Do you tiptoe around a sleeping baby?
I grew up as the youngest of four children and my mom really believed she had parenting all figured out. One day, she and I went to visit a neighbor down the street. As we approached the door, we noticed a note taped to the doorbell. Something like, “Please do not ring the bell. Baby is sleeping.” My mom huffed condescendingly. She would never have tiptoed around her babies. “They need to learn to sleep anywhere,” she declared to me whenever an appropriate circumstance arose. I learned that my oldest sister slept in the living room because their apartment was so tiny, yet they would go on with their business as usual throughout the day and evening, and she slept anyway. It was a distinct point of maternal pride for my mom.
So when my oldest was born, that made sense to me. You don’t tiptoe around a baby; he has to learn to sleep anywhere. And he did. In general, he could fall asleep anywhere, and even today, you could run a freight train through his room (as my mom would smirk with satisfaction) and he wouldn’t wake up. But my daughter is different.
Now, mind you, I had great difficulty waking her up to eat as a newborn. She would sleep until her blood sugar dropped dangerously low and then I couldn’t wake her. But she’s WAY over that stage of her life. When she first came home from the hospital it was convenient for many reasons that her crib be placed in my own bedroom. But soon, it was clear that my husband was waking her up in the morning when he got ready for work. Although we had intended to keep her in our room for at least a year, I thought it was best if we moved her out at about 4 months.
The baby’s now nearly 9 months old and she sleeps very predictably, as long as she’s in her own little room with perfect silence in the house. She won’t sleep anywhere but home. Forget napping at grandma’s house. And even at home, if my son turns on the faucet full blast in the kitchen, it wakes her up. I don’t run the dryer while she’s sleeping, because the signal at the end of the cycle wakes her up. Thankfully, my doorbell is broken! Because I would be one of the neurotic moms with a sign on the button.
I really do appreciate the sentiment that a baby needs to learn to sleep in all conditions. But I am a tiptoer. I would rather limit my activities during naptime than suffer a miserable afternoon because I woke her up from a nap. Now that we are anticipating a Christmas trip out of town, I’ve been slowly conditioning her since Thanksgiving. First I started putting her in a pack & play for her morning nap, in her own room. Once she did that predictably, I began moving the pack & play to different parts of the house (all quiet rooms, mind you). I think she’s getting used to it. Last night she slept in it, too! Progress.
Maybe some of it is me—she hasn’t learned to sleep with background noise because she hasn’t needed to. But I really think a lot of it is just my baby’s personality. I didn’t train my son to sleep like a bear; he just does.
So, what do you think? Did you ever tiptoe around a sleeping baby? Did your kids have such drastically different sleep styles as mine? Am I just making it harder on myself in the long run by “allowing” her to need a quiet room for sleep?