We have our bedroom back, we don't have to whisper in it, walk on our tippy toes or be afraid that the sound of my belly rumbling might wake Erin!!! Oh yeah, and we've moved Erin into her own bed and room.
So, Ruth's going back to work soon and we wanted to establish well before that date Erin sleeping in her own cot, in her bedroom as well as having the sleep or bedtime routine nailed.
Moving Erin from cosleeper to cot
As always, I do like to start by saying. This is just what Ruth and I did and we are by no means experts. Also, it's perfectly normal and fine for a baby to sleep in the same room as you for as long as you'd like. Just because "they" say you should move them into their own room at 6 months doesn't mean you have to do it bang on 6 months.
Parenting is unique to your child, your relationship and your circumstances. Do what feels right and don't feel pressured into doing it because such and such said so.
Right, a little sidetracked but here we go.
The first thing we did with moving Erin into her own bed & room was we moved the cosleeper away from the bed but kept it in our room for the time being. The idea behind this was for Erin to get used to sleeping away from the side of the bed, away from the sounds of me and Ruth sleeping and at the same time get used to having a barrier on either side of her as she slept.
This step also allowed us to keep an eye on her (as anxious first-time parents) as she slept during the night and be there if she stirred, got upset etc. Also at this point, we had purchased a baby monitor that allowed us to begin our bedtime routine (I'll get to that in a bit) and that we could monitor Erin sleeping on her own at night while being downstairs.
Alongside this, we began putting Erin down in her own cot for her daytime naps. Not going to lie, we were worried she might not like it and not settle.
On the contrary, Erin thought it was great craic and the legs were going 90.
"Great! You love the cot, but you're meant to be having a nap now and not trying to take on Michael Flatley in a rendition of Lord of the Dance."
So, in a nutshell. The first step was Erin sleeping in her cosleeper, which she was used to, away from the bed in our room and her daytime naps in her room and cot.
We did this for about 7 days. We decided we would move Erin into her own cot for the night on a Friday/Saturday so at least if it all goes pear shape and Erin is up all night. I don't have to face a day of work.
I hope that doesn't come across as selfish but more common sense and something I'd imagine most couples would chat about.
Erin's first night in her bed and crying it out
Now, the subject of "crying it out" can often be divisive among parents. People will bring up the Ferberizing methods, negative points and believe that in some way you are being cruel to your child. But please do read on before deciding that I should be fed to the dogs.
I love Erin more than anything on this planet and everything I do, we do or try to do is ultimately to provide her with the best possible life I/we can.
When it comes to sleep with infants, I'm a big believer that the term "crying it out" is more for the parents than it is for the baby. There are plenty of articles relating to 'a baby crying it out' being more physiological on the parents than the child. The child will not remember it.
Do you remember being moved into your bed when you were 7 months old? I bet as a parent you'll definitely remember moving your child into their own bed.
A good friend of ours gave us a guide on how to go about it. This woman has been an amazing support to me but especially Ruth. She explained the first night to put Erin down and should she cry (oh which she did) leave her for 5 minutes, then go up to her, reassure her, tell her everything is ok. A kiss on the forehead, a gentle stroke etc, but "Do Not Pick Her Up". Then leave her again for another 5 mins and repeat this sequence until she eventually falls asleep.
The second night 10-minute gaps, the third night 15-minute gaps and the same process as above.
It was so hard watching her on the monitor. I had the stopwatch out watching the seconds tick by which felt like an eternity. I remember Ruth asking at one point surely it's time to go up... "it's only been a minute, we've 4 more to go" I replied.
Lent felt shorter.
Ruth and I stood in the kitchen, hugged and comforted each other as Erin cried. All the while telling ourselves we just have to wait it out and Erin will benefit so much from it.
We were even singing nursery rhymes and Disney songs to ourselves to get us through it.
Now, this all sounds awful. Two adults downstairs holding each other, fighting back the tears and the primal urge to help your baby when you hear them cry. I was halfway up the stairs so many times.
It was hard. I'm not going to sugarcoat it.
The result, however, Erin loves her cot, goes down most nights with relative ease and is sleeping from 7 pm until around 6 am. Which is incredible.
Is Erin affected by it all?
She's snoring her little head off dreaming.
The first night she slept through in her own room, I had to do a double-take of my watch when she stirred in the morning. I was like,
"Ruth, look at the time! Will... you... look at the time?"
Now after nearly 4 full weeks in her own bed. We do our sleep routine and Erin is out for the count for 7 pm-ish and down for the night. Which is amazing and it feels like Ruth & I have our evenings and nights back and a bit of freedom and downtime to give out to each other about the Netflix show we are watching and need to get to the end of it.
Fuckin Downton Abbey.
Our Sleep Routine
So our sleep routine is pretty straight forward but I'll say this from the outset. Infants don't do straightforward.
Ruth and I aim to have dinner with Erin between 5:30 - 6:00 pm. Once we're done it's upstairs to clean off the mess from dinner and get Erin ready for bed. Which involves a clean vest, some Aveeno moisturiser with lavender and slipping her into her sleeping bag.
Once that's done we try and read Erin some books. (She loves this pop out unicorn book). Between dinner, getting ready and reading a book the aim is to get to around 6:45 pm when we give Erin a bottle to fill her up. At this point, we would dim the lights and use a night light while feeding to make the room a little darker. And essentially making it more conducive to sleep.
We put her down at 7 pm, in her own bed, kiss her on the forehead and out we go. Nine times out of ten, Erin will be wrecked at this point and might even fall asleep on the bottle or be out for the count by the time you check the monitor downstairs. The other times, she'll have a little play with her little cloth elephant and will be out in about 5 mins.
Now, this is our routine but as many of you may know, when naps don't go to plan during the day this will routine will vary. We might be struggling to keep her awake until 7 so if it's 6:30 pm and she's already having the chats with Mr Sandman, we just put her down to bed.
I'm having dreams Erin is in the bed
Finally, I'd love to know if anyone else experienced this. We never had Erin in the bed with us, besides 2 or 3 nights down in West Cork. I'd be too terrified I'd roll over on her or something as I'm a heavy sleeper. (A fire alarm didn't even wake me up).
Recently, since she's moved into her own bed and room, I've been having dreams that she's in the bed and I wake up in a panic thinking she is in the bed? Ruth has experienced similar.
Am I a Toblerone, out on my own? Or have other parents experienced this or something similar? Comment below.