At just under 5 months old, we have a “bedtime routine”.
When i first brought the baby home, i didn’t have ANY routine. He’s a baby, he didn’t need a routine. So i’d let him do whatever he wanted. If he fell asleep, cool. If he was hungry (i nursed on demand), that was fine.
But as he got older (i say that as if he’s old — aww, my big 4.5 month old baby!), i decided some sort of routine would be nice, especially when it came to bedtime. So right before he turned 4 months old, we started.
At 7:30pm, we’d take a bath. All 3 of us would join in on the bathttime fun. Daddy would run the bath (still using the infant tub, on the bathroom counter), while i’d take Bug to the bedroom, get him undressed, pick out a towel and washcloth, and head to the bathroom. Daddy usually did the bathing, while i went out to the kitchen to make a bottle — always breastmilk. For some reason, even though he does get formula, before bed, it has to be breastmilk. Maybe somewhere in my head, i think it’ll do more for him while he’s sleeping. I don’t get my reasoning, either.
After bath, Daddy does massage and lotion, and then picks out and puts on pj’s, while i settle in the glider and pick out a book (usually “Goodnight Moon”), and then i read to him. At this time, the light goes off, the nightlight goes on, and he takes his bottle in my lap, while i try to rock him to sleep. The first night, he fell asleep in my arms. I gently laid him down in his crib, and he stayed asleep. He stayed in there until about 11:30pm! I was psyched, i got a few hours to myself, and things were great. At 11:30, i took him to bed with me, and all was well.
We tried again the next night. He slept in the crib until midnight! Again, easy!
Each night, it got later and later. Until he was sleeping all night! Some nights he’d wake up around 4am, but once, he actually slept until 7am! SUCCESS!
Now, don’t get me wrong, those nights he stayed in his crib all night, i missed him! I love co-sleeping, a lot. But sometimes, after a hard day, all you want to do is stretch out on your stomach, mouth open, crunching up your pillow and sleeping the best you can. Although, that wasn’t easy, without him. Because i missed him, i’d lay there and listen to the monitor, listen to the silence, listen to him sleep. But it got easier. Easier for me to sleep. And easier for him to sleep. And it was wonderful.
Then, one night, a few weeks later, that was it. I tried to lay him down — and all i got was SCREAMING. I’d leave the room for a minute. I’d go back in, talk softly to him, try to soothe him. Give him a pacifier (which he can’t keep in his mouth, anyways, it just pops right out), and then i’d walk out again. MORE SCREAMING. I’d go back in, rub his belly, walk out. MORE SCREAMING. I’d go in, pick him up, rock him, put him down. MORE SCREAMING. It turned into me getting SO FRUSTRATED, that i’d just pick him up, plop him in my bed, and give up and go to sleep. I’d do this every night, attributing his not sleeping to… anything. He’s too tired. It’s too early. He’s not tired. It’s too late. He doesn’t feel good. He has gas. He got shots today. It’s too hot out.
Last night, i said to Josh, “Let’s skip bedtime tonight”.
In hopes of a night of sanity, a night of no screaming, a night of peace — let’s just skip it. Let’s regroup, let’s leave it be, and let’s go back to it in a few nights. Let’s just take a break. Was i giving up? Maybe. Not really. I just needed a break.
So we did bath, and bottle, and then we ended up on the couch. I comfort nursed him on my lap, watched tv, and we both fell asleep. Josh picked him up off my lap, and took him to his room, and laid him down in the crib.
Would he be more successful than me?
Josh was calmer, though. Walked out of the room. Walked back in. Walked out. Back in. Picked him up, hugged him, rocked him, put him back down. 5 minutes or so — sleeping baby.
I climbed in bed and went to sleep. Why can’t i do that? What’s wrong with me? One more thing that i feel unsuccessful at.