I’m obsessed with Hugo’s sleep. There are pages of sleep journals scattered about the house, countless online laments and heartfelt requests for help. I read The No Cry Sleep Solution, Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book and many websites devoted to the topic.
Before he got sick the last week in March, Hugo would fall easily to sleep while I nursed him watching TV around 9:00 or so. Then he got sick and had to stay the night in the hospital (more on this later). Hugo had a backslide in the sleep department after that seemingly unrelated incident. He boycotted his crib entirely. He would only nap when I held him and would only sleep when I was next to him in bed.
I despaired. I felt guilty for co-sleeping when much of the advice of my friends included cry-it-out methods. Then things gradually began to improve.
I found other moms online who felt like I did about co-sleeping and not letting a baby cry-it-out. I began to trust my instincts and relax. I realized that this was a phase Hugo was going through and it would pass.
Fast forward to now. Hugo takes three naps a day in his crib (about a half hour each) and goes to bed “for the night” in his crib at around 6:00 or 7:00. He then wakes up every hour to be nursed back to sleep until coming into my bed around 10:00.
He loves our bedtime routine. It’s short but he knows what it means when I sit down with him in his room with his sleep monkey and the lights low.
But all bets are off when I have to take him somewhere at nap time or worse, bedtime! I attend classes at the School of Practical Philosophy in New York. It’s a long drive from where I live in central New Jersey but it means a lot to me and I missed it terribly in the months since Hugo was born.
Now that he’s a little older, we worked it out that Hugo, my husband Rick and I all go to the city on Monday nights so I can attend my class. Rick stays with Hugo in an unused room for the duration of class and I can breastfeed Hugo before and after. I think it’s the best solution for now, since I’m only away from him for two hours and can breastfeed instead of finding a place to pump and store breast milk. I would have to pump since I’m away from home for six hours total.
The problem is that Hugo’s sleep schedule is totally upended. He’s not too clingy and hasn’t shown any stranger anxiety yet, but he does insist that I put him to bed initially and every time he wakes up. My class ends at either 9:00 or 9:30- well past even his late bedtime. In the three weeks we’ve gone to the school as a family, Hugo cried while waiting for me the first two weeks, then cried himself to sleep while Rick held him last night.
I felt terrible. Hugo rewarded us by sleeping for three hours straight in his car seat, though. I wonder why he sleeps so much longer in there than the crib? So on one hand I feel like I should stay home from now on so that Hugo’s nap and bedtime routines are carefully observed, but I’m grateful that he’s been flexible about coming into New York with me and going to bed so much later than usual!
It will be nice when Hugo feels comfortable with Daddy rocking him to sleep at bedtime. He’s been beautifully accommodating in other ways so far. I’m sure it will happen.
He’s so much happier in the car now after a phase of screaming his head off whenever he wasn’t sleeping. Here he is entertaining himself with a friend.