Thursday, September 6, 2012

Transitioning to the crib - Round 2

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. It's been a while (again) since I've posted anything. I just did a dump of all my camera and iPhone photos to our backup disc and there were thousands. I'm overdue a GIANT blog post update or two or three.

But for now, I wanted to talk about the Fisher Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper. And the transition that goes along with it. My original post on this topic continues to be one of the most popular on this here blog, and I can only speculate that the growing popularity of the Rock 'n Play (RNP) is feeding the anxiety of moms all over when trying to move to the crib.

When Asher was born, the RNP was still a pretty new gadget. And, with his colic and my postpartum issues, I think I went on a buying spree. I bought so much stuff just hoping to help him be comfortable and us get some sleep. Turns out, that gem of a sleeper is a must-have for so many new moms. My cousins have purchased it for their little ones recently, and I see feeds on Babycenter raving about it. It seems to have filled the void for babies that don't like sleeping flat and moms that don't like the idea of their little one sleeping in a carseat or swing. (I mean really, what mom pictures bringing home their bundle and putting them to sleep anywhere but the cutesy little perfectly placed bassinet that's been waiting for months for their arrival?)

The cozy little RNP works. It just does. And, it worked for Elias, too. We had to get a new one from Target this time because I folded our original and stored it in the attic, which by the way, kind of ruins it. The heat up there remolded the shell of it to a rather uncomfortable position. But, that's neither here nor there.

So anyways, Elias slept in the RNP for about the first three or four months of his life. With Asher, I had so many sleepless nights worrying when was the right time to move him to the crib? And what if it didn't work? And how would we tackle this and what if it ruined all the sleep progress we had (barely) made to that point? He adjusted nicely, and so did Elias. In both cases, I think they each reached a point where they naturally wanted to stretch out. I knew the time was nearing when I would grab him in the morning and he'd stretch his entire body like a big board for the first five seconds or so. Homeboy needed to unfold!

So, here's my revised (and mostly similar) approach to the big move:

When you make the move
Moms, try not to stress it too much. You'll know when the time is right.

I know they seem huge in there. And OMG, what if they hurl themselves out while you sleep? Elias is a champion at trying to get out now when I put him in there while I work around the house. He's just now (at almost 7 months) able to tackle this. And he's been working on it for weeks. So, it's not likely to happen while you sleep.

Listen to your baby's cues. Or watch them. When they are playing during the day, do they enjoy stretching out? Are they starting to roll? Are they actually sleeping less in the RNP? With Elias, he started snoring horribly in that thing after a cold. Something about the flap of his nose and the swelling in his nasal passages. So, I plopped him in the crib as a last ditch effort to get some rest without all that racket. And he just snuggled on down and slept. Even better than the RNP. So, it could really be a non issue.

How you make the move
There's no right or wrong answer here, obviously.

With Asher, we moved to the pack n play first. With Elias, we went straight to the crib because that's what was set up in our room at the time. I'm beginning to think that cribs are just more comfy than those pack n play mattresses, and for my boys they did better on the crib mattresses.

With Elias, he enjoyed being swaddled. I didn't really like having to put him in one of the official swaddle folds or zip sacks in the middle of the night. So, I did a revised swaddle. I'd fold down one corner (like you would with a regular blanket to swaddle.) Then, I laid that across the RNP about where his shoulders would be. I'd quietly lie him in there and then fold each side over and across him, tucking the latter side down and around him. That worked for us. And for babies that truly like to be wrapped up tight, this could be a good way to break the swaddle habit slowly before hitting the sheets in the crib.

Again, try not to stress it beforehand. I know, I know, easier said than done. Start with naps in the crib. Or on your chest. Or on the couch. Then try a night sleep session in the crib and then back into the RNP for a 'big' sleep when they wake up.

And who knows, maybe they will just say "Thanks Mom, I needed more than 12 inches of space to sleep now that I'm all grown up and stuff." It could be a non issue.

What if it sucks?
Or it could be a rough transition. And that's ok. My advice here would be to go back to the RNP. Seriously, I would go back and forth between the two all the time with Elias. (Before we did the 'real' move.) You don't have to have an official plan and stick with it.

I think that all babies that need to sleep on an incline and feel that snuggly feeling eventually outgrow that. But it may not be on your time table. (Like most stuff rarely is with babies.) If you try to do naps on a flat surface and it fails, just go back. I am a firm believer that Mom needs sleep and baby needs sleep. And there's no right or wrong on how that gets done.

Keep testing out the waters until it just works. And THAT is when you make the big move. Don't kill yourself trying to do it before they are ready.

So, in conclusion, I don't know how helpful this is at all. I feel like I'm rambling, and I'm certainly FAR from a baby sleep expert. I just wanted to share our second experience.

All in all, that RNP is a miracle product in my book. I highly, highly recommend it to all my friends with new babies. And with it, I say: Don't worry about when the time comes to move them out of it. Just enjoy the rest now, and ooh over how cute they look snuggled in there. You'll know when they are ready for more space. And if they change their mind in the middle of the night, you just put them right back in that RNP and kiss their sweet faces goodnight.

Don't rush it, mamas. And don't fret it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this! I really needed it. I'm a big believer in whatever gets everyone the most sleep is the right thing to do. However, my daughter has been sleeping in her rock n' play for several months now and I've spent the last five days trying to transition her to the cribs for naps. It's not going so well. Sometimes she sleeps for 2o minutes or half an hour and sometimes she doesn't sleep at all. We transitioned her from napping on me in a Moby at three months. After trying it off and on, and getting really frustrated when we pushed it, we finally just let go and did what worked best for her. Lo and behold, we found that she was just ready one day and began sleeping in the rock n'play. She is now just about six months and I've been trying to get her to nap in the crib (she sleeps in the rnp at night). After reading this, I'm going back to the rnp-- I was feeling sane and rested and now I'm not. So, now I'm rambling, but I guess I wanted to say thanks for reminding me to take it easy and do what's best for all of us!

e. said...

I am so glad I found your blog! I really needed to read this. My daughter is 5 months old and a huge baby at that and the rock n' play is getting so small but the crib transition is rough. As I type this she is taking her first real nap of the day at 3:30pm, in the rock n' play as I gave up on the crib for the day.

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