This post in itself has been an evolution. I originally wrote it after Ronan was born, then updated it after Raiden was born. Now, Over a year later, I'm updating again! Sleeping arrangements have, and will always be, evolving at our house. As well as other aspects of my parenting.
I've always leaned a little towards AP but I guess found it easier to follow mainstream. I don't think you can "spoil" a newnorn. Most are carried for 9 months in the womb so a few more months isn't going to ruin them... Just give them security. I was 21 when I had my first and only nursed for 3 months. I was working and going to school full time... I put myself before my baby. He slept in a bassinet next to our bed for his first 2 months and then moved to his own room in his own bed. Luckily for the most part Joshua wasn't a cryer he started sleeping through the night at 9 weeks and if he did wake up I could give him a pacifier and he would drift right back to sleep. Unfortunately, I did let him CIO a few times because I was too lazy to walk to his room in the middle of the night. Now that I look back I see that it would have been much easier and better for him to have left him in our room. We moved when he was 18 months. My SIL wanted her crib back so we bought a toddler bed... that worked for about a week then we decided to wecome him back to our bed. He stayed there until he turned 5.
Jacob was born when Joshua was 3. He had belly problems. He couldn't lie flat so he slept in his carseat/carrier until he was 4 months at which time I stopped nursing. I later found out that he had been suffering from lactose overload. He was an emotionally taxing baby... because of his belly problems that my pedatrician just coined "colic." He cried ALL the time. I put the poor baby in his own room and let him CIO because nothing I did seemed to work. If only I had been more educated. He cries a lot to this day and I blame myself. When he was 6 months old I found out I was pregnant with Summer. We then moved Jacob to the bigger room in preparation for him and Joshua to eventually share a room. He was 2 1/2 when that happened. We moved him out of his crib when he was 3. They slept together on a futon at first. We got them twin beds shortly after, then bunk beds right before Ronan was born.
Summer too, went to her own room when she was 2 months. I had created a beautiful nursery for her and darnit she was gunna use it. I got a lot less sleep than I could have had I not been being bull headed. I stopped nursing her at 6 months partially because we were starting to plan #4, partially for selfish reasons. Once she was out of her crib she slept on a little toddler couch bed in the boys room for a while and slept in our room in a recliner until she was 5 when she got a "big girl princess canopy bed." She had a special spot in our room that she liked to revisit up until we moved when she was 7.
I wrote this next part right after Ronan was born. I wanted to leave it but I'll update too.
Now my older kids are in school and I have a brand new baby and am a lot more educated but am still learning. Ronans crib is in our room bumped up against our bed. I was an idiot for not co-sleeping with all of them. I love him being right there next to me and I even sometimes enjoy those late night feedings. I hope that I am able to nurse until he is ready to stop... stay in my room until he is ready to leave... never has to know what it is like to CIO... is worn unless he prefers otherwise until I'm not physically able... and is never spanked. I'm am going to write a separate blog on my experience with spanking and babywearing. I believe that I will be able to acheive these thing through the help and support of other moms like me.
My view on spanking is still on the fence. I have still resorted to it for discipline. I'll get to that post next.
At 9 months Ronan was still not sleeping thru the night and nursing every 3hrs around the clock. So we started experimenting with other sleeping arrangements. Summertime had just started so we let Summer either sleep on the couch or in our room and put him in her room. He finally slept thru the night but wouldnt settle in good until it got dark and would wake up as soon as the sun came up. So we hung blankets on the window and that did the trick he started sleeping from 8 to 8. It was wonderful. When school started back we had to figure out something different so Summer could have her room back. We took the shelves down on one side in our walk-in closet and put his crib in there. That's where he stayed until we moved.
One of the things that makes this house perfect for us is that it has a nursery off the master suite that doesn't have any windows!
Ronan got only breastmilk until he was six months old. I ended up in the hospital with a kidney stone right before our trip to Hawaii. But that's a whole other story. He continued to nurse til he was 11 months and then just gave it up on his own. I started giving him solids at between 6&7 months. I bought a little purator and made my own bb food. Not because I think there is anything wrong with store bought but because I thought it was convenient and cheap. I invested a lot in good slings and wraps and think they are the greatest. I would see other moms in Walmart with their carriers in their buggies, holding their babies trying to console them and push the buggy at the same time. While I had mine snuggled up to my chest snoozing hands free. I even wore him in a ringsling when I was pregnant at the aquarium and zoo.
