River has spent every night of his first 6 months of life in our bed, in my arms, in Shawn's arms, or in his bassinet right next to us. We have lulled each other to sleep, our snores and slow, deep breathes blending together. We have nursed and rocked and cried and laughed, spent many nights sleeping and many nights not. Together, the three of us have had an amazing cosleeping journey.
But, things started to change this month. River started waking up every hour on the hour, crying and fighting his sleep. Our sweet baby who has been such a great little sleeper from day one suddenly became very uncomfortable in the late night hours. We tried all of the usual tried and true remedies: walks through the quiet, dark house in his sling, nursing on demand, sleeping on mama's chest in the rocking chair. The expression we've all used as parents to new babies, "We've been up all night": it was literally happening to us. After a week of no sleep for any of us, I knew that it was time for the transition.
It's time to put River in his own bed. I think that he'll be more comfortable, it will be more quiet and there will be less distractions. I just feel it: he's ready.
Shawn was a bit taken aback by how calm and at peace I seemed with the whole thing: I don't usually embrace theses milestones with my babies all that well. I want them to stay babies as long as possible, I want them in my arms for as long as they'll have me. But the third child is different, he has offered me such redemption in all my anxious and controlling ways. I've learned to just listen, to accept, to read my baby and let him show us what he needs. And when he does, to do so willingly and not let nostalgia ruin the moment.
We followed our usual bedtime routine, carrying River to his crib and giving him extra kisses and hugs. We put him down and he looked up at us and smiled. I felt the familiar urge to be sad that this was happening, my nurturing heart longing to scoop him back up and pull him in close. But it was Shawn who spoke first: "I'm so proud of you buddy! Look at you, such a big boy in your bed! I love you, son. This is a big day for you!"
He was genuinely proud and excited for River, the two of them smiling at each other in such a way that I think they would have high fived if River were big enough to know how. And this is the way things have been in our parenting journey with River: both Shawn and I growing in confidence, no second guessing ourselves, no holding back. When he's ready, we follow, empowering him and giving him all of the positive praise we can muster. He was so ready for a good night's sleep in his crib and we recognized that and facilitated it. It was one of those really good parenting moments.
The first night, he woke up three times. I nursed him, rocked him, and put him back to sleep. The second night, he woke only once. By the third night, he was back to sleeping 12 hours straight, waking up in the morning all bright eyed and happy, rested and ready for the day. Seeing him in his bed, his favorite blankie curled up around him so peacefully, makes my mama heart full.
This is the first of many transitions, little buddy. Throughout your life, you will grow and change and we will have to readjust. You will gain more and more independence and learn to lead with confidence. And we will be right there beside you, cheering you on and supporting you in all that you do. Our arms are always open, everything we have is here for you. We're proud of you, buddy.