Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Our Baby through Toddler Sleeping Arrangements

I'm a firm believer that sleep is one of the most important things in the world. For real, it's more important than a lot of things in my life, definitely high on the list. That being said, since Miss A was a newborn, I've always made her quality of sleep a high priority. She's now creeping up on the 2 1/2 year old mark, and her sleep habits are still pretty fantastic.

I know that what has worked with us does not work with everyone, but it has worked great for our family. Here's a timeline of Miss A's sleeping arrangements from birth to now:

Birth-1 Week | We co-slept with Miss A propped up on a pillow between us for the first few nights at home, as well as when we were in the hospital. She was a pretty big baby (over 8 pounds) so she took up a decent amount of a normal sized pillow. After her sliding into us off the pillow a few times, we decided to put her in her bassinet right next to the bed.

For naps, I was sleeping every chance I could get so we would either sleep on the couch together or in the bed together. I would put her in her bassinet or on my husband's side of the bed if it was just the two of us.

1 Week- 3 Weeks| She stayed in her bassinet in our room for a few weeks. We would alternate whose lamp stayed on for a few hours during the night (Note to self, invest in a good night light for the next baby, this was a pain in the butt) so we could keep eyes on her. As I said before, she was a big and long baby, so she quickly outgrew the Moses basket we had. Around 3 weeks or so, we started putting her in her crib.

She would nap in her swing in the living room during the day, or in my arms on the couch.

3 Weeks- 6 Months | After the first few nights, this girl was a champ sleeping in her crib. I was a nervous wreck having her in her own room, but two monitors on each side of our bed, full volume, and the vibrating alert helped ease our fears. She would sleep longer and longer each week. Around three months she started waking only once at night, and around four months she was sleeping through the night (or at least until 5AM) consistently. By six months she was really solid with sleeping through the night until early in the morning.

She would nap either in her swing or in my lap for quite a while. The older she got, the less she liked to be held. She would sometimes fall asleep on her play mat on the floor too.

6 Months - 12 Months | Miss A was a sleeping queen. This child of mine would sleep for a solid 12 hours every night, 8:00-8:00 almost constantly. I always made our night time routine consistent. Oatmeal/food around 7:30, then a bath, then bottle and bed at 8:00. Very rarely would we break from this routine, and I definitely noticed when we did. She would put herself to sleep on her own. She'd let me rock her most nights if I wanted to, but didn't need it if I had school work or something else with a looming deadline.

For naps, she would nap 2-3 times per day, again putting herself to sleep each time. She started napping exclusively in her crib just after six months because her weight exceeded the swing (Yay! for chunky babies). I was able to put her in her room awake, and she'd fall asleep within minutes.

Around six months she also started standing in her crib. I wasn't worried about her actually climbing out, but I didn't want to take any chances so I lowered it to the lowest setting which allowed us to keep her in her crib until almost 18 months.

12 Months - 17 Months | Miss A cut down to 1 nap shortly after 12 months, but it was a long nap. On a normal day, she'd wake up around 8:00AM, then nap around 10:00 or so until 1:30 or 2:00. She'd stay up until 8:00PM as always, and repeat the next day. She continued to put herself to sleep regularly and sleep through the night.

At 16 months she had a really severe diaper rash that wouldn't give, causing her to wake several times in the night in pain. We switched to cloth diapers, and after working out some night time kinks, she was back to sleeping 12 hours again.

We also introduced more blankets and pillows shortly after 12 months. She slept with a pillow pet instead of a normal pillow for quite a while, close to a year actually, but we finally hid it and gave her a regular pillow shortly before her second birthday.

17 Months - 2 1/2 Years | At 17 months, Miss A became a climber. I was really hoping to be able to wait until she was 18 months to convert her crib to a toddler bed, but it just wasn't going to happen. I figured that switching her a few weeks early would be better than letting her fall from the top of her crib.

We have a convertible crib that goes from crib to toddler bed, to day bed, to full size bed. So converting it was a relatively easy process.
The initial few days were pretty rough, especially since she could  open doors. We ended up using one of the door handle guards inside her room so she couldn't let herself out in the night. Once we did that, the adjustment went really quickly. She would wake up in the middle of the night on occasion, but for the most part, it was smooth sailing.

We used the rail for about 7 months to let her get used to having an open side, and prevent her from rolling out. After she started hanging from the rail, and climbing and jumping off of it, we took it off and piled a stuffed animal or five next to her bed for cushion if she rolled off in the night.

She now sleeps just fine without the rail or stuffed animals. She sleeps about 11 hours per night, along with a 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day. Just recently, she's started telling us that she's "too big" for her bed and that she needs "a bed like Mommy's" or "Nana's" (the guest room has a queen size bed as well). While we don't plan on getting her a queen size bed, we are planning on upgrading her after Christmas. She won't be 2 1/2 until the end of January, but I feel confident that she will do fine in a twin bed. We're in the process of finding one that doesn't sit too high off the ground so she can get up and down easily. She does wake sometimes in the night to go to the bathroom on her own, and we don't want her falling or not being able to get back up.

I'll be sure to keep all of you updated with how that process goes! I'm sure that she will adjust just as quickly as she did to her toddler bed. If you have any other questions about our sleep habits and routines, please feel free to ask! We have been so blessed with a great sleeper, I can only hope that our future children will be the same.

God Bless ♥ V