Beasty number two is almost six months old already. Almost. So that means Im a mere two weeks away from her brain cementing those strong associations she’s been making, particularly associations wrt sleep arrangements. So I best bust a move! That is, if I value
freedom of movement in our own bedroom, and wish to once more enjoy sleeping in pitch darkness, and not need to speak in hand signals and hushed tones akin to that of elephants with my hubby once we’re all settled in the bedroom.
Don’t get me wrong, its not exactly a shabby situation we’ve got as it is right now. Madam is sleep trained – thank God- so shes in her own sleep space (read:cot), and happily puts herself to sleep anything from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at night. So its not like we’re deserving of anyone’s pity or anything. But I do believe the time has come…
…For madam to move to her own room. (*cue drama music here*)
The thing is, all our clothes live in our bedroom- as they should. But madam is a bit of a light sleeper right now (most babies at this developmental stage are, by the way.) So in the mornings, if we didn’t manage to get our clothes sorted the night before and hang them in the spare room (where we now get dressed for work), we would begrudgingly need to go into ninja mode, and sneak back into our own bedroom. Ya. Ek, ‘n groot vrou…Tip toe’ing and leopard crawling around in my own damn bedroom. Its very much like a scene out of Catherine Zeta Jones’ bum-in-the-air Entrapment, all in hopes of not waking the sleeping beasty. Because, if you fail your mission, soldier, there goes your morning: the stars will spontaneously misalign, and there goes any plans of breakfast. Screw any thoughts of packing in lunch. In fact, just scratch having a shower off that list too.
You shall now be said-beasty’s hostage till beasty decides:
- a) She has had her fill of booby milk and is ready to face the day (much like how I feel about my coffee sometimes) or
- b) She just needed a refill on her cuddle-tank
c )You woke her up, therefore, you shall pay, slave!!!
So yes, we’ve become quite the covert agents within our own home, often opting for stealth gear (socks) and military style comms (whispering with hand signals…or sometimes wild flailing arm gestures – which is our version of shouting in stealth . Mostly because the other didnt understand the initial hand signal.)
Obviously, life cannot continue like this…whilst, exciting – I mean, who doesn’t like to leopard crawl in their pyjamas, right?!- it is time to move on. (Until the next baby, that is.)
And its not just because its time to take the ninja-sneak schpiel out of our bedroom, but because sleep is important. Important not only for baby, but for us, as adults too. In fact, did you know, that healthy sleep is far more important than a healthy diet?
Unfortunately society today still only places emphasis on diet alone.
“Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain’s battery. Sleeping well increases brainpower just as weight lifting builds stronger muscles, because sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time. Then you are at your personal best.”
(Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Marc Weissbluth, MD)
Clearly, I am not operating at my personal best then.Baby is, for sure.In fact, she’s clocking those naps and nighttime sleeps like a champ. But my nights? Not so much, as I wake with the slightest little peep from little beasty.Curse you, light-sleeping brain!!
I loved co-sleeping with her for the first three months of her life. Kept her close, and could tend to all her needs at the drop of a hat- even when this often meant little to no sleep for days on end. Often feeling like death warmed up, yes. But I knew that this tiny, fragile newborn stage of her life would pass all too quickly. So I revelled in the intimacy of her close proximity – where I could feel her warmth, breathe her in and savour every sweet moment of her, including those heart melting moments of watching her in sweet slumber. Also, Im always cogniscant about this little being who’s new to this whole earthling thing, who’s been used to having mommy close 24/7 for the past nine months and is then suddenly plunged into this world. On the days that I felt particularly weary from the rigours of having a newborn, I always remind myself of the “4th trimester” and to be present. Respecting the process of nurturing her trust in me.
became quite the star fish in bed, often reversing out of her sleep nest area into mine or daddy’s space, and very literally taking over the bed- as fun as waking up with a baby foot in your eye can be- we decided it was time for her to get her own digs. i.e. Cot. (That was just short of four months old, when a baby’s brain starts creating sleep expectations)
But because I still couldnt bear to be too far away from her,once she transitioned to her cot, it was still stationed in our room, only but an arms length away from mama.
