Monday, May 19, 2008

It might just be time...

...to start some sleep training with The Boy. Why? Well, the last two nights, when The Boy was left on his own in our bed, he was awake and crying within about two minutes. Last night, it was before I had reached the couch in the den; tonight, it was the length of time it took me to get to the kitchen, throw two pieces of (ezekial) bread into the toaster oven. In both cases, he cried until we came back in the room - which was rather quickly, considering the fact that, if he starts to crawl around and look for us, it's a three foot drop off the side of the bed (thank you, pillow top mattress, for that extra six inches).

On the surface, it seems pretty simple. Move the crib into our bedroom. Likely, we'll shift the bed over a couple of feet towards my side's wall (...considering that it's cleaner than my wife's side...) and pull the crib in close to the bed. Let The Boy spend a few nights in the crib next to the bed. When he's used to that, move the crib into his room. Now that it's not 50 degrees in his room (thank you, lack of insulation between the garage and his bedroom), it shouldn't be too cold for him to sleep.

However, it's not quite that simple. The big point, to me and to us, is the middle-of-the-night nursing. He still nurses once or twice during the night, usually once. I know for a fact that neither one of us wants to move to a crib, pick him up, feed him, then put him back when he's done. I think that he's pretty much over the immense NEED to feed in the middle of the night; my assumption is that he's capable of taking a feeding at 10 or 11 o'clock (when The Wife goes to bed) and lasting until 6 (when The Wife gets up for work) on most nights.

That's kind of a big assumption, when you think about it. He's still pretty young, even though members of my family (specifically, my New Jersey sister-in-law, as opposed to the hippie sister-in-law in California, who's likely... well, more about her at a later date) stopped nursing and nighttime feedings at a younger age than The Boy is, currently. (...and, her kid is kind of short, now, at 15...)

I admit to being nervous about it, because nobody likes to hear their baby cry without being able to help. I'm not particularly averse to hearing the crying; I know that, when I take a shower or use the toilet, I put The Boy in his crib for safety purposes. He can cry all he wants, but he's not wandering around the house while I'm not able to pay attention to him. Same thing, here. I don't mind if he's crying because he's used to a nighttime feeding and wants the psychological comfort of suckling at the breast; I do mind if he's crying because he's famished and needs sustenance.

I think he'll last. Today, he had breakfast (some apple juice and a couple of bites of rice cake) & a bottle at 9/9:30, lunch at noon (a couple of pieces of pasta, and a small piece of oatmeal& turkey meatloaf)), and didn't have a bottle for the rest of the day - just a live nursing at 3PM. That's not a lot of food, so - theoretically - if he eats at dinner, nurses as per usual around bedtime, quick nursing at 10 or so, then he should be able to last until 5:30 or 6:00. Should.

Is it time to experiment? Probably. My wife & I want our lap back at nighttime. I know that I would really like to snuggle my spouse, much less engage in that "awz" thing I've heard about (look at the letters directly to the right of those three).

Then again, I really and truly do treasure the nose-to-nose naps that I take with him. That's such a special thing for me, because - even from birth, snuggling with my parents - I've never been able to fall asleep nose-to-nose with anybody. I've always been a belly-down, face-the-wall kind of sleeper; The Boy is the first time in my life that I've fallen asleep with my arm around another person. I treasure that like words can't express; it's been some of the happiest moments in my life, in the last nine months. That's a TOUGH thing to give up.

But, I understand that I can't have it both ways. This week is a bad week to try, considering that I'm headed on a band trip Friday, Saturday and Sunday; my wife is headed down to Maryland to attend her sister's college graduation. Maybe we'll start to wean him off of the middle-of-the-night feedings this week, and bring him to his crib starting next week or so.

But, man, I hate to lose those naps.

2 comments:

the mol said...

Sleep training doesn't have to involve unsupervised crying but it will inevitably cause us to lose sleep until he gets the hang of it. So if we're going to lose sleep, we may as well still pay attention to him.

And, to clarify, the Jersey sister-in-law never nursed and fed on a four hour schedule pretty much right from the beginning. At about 2 months, she just filtered out the feeding that was in the middle of the night.

Paul D. Keiser said...

I don't think we stopped co-sleeping much until after Liam was weened. It's not fun, but by then, he was old enough to appreciate the cooless of a "big boy bed" (read: toddler bed maybe 6" off the ground). Good idea to do though. We weren't as good about impressing the "cool factor" on our daughter, and she still - at 4 1/2 - wakes up at some point in the night and wanders into our room to sleep with us. After 8 years of little reliable privacy, it's getting old.