Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Big Boy Bed

We've got several circumstances in our home that have nudged us to shift our usual sleeping situation.  Usually, jb, Leo and I all sleep together in our king-size bed.  For both naps and bedtime I would lay with him and nurse him to sleep, then either I would sneak away until I was ready for bed - or these days, more often I would sleep with him.

This was working out great for us for the last 22 months - but a few factors had us reassessing this system lately.

1.  There is a baby coming in June.  This is inevitably going to change everything up - and since this new addition will most likely affect my availability for bedtime AND the dynamic of our family bed, we don't want Leo to associate any jarring changes with the arrival of bug.

2.  Pregnancy induced sensitivity.  My body has been extra sensitive lately.  I feel like the Princess in The Princess and the Pea - even a wrinkle in my pjs will make it impossible for me to fall asleep some nights, so you can imagine that nursing has become uncomfortable.

3.  2nd year molars.  It seems that Leo is teething again - so in addition to moodiness and clingy-ness he has been wanting to nurse much more than usual - and has been less careful about his teeth.  I'm pretty sure he's doing his best to hold back, he even says "be gentle, no teeth" before each nursing session - but still, it's been hard.

All these things combined prompted me to convert his never-used crib into a toddler bed.  I wasn't convinced Leo was ready for the transition - but I figured we could give it a shot.  I started with a nap - nursed him to sleep (he usually falls asleep quite quickly at naptime) and he slept in his new bed for the entire nap.  He woke up a little disoriented and whimpering, but I came in and sang him his good-morning song and that was that.

Night time was a bit trickier.  He still nurses a bit, but then after about 15 minutes I tell him that nursing is all done.  The first few times he cried, but I suggested other comfort measures (cuddles, foot massage, singing songs) and now, as soon as I tell him nursing is done he requests, "massage, mama."

At first, if he would wake up he would cry until we came to comfort him - and sometimes he would go back to sleep, and sometimes he would need to back to our bed with us.  The wake-up times have ranged from 1am-5am - usually around 4am.  Now he is mostly sleeping through the night and getting up on his own and toddling over to our bed between 4am-7am - which usually leads to a little more snuggle/sleep time.  Of course it's been two steps forward, one step back - but overall pretty smooth.

Considering this is a big transition AND he's teething, I am pleased as punch with how it's going.  Of course, it's only been about a week, so I know we aren't out of the woods just yet.  I will admit that I do miss him a bit, but it has been so nice to have the extra room and more jb cuddle opportunity.  I can't believe what a big boy my little baby has become.  It's bittersweet - which is why I'm so glad to hear the "thump, pat-pat-pat-pat-pat" of his feet right before he crawls into bed with us in the morning for some family cuddles.  Even when it's 4 am.


  1. Stacey Wacknov3/07/2012

    Somewhat personal questions -- feel free to ignore, of course.

    Why have you chosen to extend breastfeeding so long for Leo? What happens when Bug arrives? No judgment either way, just curious.

  2. I'm so impressed with you and also happy to find someone very similar to us in our bedtime ways. And the alternative soothing ideas are BRILLIANT! Wow! Must try those!!!! We just turned Isobel's crib into a toddler bed because when I'm working nights it's impossible for S to put her in her crib ( too short to reach over ) and anyway let's be real, she sleeps on S til I come home. Not an ideal situation at all. We are getting her excited about her bed - yes it's right next to ours - and she just got a lovely home made quilt from her play aunt. She sleeps with us all night anyway and since my work schedule is all messed up we need to try to get back to a regular schedule. Anyway! Good job, mama and Leo! Thanks for sharing!

  3. The reason baby sleeping on S is not ideal is based on health issues S has which mean in order for Isobel to sleep on her, S must sit up in a chair all night. It would be great if they could just sleep together while I

  4. Sorry for all the comments. My phone is acting up.

  5. klgs243/08/2012

    Hello. I started following your blog after reading your guest post over at Babycenter. I think Leo and your family are adorable and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better through your blog. I have to point out one thing, from one mama to another. I can see the cord to the blinds dangling behind Leo's bed, and it appears to be within his reach. Could you, for me, please tie up that cord so he can't get to it? Blinds cords are SO dangerous. Thank you so much for allowing my paranoia!

  6. That's great that he is starting to enjoy his own space but still so cuddly! Hopefully it sticks and bug will have some room!

  7. Great questions. The main reasons I am glad to still be nursing are continuing to give him that nutrition boost and antibodies (especially during cold season). The World Health Org recommends nursing up until age two and beyond - so that's another reason I'm not anxious to quit. When bug comes - obviously the newborn that gets all it's nutrition from breastmilk will take priority, but I think that nursing will be really nice to still share with Leo during a time when he might not be feeling as connected to me because my attention is divided. I think/hope nursing will be an easy and familiar way to reconnect and feel close. :)

  8. Hi! Welcome and thanks for reading along. Good eye - it's actually not a blind cord - but an electrical cord for his nightlight/lamp. We do tuck it up out of reach when he's in bed alone, but he likes to turn it on and off at bedtime so the switch is within reach until then. Thanks so much for looking out for us!

  9. Fingers crossed. Either way, I'm sure it will work out.

    right? .... RIGHT?

  10. Klgs243/09/2012

    Thanks for being so kind with your response! Even as I was typing the initial comment and posting, and even AFTER I posted it, I was second guessing myself about even saying something. I just felt it was too important, so I did it. I'm glad I was wrong, and I hope you'll forgive the intrusion..

  11. I'd hope that any reader would say something if there was a chance of danger that I might not be aware of! Thanks again!

  12. Stacey Wacknov3/09/2012

    Interesting. Something to think about -- thanks for sharing your reasons.