However, fast-forward two and a half months later, with my sleep health, and thus my general health now in rapid delcine, not to mention the strain/frustration of having to slip into our secret agent alter egos daily, a change was needed. And with madam’s brain maturing at a rapid rate, and those synapses firing away, making all those associations, we certainly didnt want to sit with the headache of a crying baba who now doesnt understand why we’re kicking her out from what she has come to know as her sleep space. I mean, it can be done, but it would be just a little more tricky (read: “really much harder”) than if we did it now, before that sleep association was cemented in her brain.
So yes, with only two weeks to go, this means I only have two more weeks to ensure her nursery is primed for good sleep…And for those of you who are interested in what makes for a good sleep space that promotes healthy sleep according to various sleep resources I’ve been using, have a look-see here:
- 1) Got an awesome mobile, that plays the sweetest lullabies and coolest lights? Awesome! Hang that sucker up just not anywhere near the cot…It might seem like a lovely idea at first, or it may even look so darling to hang that mobile over the cot, but often, as the studies suggest, it backfires on most sleep-inducing efforts. The cot is a sleep space, a place for baby to unwind and do a much needed system shutdown. But that lovely little mobile of your’s would just be far too interesting and stimulating to promote easy sleep. The key is to make the immediate sleeping as boring as possible, basically.
2) Same goes for that teddy bear picnic going down in the cot. One little soft toy as her sleep buddy should suffice, but anything more would constitute a pardee in the crib. With all these cute lil’ friends baby has to chat with, stimulation is high, so it may be a while before baby decides to sleep…if ever.
3) And always, always, always remember safety first. So things like bumpers, breathable pillows (if you’re gonna use them), and breathable mattresses, make sure you know what you’re buying for your smally. And whilst seemingly obvious, dont forget to keep the crib far from plugs and wires. This includes the baby monitor wires.These all constitute as possible strangulation or electrocution hazards.
4)And in case you were wondering whats in a colour(?), don’t forget nursery walls!The colour palette you choose apparently also has an effect on baby’s brain, and thus on the ease at which baby could fall asleep. For more on that have a looksy here.
5) And lastly, not a must-have, but I know it works a dream for us: white noise! The acoustics in our house is spectacular. Seriously, at night I can hear hubby pee in the downstairs loo. Yes its that spectacular. I should mention that our baba is quite the light sleeper still, so doesnt take much to disturb her. However, put on some white noise and baby sleeps through dinner parties and the like. We currently use a fan, however, if your more savvy wrt electricity usage you could just download a white noise clip for ur ipod. I totally intend doing this. Will keep you posted.
And that folks, covers the general “needs” for a sleep condusive environment for a nursery. However, I do recommend that you do check out the Dana Obleman Sleep Sense program and/or the Baby Sense Sleep Sense book. I promise you, you will not be sorry. These are two brilliant sleep resources, and could possible answer many of your questions, provided you apply yourself to the material and truly commit to the process.
So we’re generally ready with the most of the above, I think its just the final touches then we’re good to go.
But on that same two weeks token,this also means its only a little time left of parking off next to her crib and just marveling at this beauty of creation. To watch her little chest rise and fall in gentle rhythms, smelling her sweet baby breath, and her pretty little lashes flicker in her sleep. All framed beautifully by her little tufts of brown hair caressing the tops of her ears, and flopped over the top of her head. There just couldnt be a sweeter sight…I think I may just keep my stealth gear on a bit longer. So I can sneak into her room a few more times. Just to watch her sleep.*sigh* Bliss.
Disclaimer: This post was actually written a little more than a month ago, however, life happened and its only being posted now. And I am happy to report, all went smoothly with the “great migrate”…both mommy and child survived., or more acurately, child couldnt have been bothered and was quite happy in her new digs, with naps and sleeptimes happening seamlessly. Mommy however, had a few withdrawal symptoms at first, but the joy of having her room back to herself soon soothed any momma woes. Daddy of course was pleased to put his ninja suit away. For now.
Disclaimer two: Our sleep arrangements were our parental choice, and what works best for us as a family to ensure everyrone has healthy sleep, whilst not compromising on baby’s emotional needs and wants.