Raiden of course sleeps next to us and nurses when he wants. I have had to supplement with formula a little because I haven't had the time to pump like I did with Ronan. Another big decision we made different with him is that we decided not to circumcise. Not anything major but we had problems with all of our other boys. After Ronans I had went online to see if his was healing right (he had the bell) and ended up coming across some things I had never even thought about. We just did it to our others because we thought that's what everybody did and that it was necassary. Not for any religious or personal convictions. I won't go into it all, it was not an easy decision but we decided that we weren't going to do it this time. I didn't have reservation with the others because I wasn't educated. Having reservations, if something bad would have happened, although the chances are slim, I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself. It's kinda funny because he ended up being born with something called a tied tongue where the piece of skin under the tongue (frenulum) is short. Since he was gaining weight fine we decided not to have it clipped either. Scott joked that if he decides when he's older to have either one done, maybe he can get a two for one special. Lol
I said earlier that I began supplementing with Raiden. I did this so Scott could do a night time feed on the weekend and I could get a longer stretch of sleep. At six months Raiden decided he could wait for mommy. He flat out started refusing a bottle, even if it had breastmilk in it. No biggy, he was giving me longer stretches at night anyway. He started taking sippy cups with whole milk at 11 1/2 months. He stopped nursing on his own at 12 1/2 months. A week before I found out I was pregnant.
Okay, now for the 2010-2011 update on sleeping arrangements. When we first moved in Joshua wanted his room in the basement. That didn't last long... He ended up at first sleeping on a mattress in the floor in Jacobs room. Then just in the bed with Jacob... Shhh! Don't tell anybody!
When Raiden started sitting up on his own, which was at about 8 months. We had to move him out of the bassinet. I know it was long over due! I just wasnt ready to move Ronan out of the nursery off our room yet. We tried at first moving Ronan to the basement because it doesn't have windows. We turned the main floor nursery into a bedroom for Joshua but he still ended up sleeping with Jacob. For some reason Ronan refused to use the ceiling fan down there and since the AC isn't ran to the basement he would sweat really bad at naptime. Since Joshua wasn't using his room we moved Ronan in there and I put a blackout shade on the window.
When I found out I was pregnant again, we again decided we needed to reassess. We moved Summer to the basement... She'll use the ceiling fan. Joshua and Jacob moved to Summers room. It's bigger and had more closet space. We put a queen size bed in there for them. Ronan doesn't nap anymore for the most part. We moved him to the boys old room... No blackout shade. And turned the little room back into a day nursery. We kept a twin bed in there though.
My mom asked the other day where the new baby is going to sleep at night. Well, that will change a lot over the first year. We've never been real comfortable with a newborn actually IN the bed with us. I could've bought another full size crib to put next to the bed... Our last one got recalled, but I decided to buy an in bed co-sleeper this time. That a way i can put the baby between us up high and not have to worry about Scott rolling or covering him/her with our blankets. I'm not sure how long we will use it. I'm guessing 1-3 months then we will transition to the bassinet next to our bed. I like being able to place my hand on them comfortably in the early days. It helps both of us sleep. I'll push that as long as I can, 6-8 months. Then Raiden will have to move to the main floor with the rest of the boys. He'll be 26-28 months by then. He'll stay in his baby bed until he's 3 hopefully. Ronan was 2 1/2 because of the recall. I haven't decided yet if I'll move him in with Ronan or into the day nursery. It depends on whether I still want to use it for naps for the baby.... We'll see!
All in all, I think the best sleeping arrangement varies for every family. It depends on where everybody is getting the best sleep. I don't think there is anything wrong with co sleeping long term... It's just not for us. I like transitioning mine to their own space when they start moving around so I don't have to worry about them getting up during naptime with me unaware. With so many kids I don't have the luxury of being able to nap with them. I have to use that time wisely! We like gently teaching our babies... After 6-8 months... To fall asleep on their own. I begin by lying them down for naps and bedtime, awake but drowsy. I go back to them and give a binky, or pat them briefly as soon as they make a peep. Soon they learn that I didn't really leave them and would be there immediately if they need me. Sleep becomes a peaceful, restful state that they enjoy and do not fear. After they get used to being in a separate room every now and then they may protest going to bed by fussing a minute or two. As long as it doesn't last or escalate I leave them alone. Also at night once they are skipping the nighttime feeds, if they wake up, at first again I go to them immediately. Then after they are going to sleep initially on their own, I'll let them fuss a minute or two to give them a chance to put themselves back to sleep. This has worked like a charm for both Ronan and Raiden. I'll keep my finger crossed for this one!
The 7 baby b's
1. Birth bonding
3. Bedding close by
5. Being sensitive to babys cry
6. Beware of baby trainers (schedules)
I also like the 5 S's
4. Shhhhing sound
4. Side/stomach..... When you are monitoring