Monday, November 28, 2011

This is How We Go to Sleep

I originally wanted to write the "This is How We" series for BabyE's journal, as a snapshot of our everyday lives.  Eventually I will include This is how we...nurse, nap, diaper, and take a bath. I was inspired by Extraordinary Ordinary to share it with you here as well.  So here it goes...

Bedtime Routine Baby Sleeping in Knit Cocoon

This is how we go to sleep...

The shower curtain screeches open and I race to dry off and dress. DH is getting BabyE into his PJs in the bedroom, and I can hear the fussing has started already. It is time to sleep. I settle into bed on my side, spread out the fleece changing pad, and DH lays Baby down beside me. Baby automatically rolls on his side, searching. He snuggles up to nurse, our tummies in firm contact, sharing body heat. I curl my body protectively around him. His feet rest on top of my legs. After an hour of eating and pacifying, Baby has been soundly asleep for a while. I'm caught up on emails and my Google Reader subscriptions. I finally force myself to place him, so carefully, into his co-sleeper beside me and click off the light. The steady rhythm of his breathing is the last thing in my consciousness before I drop off to sleep.

I click the light back on. Even without my glasses, I can tell Baby is smiling up at me: the dark of his wide open mouth against the bright face.  It's impossible to regret being awake at this hour to experience that sight.

I awaken to baby head-butting me, trying to get a good latch. I don't remember waking, turning on the light, pulling him into bed next to me, but there he is. I doze a little more while he eats, and then lay him back in his bed.

As Baby nurses, I am thankful for Dr. Sears' advice: If baby isn't fussy, don't worry about burping him. If baby isn't bothered, double-diaper and don't bother changing a wet diaper at every feeding.  Drop your shoulder to offer the other breast rather than moving or rolling baby over to the other side.  It's normal for babies to wake up 2-3 in the night at this point...It lets us all get back to sleep more easily without all the rocking, patting, singing, pacing in the middle of the night. I think of my dear friend often at these 4am feedings. Did we really stay up this late for fun back when we were in high school? Baby only sometimes makes it back into his own bed. I imagine he thinks it's too lonely over there by himself, a whole 12 inches away from me. Before I can get up, we've both fallen asleep again.

Inevitably BabyE awakens before Mommy and Daddy think it's time. There's really no need for DH to set his alarm for work these days. It's as if Baby learned the schedule early on, and he wants to make sure to see Daddy before he goes to work. It's time for another day to begin. Thank goodness for naps!

What does your nighttime parenting routine look like? 


  1. Thank goodness for naps, indeed! I'm about to be here again in a couple of weeks. I know I was the best-rested first time mother ever because our son slept with us. These days we're more nervous b/c my husband sleeps much harder these days. We never had a cosleeper, though. He was always in bed with us.

  2. Steph and Kimberly - I'm just trying to soak up every minute of it!

    Kathleen - That's great! I would love to have baby in bed full time, but I'm such a light sleeper, I am afraid I'd never get to rest. It feels so great to all be snuggled together. Congratulations by the way!

  3. The photo is awesome and I love the idea of a "this is how we" project! I think you should put together something for us all to participate in! We Just Write on Tuesday...maybe we can "This is how we" on Thursday!

  4. CJ - What a great idea! Sometimes it is nice to have an 'assignment' to get inspired. I would love to read 'This is how we' posts from other mamas. I'll get a linky up for Thursday, and we can all write on 'This is how we sleep' this week. See you there!

  5. I miss those days. It's so much easier when they're in the same room. Now I have to stumble down the hall...

  6. Amber - I am thankful to have him in the same room for now. I had some serious run ins with furniture in the middle of the night when I was pregnant and getting up for the bathroom all the time.

  7. The nights with babes really are precious. Even if they mean "this is how we don't get much sleep" :)

    I'd love to participate on Thursday. I'll be traveling this week and I'm a scattered type, but I'll try in the future!!!

  8. I am going to say the same crazy thing as your other commenters! I kind of miss those days, too. Although, it's only because the horror of sleep deprivation has faded in my memory. Very sweet post. :)

  9. Heather - I hope you do get a chance to link up sometime! Have a great trip!

    Amanda - When I wrote this I never imagined I'd get this kind of response. So many times I've been given that look of sympathy IRL as if not sleeping through the night is the worst thing in the world. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who loves this time with baby.


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