I think “for us, for now” are really good words to learn as a parent.
This week was a tempest in the sleep department, in a teacup of my own making. After two nights of trying out a major change to Del’s sleep habits, I realized that the only change I really wanted was an earlier bedtime for my little man. I wanted that partly for him, because when he’s not well-rested, he’s more irritable and less playful (like both of his parents!) and when he is well-rested, he’s a giggling little charmer, And I wanted it partly for us, because, well, we like to cook and eat dinner. That’s a neat thing to be able to do. We also like to watch TV together while we eat, and I like to keep Del’s TV exposure minimal. We might also like to have sex sometimes, and it certainly helps if you’re not worn out with three hours of cranky-baby management at the end of the day… but that’s another post…or maybe not.
Anyhow, after giving some ideas from books a few tries, and feeling horrible and seeing no good effects whatsoever (except that my child slept really heavily after three hours of crying… don’t we all?!) and after taking with several terrific moms about their sleep decisions, I dropped the whole project.
My goal is for a well-rested baby to go to sleep most of the time around 7:30 -8. For us, for now, that means some good activity in the late afternoon to use up some of our little man’s boundless energy. Then it means a nice calming bath, and nursing to sleep in bed. It means if he’s sleeping he can stay in our bed while we eat in the next room. It means we’ve “won” if he’s asleep for a couple of hours that first time after “bed time” and then he gets to nurse again because he’ll fall back asleep. And it means when we come to bed, we move our slumbering baby to his crib till he wakes to eat again.
For us, for now, this meets the goal, and neither Del or I have to cry about it.