|Its too dark to get a picture when Claire is in her cradle, so just pretend you're seeing a cradle instead of a dog bed!|
Jeff and I decided that co-sleeping was the best option for us when we first brought Claire home from the hospital for many reasons. First, we were interested in getting as much sleep as possible in those first few months, and being able to sooth her quickly when she'd start to fuss before she even fully woke herself up was key.I also started staying in bed to do night time feedings which also got us back to sleep faster.Second, and sort of going hand in hand with the first, newborns breath very lightly and I couldn't help but check on her throughout the night for the first several days to make sure she was still taking in air. It sounds silly, but it seems like something most moms go through when they bring their little ones home. Finally, our house is a bit chilly, and I felt she'd be a little warmer sleeping with us.
Now that Claire typically only wakes once in the night to eat (though last night it was every two hours) I started thinking about when to move her into her cradle to sleep. She had also taken to throwing her feet out of her co-sleeper and poking me at night which made the getting more sleep reason for co-sleeping no longer applicable. Even though the reasons to stop co-sleeping were starting to manifest, I was reluctant to move her to her cradle. Granted, its only about two feet from our bed, but when I'm used to having her safe and warm next to me all night two feet seems like a long way. There was also the slight twinge of sadness at the idea of Claire moving beyond her need to sleep with us. I spent a week or two thinking, tonight is the night, but then I'd chicken out when bedtime actually rolled around.
On Saturday April 14th, this momma got brave. After Claire's last feeding she was soundly asleep, the room was nice and warm and the cradle looked like a pretty good idea. I had no more excuses to not give it a try. She didn't even wake up when I laid her in it and watched her for several minutes as I gently rocked the cradle back and forth. I put the co-sleeper next to the bed just in case she woke up upset, repositioned the pillows and blankets in the bed to their pre-baby positions and cozied in for a good nights sleep. As I drifted off, I was surprised to find I actually enjoyed the idea that we all had our own little beds.
I think Operation Cradle has been a definite success. Last night was the only time I've had to bring her back into our bed so far and even then she had spent most of the night her cradle. While its slightly sad to think my little girl no longer needs my arm nestled around her to get a good nights sleep, it is also exciting to see her content in her own space. I think this was a milestone for both momma and baby as she learns to grow, and I learn to let her.