but is he sleeping through the night?

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this for the first 9 months of Ace's life, I could have spent them traveling the world. The answer is NO! Ace didn't sleep through the night until he was 8.5 months old. Let's go back to the beginning.

For the first 5 weeks Ace slept in the rock and play right next to me. It was so easy to pick him up to nurse him when he woke up, swaddle him back up, then put him down. Next, we moved to his crib that was in our bedroom 10 feet from our bed. Ace would sleep anywhere between 5-7 hours for the first stretch, and it would vary from there.

The first problem was when I scooped my cozy little baby up I would fall asleep nursing him after a few minutes. Then I would wake up an HOUR later in a panic to find Ace curled up against me fast asleep. So I decided after his first stretch we would cosleep. At a certain point, Ace decided he hated his crib. He wouldn't nap in it and he wouldn't go down for the night in it. Alex and I were tired & frustrated and I started to put him down for his first stretch in my bed by nursing him to sleep. Literally, broke ALL the rules. We lasted months using this system. We would sleep for a little chunk of time then Ace and I would start a nursing marathon switching breasts and lying positions each time he woke. I put this awesome bumper under my sheet so he couldn't roll off the bed.

The new problem was two fold. The first stretch wasn't getting any longer, AND the rest of the night wake ups were increasing. It got bad when he was 7 months. Ace was waking up constantly. I couldn't even keep track of the time or frequency, but it was almost every hour and a half. I couldn't function. One thing I noticed was that he wouldn't take a pacifier from me in the bed and he couldn't self soothe, but if Alex patted him and put the pacifier in his mouth he would fall right back to sleep. So we tried an experiment. I went to sleep in the guest room and had Alex wake me after Ace's first stretch. Night #1 he slept until 3 am! The craziest part was that two minutes before Alex came to get me I woke up on my own to leaking breasts. My body knew my baby needed to eat. And it was clear, my being in the bed was waking Ace up before he truly needed nourishment. We continued this for a few more days.

Each day he slept a little longer until he didn't wake up at all and we each had a full night sleep. The next night was a true test because Alex had to work late and I had to get Ace to sleep on my own WITHOUT my secret (boob) weapons. FAIL. Ace was doing somersaults in my bed, screaming and laughing at bedtime. My instincts took over. I scooped him up and brought him into this room. He sat on the floor watching me rush to put his mesh crib liner in. At this point he hadn't even seen his crib in months. I secured it and stuck him in with a pacifier and his lovey. Then I nervously sat down in the living room to watch the camera. Umm.. he was sleeping. What? He was asleep in his crib!! I spent the rest of the night waiting for him to wake up, realize I tricked him into sleeping in his crib, and bawl me out. 7:00 AM rolled around the next day.. then 8:00 AM... I left for work and our nanny came in. She went in to WAKE HIM UP at 9:00 AM! We were all shocked.

Ace woke up perfectly calm and ready for breakfast at 9:00 AM. And he has been sleeping by himself, in his crib, through the night, every single night since. I didn't realize it at the time, but he had outgrown cosleeping with us around 6 months. He needed his own space and peace. We haven't had a single sleep problem since this day until the recent 15 month sleep regression. More on that soon! This sudden change from all night nurse-a-thon to sleeping through the night also contributed to my milk drying up at 8.5 months. More on that too!

My big learning here was letting go. I still look forward to when we graduate to a big boy bed and he can crawl out of it and into ours. Sleeping with your parents is a part of growing up in my opinion. But for now, my happy boy loves his room & crib!

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