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Desperate times call for desperate measures, my friends. And this sleep-deprived mama is desperate.
See, my 8-month-old daughter is going through a rough patch when it comes to falling asleep and staying asleep on her own. (Or, maybe I'm in denial and this is just the way she is.) I nurse and rock her to sleep each evening. But without fail, she wakes up crying the instant her little body touches that crib mattress. So I pick her up again and we rock some more. Then I try the transfer again. She stirs. She wails. Repeat.
Eventually after tag-teaming my husband for an hour-plus of this circus, she'll stick to the blasted crib. For like, an hour. Two tops. Then, the process begins at square one. Without fail, the moment my husband and I turn in for the night, she's awake.
This is how I became an accidental breast-sleeping mom. It's not the ideal arrangement, but it beats continuing this maddening tango all night long. Still, I am exhausted. My back hurts every morning from sleeping on one side with Baby A tucked in my armpit, and I long to be able to properly use blankets again. So last night, I thought I'd try a fresh approach. I decided to crawl into the crib with my daughter until she fell asleep.
Yes, this happened.
I'd like to point out this is not a safe sleeping arrangement. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against any other objects in the crib with an infant. That means no pillows, no blankets, no bumpers and no stuffed animals or toys. Just a crib mattress with a fitted sheet and the baby. So I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume this means no people too.
Still, I had no plans of actually sleeping in there with her. So I went for it. When I felt like I had a decent chance of Baby A staying asleep, I planned my strategic exit. Fail. She totally noticed I moved and made sure I was aware of her displeasure. Fifteen minutes later, I braced for attempt two. Here's how I pulled it off:
Step 1: Muster enough courage to slowly sit up next to your sleeping baby.
Step 2: While holding your breath and praying to the gods of sleep, carefully move yourself toward the crib railing.
Step 3: Gracefully swing one leg over the side of the crib and onto the floor without losing your balance and face-planting. This works best if you have relatively long legs.
Step 4: You're soooo close! But don't celebrate yet. Swing over your other leg, and then tip-toe across those creaky floor boards. Don't you dare breathe.
Step 5: Success! Close the door without making a sound and do a (quiet) happy dance once you've made it to the living room. Hallelujah! Your baby is now asleep in her crib. For now, at least.
I'll admit I had a pretty big head about my genius sleep solution last night. (Duh. Why didn't I think of this before?) That is, until she awakened, on cue, 10 seconds after we were snuggled in bed with the lights off. Touché, my ridiculous, non-sleeping baby girl. Touché.
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