't read any pregnancy or parenting books, for pretty much the same reasons.

    I obviously don't have baby advice for you...

    But Bun Bun's toes ARE the most amazing things! That's a damn cute picture.

  15. As a newbie, with Isabella just 2 weeks old she is sleeping in a bassinet next to our bed 95% of the time. She is co sleeping the other 5% of the time. I am sure I will be a total stalker standing outside her door when she goes to the crib (which is months away). So, I have no advice but I wish you luck.

    I also am not reading any parenting books. No need to obsess about what she should or should not be doing and how I am screwing things up, which I am sure I am!

  16. No advice. But the Wolverine description made me laugh. Just think: you may be raising the world's soundest sleeper.

  17. Well - you know me and baby books. Love hate relationship. I concur with the 4-month recommendation. Although if it doesn't work for you initially, keep it loose and try again in a couple of weeks. to my surprise, it was really easy getting Ian to fall asleep on his own (usually) once I actually let him try and we never did sleep together because I couldn't sleep with him squirming next to me. So, at 4 months, he sleeps in his crib and pretty much has no problems with it. When he does cry for more than 10-15 minutes, I just go and get him and stick a boob in his mouth. Then he'll fall asleep. Fail safe.