“How does she sleep at night?” quite possibly the most asked question to a mother in the first year of their baby’s life closely followed by “does she sleep through the night” and then finally “is she in her own room”. Up until only very recently the answer was no to all of those questions. Well at least now it’s only two!! I’ve written Why I was so hesitant to move Emelia rooms and if it’s worked or not!
If you follow me on instagram you may have seen in some of my recent stories I posted about putting Emelia in her own room. I documented the first couple of days but I wanted to write down my thoughts and feelings through this process for future reference for myself (to remind me when I want more of the sleepless nights involved!) and to maybe help guide other mums. For a lot of people I know that putting there child in there own room is something that is extremely easy to do, and a natural process that just happens as there baby grows. For me however, I found it so difficult. It sounds strange but It wasn't like I was overly emotional about her going into her own room because she wasn't a tiny newborn still etc. There were quite a few factors why I just really feared the transition and knew it may not be as plain sailing as I hoped for. One of those reasons was because she just didn’t appear to be in any sort of sleeping routine at night and adding a second room to the situation could be hell on earth! Another factor was Emelia does not self settle. She feeds to sleep and has done from day 1 and I was desperate to break the sometimes 6 times waking habit before putting her in her own room. I kind of got to the point where I didn't see this happening with her being in our room and actually moving rooms might be beneficial and help with a new routine, so I just went for it! Reggie didn’t see the issue with her still being in with us, and this isn’t being rude to him but to be honest its rare that he even stirs when she wakes in the night let alone experiences the discomfort of having a baby sleeping with you, on you, kicking you, attached to your boob hours on end etc. But anyhow one sunny afternoon after another night of cradling my boob leech all night, armed with Ewan the dream sheep, and the stiffest back I’ve ever had, I decided to go for it.
So in the end we didn’t put Emelia into her own room until she was 8 months old (and I know this is still young anyway). I think as a parent you always compare yourself to what everyone else is doing, and second guessing your decisions is inbuilt because you want to make the best decision for your child every step of the way. But I am really guilty of overthinking just about everything when it comes to Emelia and one of these things was putting her in her own room. I did not know wether I was making the right or wrong decision, wether it would help with her sleeping pattern or worsen it. And so I just thought you know what keep the crib up in our bedroom and if it all goes tits up she can move back in tomorrow !
Emelias Nursery is lovely. She has a beautiful spacious cot, and lovely comfortable mattress, and the best bit is its right next door to our bedroom so I dont have far to get to her. But the idea of moving her into her own room filled me with dread. I envisioned myself pacing back and forth from our room to hers 5, 6 times throughout the night whereas at least she settled quickly when in with us. A quick feed and she would carry on sleeping peacefully. Being in her own room trying to settle her without a feed could be awful! Emelia was sleeping more and more in our bed and I knew that I needed to try and get her settled into her own cot otherwise she would always want to be with us. I have no issues with co sleeping I think it works amazingly well for unsettled babies, helping families get more sleep and also breastfed babies that still feed throughout the night. I’d like to add my child quite happily slots into all of them catorgorys! But my milk monster was just way to dependent on milk for sleep, and only sleeping soundly when about 1cm from my face. I know that having her close is lovely but wanting to wean her off breastfeeding quite soon, I knew this step would probably help with that too and not doing it all at once would help for a smoother transition.
I am happy to report that she has settled beautifully in her cot. I really think she appreciates the space and generally finds it a lot more comfortable than the hard as rock base of a crib mattress! Sleep wise, she still wakes a lot. Although, I can quite often settle her with just a little reassurance or a little cuddle which is a massive turning point, and her expectation of having milk every time she wakes has changed. Half the time she isn’t even properly awake and starting afresh with different techniques getting her back to sleep in her cot has become a lot easier. I am also sleeping a lot heavier myself than what I was when constantly on tender hooks with a baby sleeping next to me. Supposedly in the next to me crib but actually just in bed with us!
I do think the fact she is breastfed does contribute with her sleeping habits and to be honest most formula fed babies seem to get into a nighttime routine easier. This just seems the way it is. Breastmilk is easier digested in comparison to formula and in my opinion from what I have seen and heard formula really does help with getting them to sleep. Every breastfeeding mum I know struggles with nigh-time sleeping. (Obviously I’m aware of exceptions )
Ive said it before, but its always so so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and think that your way is wrong. But for different child the time frame you put on things, and techniques you use will possibly work for you but not someone else. Circumstances play a massive part in this aswell. I guess it just boils down to what works. Sometimes its just not possible to have baby in a separate room. And other times it really is just easier to safely co sleep to ensure your getting the maximum amount of sleep, and avoid feeling like a complete zombie. Emelia still hasn’t slept through the night and although it’s super tiring at times I do enjoy that time with her at night. She’s so on the go during the day now that having her so sleepy and cuddly is the best thing. But I’m hoping with time her sleep will eventually improve. I mean it has to one day surely !? I am going to put a separate post up of our actual bedtime routine just because this post would have been so long!