Transitioning away from sleeping in a carrier

 

asleep in a woven wrap
asleep in a woven wrap

 

Since he was born Jack has been falling asleep for naps and bedtime in a baby carrier probably 90% of the time. I did it because it was easier to get him to sleep and stay asleep, and I enjoyed walking around with him because I could look at my kindle to pass the time or talk on the phone.

At 15 months, my husband had been wanting to transition him to falling asleep in bed, so my mom was visiting for a week and agreed to help me. I had tried several months ago but it took Jack hours to sleep and was too stressful for me to stick with it. This time though, I think he was developmentally ready and it was so much easier!

Our plan was to do our night time routine (book, diaper change, nurse in bed), play a lullaby on repeat in our room (he sleeps with us in a sidecared crib), keep the room dark, and not let him off the bed. If he cried I would hug him or breastfeed him but not let him leave the bed or carry him. I think this method is similar to the “crying in arms” technique. There is no way I would feel comfortable leaving my baby alone to cry, and even a few months ago I felt really upset about not picking him up if that’s what he wanted.

The first night we let him get really tired and put him to bed at 10pm. He was overtired and cried for a few minutes and then nursed. He alternated crying, nursing, and crawling around in the crib for about 45 minutes before he fell asleep. It was way better than the last time I tried which involved 2 hours of lots of crying (all with me hugging him). The next day we did bed time at 9 and it took about 30 minutes with just a little crying, and the days after that have been just a little crying and then nursing for 20-30 minutes. I’m glad Jack can go to bed without needing to be walked around now, and especially that it felt like he was ready for the change. The next step will be trying to get him to wake up less at night to nurse, but I’m worried that will be really hard!

Update at 15 months

1.sleepy

Jack is 15 months old now, and just within the past week started walking all the time. It’s really mind-boggling and amazing to watch a baby learn a whole new skill like that. It took several weeks of him walking a step here and there before it just seemed to click one day. It was probably the how to walk DVDs we play him… just kidding!

For several weeks now Jack has been switching off and on between mostly 2 naps a day but sometimes just 1. He’s always tired for his morning nap 2-3 hours after waking up, but sometimes he just doesn’t fall asleep for the afternoon one. Then we have a tricky situation where he gets exhausted by an early time like 5pm and I don’t know whether to let him sleep or not. The other day he took a 10 minute nap after breastfeeding at 5, but then stayed awake until 9pm! So I think from now on I’ll try to keep any really late naps to 5 minutes and see how it goes.

Today for example Jack woke up at 7am and napped from 10-11:30. I tried to get him to nap again between 2:45-3:15 and he wouldn’t fall asleep while I walked him around in the carrier, so we skipped the afternoon nap. I took him to the park at 5 to keep him busy and now he’s passed out after breastfeeding at 6:30. Hopefully he’ll stay asleep all night!

Jack’s also been crying more lately and putting his fingers in his mouth so I think he’s getting a canine tooth. We always have a hard time deciding about giving tylenol (all the chemicals and possible side effects vs. don’t want our child to be in pain or never sleep) so I’ve been trying to limit it to once a night. The ingredients list is frightening though- I don’t know why medicine for children needs artificial colors and flavors…

Jack has also started (finally!) eating some more solids, but still not a lot compared to other kids. The things he likes are either puff type textures like cheerio-type things or these baked pea snacks, or mushy stuff in a spoon like egg salad and refried beans. I need to think of some more things to offer him though, maybe that will help him sleep more…

Jack’s first steps

1.25look

 

At almost 14 months old, Jack took his first steps yesterday! He has been walking often with his wooden walker wagon, and he can cruise on furniture and even climb the couch, but he hadn’t walked until yesterday. I’m happy that we let him do it in his own time instead of pushing him or “helping” him with contraptions that gave him a false sense of security like those plastic walkers that go around the child and have wheels (are are not allowed in Canada because they cause lots of accidents.)

The only contraption we used was the wooden wagon which is self-directed so Jack can decide when he wants to pull up on it and push it, and he has the freedom to do it or stop when he wants. I identify as an attachment parent primarily, but I like the RIE philosophy about teaching children new skills. They say that you should spot them, but not help them- so be there to catch them if they might fall, but not push them to do something they can’t do themselves. For example, I didn’t hold Jack’s hands and support/pull him forward while he tried to walk. RIE says that doing things like that gives your child false confidence and leads to injuries when he tries to do it alone. Instead, they recommend letting them learn gradually and naturally by first standing against furniture, then cruising while holding things, and then walking on their own.

It’s hard not to wish your child was growing up faster sometimes (especially in the realm of sleeping more independently!), but I’m trying to be laid-back about his milestones and providing loving support for him to achieve things in his own time, without pressure. This translates to a “wait it out” approach to sleep and knowing that he’ll sleep through the night when he is ready. In terms of talking, I talk to him a lot all day, but don’t constantly ask “what’s that?” all the time as though I’m giving him a test. With eating, I just offer a variety of foods for him and hope that he will gradually become more interested in solids. I’m definitely not in a hurry for him to grow up too fast- I feel like time is already flying by, and I want to appreciate these months when he is more dependent on me since in a few years I’m sure he’ll barely want to spend time with me anymore. I just have to remind myself of that at 2 in the morning :)

Facebook groups for crunchy moms

Since I’ve had Jack, I spend an embarrassing amount of time on facebook while he’s breastfeeding. I don’t know a ton of crunchy moms in real life, so facebook groups have been so helpful in making me feel like part of a community and having people to ask for advice. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Natural Toys and Children’s Items b/s/t

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/402340353149076/
  • This is ony of my favorites and I’ve already mentioned it here
  • B/S/T stands for buy, sell, trade
  • It’s a nice place to find cheaper used wooden toys etc, but also to ask questions about anything crunchy

2. The babywearing Swap

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/thebabywearingswap/
  • This super addictive group is just for buying and selling used baby carriers and wraps
  • I definitely look at it while not even planning to buy anything just because the wraps are so pretty!

3.  Babywearing 102

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/Babywearing102/
  • This is the group where you can post questions about anything babywearing related, or pictures of you wrapping and they will give you tips

4. 102 Off-Topic

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/102OT/
  • This is a group to talk about anything other than babywearing, and the moms tend to be super crunchy, use positive parenting, and know about breastfeeding etc

5. The Wait It Out Method (A toolkit approach to sleep training)

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWaitItOutTribe/
  • This group is for parents not using cry it out for sleeping, and is very helpful when you are at your wit’s end with a baby waking up all the time and want some moral support when everyone in real life seems to be sleep training

6. High Needs / AP / Spirit Families – Babies and Children+ …WORLDWIDE.

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/354013614686652/
  • This group is not my favorite, but it can be helpful to ask questions about your high needs baby or see other peoples’ stories to get some perspective

7. Organic Kids Clothes Swap Sell Buy

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/468453759909391/
  • This group probably has less clothes than the group #1 I listed, but is another one to check out if you want used organic clothes

8. Elimination Communication

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/diaperfree/
  • This is useful to ask questions about specifics of EC (diaper free babies) or problem solve if you’re having a potty strike or anything

I also joined some specific groups for certain things like BumGenius b/s/t to buy used diapers of that brand, or Tula love to ask questions about what size Tula carrier to get. It’s a good idea to search for your favorite clothing brand and they might have a b/s/t group, or your favorite small stores may have a group or page you can “like” to see coupon codes occasionally. Hope this helps you waste a lot of time/connect with other crunchy parents!